The key to kindness

“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 3:4-5

It’s common to hear that we were saved by God’s love, but have you ever stopped to think that we were saved by his kindness, too?

Kindness is an underestimated characteristic that appears to be seen less and less in today’s world. Defined as “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate,” kindness may seem like a simple trait; but all it takes is one look at the news or social media to see that’s not quite the case.

Being kind means accepting others despite differences. Being kind means understanding that your way is not the only way, and that you are not the only person who matters in the world. Being kind means opening yourself to the fact that another’s reaction towards you may not be a personal attack against you, rather a release of a past or recent hurt.

I believe that this is what the Titus scripture means when it says that we were saved by His kindness…for I believe that kindness is the gateway to forgiveness. When we can accept others right where they are—and then choose to believe the best in them—we exhibit love and kindness. Kindness doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone…it simply means you’re open enough to offer a fair chance.

So give someone a special gift today. A kind word or a kind act. It might be just be what they need to point them to God’s saving grace!

 

[Photo by Mauricio Artieda from Pexels]

 

 

Have you heard?

Have you ever stopped to think of the power of your words? (And not just the words that come out of your mouth, but the words that you allow yourself to hear…)

Proverbs 18:21 tells us that “the power of life and death lies within the tongue.” That’s powerful imagery and something that I don’t think we take enough time to consider in our day-to-day lives. 

When reading the book of Genesis, we learn how God created the world. Genesis 1:3 reads, “And God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light.”  For the next six days of creation, “God said” what needed to be and then created it. He spoke the world and—human beings—into existence. 

If were created in the image of God, then we too have the power to create our realities through the words that we listen to and speak. This is why it’s so important to surround ourselves with positive and like-minded people. The words that we hear on a daily basis greatly affect what we believe about ourselves and others. 

Pay attention to the music you listen to and TV shows that you watch. What kinds of words and messages are you allowing to fill your mind? The words we hear not only influence our thoughts, but also our attitude. It’s really hard to be thinking unhappy thoughts and still be a happy person. What we hear and what we speak have great influence on who we are as people and on the effect we have on other people. 

Become aware of the words around you. If you don’t need to make any changes, be the change in someone else’s day by offering a word of encouragement. 

 

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Do your part

Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.” Galatians 6:4-5

Dr. Jordan Peterson, clinical psychologist and University of Toronto professor, said
“…compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.” 

We are living in a society that is fueled by comparison. In our social media culture, we are given 24/7 access to everyone’s lives around us. It’s almost impossible not to compare our lives to those we see portrayed on our screens. 

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 12. It gives a perfect visual to help us realize that comparing ourselves to others is wasted time…

“And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (1 Corinthians 12:16-18)

Each of us were created by God as individuals. We each have talents, gifts, personalities and qualities that only we posses. Even identical twins with the same exact DNA have differences in their personalities!

Our only job on this earth is to figure out what those gifts and talents are…and then share them with the world to the best of our ability. Just like the verses above explain, it’s useless to compare ourselves to anyone else. If we were made to be an eye, we cannot possibly do the job of the ear. If we were meant to be a hand, we cannot possibly do the job of the foot. 

When we compare ourselves to others, we set standards for ourselves that are impossible to attain…because we each can only do what we were individually created to do.

Try catching yourself in the moments you start comparing. Stop…and ask God, instead, to reveal to you who He has made you to be. Take pride in the person you are, because you’re the only one like you that there will ever be. 

 

[Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels]

New Birth

At iCoachLife we’re always thinking about “birthing something new.” No matter what age or stage we find ourselves in life, we always have a chance to birth—to use the lessons we’ve learned to give something back to the world. 

One day a few months ago, I was in my house and heard birds chirping loudly. They were so loud, I almost thought they were in the house! When I walked around to our side door, I looked through the window and noticed a bird’s nest sitting atop our wreath. I watched as one egg appeared in the nest…then two…then three…until eventually, there were four baby birds. 

It’s been amazing to watch how the mother and father birds know instinctively what to do. They built the nest (which is amazing in itself…) and then they continuously return to feed their babies. Over and over and over again. They don’t need to be told what to do; they just do it because that’s the way they were made. 

