Kind Reassurance

People often tell me that I seem like such a peaceful person—so serene and that I do things with such ease.  At that point in the conversation my thought is that it would be very rude to burst into laughter, remembering the classical proverb: “Still waters run deep.”  Peace is something that I claim only by the grace of God and by His faithful kindness at work in me.

Anxiety usually pops up when something I value appears to be threatened.  For peaceexample, as a child being afraid that my parents would stop loving me if I didn’t accept an offer to go with one of them to the grocery store.  Childish insecurities don’t just go away on their own though, and neither is it a one-time, fix-it-and-move-on kind of problem!

There are definitely some practical things that one can do to abide in peace:

Belong to God through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1)
Pray (Philippians 4:6-7)
Commit to walk in obedience (Hebrews 4:9-11)
Prioritize righteousness (Isaiah 32:17)
Be filled with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
Walk with the Peace-giver (John 14:25-27, 2 Thessalonians 3:16)
Release expectations to the Lord (Psalm 46:10)
Choose faith in the Lord (Matthew 8:24-27)
Trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6)

However, for me one of the greatest blessings I’ve known is when God Himself speaks words of grace and love over me.  When it’s not about me doing the right thing to overcome, but when it’s about Him seeing my mental turmoil and quieting it.

When I was a child, it was the reassuring words of my father saying, “Oh, I didn’t even give that a second thought” that brought me comfort; or maybe my mom’s playful chide, “Stop saying, you’re sorry.”  But as I grow up in the faith, I realize that it is wrong for me to exhaust others with my need to have a peaceful mind.  The only one who can truly bring me peace is Jesus.  Christ doesn’t condemn me for anxious fears and insecurities; instead, He meets me with reassuring words of unconditional love, strength and compassion.

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you.  And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.  For the Lord is a God of justice;  How blessed are all those who long for Him.  Isaiah 30:18

And having known such a great grace in my weaknesses, the Lord Himself equips me with the power to move forward in confidence for His glory (Hebrews 13:20-21).

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ in response to His gracious work in her life.  At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.

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The Kindness of God

We’ve all heard about occurrences of kindness in strangers.  The person in the drive-through at Starbucks pays the person’s tab behind him, and sets off a chain reaction of two hundred customers who keep the kindness going.  We get a warm feeling as we read about a patron in a diner who leaves a struggling server a monumental gratuity.  Our heartstrings are stirred at a picture of a helpless puppy abandoned by thoughtless owners, and later learn it’s adopted by a loving family.Dogs  We comment that “there are still kind people in the world” and hum a phrase of “What a Wonderful World”, contemplating how we can “pay it forward” as we drive down the freeway…until someone cuts us off.  Suddenly, our warm thoughts of kindness are drowned in the blaring of our own horns.  Our generosity disappears into indignation at the stranger ahead.  We step on the accelerator and whiz past the offender at the first opportunity, glaring as we pass.

Our kindness as humans is often based on how worthy of our magnanimity we deem the recipient.  Let one person choose stop paying for the person in line behind, and see how quickly he is castigated as a cheapskate.  But having an opportunity to demonstrate kindness to someone who has cheated us out of a job, or lied about us, or even just unknowingly hurt our feelings is different.  How difficult then is it to summon those warm feelings?  Do we unknowingly ascribe to God the limited attributes of charity we know so clearly about ourselves?

The character of God is summarized in 1 John 4:8b: “God is love”. The essence of our Heavenly Father is perfect love.  In Jeremiah 31:3, we are told: “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.’”  Notice that God doesn’t herd us. He has “drawn” us with “unfailing kindness.” Romans 2:4b reads, “…God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.”

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.  We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. (Titus 3:3-5)

Above Titus reminds us of exactly what we were, but God didn’t save us because of any goodness or merit, or even ‘cuteness’, on our part.  Rather, “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us”. (Romans 5:8)  God’s expression of ultimate kindness is the gift of His Son, and the very faith we need to accept that gift is supplied by His grace.  He paid it forward forever!

About the Writer:
Nan Haines is so grateful to belong to God’s people. She loves getting to know all kinds of people and enjoys discovering new places, which is a good thing since she’s moved twenty five times. She has been married to Jim, a pastor, for 34 years, and together they have four grown kids, a son in love, and three grand puppies.

