Love is: KIND

1 Corinthians 13:4 – Love is: KIND.
Love is patient… love is KIND.

The world could use a little more kindness don’t you think? When I look around, or watch the news especially – man, I see a lot of Unkindness.

I’ve always believed there’s a difference between being ‘nice’ and being ‘kind.’ There are a lot of nice people in this world. They are polite, they say or do ‘nice things’ for people, and are generally agreeable people.

Kindness I believe comes from within your heart. I believe that kindness is a person’s nature, some are just are born that way. Not that you can’t be kind if you weren’t born that way – it may just take a bit more work.  

A nice person may ask someone “are you cold?” Whereas, a kind person would give that person their coat.

I know that many people use the 2 words interchangeably, but I always pause to think about it when I use the word “kind.” I’ve reserved it for a person, or an act of kindness that goes over and above just being nice.

To truly understand kindness, we need to look at God’s kindness to us. Think of how He has shown His kindness to us throughout history, and throughout our lives.

First and foremost; His kindness was shown by sending His Son Jesus to be the Savior of all time. He showed all of mankind mercy when we deserved none of it. He went over and above.

I did a little bit of research on the Greek (original) word for kind. This is what I found.

“The word “kind” is the Greek word chresteuomai, which means to be adaptable or compliant to the needs of others. The word “kind” portrays a willingness to serve and to change in order to meet the needs of others. This is completely opposite of selfishness and self-centeredness.”

Therefore:

“…Love doesn’t demand others to be like itself; rather, it is so focused on the needs of others that it bends over backwards to become what others need it to be.…”

If this is what Paul means when he says that love is kind, we must look into the mirror and ask ourselves: Do I become what others need me to be, or do I demand that others be like me? Kindness is always reaching out, thinking and focusing primarily on the needs of others. The person walking in agape love adapts to those around him in order to touch them, help them, and impact them in a meaningful way.”

What does kindness DO?


Romans 2:4 says – “…the kindness of God leads you to repentence.” I can completely relate to this verse. Because of God’s unwavering kindness to me when I was doing nothing but pushing Him away, I was led back to Him. His kindness is hard to resist! Believe me, I tried. It’s exhausting. He pursues us with kindness.

Of my 3 children, I have one in particular who is kind. She is my youngest, Jenna. She is gentle, soft spoken, and truly kind. It comes from within. She doesn’t have to think about it – it is just WHO she is. She doesn’t require attention for her kindness, she just does it. She is a wonderful example to me of someone who is kind. {I wish I was more like her!}

The most difficult part of Godly kindness is being kind to our ‘enemies.’ It might be pretty easy to be kind to those we are close to, and love dearly. But kindness to people who are unkind to us is quite another story.

Being kind to those who are UNkind to us, is when our ‘kindness quotient’ becomes really clear!

Remember these verses:

~ Luke 6:35 – Because He is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin.

~Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Blessings to you!

Daily His,

Allison 

His patience is PERFECT

I Corinthians 13:4 – Love is: Patient.
I don’t know about you, but when I see this verse I cringe just a little bit. What is love? It is: patient.

When I think about my patience level I will say I’ve come a long way, outwardly. On the exterior, one might think that I’m a fairly patient person. Not all the time, but most of the time.

But what goes on within can sometimes be such a different story. I’ve joked when I’ve said, “I want what I want, when I want it!” NOT flattering at all. Sometimes, my inner struggle with patience is very ugly. My impatient irritations are pretty self-centered sometimes. When I’m feeling impatient and frustrated about something, I’m only thinking about – ME.

Patience is very unselfish. Whereas impatience is very selfish.

I bet we can all think of someone in our lives who we would say is PATIENT. When I think of a person who is patient, I imagine someone who is calm. Peaceful.

Here are some good verses about patience:

~Romans 2:4 – God’s… patience and willingness to put up with you…

~2 Peter 3:9 – God is being patient with you.

~Galatians 5:22 – Patience is a fruit of His Spirit.

~Proverbs 14:9 – Patient people have great understanding.

~Psalm 103:8 – The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

~Proverbs 11:12 – A man of understanding holds his tongue.

