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Honored for Her Kindness

When defining love, patience was listed first, then kindness. Kindness isn’t merely being nice, because nice has fear attached. Fear of what people think, fear of upsetting someone, or fear of not being accepted. And there’s no fear in love.

Kindness is also a fruit of the Spirit. So we believers should be known for our kindness. So what does kind mean?

Dictionary defines it as having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature.

In I Corinthians 13…it’s a verb meaning to show one’s self useful, act benevolently.

In Galatians 5…it’s a noun meaning gentleness, excellence in character or demeanor.

In Matthew 26…it’s shown as good deed, worthy act, honest endeavor.

I personally define kindness as: a conscious decision to act towards another person in a way than reflects your belief that person has value.

Kindness is not weakness. It comes from a position of strength with no expectation of anything in return. Choosing to honor someone’s value.

In Matthew 26, Jesus is at dinner, when a woman arrives with a jar of oil. Beginning with verse 6 (TPT):

Then Jesus went to Bethany, to the home of Simon, a man Jesus had healed of leprosy. A woman came into the house, holding an alabaster flask filled with fragrant and expensive oil. She walked right up to Jesus, and in a lavish gesture of devotion, she poured out the costly oil, and it cascaded over his head as he was at the table.

When the disciples saw this, they were offended. ‘What a total waste!’ they grumbled.’We could have sold it for a great deal of money and given it to the poor.’

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, ‘Why are you critical of this woman? She has done a beautiful act of kindness for me. You will always have someone poor whom you can help, but you will not always have me. When she poured the fragrant oil over me, she was preparing my body for burial. I promise you that as this wonderful gospel spreads all over the world, the story of her lavish devotion to me will also be mentioned in memory of her.’”

The disciples heaped shame on this woman. They saw her as wasteful. Jesus saw her heart, her kindness. She sacrificed all she had in the world, financially, to honor Him.

Jesus called them out for this bullying.

He respected her boldness and her choice to sacrifice all she had to honor Him, calling it a kindness. To this day, 2000 years later, her act of kindness is still remembered.

Point to ponder while you wander…. Be deliberate in your kindness in the lives of those in your world. Look for ways th be kind.

A sincere compliment or a word of encouragement may change their perspective and direction.

Acknowledging someone’s efforts with a thank you, shows someone they are seen and valued.

Kindness is a choice. It comes from a position of strength with no expectation of anything in return. The effect of your kindness, like this woman’s, may ripple for thousands of years.

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Mulling vs Resisting

I was reading Matthew this week and God showed me a few things about temptation I never noticed before.

Here’s the text I was reading…

“After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Matthew 4:2-3 NIV

What happens when you’re tired or hungry? Isn’t that when we’re tempted to be rash? Tempted to eat things we shouldn’t? Say things we shouldn’t? Give in?

Now imagine 40 days and nights only drinking water. Zero food.

And the tempter comes and says…”We both know who you really are. We both know you have Holy Spirit’s enabling power. You can turn those rocks into fresh baked bread just by speaking to them. Hot bread with some yummy melted butter.”

Would you take a minute to consider it? Would you picture fresh bread? Melty butter? Mmm.

If you just pictured this bread or took a minute to consider the option, you just missed your way out (I Corinthians 10:13) and your opportunity to resist (James 4:7).

Jesus didn’t even hesitate. He didn’t ponder. He didn’t give a millimeter to the enemy, let alone a whole inch.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

Right after, Jesus resists by speaking the word, the tempter comes right back.

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” Matthew 4:5-6 NIV

Again Jesus doesn’t even mull it over or debate the accuracy of the statement the devil made. He doesn’t puff up His chest, and try to prove who He is. He calls out the twisting of the scripture just by speaking the truth of the word.

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Matthew 4:7 NIV

A 3rd time the tempter comes back at Jesus-

Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”” Matthew 4:8-9 NIV

Technically Satan had authority over all the kingdoms of the world at that time. It was his to give, because Adam and Eve abdicated their authority, handing it over to Satan.

Now don’t forget…Jesus is tired. He has not eaten in over a month. Not even kale or cauliflower rice. Nada. Nothing. Zip.

