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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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kindness

Be Ye Kind One to Another Part 2

Ephesians 4_32

What does it mean to be kind as taught in the Bible? In the English translations  of the Bible, there are many words used that might be considered synonyms for “kind.” So, pinning down exactly what we mean by kindness may take some effort. Here are just some of the words used to describe what we might see as included in the topic of “kindness” : kindness, goodness, mercy, pity, love, grace, favor ,compassion, gentleness, tenderness.

One definition I found read as following

The quality of compassion and generosity, characteristic of God’s dealings towards the weak and poor, and demanded of believers. The kindness is also shown in the words and deeds of Jesus Christ.

Be nice; be kind; show compassion and generosity. We could go deeper into many meanings of this, and maybe we will. I never really know where these series are going until I get there. For now, however, we are going to keep it simple and just deal with kindness by believers as simply being…nice to each other.

So, over the next little bit(who knows how long?) we will take various Bible passages that address this subject and break them down some and talk about them. Enjoy the ride!

Here are some thoughts and questions to ponder as we tackle this subject. Feel free to add your thoughts and perhaps they will become topic for posting.

Who are we to be kind to?

That’s easy. Everybody.

So, I have to be kind to even people I don’t like?

Yes

What if they aren’t kind to me?

Too bad.

What if I am just not kind by nature?

Silly Christian, you have a NEW nature.

Can I just do it if I want to? What if I don’t want to?

Well, it’s not a suggestion, it is a commandment.

Does being kind mean I have to get walked on?

No, not really.

Does turning the other cheek mean I have to stand by and watch a brother or sister be assaulted?

Nope, not at all.

Does being kind mean I never tell the truth? Do I just have to do and say what makes people happy?

Not at all.

Is it okay for me to ever get mad at anybody?

Maybe, depends.

How do I know what I need to do to be kind?

Read the instruction manual. (That’s The Bible)

Who is my best example of kindness to follow?

Duh. Jesus.

Well, that’s a start and I hope the brain wheels are turning. Thoughts? Suggestions? Arguments(Arguments are ok…just be….kind)

See you all Wednesday!

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God’s Garden-Lettuce Be Kind Part 8-Commenter Thoughts

This is my post from yesterday over at the Isaiah 53:5 Project.

Seen on a Church Sign

lettuce

Lettuce Be Kind- Let us be kind

Love Your Enemies

Luke 6: 27-38

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Blogging is all about the interaction; it is all about reading what others have to say, encouraging them, and sharing our thoughts with them and others about what has been written. Sometimes folks just have some real wisdom to share, that ptobably belongs in a blog post by itself. One of my God’s Garden posts really got some great comments the other day, and I want to share them for today’s post.

Israel Ashworth had some great thoughts about how being kind to our enemies is actually not just good for them, but is good for us as well!

“Difficult yes, but the rewards for talking it out in a peaceful way is Awesome for our health. Because we won’t be harboring wrong thoughts it will all be out on the table in Love. Yes I am speaking from experience. Yes its still hard. The Love of Jesus is powerful. “

Jan, a new commenter on my blog pointed out just who our enemies are and are not:

“It’s easy to look at the person and forget we wage war not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces that set up strongholds in our hearts and hold us captive just as they lie, kill and destroy lives of all unbelievers. Jesus prayed for those executing Him on the cross “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Until we clearly see we are the forgiven, the set free, the blinded lost we will always stumble over Jesus’ teaching to love our enemies. The best get even and retribution we can have is to love our enemies into the Kingdom of love and light. This is God’s battle strategy and greatest”

Patrick Hawthorne, who has a real knack for telling it like it is, had the following to say:

“Sometimes, when someone is being overly harsh for no apparent reason, it is good to take a step back and ask the Lord what is going on instead of reacting. It might just be that the person we are dealing with is under the influence of a controlling spirit (no I don’t mean possessed, but influenced). If that is the case, we simply rebuke that spirit and carry on with our merry way.

On the other hand, some people are down right mean, period. Those are the ones that makes it hard to play nicey, nice… grrr.”

We continued on, and I asked for fun, if there was ever a time when a less than kind response to an enemy might be appropriate and the thoughts were equally…though provoking.

Jan said:

“The Lord says to speak the truth in love. It is the law that put us to death but we died to the law so that we might live in Christ. Jesus did not come to judge or condemn but that the world through Him might be saved. Paul says he did not come preaching lofty words of wisdom but only Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Can we disagree without being disagreeable? We are told to be slow to speak, slow to anger, we quick to listen because the anger of God does not achieve the righteousness of man.

When we get a belly full of the lies of Satan we need to come armed with a heaping dose of humility and the power of the Holy Spirit along with the covering of the blood of Jesus.

Be still, the Lord says, and know I am God. The arm of flesh will fail us we dare not trust our own. Every battle is spiritual. What do I know about the needs, motivations, weaknesses, soft underbelly of the person Satan has taken captive? God knows and if I have ears to hear He will give me what to say. How to say it. When to say it. Until then I am like the children of Israel who charged into battle carrying the ark as a good luck charm and were devestated by the Philistines because they had a belly for the battle but none for hearing God. Hope that helped. Just some thoughts.”