“Patience is the red carpet upon which God’s grace approaches us.” {Max Lucado}.

Want to walk the red carpet of grace? God’s patience leads us there. Without God’s patience, there is no mercy. And we all know that God is merciful!

God’s example shows us how we should imitate His patience to our world. Just as my post from yesterday spoke of receiving God’s love in order to give it. If we are do not receive His patience, then we are unable to properly GIVE it.

If we find it hard to be patient with our spouse, our kids, our co-workers etc, then we probably need to take a time out, and be reminded of how patient God has been, and continues to be with us. Right? 

When I think of all the patience God has had to have with me I am humbled, and amazed at what an awesome God we have. No other ‘god’ in this universe would offer the same patience, and no other god ever will.

Our God is PERFECT at patience.

We need to be mindful of what we receive into our hearts and minds every day. Because what goes in, ultimately comes out of us.

Junk in, junk out.

Jesus in, Jesus out.

Grace in, grace out.

God’s patience in, God’s patience out.

Receive God’s patience into your life today! I guarantee you, you will be filled with so much more patience for others. Think of how our relationships, friendships, marriages, families, work places, communities, our country and the world might be different if we offered the patience of God?

Before anything else – love, is patient. If He can continually show us patience, why not pass that along to others?

Be blessed today! Praying for God’s patience for us all today!

Daily His,

Ally

L.O.V.E.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
When you think of a wedding scripture reading what comes to mind?

Alright – all together now: “1 Corinthians 13:4-8!” YES!

For me, I think I’ve heard these verses so many times I’ve sort of become mildly immune to them. My eyes sort of glaze over a little bit when I see it on a wedding bulletin. {Sorry}

Yesterday, I was read it again, and tried to take slower. Bit by bit like I’d never read it before.

Let’s spend the next few days breaking these verses down.

Right at the beginning of this passage of scripture we can pretty much stop right there. {Didn’t get very far did we?}

“L.O.V.E.” 1 Corinthians 13 tells us what LOVE is.

Yesterday, I passionately wrote about loving others, and our call to be lovers of all people.

As I was pondering what I could do, or how I could show people the authentic, sincere love of God, I got to thinking about where does that type of love come from? I know better to think that we can LOVE as God calls us to love on our own strength alone.

Love doesn’t grow out of emptiness. It grows from a heart that is saturated by the Love of God. From a heart that knows it is LOVED.

Check out I John 4:19 – “We love, because He first loved us.”


Can’t be much more straight forward than that, right? The only way we can love, is from the outpouring of love we RECEIVE from The Father God.

Max Lucado says, “Could it be that the secret to loving is receiving?”

When I had lost my way years ago, and made all the mistakes I had, I can’t tell you how UN-lovable I felt. My family kept assuring me that they loved me, and I knew in my head that God still loved me. But I tell ya – it was SO hard to accept. And because I couldn’t accept and receive that love I kept everyone, including God at a distance.

Thinking back to the months, and years that went by where I just couldn’t allow anyone to love me are painful memories. I have never felt more alone. And it was all MY choice. I chose to be closed off to the love that was being offered so freely and without condition.

After some time, my heart softened and I was wooed back by the sweetness of my Savior. He so sweetly allowed me to slowly take one step toward Him, and then another… and then another, until I was once again – fully IN. {The Prodigal}

Have you ever been in a place of feeling so unlovable and unworthy? Or maybe you know someone who is going through this same struggle? God wants you and all people to know that He means it when He says “I have loved you with an everlasting love…” and “Nothing can separate you from the LOVE of God…”.

Here’s God’s great message to you today: Know that you are loved. ACCEPT and RECEIVE His love. Then, and only then will you be able to GIVE that love to others.

Ephesians 5:1-2 – “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly LOVED children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us.”


God bless you!

Daily His,

Ally

Stuck in a Rut?

The following is a devotional I read by Lisa TerKeurst. What a great reminder of making sure we keep our time with Jesus fresh and real… I know I can easily get stuck in a rut. How about you? Be blessed as you read this, and may we all strive to find quality time with Him today and this week!
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

I’m taking a break from having a quiet time. Because sometimes I can get in a rut. Even with good things. And having a daily quiet time is a good thing. Until it becomes more about routine than actually connecting with God.

