Jesus' Footprints

Posts Tagged ‘kindness

1 Timothy 1:12-17

Thank-you-Jesus-for-saving-my-life-1I was reading this passage and thinking of how we are all indebted to Jesus.  We have done terrible things in our lives but He showed us such love and grace that we could only respond in humility and gratitude.  There are times when my past comes back to haunt me but then I remember Jesus’ love and forgiveness.

Paul writes to Timothy about his past.  He shares how he was once an enemy of the church.  He blasphemed the Lord and persecuted His people but it was done in ignorance.  How many of us have not done things that we later regret out of ignorance?

Paul spoke of how Jesus poured out His grace on him.  “He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.”  How many of us are called into ministry after the Lord has shown us mercy?  I have heard of men who once on the wrong side of the law become pastors.  At a Women’s Ministry program, a speaker shared her testimony of how life was for her before she found Jesus.  She used to be a drug addict.  

It doesn’t matter where or how we encounter Jesus.  What matters is that once we surrender to Him, He can do remarkable things in our lives.  When people see how the Lord has transformed a person you never would imagine would become a Christian, they can’t help but be amazed and curious.  When Paul began preaching after his conversion, many people were amazed.  They couldn’t believe that it was the same person who used to a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man.  In his eyes, he was a chief sinner among the sinners whom Jesus came to save.  I can almost hear the regret in his words but he sees something positive in this.  As the worst sinner of them all, he can be used to demonstrate how patient Jesus is towards the worst of sinners.  He, Paul will serve as an example to all who in the future should trust Jesus for eternal life.

We, like Paul, are indebted to Jesus for His love, kindness, mercy, grace and patience.  He loved us even when we were rejecting Him.  All that time when Paul was persecuting the church, Jesus loved him.  He knew Paul’s heart.  He knew that Paul was acting out of ignorance and He knew that He could redirect that zeal.  This explains why Paul was so passionate in his work as a minister.  He testified, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).  It is as if he were working hard to show Jesus that His mercy toward him had not be in vain.

Let us show the Lord how much we appreciate His grace toward us.  Let us do this by the way we live, how we treat others and in whatever work He has called us to do.

Thank You, Jesus for saving us and using us to bring other lost souls to You.

Then His mother and brothers came to Him, and could not approach Him because of the crowd. And it was told Him by some, who said, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.”

But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it” (Luke 8:19-21).

Basically, you are a member of God’s family when you live in obedience to His Word.  It makes sense that if you want to be a child of God or if you already are, you would do what it says in His Word.  God has spelled out clearly what He requires of us.  Just look at Jesus’ teachings.  They are filled with how God wants us to live our lives.

We are told to forgive others if we expect God to forgive us.  Jesus told a wonderful story about a king who showed mercy to a servant who could not repay his debt and begged the king not to sell him.  The king forgave the servant his debt but that same servant refused to release another servant from the debt he owed him although it was far less than the debt the first servant owed the king.  Of course, the king was upset and that servant received a just punishment for his unforgiving attitude toward the other servant. 

joesph-and-his-brothersJoseph is a perfect example of someone who forgave his brothers although he could have easily justified holding on to his anger and bitterness.  After all they had planned to kill him and then decided that they would sell him instead.  He never saw his mother again and years passed before he was reunited with his father who thought he was dead.  He was falsely accused of and thrown into prison for attempted rape.  He spent years in prison before he was released.  In spite of all of these things, Joseph chose to forgive.  And he even saw the good which God achieved from the bad things that happened to him (Genesis 50:19-21).

We are told to love our enemies.  This is a tough one but Jesus said that we are to be like our Heavenly Father who “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust”.  We are to be different from the rest of the world who loves those who love them and hate those who hate them.  We are called to love those who hate, spitefully use and persecute us.  

We are told not to judge.  Jesus used the example of a person looking at the speck in his brother’s eye when he has a plank in his own.  How could he possibly see that speck when he has a plank in his eye?  Why is it that we look at the sin of others and ignore the sin in our own lives?  Let us deal with our own sin problem.  It’s like the religious leaders.  They were judging the tax collectors and other people they considered outcasts when they were far from being righteous themselves.  They were envious, unmerciful, judgmental, self-righteous and hypocrites.  Are we guilty of judging others because they don’t measure up to our standards?  Do we think we are better than non-Christians?  We should always bear in mind the words of Paul, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  We cannot judge people.  Only God can.  He knows the heart.

We are told to be persistent in prayer.  God is just waiting to give good things to those who ask Him.  All we have to do is ask, seek and knock.  We ask as often as it takes.  We ask in faith, never wavering.  And if it is God’s will, what we ask for we will receive.

