Tag Archives: kindness

A Revival Prayer

A Revival Prayer

O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.   Habakkuk 3:2

With our annual Revival Meeting nearing, it is good to pause and to pray for the Lord to send revival.  Will you pray for personal revival in your life?

What is revival anyway?  A basic and most thorough definition I have used for years is this: “Revival is falling in love with Jesus all over again.”  Simply stated, and right to the point.

As time goes by and we are further away from our conversion and new birth as Christians, we can become complacent.  Just like many people let their physical bodies get out of shape, or neglect proper eating and exercise, we can do the same thing spiritually. Many Christians have become lethargic in their walk with God.  Their service in church is pale and anemic, their pulse for loving God and other people has slowed down, and their appetite for the Word of God has decreased.  Even just opening the Bible at home causes difficulty in breathing.  If I was describing symptoms in a person’s physical body, you may think the person had a heart problem.

Some Christians have high blood pressure spiritually (in some cases literally) and are complaining and bickering with others then wonder why they do not feel as close to God as they once did.  All of this is symptomatic of a much bigger problem – a spiritual heart problem.  Are you loving Jesus more today than you were loving Him yesterday?

Why or why not?  It could be that loving sin, reveling in pride, or loving the world has diminished you love for Jesus.  Will you pray for personal revival?  Will you pray for family revival?  Will you pray for church revival?

Pray like the old-time prophet Habakkuk, who poured out his heart to God after hearing the Word of God spoken: O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.   Make his prayer – your revival prayer today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Be Kind, Kind Of…

Be Kind

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:32

“A church usher was instructing a young successor in the details of his office. “And remember, my boy,” he concluded, “that we have nothing but good kind Christians in this church until you try to seat someone else in their chair.” (6000)

I have always enjoyed that little story.  It is true that sometimes when we change the routine and seemingly insignificant expectations of some people they can become very angry!  Some of us are “kind” just part of the time.  We could be “kind of kind” but that is not really being kind!

The Bible commands and admonishes us to “be kind one to another.” This is written to the church members of a church in a city called Ephesus.  These were people who lived busy lives in an ancient world trading capitol.  There were false gods in the city and the famous Temple of Diana where all sorts of evil originated and was conveyed into their society.  It was to these Christian people that God said – “Be ye kind.

Ye Kind” is taken from the Greek word: “chrestos” which means to be “employed.”  You may never have guessed that definition and origin of the word “kind!”  It really helps us understand the significance as to how to go about being kind.

Like you are employed at your job or occupation, the Lord wants us to be employed in the area of kindness.  Be kind to the family members in your home.  Be kind to the church members at your local church.  Be kind to other Christians in the body of Christ.  Be kind o your neighbor who does not yet know Jesus.  Be kind.

In other words: Leave the other person better off than when you first interacted with them…

Here are 3 considerations.

  1. I need to think right about people. If I am thinking about how I can take advantage of other people, I cannot be kind to them.  That is what Ephesians 5:31 is speaking about: Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
  2. I need to have compassion for other people. Tenderhearted in verse 32 is speaking of compassion.  We live in a day when many people have more compassion on a baby elephant than they do for a homeless man.  Many are more compassionate about baby dolphins than they are about human babies that are being murdered in abortion.  Have some godly concern for others. Know their condition.  Try to help meet a need.
  3. I must have forgiveness in my heart for others. For the sake of Jesus – God forgave your sin.  For the sake of Jesus – you can forgive the sin and wrong that others have projected against you.  Forgiving is not the same as forgetting, we will never forget.  But we can be like God Who in Hebrews 13:13, “remembers no more” our sin and wrong.  While God never forgets, He chooses not to think about our sin.  When we forgive others, we are being like God! And God wants us to be more like Him!

One final thought.  I am not a “kind person” if I am thinking of how to hurt or take advantage of others.  I am not a “kind person” if I am not actively showing compassion to others.  I am not a “kind person” if I am not demonstrating true forgiveness to other people.

Ask God to help you – you can be a kind person today!  Be employed at being kind to others.  It is a “job” that God has called each of us to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teach the Tongue

Teach the Tongue

Powerful.  Life Changing. Incredible.  Sometimes, not saying anything is priceless!  How many times do our words, though seemingly innocent, get us into trouble, or hurt other people?  How many times do our words encourage, edify and help those around us?  How many Christians are really living like Proverbs teaches.

As the school year winds down, finals are administered, and teachers get a restful summer break, what have you and I learned during the school year.  When a family has school aged children the year seems to revolve around the school session schedule.  So, for this year, what have you learned?  Have math skills increased?  Has science and history been your thing?  How much better is your handwriting?

More importantly, what character traits have grown?  What spiritual steps have been taken this year?  What decisions for serving the Lord have you made?

Recently, our family was reading though proverbs and the following 2 verses stood out to me personally.