When God becomes routine rather than revival, it’s time to switch things up. Otherwise, I might start seeing this time as less important. It becomes the second or third thing I do. After other things. Seemingly more pressing things. Before I know it, it’s been days since I connected privately and personally with Truth.

And then my soul feels a bit off and sluggish. Like when my stomach has been denied food, a desperation starts creeping over other parts of my body. That happens with soul hunger too. Only the triggers for stomach hunger are much more apparent. My brain quickly reminds me, “You feel awful because you need to eat.”

Sometimes my brain isn’t as quick to pick up on soul hunger. So I just lumber forward but wonder, “What’s wrong?” I think of a list of reasons… I’m tired, I haven’t had enough fun, or my butt looks big in these jeans. And while some of those things may be true—it’s not why I feel off.

I need more time with God. Not more quiet time. More listening time. Like the writer in Psalm 63:1 needed. “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek You; I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” (NIV)


This morning as I sat with God with nothing but willingness to listen, three things popped into my mind. I can’t say “God spoke to me,” but it felt right. I need to do some new things as I listen.

Study wisdom by reading a chapter in Proverbs everyday.

Ask God to reveal “my verse” for the day and think of ways to apply it. I listen.

Read something from someone I admire.

I need to study leadership in this season of my life. So, I pick up a book written on this topic by someone I admire and glean from their wisdom. I listen.

Read something from someone I trust.

There’s a book I’m reading right now that is whimsical and grounded all at the same time. It makes me feel like this writer gets me. They get my struggles and offer up advice I know I can trust. I listen.

Maybe you think all this still sounds like a quiet time, but to me it’s different. It’s a listening time. A time to shake things up a bit and get outside my normal routine. A time to listen to God speak. And He does speak … through His book of wisdom, through someone I admire, and through someone I trust.

And this morning? My soul felt that thrilling and comforting full feeling. Complete. Satisfied. Deeply nourished.

Dear Lord, I’m seeking to grow a stronger relationship with You today. Help me to break out of the routine so that I can connect with You and hear You speak. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Reflect and Respond:

What do you need to break up with so you can connect more closely and listen more intently to God?

Write a list of things that you are placing as priorities before your time with God. Consider how you can prioritize so that God comes first, and to make sure that your time with Him isn’t just another thing on your “to do” list.

Power Verses:

Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (NIV)

2 Chronicles 7:14, “… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (NIV)

The one that Jesus Loves

John 1:12 – Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

In the chapter I’m reading from Philip Yancey’s “What’s So Amazing About Grace” This particular quote stood out to me.


“If I came to the place where I saw my primary identity in life as ‘the one Jesus loves’ how differently would I view myself at the end of the day?”

(The ‘one Jesus loves’ refers to John).


Good question, huh? Do you see yourself as the ONE Jesus loves? Truly?

My first instinct is to say, “Well of course I do! I know Jesus loves me! It’s the very first song I learned as a young child! Jesus loves me this I know.” But as I read this in the context of grace I had to really pause for a moment and think about it.

Do I really know it? Do I really see myself loved in perfect grace?

His love and grace for us means there is absolutely nothing we can do to make God love us more… or less.

So, why in the past, did I feel so un-derserving of His grace and love? Because I didn’t truly see myself as ONE JESUS LOVES. Sadly, I didn’t take Him at His word, and most of all, I didn’t fully understand His grace. The question is: will I ever truly understand His grace?

Thankfully, I’m much closer than I was. Hard times in life have such a way of teaching us lessons don’t they?

Have you heard of the “Looking Glass Theory?” It’s where we become what the most important person (our mom or dad, our spouse etc) thinks we are. In the spiritual realm it’s where we become become who God thinks we are.

If God is the most important person in our lives, we are to become who He thinks we are!

So, who are we?

John 1 says we are children of God.  We just celebrated Mothers Day,  I can relate to loving our children or being loved by our parents.

