Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Kindness of Receiving

gift photo

  

james 1 17 color

 

 

by Lydia Floren

One of the kindest things I can do

with my life, is to choose to receive the love of God everyday. I know that seems contradictory, but just hear me out:

Taking the time each morning to receive God’s love, frees me to be the person I am meant to be.  It allows me to shed

  • insecurities,
  • selfishness,
  • restlessness,
  • unforgiveness, and
  • self-condemnation.

psalm 23 3 colorBeing loved also energizes me. It moves me to

  • love My Heavenly Father well.
  • love my neighbor better.
  • love myself more.

And, as I live in my belovedness, I can’t help but act on it. Experiencing God’s love ignites a fire in me to love those around me, and to act kindly towards others (for more about this, read Breathing In!). This may be in the form of a smile, a shared joke, a word of encouragement, a listening ear, a gift (delivered in secret, if possible), or a note.

1 john 4 19

 

Heart-Kindness

But even these aren’t the most far-reaching acts of kindness I can perform. The most precious acts of kindness are heart-kindnesses – decisions of the will. Heart-kindnesses can look like

  • withholding judgment,
  • giving grace,
  • forgiving,
  • letting go,
  • or apologizing.

1 cor 13Heart-kindnesses shape my attitude, my outlook on life. The more heart-kindnesses I choose to do, the more profoundly my outlook on life is transformed. And a joyful attitude is the most profound kindness I can give to the world. It affects every word I say and action I do.

The Fruit of the Spirit named “Kindness” will be manifested in my life only to the degree that I allow God’s love to move through me, prompting me to heart-kindnesses, transforming my attitude, and moving me to acts of service.

Has someone been particularly kind to you recently? We’d love to hear from you!

Kindness is love in action written over pictures of hands clasped.By Lydia Floren

Photo by procsilas

The Difficulty of Blessings

wheat photo

Blessings can be much harder to handle than hardship. When God blesses us, if we do not immediately and often acknowledge that it is Him at work, we can quickly come to believe Satan’s whispered lie:

“God had nothing to do with this. You did this yourself. You deserve this.”

We abandon God’s leading and return to our old way of thinking—God is not good, He does not care.  We reject our growing connection with Him—our focus on following Him– and resort to self-dependence:

“I must get and do what I think will make me happy, and will make me feel good about myself.” 

God loves to give good gifts to His precious children

So in good times as well as hard times, it is helpful to remember:

  • What we think will make us happy—pleasure, power and pride—only makes us more miserable, because the momentary rush from these things is replaced by long term emptiness and gnawing discontent.
  • When our life is spent trying to impress or please others–or ourselves–we are enslaved in the worst kind of way.
  • The only way to joy, contentment, peace, purpose, and long-lasting blessing is to follow the Father who loves you more than He loved His own son’s life, and to do so with an attitude of anticipation and trust.
  • That means accepting “no” and “not now” exactly in the same way we accept “yes”: with gratitude, knowing that God IS good, and DOES have your best in mind, and fervently wants you to overflow with joy and contentment and the passion of a high calling.
  • God loves, loves, loves to give good gifts to His precious children. And He knows what is truly good.

God loves you. He really does.

james 1 17 blessingsWhat do you do to remind yourself that God truly has your best interest at heart?

By Lydia Floren

 

The Kindness of God, by Lydia Floren

ocean pray photoromans 2 4When we don’t have prayers answered in the way we would like, particularly the ones that start with,  “Lord give me….”, it may be because God knows what we desire is not good for us. At least not right now.  Yet, when we don’t hear a “yes” we are tempted to believe God is holding out on us, instead of protecting us. Our stubborn hearts say, “Fine, you don’t want to give me this, so I will just get it for myself.”  And we strike out on our own.

Good Gifts

When we follow this pattern, we move away from our growing understanding of God’s goodness.  We forget that God DELIGHTS to give good gifts to His children. HE LOVES, LOVES, LOVES to give good gifts to His children.  He does not try to spoil our fun.  He tries to protect us, give us what we can handle, show us the way.  He wants MORE for us, not less.  He doesn’t want us to settle for the mediocre, when He is planning “fantastic” for just around the corner.  When we choose our way over God’s, we are choosing to settle for less than His best, less than wonderful.

the kindness of God leads us to repentance

God’s leading is thoughtful, and it is kind.

He wants us to avoid the dangers that lurk beneath the surface of superficial satisfaction.  He wants to keep us from trading true riches for false promises. But in order to receive the blessings He so much wants to give us, we must choose to follow His way, His timing, His wisdom. We must choose to say no to the enslavement of our impulses, and accept the growing freedom that comes from saying yes to His leading.

We must remember and believe that God is good.

Daily we need to turn back as quickly as possible, and remind ourselves again that every step God leads us to take, is one He has chosen because He loves us, and wants the very best for us. When we are off track, the kindest thing God can do for us is to lead us back to following Him.

Repentance is turning away from our own way of doing things, and turning back to reliance on God’s leading.  It is the kindness of God that leads you to repentance. 

john 1 52 cor 7 10

What thoughts do you have? Please leave them below!

Photo by honorbound