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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 to 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.
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
“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?
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.
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.
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…..
“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
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
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 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.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9 NIV
Point to ponder while you wander…Jesus willingly agreed to leave paradise, where He had everything, to be spit on, rejected, and publicly humiliated by those He came to save. All the while living a completely sinless life. His love for you is the real deal.
Love is a Verb: Quality Time
Between all the “have tos” in life is this precious substance called time.
Time is finite. Only 24 hours per day. 7 days per week. 52 weeks per year.
Time is not guaranteed. You do not know how many of these 24 hour days you’ll have.
So each of those days has so much value.
Yet we groan every Monday and beg for Friday to roll around. I’m just as guilty, believe me. I love the freedom of my weekends. Sleeping in. Alone time. Bliss.
Being introverted…I NEED alone time. And trust me when I say all y’all around me should cheer that I take alone time. I’m nicer as a result. 😉
But quality time with my people is priceless and delicious, and I need that too. I feel loved and show love by giving people my time. I do my very best to have one on one time with each of my nieces and nephews. To pour into them. To listen to them. To find out who they are and see where I can support, encourage, or dream with them. I find out how to pray for them. And let’s face it…they are a blast those kids. Seriously fun. I love them. More than they can possibly imagine.
Quality time doesn’t have to be long periods of time. But you do need to be engaged with the other person. Focused on them. Not the tv. Not your phone. Not social media. But actively listening and talking with the other person.
Quality time can be as simple as taking a walk with a friend. I miss the Walkie Talkies I used to have with my friend Kate (I moved so we are several states away now), and the deep meandering discussions I had with my friend Rachel on our walks together. Quality time can be going to breakfast the same time every week for decades, like my Papa did with his big brother, Bob. Quality time can also be a weekend away or a road trip.
But here’s the tough part about quality time, we simply do not have enough time in the day to give quality time to every single person we know. It is physically impossible. So with limited resource of time and the 2 commandments of Jesus (loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves), how can we best invest our quality time?
Well…the best example of time management was a man who only lived for 33 years on this earth. His name is Jesus. Jesus loved with all that He had. He knew how to be a servant. He spoke words of life. He gave the ultimate gift. His touch healed every single person that He touched. Literally every single one. And He understood how to balance His time.
He rested, and invested in Himself with alone time. He spent time with the Father. These two things are essential if you want to have anything to give to anyone else. Quality time with yourself + Quality time with Father God = A Filled Up You. Therefore, a better you at work, school, or where you “have to” go every day. If Jesus couldn’t love the World without alone time and God time, neither can you.
A filled up Jesus was then capable of pouring the love He received from the Father out into the world. Jesus loved everyone He encountered. But it was the love He first received from the Father.
But despite this, Jesus did not invest quality time in every single person He encountered. And neither can you. No matter how much time you spend receiving from God.
Jesus invested His time into 12. Out of the whole world, 12.
But the majority of his quality time was reserved for 3 people. 3.
Remember that when you’re scheduling out your time. Who are the people in your circle who are the top priority? A friend in crisis? Your kids? Your spouse? Your inner circle of friends? A person who you’re mentoring? Who ever those chosen few may be, don’t forget to carve out some of your precious time for them. Quality time=love.
Point to ponder while you wander…Papa God is all about quality time with us. He asks us to seek Him, then promises that He’ll show up every time. And He’ll fill you with His love. He’ll reveal who He is, and give us help with our day. What He did for Jesus, He’ll do for you.
Love is a Verb: Touch
I could go on about how touch people love massages, getting their hair washed/brushed, sitting next to you, manicures, hugs, hand holding…and the like. BUT that is not what is on my heart today.
Today there’s a woman on my heart, for whom one touch changed EVERYTHING.
This woman had a bleeding disorder.
And in the culture in which she lived…this disorder prevented her from leaving her home. EVER.
This disorder also prevented anyone from touching her because she was considered unclean.
Zero touch at all…for 12 years!
12 years equals 3 presidential terms!
12 years equals elementary, jr high, and high school!
To me a quality time and touch person. That would be torture or the very least 12 years of love starvation!
During this 12 long years, she spent everything she had on doctors. They took her money, and left her in worse health than when she started.
So she suffered…in complete isolation for 12 years, and was now without any options.
Just so we are clear here…this poor woman was “unclean” so no one could visit unless they were family who lived with her. But no family is mentioned.
No phone or internet to chat with folks online. No tv. She may have had some books…but considering her poverty…probably not. So she’s most likely bored on top of sick, poor, and lonely.
Then one day….through her window… she began to hear stories of a man from Galilee. A man that was going around laying hands on the sick, and they were being healed.
Lame people were walking.
Blind people were receiving sight, and the deaf were hearing.
And hope crept in…
“…maybe…” She thought.
“I mean…I can’t ask Him to touch me..because I am unclean. But if I can just touch the hem of His garment…”
Faith rose in her.
Despite her weakness, she got up. She got dressed. She left her house. She pressed into the crowd until she could get no closer to Him.
Determined…she dropped to her knees…and crawled through the crowd.
I should also mention that touching a man that is not your husband, father, or son could lead to you getting stoned. And I don’t mean high, buzzed, or whatever kids call it these days…I mean rocks thrown at you until you die.
And still…she pushed on through the crowd until she touched the hem of His garment.
Suddenly…after 12 years…she was healed. No more bleeding. Amazing right?!
Well yes, but she was still considered unclean for 7 more days. And she touched a man who was clearly not a relative.
So she needed to sneak out of there SUPER FAST! But to her dismay she hears, “Who touched Me?”
Well…she’s in Roman occupied Israel so she probably said something in Aramaic, Hebrew, or Latin…but come on! If this were you, and after what you have suffered in the past 12 years and you were almost out of there…you’d at least think…
“Damn. So close.”
But back to the brave woman…
She musters her courage and approaches Him…trembling. Then falls on her knees…
“It was me.”
Now I picture a whole crowd of townsfolk, who know who she is, falling over themselves to get away from her. I hear women gossiping, and men yelling their disappoval.
But not my Jesus. He is moved with compassion as she tells Him her story.
He responds by calling her “Daughter.”
It is the only place in the entirety of Scripture Jesus calls anyone daughter.
Personally I picture Jesus taking her by the hands, helping her to stand. Lifting her chin to look in her eyes, before saying…
“Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Luke 8:48 NKJV
Point to ponder while you wander… Touch is a powerful thing. Like words, touch, can lift spirits, encourage, comfort, and even heal. We can all use more of this kind of touch in our lives.
But remember…Love respects people’s personal space and doesn’t touch people without their consent.
When in doubt…give a high five. 🖐❤