We are told to enter the narrow way.  Don’t do what is popular or easier or less resistant.  Don’t follow the crowd if it is contrary to the Word or will of God.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego did not go along with the rest of the society in worshiping the idol image of Nebuchadnezzar even if it meant their deaths.  They stood apart from the crowd and make a strong stand for their faith in the one true God.  We are to enter the narrow way which leads to everlasting life and not the broad way which leads to destruction.

We are to bear good fruit.  As Christians we are exhorted to bear good fruit.  Good fruit means we act in accordance to God’s word and will.  We bear fruit worthy of repentant and changed lives.  This means we are no longer living as we did before we came to Christ.  We practice what we preach.  We are Christians in deed and not in name only.  We follow Christ’s example and bear the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23).  This goes back to what Jesus said about not acting as the heathen do.  We love those who hate us; have joy even during tough times; experience the peace of Christ during the storms; are patient even when it’s hard; are kind and good to others whether or not they deserve it; stay faithful to God even when it seems like our prayers are not being answered; show gentleness even when people are unkind or inconsiderate toward us; we exercise self-control no matter what kind of situation we are dealing with.  Bearing the fruit of the Spirit is not easy as we know that the flesh and the Spirit are always warring against each other but those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh.  Christ living inside you enables you to walk in the Spirit.

We are to do the will of the Father.  None of us wants to hear Jesus say, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’  Why would He say that?  There are professing Christians out there who believe that they will be saved because they have prophesied, cast out demons and done many wonders in Jesus’ name but Jesus will declare that He doesn’t know them.  These are Christians who, although they did all these things in His name, they did not do the will of the Father.  Only those who practice the will of the Father will enter the kingdom of Heaven.  Jesus said that not everyone who calls Him “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom.  If Jesus were truly Lord of their lives, they would not be practicing lawlessness.  They would be doing the Father’s will.  Their lives would bear fruit worthy of entering the kingdom.  Obviously, it is not enough to be active in church ministry, going to church, distributing tracts or feeding the poor.  If you are not doing something that God has revealed to you–that you need to change or renounce, you will not be among those of whom He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 

We are to build on the Rock.  What is your foundation?  Is it tradition or the teaching of the church?  In Jesus day, the religious leaders seemed to place the traditions and teachings of men above the commandments of God.  Jesus made it clear that our foundation should be on His word.  When we hear His teachings and we apply them to our lives, we will be like the wise man who built his house on the rock and when the rain, floods and wind threatened to sweep it away, it stood.  It did not fall.  It’s the same with us.  Once we are anchored in the Word of Jesus and we do what it says, when the enemy comes and tries to topple us over with temptations, opposition, persecution, etc. we will stand because we have built our lives on the Rock.

Jesus taught many other things that would help us in our Christian walk.  All we have to do is to decide today to be doers and not just hearers of His Word.

220px-Second_Book_of_Samuel_Chapter_10-3_(Bible_Illustrations_by_Sweet_Media)One thing I have learned about King David is that he was kind. He showed kindness to Jonathan’s son and here he wantaed to show kindness to Hanun who had lost his father, the king of Ammon. David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me.” He sent by the hand of his servants to comfort the new king concerning his father.

Unfortunately, David’s act of kindness was met with suspicion. Hanun hastened to the princes of the people who inferred that David sent his servants not to comfort the new king but to search the city, spy it out in order to overthrow it. The foolish king believed these men and treated David’s servants abominably. He listened to and followed very bad advice and acted foolishly.

When the Ammonites realized that they had angered David, instead of trying to appease him or make amends by admitting that they had acted foolishly, they hired Aramean foot soldiers and got ready for war. So, things went from bad to worse. Hanun’s father would have been ashamed of his son’s behavior toward the king of Israel who showed him kindness. Hanun should have done the wise and decent thing and admit that he was wrong and try to diffuse the situation–make peace instead of going to war.

Following the wrong advice or not thinking things through can lead to all sorts of problems and in some cases–war.

Love suffers long and is kind – 1 Corinthians 13:4

imagesCA2VQQABDuring His ministry here on earth, Jesus demonstrated His love for humanity through kindness.  Zaccheus, the tax collector, treated like an outcast, was the person whom Jesus watned to spend time with.  He was kind to the tax collector in that He treated him as a person.  Zaccheus was up in a tree because he wanted to see Jesus.  Jesus called out to him, inviting him to come down.  He had singled Zaccheus out and made it clear that He loved and accepted him.  He even called him a son of Abraham.