Matthew 6:26 reads: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

If God has created the birds to know how to create and nurture “new life,” how much more have we—His children—been made to do so? 

New life doesn’t mean you have to give birth to an actual baby…it can mean giving life to a dream, a goal, or a desire in your heart. If God gives the birds what they need to live and create, how much more does he want to give you? Have you taken time today to think about what your life could “give birth to?” Have you taken time to ask God—and to thank Him—for giving you everything you need to do it? 

We are each made in the image of God—our creator. That means we are destined to create. Go outside and get inspired by creation today…you never know what’s about to be birthed.  

 

[Photo by Mauriciooliveira109 from Pexels]

Simple is most grand

In the social media culture we live in today, comparing ourselves to one another has become the norm. It almost seems impossible to not compare our lives to others when we’re able to see what everyone else is doing 24/7. It’s easy to feel like we’re missing out, not far enough along, or just not doing enough with our own life. It’s easy to feel like everyone else is living one grand adventure while you’re just trying to get through the day. 

It’s a distraction…and it becomes most detrimental when we allow it to distract us from focusing on the small steps that often make the biggest impact. 

Mother Teresa said it best: “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

Our society tells us that bigger is better, more is more valuable, and that if you don’t get what you want fast, you must be doing something wrong. 

It’s false advertising—and it gets us stuck in a cycle of constantly reaching for a bar that’s physically unattainable. And so we’re left disappointed. 

If we can change our mindset to focus on the “one,” we’ll begin making strides we never thought possible. One step; one change in our routine; one person to help each day. After all, our life is a sum of the single steps we’ve taken along the way. Those are the things that add up to make our lives worth living…and those are the things that make life memorable along the way. What fun would it be if we reached our goal right away? How many lives could we actually help if our success was instant? 

Simplicity is one of life’s greatest gifts to us…for it’s through simple acts that our lives become most grand. Don’t allow false advertising to distract you from that truth today. 

The Test to Not Give Up!

1 Corinthians 9:24: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Has there been a time in your life when you felt like giving up? When you felt like whatever you were pursuing, or pouring into, or dreaming for just wasn’t worth the cost?

1 Corinthians 9:24 is reminding us that if we don’t quit in our endeavors, we will see the fruit of our labor in the right time. But the question becomes, “how do we hold onto that hope while we’re waiting for the ‘right time?’”

How do we persevere when circumstances aren’t lining up and it feels like people are against us? How do we keep ourselves from quitting when quitting seems like the only option we have?

Sometimes, the answer lies simply within a perspective change.

We often mistake trials and hardships as either punishment from God or roadblocks from the enemy to make us stop—or quit—whatever we’re trying to do. But what if they were really just a test?

What if everything that’s been making you want to quit, has actually been making you stronger, wiser and even more capable and qualified to step into the place you’ve been working to go?

Anyone in the military would tell you that they’re pushed to their limits while training…so that they’ll be able to endure when it’s time for battle.

Maybe our trials are a little like that…and maybe if we can choose to see them that way, we’ll find we have what it takes to continue pushing through.

So keep pushing!

[Photo by mali maeder from Pexels]

 

Next steps

Last week, we talked about Resurrection power in our lives today and what it looks like to live each day with the death-conquering spirit that Jesus died to give us.

Realizing that the Holy Spirit is within us, is one thing…but then what? How do we maintain a “death-defeating” mindset beyond Easter Sunday? How do we cling to boldness every day throughout the year?

As I have been getting to know the Holy Spirit on a deeper level, I have found that that most helpful “tool” in keeping my focus, has been making intentional quiet time to be with God. 

By getting to know God on a personal level, we are able to understand the power He has already placed within us through the Holy Spirit. Just like any relationship requires both people to talk and listen to one another, so it is with our relationship with God. I think we oftentimes treat Him as some sort of “genie in a bottle”….we tell him our prayers and hope He answers them. But what about asking Him to speak once in awhile?

Do you ever take the time to listen to what God may want to tell you? Have you ever simply listened or even asked, “God, what do you want to speak to me today?”

When we take the time to let God do the talking, we may find that everything we’ve been asking for is already taken care of. That’s the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

[Photo by Dương Nhân from Pexels]