Then Patrick chimed in with his usual directness:

“hmmm…My thoughts are to first make a whip out of horse hair before you begin the tipping process.

Christian’s often confuse kindness with being passive. Jesus operated in the gift of prophecy (among others) which means to edify, exhort, and comfort. Sometimes, a swift kick to the hind side to wake people up is the only route available to achieving edification, exhortation, and comforting.

Edify – Instruct so as to improve
Exhort – urge earnestly; strongly
comfort – Provide salve to numb the previous edifying and exhortation to your back side. :)”

Those are great thoughts and all I can say is, thanks for writing this post friends!

Read the original post here on the Isaiah 53:5 Project

God’s Garden-Lettuce Be Kind Part 7-How To Love Your Enemies

Yesterday’s Post by me from the Isaiah 53:5 Project

Seen on a Church Sign

lettuce

Lettuce Be Kind- Let us be kind

Love Your Enemies

Luke 6: 27-38

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

In our last post we had made the observation that we are commanded to do more than just bear, or to tolerate our enemies; we are to actively be kind to them. How do we know this? Well, Jesus said, “love your enemies.” Since we know true Biblical love is love in action, that inherently means we have to take action, even towards our enemies, to put love into action. In other words, be kind to them.  “Do good to them which hate you.”

We closed that post with the statement, “Well, that’s pretty lousy, isn’t it?”  First, none of God’s direction is lousy, okay? That is NOT what I meant. I just meant that we really don’t want to be nice to people who hate us. We really don’t even want to tolerate them. What we want to go is get them back! So, it’s lousy from the standpoint that it goes contrary to everything we find in us naturally. But, that is the point isn’t it? We are not supposed to be our natural selves; we are supposed to be different selves upon our salvation.

We are new creatures right?

2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

So, at this point we agree that: God tell us to do it, and we can do it through the power of the Holy Spirit  because He has made us new creatures. Great, now how exactly can we be nice to our enemies?

Don’t retaliate. Turn the other cheek. If a man takes your shirt, offer him your coat. That is really pretty self evident, isn’t it? On, the other hand, it must not be that self evident, as God had to write it down for us. Okay, somebody calls you the biggest moron on the planet; does it really accomplish anything to prove they are actually the biggest?

Humanize your enemy. Dehumanizing an enemy is the easiest way for us to justify hating them. We hate ISIS, we hate homosexuals, we hate abortionists, and the list goes on and one. Guess what? Those people are NOT our enemies. God doesn’t hate them, so we don’t get to either. Does that mean I support terrorism, gay marriage, or abortion? Well, no, it does not. I still don’t get to hate the practitioners of those t hings.

On a more personal level, considering the human side of any attack on you might just diffuse the entire situation. Even though there is rarely a good reason to attack another, there might be a driving reason. Whether that reason be right or wrong, it may still be there. It’s not that hard. Has somebody gotten in your face for no reason? Ask them: Brother(or sister), what have I done to offend you? Notice I didn’t say ask them what their problem is.

Go out of your way, with purpose, to simply find something kind to do to one who hates you.

Boss got it in for you? Work harder

That lady at church turns up her nose and never speaks? Make sure you go out of your way to be friendly to her. Now, look, motivation matters here. There is a fellow at our church who has not spoken to me in eight years. I used to go out of my way to say hi and shake his hand. Then I realized I was doing it to bug him. That’s not what I mean here, okay?

Teacher at school have in in for you? Be a model student.

And on it goes, get it?

Next time: We share some great thoughts from readers on this subject.

Read the original post here on the Isaiah 53:5 Project

 

And the greatest of these is….? (Comparison Cure #5)

Here is the last installment from Elihu from Elihu’s Corner on comparison in the life of believers

image

It always comes down to love, doesn’t it?

Do you rejoice when your child does well? How about your spouse? Why? Because you love them!

Why do other people have it so easy?” was the question that began this series of posts on comparison cures. This minimizing of our blessings and maximizing the perceived blessings of those around us entraps us all at some point with the unfortunate result of creating bitterness, envy, resentment, and ingratitude.

There are cures for this sickness. To date, we’ve covered four: contentment, acceptance, humility and compassion. (Click on each word to read the previous posts). Each cure is a learned behavior. We do not employ these remedies to be self-righteous, create positive chi, or even to feel better. We seek them because we love God and we want to be like him. Like so many things God calls us to do as Chrisians, it all boils down to love. The love God desires from us is a selfless love; a love that demands us to put our needs on the back burner; a love that is learned; a love that puts God first, others second and us last.

How much do we really love others?

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

~ 1 John‬ ‭4:20-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Are you ready for a truth bomb? There are many people who are difficult to love and strive to make themselves as unloveable as possible. Yet loving others is not optional, it’s commanded! Take a look at the above passage from First John. If we fail to love our brother whom we can see, how can we love God whom we cannot see?