Jesus saw that Zaccheus was ready to accept Him as His Savior.  The man had gone to such lengths to get a glimpse of him.  Jesus’ act of kindness changed Zaccheus.  It made him aware of his own sinfulness and selfishness–his shortcomings.  As a result, he wanted to make amends to all those he had cheated.  He was genuinely sorry and that very day he was saved.  An act of kindess brought salvation to a sinner and his household.

In acts of kindness we are representing Christ and carrying out His commandment, “Love your neighbor”.

You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You  With the oil of gladness more than Your companions – Psalm 45:7

8x10ThoseWhoPursueRighteousness is the character or quality of being right or just.  It is uprightness before God.  It is something we practice.  Blessed is he who does righteousness at all times.  Righteousness delivers one from eternal death.  It is everlasting.  It leads to life.  In fact, the way of righeousness is life (Proverbs 12:28).  Righteousness exalts a nation (Proverbs 14:34) and it will bring peace.  We are to seek it.

In order to love righteousness, we must first be righteous.  What does it mean to be righteous?  It is to walk in integrity; desire justice for the innocent and oppressed.  It is to have regard for the lives and well being of others; to treat people with love, kindness and compassion.  “The righteous  consider the cause of the poor” (Proverbs 29:7).  The righteous shows mercy and gives (Psalm 37:21).  He or she is always merciful and lends (Psalm 37:26).

God loves the righteous and will not allow them to famish.  King David declared, “I have been young and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken nor his descendants begging bread (Psalm 37:25).  A righteous person and his or her family are blessed.

Like God we are to love righteousness and hate wickedness (Psalm 45:7).

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust – Matthew 5:44, 46

David Spares Saul I Samuel 26:6-12Whom would you consider to be your enemy?  Someone you don’t get along with?  Someone you just can’t stand?  Someone who has it in for you?  Someone who doesn’t like you and is always undermining you?  How could we possibly love these people? This commandment of Jesus to love our enemies seems impossible but as He pointed out, if we love only those who love us in return, what good is that?  He was teaching us that hate is not of God.  Love is of God, even love for our enemies.

We are told that, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:20, 21).  Jesus showed love toward Malchus, the High Priest’s servant after Peter cut off his right ear.  Matthew gives an account of the incident.

Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.  But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” – Matthew 26:50-54.  Luke wrote that Jesus said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him (Luke 22:51).

Jesus rebuked Peter and healed Malchus.  I’m sure this act of kindness must have affected the servant in some way.

King David had an opportunity to kill his enemy Saul twice.  The first time was when they were in the wilderness in En Gedi.  Saul heard that David and his men were there and set off at once, taking three thousand men with him.  He meant to get David.  David’s men said to him, “This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’”  David listened to his men and went to Saul who was in the cave.

David secretly cut off a piece from the corner of the king’s robe but afterward he felt badly about what he had done.  His heart troubled him and he said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.”  So David restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way (1 Samuel 24:1-7).  The other time David spared Saul’s life is recorded in 1 Samuel 26.

Love for God made David do the right thing.  He loved Saul too and mourned when he died (2 Samuel 1:17).  He even commanded that the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan be buried in the tomb of Kish his father (2 Samuel 21:14).

By loving those we would consider to be our enemies, we will be perfect even as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48).  Love and kindess should extend to everyone.  Loving God makes God us want to do right by others.  Show God how much you love Him with an act of kindness or making amends wit the person or persons you had a falling out with.

“O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good; for his mercy [endureth] for ever” – 1 Chronicles 16:34

When we go to God in times of trouble and need, we should also offer thanksgiving, jubilance and praise.  Praise Him for the beauty He created and for the wonderful blessings He showers on us.  Give thanks for everything possible—His love, mercy, goodness, understanding, His Son, our Saviour, His grace. 

Be happy, joyful that we have a relationship with Him, that He is faithful and keeps His promises, that He has wonderful things in store for us.  David was always praising God.  “Be exalted, O Lord, in Your strength we will sing and praise Your might.” – Psalm 21:13.

We should lift our voices in praise—in song.  Praise the Lord, our God who delivered His people from Egypt, David from his enemies and who loved the world so much that He gave His beloved Son so all who believe in Him could have everlasting life.  Praise the Lord for He is just.  He contends with those who contend with us.  He disciplines us when we do wrong just as we discipline our children.  Praise the Lord for He is creator of Heaven and earth who performs great wonders.  Praise the Lord for His loving kindness, His wisdom, His patience and His desire to do His very best in our lives. 

We have so much to praise God for.  We should praise Him everyday.  “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6)


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