We Need It: Kindness

Biblical Kindness is an incredible blessing. This short devotion explains God's Kindness and human kindness. Be Inspired!

Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). That means genuine believers become kinder as we live according to God’s Spirit (
Romans 8:5).

It's easy to be kind to the people who treat us well. But God’s Spirit enables us to be kind to those who don't. 

Paul talks about exhibiting kindness in the midst of troubles, hardships, distresses, beatings, imprisonments, and riots (2 Corinthians 6:3-10). 

And God gives us a sacrificial, unbiased example to follow:

“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. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…” Titus 3:4-5  

When we’re judgmental, hypocritical, or ungodly, we “show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience” because “God's kindness is intended to lead [us] to repentance” (Romans 2:4).

Romans 12 is a chapter that encompasses a number of elements of Christian faith, but it might also be called a "long description" of Christian kindness. Let’s read through it this week and consider the passages below, asking God to give us kinder hearts.

๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™ 

Scriptures about kindness

1. God's kindness

Biblical Kindness is an incredible blessing. This short devotion explains God's Kindness and human kindness. Be Inspired!
A beautiful description of God's kindness toward His people:

Hosea 11:4: "I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them." 

Christ is an expression of God's kindness:

Ephesians 2:6-7: "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus."

God's kindness includes justice:

Romans 11:22: "Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off." 

2. Kindness in our lives

Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit:

Galatians 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." 

Biblical Kindness is an incredible blessing. This short devotion explains God's Kindness and human kindness. Be Inspired!

Kindness is a part of healthy fellowship
:

Ephesians 4:32: "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." 

Colossians 3:12: "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

Godly rebukes are kindness:

Psalms 141:5: "Let a righteous man strike me--that is a kindness; let him rebuke me--that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers." 

Read about some biblical acts of kindness:

A Saint's Life: about a man who grew to love the man who murdered his father.

He Overcame Evil: about a man born into slavery who returned good for evil.

The Forgiveness of a Mistreated Slave: about another man enslaved when slavery was no longer legal in the U.S.

Don't Give Up: about a woman who gave her life to save the lives of thousands of unwanted children.

Their Love Destroyed His Hatred: about a man who became a Christian because of the love of those he murdered. 

Bible Love Notes

When Sin Meets Its Match

We Christians need to remember these wonderful promises about overcoming sin.

Sin can seem overpowering, but we Christians know that's not true.

Romans 12:2 tells us to "renew our minds" in God's truth, so let's refresh our memories with these wonderful biblical truths about the limitations of sin.

1. Can Satan make us sin? No!  
James 4:7: "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." 
 
2. Can temptation overpower us? No!
1 Corinthians 10:13: "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."

3. Can we be too weak? Yes and no.
We may not have the strength on our own, but Philippians 4:13 gives us this assurance: "I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."

Christians sin, but we sin less and less as we let God's Spirit fill our hearts, minds, and actions.

"We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin." Romans 6:6

I encourage you to thoughtfully read Romans 8 this week. It's a wonderful chapter of the Bible, encouraging us to live by God's Spirit. 

We Christians need to remember these wonderful promises about overcoming sin.


Bible Love Notes

We Need It: Fear of the Lord

We desperately need the good type of fear: Fear of God. This devotion explains.

“When you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.” ~ Oswald Chambers 

God’s love overcomes one type of fear: Christians have no fear of condemnation (1 John 4:18).(1) 

But His love inspires another type of fear: a combination of reverence, respect, honor, and awe. 

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,” and He “delights in those who fear Him” (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10; Psalm 147:10-11).  

When we fear God we:(2)

1. Grow wiser (Proverbs 9:10).
2. Love God's commands (Psalm 112:1).
3. Avoid evil (Proverbs 16:6).
4. Long to share Christ with others (2 Corinthians 5:11).

It's a little bit like the affection and obedience a loving father inspires in his children.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.” Psalm 103:13

It's a little bit like the fear a godly policeman inspires. Both good and bad men understand the policeman’s power. One opposes it, the other is grateful for it.

“Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29 

When we fear God, we need not fear anything else (Matthew 10:28).

----------------

We desperately need the good type of fear: Fear of God. This devotion explains.
(1) See No Condemnation - Often Misunderstood

(2) 4 results of fearing the Lord:

1. Fearing the Lord leads to wisdom.
Proverbs 9:10: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."  

2. When we fear the Lord we love His commands. 
Psalm 112:1: "Praise the LORD. Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands."
 
3. Fearing the Lord keeps us out of trouble.
Proverbs 16:6: "Through the fear of the LORD evil is avoided."   
 
4. Fearing the Lord motivates us to share His love with others.
2 Corinthians 5:11: "Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others."

Bible Love Notes 

6 Elements of Sincere Reconciliation

God places great importance on relationships and he commands us to seek reconciliation.

Words matter, but only when accompanied by actions.

If we’re involved in a difficult relationship, we must make sure we’re honoring God’s desire for reconciliation (Matthew 5:23-24).

We can say, “I wish things were better” or “I’m praying for reconciliation,” but godly desires and godly prayers always lead to godly actions (James 2:16).

If we genuinely want to get along:

✔1. We’ll listen and respond to the specific concerns of the other person, asking forgiveness when we’ve done something wrong.

✔2. We’ll calmly express our specific concerns and give the other person an opportunity to explain or ask forgiveness.

✔3. We’ll genuinely forgive.

✔4. If we can’t agree on some situation from the past, we’ll leave it with God and quit bringing it up (1 Peter 4:8). 

✔5. We’ll remember we’re imperfect and not expect perfection from others.

✔6. We’ll never try to marginalize or punish family members. 

"Whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen." 1 John 4:20   

We give relationships our best efforts because we love the Lord.

๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™ 

I strongly encourage you to check out the Bite Size Bible Study Reconciliation: Actions Speak Louder than Words

God places great importance on relationships and he commands us to seek reconciliation.
If you’re going through a difficult relationship, I encourage you to pray through the passages below, asking God if you are handling the relationship biblically.
And please check out today’s Bite Size Study. It offers insights on the passages below as well as several other important passages. And please guard against secular teachings like the popular Boundaries teaching: Are Henry Cloud's Boundaries Teachings Biblical?

Hebrews 12:14-15: "Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."

Philippians 2:3-5: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…"

Matthew 7:1-5: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

Bible Love Notes

Discernment: Use It or Lose It

If we don't use our discernment, we'll lose it. This devotion offers 6 areas of concern.

Warning: This devotion may make you uncomfortable. 

We must prepare our hearts and minds for the increasing hatred, censorship, and persecution against Christian values. And we must avoid things that cause us to lose discernment.

The following things can make us weak, confused, and unprepared to stand firm: 

1. Entertaining ourselves with books, movies, and TV programs that glorify immorality or contradict Scripture (Psalm 101:3)

2. Listening to health, wealth, and self-esteem teachings (Romans 12:2).

3. Indiscriminately using resources from well-known Christians who've caved in to cultural pressures or aligned themselves with ex-vangelicals (2 Corinthians 6:14).

4. Listening to the gay revisionists, ex-vangelicals, and progressive Christians who deny major Bible teachings (2 John 1:7-11). 

5. Getting involved in pagan practices (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

6. Excusing sexual immorality (Isaiah 5:20).

All of these things will affect our discernment and make us less prepared for what lies ahead. So let's "prepare [our] minds for action and exercise self-control" (1 Peter 1:13).

-------------------

If you are serious about having an uncompromising faith, read on! 

1. Entertainment that glorifies evil or distorts God's character.

It's easy to identify entertainment that glorifies ungodliness, but it's harder to give it up. I encourage you to ask yourself some hard questions about what you read, watch, and listen to. My husband and I have recently been examining these things in our lives. The more we allow ourselves to be entertained by immorality, the less discernment we have.