But sadly, there are some who have not experienced love from a parent or parents… for you, grasping the love of God our Father may be a little harder. But it’s not impossible!! I was rejected by my birth mother, and although I’ve struggled at times in my life, I have accepted and am learning about God’s love for me. Trusting more and more that He really does love me, sins and all. And being assured that He will never leave or fail me! Or reject me!

I am a child of God. You are a child of God.

Chosen and loved. That is our identity.

{DAILY HIS}

Through His death on the cross, He chose us to be in His family for eternity. His grace for us is a free gift. It’s free because The Giver of that grace gave His life for you, and for me.

God loves us not because of who we are, but who He is. Will we see ourselves as loved by Him today? We can’t earn it. He’s already given it.

God loves us as much as an infinite God can. It’s really hard to grasp that through our human intellect! Right? That’s what’s so amazing about grace!! It’s so hard for me to get this concept… but I’m learning! And I hope you are too!

So, today my friends, do YOU see yourself as one that Jesus loves? How does your life reflect that? Knowing this truth, does your life look differently than before? Are you working on seeing yourself as loved by Him in perfect grace like me? Or do you feel like you’ve got a good grasp on it? We’re all at different places in our journey with Him, and I love that! We can be such an encouragement to each other! Lifting you up in prayer today!

God bless you!!! Thanks for your presence here! You challenge and motivate me!

Daily His,

Ally

Vengeance is Mine says the Lord

Romans 12:19 – Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Vengeance is a strong word. It’s not one of those pretty, flowery words that just flow off our tongue. It’s not an enjoyable word to say. It’s hard, harsh and angry sounding.

Vengeance comes from the depths of pain and anger. It’s the urge to get even. When we’ve been hurt, vengeance rears its ugly head in the form of wanting to give back the pain that someone gave you.

Here’s the problem with that. It doesn’t work. The end result that you hoped and longed for in taking revenge on someone for something they did for you only turns into more pain for yourself. It never results in feeling good or satisfied.

Yesterday I shared about how forgiveness is scandalous. It’s unfair. It doesn’t make any logical sense. It’s so hard, in our humanness to reconcile the hurt someone caused to us with the call to forgiveness and pardon.

Gandhi said, “If we followed the ‘eye for an eye’ principle eventually the whole world would go blind.” Oh how true is that? You see, none of us are immune to hurt. And the reverse is true, none of us are immune to being the one who hurts. We can thank our own sinful nature for that one.

There is only ONE perfect person who walked this earth, and there will never be another one. His name is Jesus.

Look at how He responded to hurt? He sacrificed His life for the sins of every single one of us for all time. Once and for all. As he was dying on the cross, He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He wasn’t only referring to the soldiers who were crucifying Him. He was referring to ALL of us. He was proclaiming there, on the cross, the forgiveness of our sins. Yours, and mine. 

I’m a big World War II buff. I have watched a lot of movies, documentaries, and have read countless holocaust books. My husband doesn’t quite understand my interest, because it’s so very, very sad and disturbing. Sometimes I even ask myself “why?” am I so interested in such a dark part of history.

When I think of forgiveness, I can’t help but think about the story of Eva Kor {read about her here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/12111155/Why-I-forgive-the-Nazis-who-murdered-my-family.html}. She was a concentration camp survivor, and she and her twin sister were used as medical “guinea pigs” by the famous Dr. Josef Mengele. She found it in her heart to forgive. Her public forgiveness has brought criticism from other concentration camp survivors to which she responds, ““Why survive at all if you want to be is sad, angry and hurting?” she says. “That is so foreign to who I am. I don’t understand why the world is so much more willing to accept lashing out in anger rather than embracing friendship and humanity.”

“Why survive at all if you want to be is sad, angry and hurting-” she says. “That is so foreign to who I am. I don_t understand why the world is so much more willing to accept la

She gets it.

She’s GOT it.

None of us can quite grasp the amount of pain, trauma, and brutality the Jewish survivors experienced. It puts our trivial quarrels and issues with each other quite in perspective doesn’t it?

When we forgive, we also must remember that we are not excusing the behavior. We could never condone or excuse persecution and murder such as the Jews endured. Not at all. But by forgiving, we free ourselves of the weight that the bondage of unforgiveness places on our shoulders.

