Twelve Days of Kindness-Day 4!

Let the righteous strike me;
It shall be a kindness.
And let him rebuke me;
It shall be as excellent oil;
Let my head not refuse it.

For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked. Psalm 141:5 NKJV

This segment of the Psalm is not advocating violence, but correction–pointing out when someone is wrong. It is indeed a kindness from others when they show us or tell us when we’re doing something wrong. For anyone to offer corrective instruction shows they care about us and we see this in parents when they correct their children.

The unfortunate aspect of providing corrective instruction to some is those who refuse to accept it–as the kindness that it is. When people are insecure about themselves, they often see corrective instruction as criticism and refuse to hear what is said. This also occurs with people who think they know what they’re doing when they don’t.

I’ve often said I’m thankful to God for not having a thin skin and can take corrective instruction from anyone. I don’t know all there is to know and I’m really grateful to those who care enough about me to point me in the right direction. The granddaughter of a wonderful friend and sister in the Lord found some errors in one of my books, but wasn’t sure if she should tell me. Her grandmother told her she should always tell me what errors she finds. That to me–is a loving, kindness because they want to see me put my best foot forward.

So, when someone offers corrective instruction, we should be willing to hear and receive it because it only means they care about how we represent ourselves. Now that’s love!

How are you going to show someone a kindness today? Do you dare provide any with corrective instruction that demonstrates your kindness? Well, I’m going to try and if it is not received, then I’ll know I did my part and God will also know!

Do We Care?

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 4:37-40 NIV

Most of us are familiar with this passage of scripture and it has been the subject of many sermons and the inspiration behind a wonderful song, “Peace Be Still.

We marvel at the disciples faith wavering under the stormy conditions when He who created all things was in their midst, but they didn’t really understand that–even when he calmed the winds and the water before them. Their greatest concern was the fact that while the storm was raging, He was asleep and they dared to ask Him, if He cared about them. In their carnal minds, they could not understand how He could care about the circumstances and sleep through it.

When we know who we are and the power we have through Holy Spirit, we can be at peace when circumstances or situations attempt to destroy us. We don’t get upset, panicky or frantic because we don’t care about the situation, but we can remain calm because our faith will sustain us.

This is the attitude we must develop in order to rise above all those things, we “think” we have to control, when in actuality, we have little control over anything, but we know who controls it all, when we allow Him to do His job. It is because He cares that we can exercise our faith to care about others and to encourage and support them to “stay calm” when things happen that are out of their control.

Do we care enough to share our faith to encourage and support those in need? We can offer material things and many of us do, but sometimes the “things” are not what is needed; it is our peace and assurance that God will take care of us. We cannot demonstrate that assurance we have in Him if everything in life–derails us and we lost sight of the fact that He cares.

When we care enough to demonstrate our faith–comforting, supporting, encouraging, and simply being kind, others know we care about them and will be there to ride out the storms with them.

People of faith–don’t get bent out of shape easily, they don’t panic, and they don’t jump before the starting gun is fired, they are calm and focused because they know, He cares. They take the time to rationally consider alternatives before making decisions or taking any action and then their faith in God, always includes communication with Him, seeking direction from Him for all circumstances. 

We say we care about people, but do we care about them only when things are going well or can they see us as a port in the storm–sheltering us from our fears–because we are unwavering in our faith?

Lord, help us to care enough about others to always consider their needs and to demonstrate our faith when theirs may waver under the pressure placed upon them. Give us a heart that desires to serve, rather than be served, and a willingness to obey You in all things. Grant us the ability to rise above circumstances we do not control, and strengthen our faith so we can maintain our course–at peace, knowing You care!

He Will Take Care Of Us!

“Give your burdens to the LORD,
and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” (Psalm 55:22 NLT)
 

He will take care of us when we allow Him to do so. How do we know? Do we believe His Word?

Whatever is burdening us down–sickness, disease, mental oppression and depression, apathy, financial insecurity, feelings of loneliness or being unloved–whatever it is–we must learn to give it all to Him and He will take care of us!

The biggest obstacle in our lives in receiving all that God has for us–is us! As long as we think we can “do everything on our own” without His guidance, we will be burdened with those things that we do not have to hold onto. His love and compassion, grace and mercy are more than enough to handle whatever problems we think we have. We must develop uncompromising faith in Him to know that He will do all He says He will do.

Father, in the name of Jesus, we willingly give all of our burdens to You this day. We acknowledge that we can do nothing without You and we know that Your Word is true and everything You say You’ll do, You will do because You are not a man who should lie. Help us to develop the kind of trust and faith in You that we know we have nothing to fear or to worry about with You handling all of our affairs. Now, help us to hear You and immediately obey so we can have all of the many benefits that You have in store for us. 

We give You our finances, our health, our children, our spouses, our loved ones, our concerns about worldly affairs and peace, and anything else that would keep us from being distracted and our focus off You. Thank You, Lord, for hearing and responding to every one of our needs as only You can, to Your glory. Amen!

Different Kinds of Trees!

“Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (Matthew 7:17 NIV).

There are different kinds of fruit, different kinds of vegetables, different kinds of flowers and different kinds of trees. Good trees–those who are nourished and get all they need to produce good fruit, usually produces good fruit. Bad trees–those who lack appropriate care and nourishment, water, sunlight, pruning, and watching, may produce withered, dried out fruit, abnormal sized fruit, or no fruit at all.

Every thing that grows–including people–need appropriate nourishment, pruning, and watching. We need the love of parents who know how to be parents. We need appropriate environments in which our health will not be impaired or our growth stunted. And we need pruning–the cutting away of all the stuff that will not help us mature as reasonable human beings. It is the pruning that most dislike and rebel against.

The Word of God prunes–reveals to us all that is hurtful to our growth and cuts it away to make room for healthier thoughts, ideas, and actions. Those who rebel against the Word, hold onto all the stuff that hinders growth and maturity and then they get mad at the world because they do dumb stuff and wonder why they can never get anywhere. These are the bad trees.

The good trees–patiently endure the scraping and cutting away of all those things that will hinder growth and they get a chance to see the abundance of productivity that results as the cutting away of the old and making room for the new. They will usually have a harvest of growth that leads to production of other harvests. One plants, one waters, and God gives the increase.

I recently watched a neighbor prune branches of one of his peach trees and cut off those that were not producing edible fruit. Last year, they only grew to the size of a walnut. At the beginning of this spring, only a few leaves blossomed. After his pruning away all the “dead” stuff, leaves are all over the place and I’m sure, the peaces will be much bigger, producing good fruit.

Now, considering all that was said, which kind of tree of are you?

Lord Jesus, help us to endure the pruning and cutting away of all the dead stuff in us, making room for the new growth so we can be productive in every area of our lives, to Your glory!