  • The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips. Proverbs 16:23
  • Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.  Proverbs 17:7

What have you taught your mouth?  Taught what?  The wise man or woman, son or daughter, will teach his mouth to say only good things.  Not always will be win this battle, but again, the wise teacheth his mouth.  His lips are guided with learning.  No-one wants to talk the fool, or speak foolishly.  Verbal discipline is a requirement and expectation for the Christian life.

Notice how to not become a fool in Proverbs 17:7.  Excellent speech will not result in a person being a fool.  One paramount, pinnacle lesson each person must learn is the value of their words.  Empty speech, useless conversation, angry words, and bad themes to talk about are not worth talking about!   There are some things we should not waste our breath on!  Here are some ideas to help these verse be true in your life.

  1. Teach or control your mouth.  Take a breath before you speak.  Pray for God to help you say the right things to the right people, the right way, with the right attitude.
  2. Keep learning. Be around good speaking.  Avoid listening to cursing, gossip, or evil communication.  Be aware of the impact of social media and the “Friends” you follow have on you and your speaking.  The people we listen to and look to will inform our mind which in turn impacts what we say or do not say.
  3. Expect more.  Don’t allow negative, selfish, and evil speaking in your home.  Have excellent speech.  Make or create time to talking at the dinner table, in the car, and on the porch.  The more excellent speech that is expected, the least likely you and your children will be in becoming a fool.  Don’t allow useless talk in your home.
  4. Be upfront.  Notice how verse 7 says a person with lying lips will not become a prince.  It is not likely that a lying person is ever truly successful and like a prince in life.  It is less likely than a person who says good things to turn out to be a fool.
  5. Set down the phone.  I read recently that teenagers spend more time on their cell phone than they spend time with their parents. Texting, facebook, twitter, Instagram, video games, snap-chat and more has not increased real life talking!  Learn to set the phone or device down and carry on a real conversation with someone.  Teach yourself good conversation habits.

Make application in your own home and in your own life-stage.  How are you doing?  Have you taught your tongue yet?  It is an area that we must continue to learn and grow in.  We never arrive with our words.  Keep growing in excellent communication!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time And Growth

Time And Growth

Recently I read about an incident that occurred back in 2004.  A fight broke out among the residents of a nursing home in their dining hall.  One man was playing with the lettuce in the serving line with his bare hands.  From that a fight ensued.  A 62-year-old and an 86-year-old started to trade “punches.”  Then a 79-year-old was bitten in the arm.  The mother of the 62-year-old man was cut in the arm and a 92-year-old man was shoved to the floor as other residents ran away from the dining hall.

The point of sharing this story is that time and age does not ensure a person grows “out of” anger issues.  We cannot hope that one day the wrath of a person is appeased because he or she becomes a certain age.  The only way to grow out of any sin – is to grow more like Jesus.  What we do in and with our time, is more important than how much time has expired.

Ephesians 4 clearly teaches how to replace the sin with righteousness and goodness.  God can help you grow in these areas!

Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Please observe the first sin listed: Bitterness.  Wrath, anger, clamour (outcry of grief), evil speaking (vile and blaspheme), and malice (badness) are all a result of the first sin: Bitterness.

Bitterness leads to faulty vision, angry thinking, and heated words.  Time does not heal bitterness.  Jesus alone can heal bitterness.

A life submitted to God will bring the hurts, pains, resentments, and seeds of bitterness to God and let God take care of them.  When we hold onto our “rights,” our pride, and our bitter spirit, the bitterness sprouts up into a garden of deceit, pain, and turmoil that chokes out all the positive things God is doing in our lives.  Nurturing bitterness ensures a garden of sin and grief is cultivated in a person’s life.

Replace the bitterness with forgiveness.  Replace the anger and wrath with kindness. Replace the harsh words with tenderheartedness.

While some people seem to “mellow out” over time, it is not just because of the passing of days. Time alone is not enough to grow out of sin and to find healing from the control of sin.  Growing in Jesus and learning to follow his example of love, compassion, and forgiveness is the only way to see victory over the sin of bitterness and anger.  What we do with the time God gives to grow closer to Him is what really counts.

 

 

 

The Gift of God (Part 1)

The Gift of God (Part 1)

What is the best gift you have ever been given?  Perhaps there are one or two very special gifts that someone has given to you.  We normally think of large monetary or material things.  Our family has been blessed to have received the gifts of a car and van on several occasions.  Thank the Lord for loving people who have cared for us with such helpful and generous gifts.  A real need was met with a gift.

What about gifts that are non-tangible?  A good name and reputation?  A good work ethic?  An education? A Christian upbringing?

Eight times in the Bible the phrase “Gift of God” is used.  Let’s exam these “gifts of God” and make a personal application to our life.  Here they are:

  • The Gift of Work: Ecclesiastes 3:13 says, “And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.”

One person wrote about Princess Anne and said: “She is getting married this Saturday…. Her new fiancée could be a real embarrassment to the royal family—Turns out he has a job and works for a living.”  Work is honorable!  Even in retirement, we can find work to do and be productive.