When I look at my neighbors, friends and fellow Christians and resent the good things that happen to them, two things are happening: I am failing to showing gratitude for the blessings I already have and I am failing to cultivate love. It’s not for me to decide whether they deserve what they have. I certainly do not deserve the blessings I have been given!

We are commanded to pray for our enemies and bless those who curse us. We are commanded to love. If we cannot even pray for those “undeserving” neighbors, friends, and fellow Christians, how in the world will we be able to pray for our enemies?

Ask the Lord to help you love the unloveable and quench those feelings of envy, bitterness, resentment and covetous. This type of love runs contrary to our nature. Godly love is not easy, but it is powerful. Imagine how different the church would be if we worked on growing our love and squashing our enviousness?

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

~ 1 John 4.7-8, ESV

I want to know the Lord, but in order to do so, I must start crushing my selfish nature and pursue love that seeks the best for others.…..read the rest of the post here: And the greatest of these is….? (Comparison Cure #5) – Elihu’s Corner

Impacting Our World for Jesus Christ

A great post on Christian living by Bill Rudge at Living Truth for Today

BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

As Christians we are called to impact our world for Jesus Christ. In fact, in His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminded His disciples that they were the salt of the earth and the light of the world:

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).

Just as salt and light have particular purposes, Jesus’ instruction to His 12 disciples is a reminder to all of us that we also have a particular purpose/function/duty to perform on this earth. As salt, we are called to have a flavoring, preserving and a purifying effect on the world. As light, we are called to point others to Jesus Christ. The question now before us is how are we as Christians fulfilling Jesus’ call to be salt and light. Perhaps, the best way to answer this question is to consider how the world around us views Christians. In other words, would the world (non-believers) describe Christians as being salt and light?

Sadly, the common sentiment that the world has of Christians is not very positive. In fact, if you asked the average non-believer on the street what their opinion was of Christians, you would most likely get one of the following responses.

First, Christians are seen as being judgmental. In other words, as Christians we are perceived as always telling those in the world that they are sinners and are going to hell. The image of people holding signs such as “God hates homosexuals” and “Repent or Perish” is often the impression the world has about followers of Jesus Christ……..read the rest of this post here: Impacting Our World for Jesus Christ – Living Truth for Today

The Fruit of the Spirit is …

Well, I have gotten behind in writing again. So, to keep up the morning post for a few days, I will rely on the great writing of some others to take care of things. This morning, a great one from Jim at The Well Dressed Branch on the fruits of the Spirit

One fruit, many nuances of flavor.

Sometimes I feel condemnation when I read God’s Word, because I fail to measure up. I realize what Romans 8:1-7 tells me, but the qualifier prevents me from easily claiming the passage and applying it to myself. It is a promise, “to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Can I claim to walk according to the Spirit? The problem is, I just don’t know. If I truly bore the Holy Spirit’s fruit, would I have any doubt?

According to Galatians 5:22-25, the foremost flavor of God’s Spiritual fruit, indeed, its very essence, is love. Where is my love? What does it look like? Loving those who love me is easy, but what of those who despise me and everything I stand for? Do I truly love them?…….read the rest of the post here: The Fruit of the Spirit is … | The Well-Dressed Branch

God’s Garden-Lettuce Be Kind Part 3

My Wednesday morning post from the Isaiah 53:5 Project by Wally Fry

lettuce

Lettuce be kind-Let us be kind

Being kind is NOT a Suggestion

Jesus had some things to say about being kind. Actually, Jesus had some things to say about loving one another, and being kind to each other would certainly fall under that umbrella. The point here is that kindness is not something we have the right to make a choice about. It is a commandment, period. Jesus said so. Enough said, right?……read the rest of the post here: God’s Garden-Lettuce Be Kind Part 3 – The Isaiah 53:5 Project

God’s Garden-Lettuce Be Kind Part 2

My Monday morning post at the Isaiah 53:5 Project by Wally Fry

lettuce

Lettuce be kind-Let us be kind

What does it mean to be kind as taught in the Bible? In the English translations  of the Bible, there are many words used that might be considered synonyms for “kind.” So, pinning down exactly what we mean by kindness may take some effort. Here are just some of the words used to describe what we might see as included in the topic of “kindness” : kindness, goodness, mercy, pity, love, grace, favor ,compassion, gentleness, tenderness.

One definition I found read as following

The quality of compassion and generosity, characteristic of God’s dealings towards the weak and poor, and demanded of believers. The kindness is also shown in the words and deeds of Jesus Christ…….read the rest of the post here: God’s Garden-Lettuce Be Kind Part 2 – The Isaiah 53:5 Project

God’s Garden-Lettuce Be Kind-Part One

My Wednesday morning post from the Isaiah 53:5 Project by Wally Fry

Seen On a Church Sign

lettuce

Lettuce Be Kind-Let Us Be Kind

We are continuing onward in our study entitled “God’s Garden,” based on the Church sign you can see here in the post. I have no great lesson today, merely some nuggets from God’s Word. This is homework! Read, study and meditate on these verses. The homework is: if you find more, feel free to add them in the comments section!…..Read the rest of the post here at The Isaiah 53:5 Project

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