I wrote this post back in February of 2012 as a new blogger. I decided today would be a good day to revive and update it, because it is as pertinent today (maybe even more pertinent) as it was eight years ago!
Work at Loving!
Like you, I want to be more kind, more loving, more at peace. In giving, we receive. Kindness is reciprocal. Peace of mind is a gift to those who live in the fullness of LOVE. But, in a world full of hate and devisiveness, illnesses like depression and the current Corona Virus, we have to work at loving and finding peace!
Very few of us have the privilege of finding a spot like this one where we can sit quietly at the top of a peaceful place and just breathe the clear air slowly.
Where can we find peace in the midst of our bustling real world?
Work to Find Time to Know Him
I schedule TIME each morning to be with the Holy Spirit. In my quiet meditation time that morning back in 2012, I stumbled upon 2Peter 1:2-7. The question that starts that scripture caught my heart. “Do you want more and more of God’s kindness and peace?”
I was reading the Living Bible, paraphrased – a large print copy that used to belong to my father-in-law. Gratefully, I inherited it when he passed on to his eternal home. This passage was underlined. Grandpa Beekman had double-underlined the next sentence, “Then learn to know Him better and better.”
Meditation and Study Time
My sanctuary time each morning is all aboutgetting to know Him better, and listening for His still small voice. As I study God’s Word, and get to know Him better, there are many benefits. The rest of this passage spells them out – and I easily connected the idea of “increased faith” with the reality of “increased love.” But there is a long pathway that leads to increased love (which equates to more of God’s kindness and peace). It takes plain old good, hard work!
2Peter 1:3 “For as you know Him better, He will give you, through His great power, everything you need for living a truly good life: He even shares His own glory and His own goodness with us!”
Study to Know His Goodness and His Promises
I have added the capitals to “His.” The Bible doesn’t capitalize it. For me, the word requires a capital case letter when the him/his is not just any old him or his, but the One HIM, our Lord and Savior, God. So, when I share in His glory and goodness, it is special indeed! The scripture doesn’t stop there, though.
2Peter 1, Verse 4- “And by that same mighty power, He has given us all the other rich and wonderful blessings He promised; for instance, the promise to save us from the lust and rottenness all around us, and to give us His own character.”
Wow! What a promise!! How can I attain such blessings? Some would say it is totally by His grace. I don’t have to DO anything. Just because I BELIEVE I am His “chosen,” I will receive all these blessings. Well, not according to 2Peter 1: 5-7. Read on!
Work at Increased Faith
“BUT, to obtain these gifts, you need more than faith; you must also work hard to be good, and even that is not enough. For then you must learn to know God better and discover what He wants you to do.”
(That’s always a trick to discern what He wants me to do!)
With Patience, Put Aside Your Own Desires
“Next, learn to put aside your own desires so that you will become patient and godly, gladly letting God have His way with you.”
I am reminded of my oldest grandson, Mikey. He’s now 28, but when he was barely able to pull himself up by his mother’s apron strings and stand knee-high next to her, he would tug on that apron as she warmed his bottle in hot water on the stove. Sure he was starving to death, he would cry, “Paaaay-shuns! Paaaay-shuns!”
(Ah yes, we long for paaay-shuns even as we are barely able to verbalize a sentence!)
Walk the Path to Grow in the Capacity to Love
“This will make possible the next step, which is for you to enjoy other people and to like them, and finally you will grow to love them deeply.”
Grow to love. Grow in faith. Work at it.
Take the path that has “exercise stops” along the way.
Exercise your goodness first – the goodness Christ has given you.
Then stop to exercise wisdom – the knowledge we gain as we study God’s Word and practice being more and more like Christ.
Next, exercise selflessness and self-control, the fruits that the Holy Spirit has planted in you.
Practice patience and gentleness.
Your next stop on the exercise trail is labeled “Gratitude.” It is there that you learn to be grateful for the gifts you have been given while you focus on the gifts in others.
Put On Your Jesus Glasses
When you put on your Jesus glasses, you see the goodness, compassion, and faithfulness of others as God sees them. When you put on your Jesus glasses and appreciate all that is unique and wonderful about others, you see them as God’s creations. You have exercised enough now to love them.