Kindness

The very first bible verse I taught our little boys was “Be kind to one another.” (Ephesians 4:32).  They were only two and three years old at the time.  The youngest was completely non verbal, not yet diagnosed with autism and the older had been recently diagnosed with autism Loving boysand was beginning to speak some words.  Our oldest son picked up on the verse very quickly because he had many opportunities to repeat it each time he was unkind to his little brother.

I didn’t know exactly what they were each learning since their verbal skills were extremely limited, but I wanted to make sure I poured into them God’s Word, teaching them what Scripture tells us.  The Lord had been working in my heart too – kindness wasn’t just for the children.

The writer of Ephesians implores us to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called, worthy of the calling.  Were my actions worthy of my calling?  Absolutely not.   Ephesians goes on to tell us, reminding me, grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  Ah grace, I love to get it, but I don’t always like giving it.

As the days turned into weeks and weeks into months the little boys made great progress with learning their verse, “Be kind to one another…” and I began to learn this verse had so much more to offer me than an elementary meaning.  I too began to memorize the last few verses of Ephesians chapter four.  It made a huge difference in my life.  It changed the way I thought about my words.  It changed the words I chose to speak to others.  It changed my heart.  Are you struggling with kindness too?  Thinking it’s just something for a little kids to learn – not realizing that the writer of Ephesians was speaking to us about our Christian walk, not to children.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do no grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:29-32)

I learned we aren’t studying scripture simply for behavior modification, it’s a heart transformation.  Be kind to one another, and forgiving…just as Christ did for you.

About the Writer:
Tamie is a stay at home wife and mommy of three kids with autism. She is a member of First Baptist Dallas and enjoys spending time hanging out at home with her family or a quiet dinner with girlfriends. Tamie is passionate about encouraging other woman in their daily walk with the Lord.

The Kindness of God

Just think how God designed an incredible universe of epic proportions, then created a unique little planet – a paradise – with just the right amount of everything needed to keep a person alive and extremely happy. If that wasn’t enough, He planted a garden, created man and woman and just handed the world over to them. That’s kindness!

Peace, paradise, perfection – but unfortunately little clouds of doubt and discontent formed in the hearts and minds of Adam and Eve. Fueled by Satan’s deceptive words, the clouds grew until sin erupted and ruined everything. It’s been stormy ever since.

Clouds still distort our view and lead us to question the kindness of God. Adam and Eve’s own reaction to their disobedience (sin) was fear. Surely God had every right to withdraw his kindness, to obliterate them, kill them forever and forget them. Yet He sought them out.

Even with the consequences of their sin that caused an avalanche of problems which we struggle with to this day, God offered a beautiful solution, a way out, a Savior, a promise of another perfect paradise free to all who accept it, a new Heaven and a new perfect earth. (Genesis 3, Revelation 21)

Perhaps you shake your head at God and don’t believe the Biblical account, don’t even believe in the existence of God, and certainly not of His kindness. Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, C. S. Lewis, Marvin Olasky and John Newton all felt the same way, then each later became convinced of the truth and kindness of God. Their entire lives and attitudes (and futures) were forever changed. These are just a few examples of how God can change hearts and lives.

People also struggle with the problem of how a good and kind God could allow evil in the world? There is no room here for satisfactory answers, but Randy Alcorn and Erwin Lutzer have addressed those questions well in their books.

King David of the Bible – talk about a stormy life – still declared, ““The LORD is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds.” (Psalm 145:18). He also exclaimed, after a particularly scary event where God rescued him, “Taste and see that the Lord is good, How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! (Psalm 34:8)”

Taste and see for yourself. Experience the kindness of God. A good place to look is https://peacewithgod.net/ We also invite you to visit First Baptist Church in downtown Dallas. If miles make that impossible, go to http://icampus.firstdallas.org/ available every Sunday morning at 9:20 and 11 a.m. CT.

kindnessofGodGod shows his kindness every day in every breath, every breeze, every bird who sings, every sunrise, every sunset. But most of all, God has shown His Kindness in His Son: “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy,” (Titus 3:4 & 5a).

About the Writer:
Ruthe Turner is thrilled to serve as the Director of Truett Memorial Library of First Baptist Church Dallas. Her passion is to “get good stuff in people’s brains,” helping to fulfill God’s instruction to “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” For further information pertaining to the people and their books mentioned in the blog, please feel free to contact Ruthe at truettlibrary.org