Jesus knows that He’s here to get back the authority the previous Adam gave up. He knows He’s here to sacrifice Himself for us. He was being offered the authority He came to reclaim (what He came here for) all He had to do was bow His knee.

I shudder to think what would have happened if Jesus would have mulled that over…or worse caved and bowed His knee. 😲 But He didn’t.

Jesus did not even entertain the thought for a second…

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” Then the devil left Him, and angels came and attended Him.” Matthew 4:10-11 NIV

How many times do we find ourselves mulling over the temptation? Allowing ourselves to be swayed.

Remember Jesus was fully man on earth who was empowered by Holy Spirit, the same as us. If He can resist temptation, so can we. If we follow His lead.

1. Don’t mull it over or consider the temptation. Resist the temptation immediately. Walk away.

2. Speak the Word. Don’t allow the enemy twist scripture, and use it against you. Call out the lie and speak the truth from the word.

3. Yes, you can resist!

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 NIV

Encouragement to ponder while you wander….

1. Jesus understands. He isn’t judging you…He wants to help you resist!For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

2. Remember you’re not the only one and you’re not alone. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:11-13 NIV

3. You can overcome! You are loved!No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39 NIV

Power Definitions

But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Grace- Christ’s power that enables us to do what we cannot in our own strength.

Sufficient=To be in posession of unfailing strength.

Power=Strength, miraculous power.

Perfect=to complete, to accomplish, to consummate, to finish, to fulfill.

Weakness=in want of strength.

When Jesus left earth, He sent us Holy Spirit to empower us to do even more than He did. Right?

Right!

So let’s look at this verse as a declaration!

I am empowered with the unfailing strength and miraculous power of Jesus. His strength and miraculous power partners with me in the areas I am in want so that I am able to thrive and do what I couldn’t do on my own. I refuse to be embarrassed by my weak areas, because in those weaknesses Christ’s power is fulfilling its purpose.

Happy Thursday!

Point to ponder while you wander…

The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Isaiah 55:10-11 NLT

Hey Judas! You need a Heart Check.

Elijah’s List posted this recently.

WOW! Heart check!!!

Seriously though, take a minute and ponder that.

I’ll wait….

When I pondered…I thought of the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. When Screwtape tells Wormwood to focus the patient’s attention on petty things while he was at church. So the patient wouldn’t focus on the Word and how it applies to himself.

Judas did focus on the petty. The negative. And he remained a sceptic despite seeing miracles right before his eyes. He didn’t read about the miracle of the fish and bread feeding 5,000. He actually ate the bread and fish! He didn’t read about blind eyes being opened, he watched it happen.

Truthfully I feel bad for Judas. He didn’t enjoy His life. He clearly didn’t like himself. Seriously. Judas was with Jesus Himself for 3 years, and never actually absorbed anything about who Jesus was. Jesus was, is, and will always be love personified.

Who spends 3 solid years with Jesus, and comes out worse than where he started?

Truthfully…a lot of people.

What? Why? Who? Sacrilege!!

I know. Because I was one.

I confessed Jesus as my Savior at 16. And promptly tried to be perfect (as in without flaw) and do all the right things. I focused on behavior and looking the part.

Nothing reached my heart.

I couldn’t be perfect. And it frustrated me. My life didn’t change. No miracles happened in my life. And I was disappointed.

I ended up flipping around and going absolutely in the opposite direction. I became more critical. More judgmental. I loved less.

And it took a good 7 years before I gave it another shot. At 16, I shoved the Word at people…but at 25 I started applying the Word inward. I began to deal with my heart issues. My broken places began to heal. It was a process that still continues. It’s a day to day walk.

I can tell you that it’s much easier to point fingers and throw rules at people than it is to love them. It’s easier to criticize, scoff & judge.

But…if you take that pointing the finger and judging everyone path. You won’t heal. You won’t grow.

I think that’s what happened to Judas. I think he allowed his natural skeptic to dismiss miracles. He chose not to receive the love and teaching from Jesus. He chose not to heal and grow.

We have a choice too. Perspective and attitude are everything. Being open isn’t alway easy. Neither is change. Not for me. Not for you. Not for the disciples either.