Love Takes Effort!
Love is a gift worth working for. Thank God, He has freely loved us long before we knew how to love Him back. But now we do! We are getting to know God better and better. Praise the Lord!
The Bottom Line
Yes, the bottom line is the key:
Love One Another.
What will you do today to demonstrate your love for others? Tell me about it!
On her September 26th blog, aroused calmkate posted this:
I think kindness is the key to all that I might be
if I’m kind to others they might be kind to me
if I live in kindness there will be more harmony
any kindness I convey radiates an awesome way
if no kindness in their heart for me move away, let them be
they are kind to others I will see just healthier for me to flee
please try your kindness key it might just set us free
I responded with, “…Kindness is indeed the key to living a meaningful, happy life. It is ours to give, whether or not it is reciprocated. The ones who lack the “Kindness Key” are locked out of so much joy, but they don’t have to rob ours! Our kindness is ours to give – and the more we give away, the more we have. It’s like love that way.”
The 6 Keys to Kindness
Yes, kindness is a key… but there are keys to kindness, too. Here are a few that come to my mind:
Self acceptance (it’s hard to be kind to others while being mean to yourself!)
Compassion (we need to open our eyes to others’ needs and exude empathy)
Courtesy (being kind involves being courteous – even in the face of rudeness)
Gentleness (yes, responding with a gentle heart is a necessary turn of the key)
Grace (this word is a gift from God… sometimes it is only through the help of the Holy Spirit that we can return kindness in the face of hurt)
Patience (often I need to count to 10, or 25, before I can respond with kindness… it’s not my human nature for my first response always to be kindness)
The sermon at our Madison Valley Presbyterian Church was delivered today by Elaine Hundley, Christian educator extraordinaire. She titled it, “Perfect Weakness,” as she focused on the messages in Isaiah 40:1-8, 28-31 and 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.
Is there Perfect Weakness?
The Apostle Paul spoke of his weakness, his struggles, and his ability to find strength in spite of his troubles – by leaning on the Power of God. But, is there “Perfect Weakness?” The message today said, Yes, there can be, but not without giving our weaknesses to God… and letting Him take away our doubt and give us the strength found only in His Power.
Poetic Sermon Notes
Here are the notes I took away from the message as I heard it this morning:
Is doubt your constant companion?
Do doubts creep into your heart?
Do you read or listen to the news
And wonder when the next war will start?
. Breaking News:
29 dead and many more injured
in the past 13 hours
in the USA
in two mass shootings!
When will these senseless
What can we do??
God bless the families,
the loved ones of those
involved in these mass shootings
in the USA yesterday and today.
May they somehow find comfort in their faith
and in the compassionate comments,
hugs, and support of their friends.
. I beg: Lord, help us find solutions
for the problems of
that rampage our country –
and the proliferation of assault weapons
that are in the hands of unstable civilians.
My Madison Valley Writers’ Group meets every first and third Friday. We begin with a free write for about 15 minutes – prompted by a topic drawn out of a bag. I have the bag and members are invited to add topics to it whenever they are inspired to do so.
Arriving five minutes late yesterday, I forgot the bag… so our topic was “Stream of Consciousness.” We were invited to write about whatever was on our mind.
Here is what I wrote:
Life is a series
Of highs and lows
It’s full of surprises –
Some hugs and some blows.
As long as we’re able
To roll with the punches,
Life gives us roses
And blessings in bunches.
It’s when we are stiffened
By pain and cruel people
That life knocks us over
And we topple from the steeple
Of security and safety
That we have always had.
So send those folks back out
And come back to being glad.
Life is a series
Of questions with too many insults
Unless we learn to toss away
The negativity for positive results.
So, set your mind on “Happy.”
Let that sad emoticon disappear
And remember when you need a hug,
I’m always ready … always here.
Throw out the old boxing gloves.
Don’t return blows in life’s fight.
Just give back love and grace –
And keep your spirit ever bright.
It’s not Pollyanna thinking.
It’s possible – even probable – I know,
Because I practice that love daily.
It’s where I get my inner glow!
… and so do I!
See ya tomorrow
If you had a chance to do a free write on a stream of consciousness right now, what would your topic be?