Writer, Elizabeth O’Connor says, “To bless the people who have oppressed our spirits, emotionally deprived us, or in other ways handicapped us, is the most extraordinary work any of us will ever do.”

hiking

Does forgiveness matter today? Yes. Without forgiveness we are robbed of living in the freedom and joy that our Father God wants us to live in.

Take a good look at the world we live in. What if countries forgave each other? What if tribes forgave each other? What if world leaders forgave each other? What if church denominations forgave each other? What if friends forgave each other? What if husbands and wives forgave each other? What if children and parents forgave each other?

What IF?

We have the choice.

Every day.

To forgive, or to hold on to unforgiveness in our hearts and miss out on what God has in store for us…

What is the reward? It’s a life lived free of regret, redeemed, and restored.

Forgiveness: remember – it’s “scandalous.”

Let us prayerfully choose well.

Daily His,

Ally

Scandalous Forgiveness

Colossians 3:13 – …bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Have you ever had to be forgiven for something? Have you ever had to forgive someone? I can pretty much assume we have all been on both sides of forgiveness.

Phillip Yancey refers to forgiving others as “the scandal of forgiveness.” I love that! The scandal of forgiveness is that forgiveness does not make sense. It’s not natural, it’s not human nature. It’s scandalous!

When we feel wronged, our human nature tells us, “You have been sinned against. You deserve to be upset, and apologized too. That person needs to come and admit what they did was wrong, and THEN maybe I’ll forgive them. It all depends if they are sincere or not.” *sigh*

Human nature wants to ‘teach them a lesson’ doesn’t it? But doing life God’s way turns it all around! What’s so amazing about grace is that it doesn’t make human sense. Learning about forgiveness starts with JESUS. He went to the cross to forgive us of our sins. He was blameless. There was nothing in Him that deserved death on cross, yet; He went there for you, and for me. He bridged the huge chasm of sin between God and us.

Even as Jesus hung on the cross, one of the thieves next to him asked for forgiveness for his sins as he was dying. Jesus knew full well that it was a request of desperation. But Jesus responded, “… you will be with me in paradise…”. He forgave. Grace. It’s scandalous. The love God has for us was scandalously given through His Son Jesus.

Forgiveness is a tough thing isn’t it? We have our pride to cut through. Sometimes that can be pretty challenging.

…bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Have you ever had a conflict with someone, a friend, a spouse, a family member – and after the conflict you wait, and wait… for that person to come to you FIRST to resolve it? I sure have. I have gritted my teeth, and set my jaw and said, “Nope, they have to come to me first, and THEN we’ll talk about it!” Oh how wrong that is… There’s a natural destructive cycle that stems from this way of thinking.

We have pain. Then we blame. Then the pain returns because we haven’t resolved our pain and oftentimes anger with the other person involved. So then we blame them again for not coming to us to resolve the original pain. And the cycle goes on and on.

Unresolved.

UNTIL, someone steps up to the plate and shatters that cycle and says: “Enough!”

Many times forgiveness is downright UN-fair. Hindu’s believe in karma. Karma is when you get what you deserve.

But for Christians, forgiveness is getting and giving what is UN-deserved. It’s grace. Think about what it would be like if WE got what we deserved? Yikes. In the same way, God calls us to extend the hand of forgiveness through the love of Jesus, to those who have hurt us expecting nothing in return.

Phillip Yancey writes, “Forgiveness offers a way out. It does not settle all questions of blame and fairness – often it pointedly evades those questions – but it does allow a relationship to start over, to begin anew.”

Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? Or someone you need to ask for forgiveness from? Don’t wait. Unforgiveness is one of the worst prisons we can be in. God doesn’t want us sitting in that prison being hurt, angry and separated from loved ones. I’ve certainly been on both sides way too many times to count. I’ve done forgiveness, and I’ve greatly failed at it.

Life is fragile. It’s fleeting. Don’t waste a second of it living in unforgiveness. Be scandalous today – forgive as He calls us to forgive! When someone asks you how you are today, respond, “I’m feeling scandalous!” It’ll be a great conversation starter I’m sure!

God bless you all!!!

Daily HIS!

Ally