Let’s be real…the 12 disciples are like us. They screwed up. They didn’t always understand. They acted without thinking. They lost their tempers.

But the difference between Judas and the other 11 is that the 11 grew and changed. They applied what Jesus taught them and walked it out.

Were the perfect? Um…definitely not. And neither are we. Neither are your leaders. We are all human. Doing our best. We are all given a choice.

Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT

Judas got to choose too. Unfortunately we all know how that worked out. (Spoiler alert…it can’t get much uglier).

Judas was bitter. I don’t want to be bitter, but some days I see myself heading in that direction.

Judas was a cynic. I don’t want to be an eye rolling cynic, but sometimes I am.

Judus had a greedy, selfish & negative outlook. Sometimes I do too.

I don’t want to be a complainer or a gossiper either. But some days I am.

So this is a heart check for me. To go back to Jesus on the rough days. The days I’m more Judas-like than Jesus-like and ask Him to show me what is going on in my heart and head so I can deal with the root of it and have a better attitude and perspective.

Especially with all the chaos in my life right now…I need more Jesus time. More worship. More Word. And less judgmental attitude. Less pessimism.

Point to ponder while you wander…..

Continual Nourishment

I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts.” John 15:9 TPT

Jesus wants to nourish our hearts, continually. Not just once. Not occasionally. Not just when He feels like it. But continually!

But the kicker here is we have a choice whether or not to receive His love and let us nourish us or not.

How do we receive nourishment from His love?

1. To get the love nourishment we need to grow, we need to read and study about His love in the Word.

So what does Jesus’s love looks like? Check out the gospel of John.

What does love mean? I Corinthians 13 for the Biblical definition of love & I John is good too.

2. Then we need to believe He loves us. Not just know it as trivia or a random fact. But to believe it so much, meditate on it and marinate in it so regularly, that it changes how we see ourselves.

Let it give you confidence in who the Father created you to be, and help you grow into the very best version of you.

Point to ponder while you wander… Today ponder what nourish means in the context of John 15:9 TPT

nour·ish (verb) to provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition

Oasis of Living Water

Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to Me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” Matthew 11:28 TPT

Oasis: a fertile spot in a desert where water is found.

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.” Isaiah 35:1-2 NIV

Point to ponder while you wander: You dry? Parched? In need of refreshing?

Living water Jesus is. -Yoda

Musical Monday…Undone

Undone. For me it is in the same vein as Natalie Grant’s “I Will Not Be Moved” & Stephany Gretzinger’s “Out of Hiding“.

Songs that reveal things I feel deeply but cannot describe.

“Undone” musically illustrates my opinion on a topic that I find to be the most impossible to describe due to overwhelming magnitude of its meaning to me. And then Paul Maybury and Lindsay Sweat do it in one word…. UNDONE.

So entertained by that.

Their song is sung by Kim Walker-Smith on her latest CD…which of course is exactly what I needed this season.

Here’s the song and lyrics…

When I’m crying from the darkness
When I’m looking for a sign
When I’m feeling like I can’t go on
You close in on all sides
You are stronger than my doubting
Your love finds me when I hide
And even when I try to live without You
You are always kind

I am undone, o-oh
I am undone

When You cried out from the garden
Let Your will be done, not mine
When You took the weight of my mistakes
So I don’t have to fight ’em
Now I let the sun rise on every scar and every sign
Of when You took this bruise and dying soul
And breathed it back to life

I am undone, o-oh
I am undone, o-o-oh! oh
I am undone, o-oh
I am undone, o-o-oh! oh

On and on, on and on
You carry me
You are there, You are there
Even in my wandering
When I fall, when I fall
Oh, let it be at the cross

And I am undone, o-oh
I am undone
I am undone, o-oh
I am undone, o-o-oh! oh

On and on, on and on
You carry me
You are there, You are there
Even in my wandering
When I fall, when I fall
Let it be at the cross
I am undone

Undone lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Essential Music Publishing

Point to ponder while you wander… Let yourself be loved by Jesus. Right now. In this very moment. Don’t wait another second to receive Him and His love.