See Are you Enjoying Popular Pornography, and Porno is Porno and 20/20 Vision: Clean Vision

2. Health and wealth. 

The health and wealth gospel has been appealing to our fallen human nature for hundreds of years, and it continues to thrive despite the fact that it’s a clear misuse of Scripture. Even if we don't listen to health and wealth teachers, we must be careful not to take on the attitude that God owes us these things. Another false philosophy that appeals to our fallen human nature is the self-esteem movement. If our goal is to esteem ourselves, we'll fail to esteem God. These teachings distort the meaning and purpose of Scripture and cause us to lose discernment.

See the Healing Collection, In God's Economy, Sometimes Less is MoreThe Popular Teachings of Joel Osteen, and Biblical Self-Esteem.

If we don't use our discernment, we'll lose it. This devotion offers 6 areas of concern.

3. Indiscriminately using resources from well-known Christians who've caved in to cultural pressures.

Well-known Christian recording artists and Bible teachers are caving under pressure, denying the clear moral commands of Scripture in order to please our fallen culture. We need to pray for these people and quit trusting their teachings.

For example, Eugene Peterson, author of The Message decided that gay people who live homosexual lifestyles can still be good Christians. His compromised views are reflected in the way he paraphrased certain passages from the Bible (example). The Message isn't all bad, but reading it on a regular basis will lead to a loss of discernment, so why read it at all?

There are other teachers and authors who are remaining silent or making vague, evasive statements when asked questions about LBGTQ issues, women's issues, and abortion. Unless a teacher is willing to lovingly and unashamedly speak God's truth, don't use their materials. If your pastor or favorite Bible teacher says, “I affirm biblical marriage, but I think we’ve been wrong about gays and transgenders,” ask him to clarify. Is he talking about being kind and loving to gays, or is he talking about affirming their lifestyles? If your pastor quotes from The Message, ask him if he understands some of Peterson’s beliefs. 


4. Wilderness wanderers: rejecting the Bible but claiming they're Christians. 

I appreciate the honesty of Josh Harris when he gave up his Christian faith. He admitted that he couldn’t continue to call himself a Christian without believing biblical teachings. See When People Abandon Faith.

Unfortunately, we have many who are denying biblical beliefs but claiming to still be Christians. In fact, they claim that they know more about Jesus than the missionaries, martyrs, and Bible scholars for thousands of year of church history. Make sure you aren't reading materials from those cited in Wilderness Wanderers.

See the collection of devotions about these Ex-vangelicals and Don't Wander in the Wilderness.

If we don't use our discernment, we'll lose it. This devotion offers 6 areas of concern.

5. Pagan alliances.

I know that speaking against yoga will cost me multiple unsubscribes, but I'm more interested in protecting Christians from harmful influences than remaining popular with the thousands of Christians who have made yoga their preferred form of "exercise." In Are You Willing to Examine Yoga Objectively, I share how God helped me understand the dangers of yoga long before it became popular in the U.S.

Satan loves to disguise paganism. Hatha yoga is the model for all "non-spiritual" and Christianized versions of yoga. The book, Hatha Yoga Pradipika says, the ignorant masses are not yet ready for the lofty raja yoga and so hatha yoga has been developed as a 'staircase' to lead them to it. (source)

Albert Mohler, President of the Baptist Theological Seminary, believes “the growing acceptance of yoga points to the retreat of biblical Christianity in the culture.” (source)

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 says: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.' Therefore, 'Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.' And, 'I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.'" 

See Examining Yoga Biblically and be sure to read the concerns of well-known Bible teachers: Piper, Mohler, and Others on Yoga. See also Three Ways of Looking at Popular Pagan Practices and Pagan Influences.

Any involvement in the things above will affect our discernment, but involvement in #6 will destroy our discernment: 

6. Underestimating sexual sins.

If you are accepting the un-biblical claims that God approves of premarital sex or LBGTQ lifestyles, you are headed down a dangerous path. If you are viewing pornography at all. If you are allowing yourself to entertain dirty thoughts. If you are involved with anyone to whom you are not married, you are using the temple of the Holy Spirit for evil. You will definitely lose your discernment and be unprepared for the difficulties you will face in the future.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 says: "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."

See the collection of 1-minute devotions called God's View of Sex.

Bible Love Notes