While not everyone can work or accomplish the same production, quality, or have the same skills as another person, everyone has some skill they can excel at.  Work and the ability to work is rewarding.  It is a gift from the Lord.  It could be work for a living, or work to help others, either way – we honor the Lord in our work.

Do the best work you can while you are able.  At the same time realize, once a day is over, we still need to rest, and prepare for worshipping the Lord in other spiritual ways.

Some people “play at their work and work at their play” while neglecting their worship.

  • The Gift of Wealth: Ecclesiastes 5:19 informs, “Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.”

Working hard and working smarter, not harder are both good qualities to have.  Again, the ability to work is a gift of God.

While finances and big wallets or bank accounts are not the goal of the Christian, a side benefit of the hard and smart worker is that he will gain in tangible ways.  Most people that have a job should be able to have money in the bank and live better than merely pay check to pay check.

Part of the reward of work is the power to but his own food, and buy his own portion, or place to live.  Other lessons could be learned then about proper stewardship.  When we apply Bible principled stewardship to the finances God has entrusted to us, we will have more than we need and accomplish more for the Gospel than we can even imagine.

Don’t be a miser with the money God gives you to manage.  Do you know what a miser is?  “A miser: one who experiences a dollar’s worth of frustration when he loses a dime.” Be sure that you do not love money, nor are pre-occupied with the things that money can buy.

  • The Gift of Water: John 4:10 relates, “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”

Jesus is answering the questions of the “Woman at the Well.”  Jesus revealed to her every sin she ever committed.  When this woman was seeking physical water, the Lord Jesus offered her spiritual water.

She was thirsty and Jesus was able to give to her something that no water, Gatorade, or other drink could ever satisfy: peace with God and the knowledge of forgiveness of sins.

Jesus is the “water of life.”   While many people try “Religion” and “good works” to gain salvation, Jesus offers salvation freely to all who will come unto Him.

You can repent of sin, ask for forgiveness, and receive the gift of eternal life that Jesus made possible when He shed His blood, died on the cross, and then rose to live again.

  • The Gift of Wages: Romans 6:23 teaches, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

In the same vein as the “Gift of Water” The Lord gives eternal life – only through Jesus.  As humans, we earn a wage for our sinful actions – death.  Death is what we truly deserve.  Jesus however does not want us to die.  We will die physically, but more important than that is spiritual life and death.

Jesus rose again so we could live forever with God.  It takes being born again.  Jesus completed the work on the Cross.  He paid the wages of our sin.  HE had no wrong and no sin of His own.  He took my sin and paid the price – death with what I earned in wages.

When a person repents of sin and receives the gift of God (Salvation) then he trades his personal wages (death) with Jesus for eternal life.  It is an amazingly good deal for us – because we do not deserve life.

  • The Gift of Workmanship: Ephesians 2:8-10 speaks plainly and directly, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

The hand of God (grace) reaches to us and we take our hand (Faith) and place it in the hand of God.  Grace and faith are how a person is saved.  God’s grace is extended and we reach up in faith.   We cannot do enough god to earn maintain or keep our eternal salvation.  Salvation is a gift.  Good works, being baptized, and joining a church can be good things, but they are not good enough for salvation.  No human work could ever earn the person perfection so they could enter Heaven.  It is the work of God that He performed on the Cross.  By God’s grace, we accept through our own volition of faith to receive His gift of eternal life.  Have you been born again? Saved by Jesus?

When a person gives you a birthday gift- you reach out and take it.  The giver presents it to you and you can either accept the gift or say “no thank-you” to the giver of the gift.  The choice is all yours.

Once a person becomes a Christian (When they repent of sin and place faith in the Gospel) the Lord begins a new work in them.  They are now a “Christian” which means = “little Christ-like ones.”  We are to look more like Jesus.

Why does a Christian do good works if good works cannot save him?  Why should a believer in Jesus do Christian service and be a good person if it cannot gain eternal life?  The answer lies in verse 10.  We are God’s Workmanship.

The Lord has called all believers to “walk in good works.”  We do not work for our faith, but “we have a faith that works.”  The Bible, the Christian life, the Holy Spirit, and the church services we participate in all assist us in becoming more like Jesus.  Our thoughts, words, and actions begin to reflect His love, compassion, purpose, and effectiveness.

The following antidote from the life of Mark Twain can help: “A businessman well known for his ruthlessness once announced to writer Mark Twain, ‘Before I die I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud at the top.’

‘I have a better idea,’ replied Twain. ‘You could stay in Boston and keep them.’”

By God’s grace, live the Christian life to the glory of God so others will see Jesus in you and will then place their faith in Him for their salvation.

 

Lord willing, the next post will continue our study of the phrase “The Gift of God.”  Thank you for reading the pages on this site.  Please feel free to add a comment or tell others about it.