Tag Archives: kindness

Sacred Snippet: Tootsie Pops

I love how God can take the simple things in life and turn them into a blessing.

This morning I stopped at CVS with the intent to purchase only some computer paper. However, I decided to check out the candy row to see if they had a bag of Tootsie Pops. I had searched two other stores previously to no avail. Lo and behold, I discovered CVS had my favorite low-calorie candy—three points per pop for those who know what I mean! ¹

As mostly what happens to us all, we go into a store with good intents and come out with more. I even added some colorful Post-it Page Markers to my other two items. As I left the drug store, I hit the red light under Houston’s Katy Freeway. There I saw a young man. His legs were so skinny—like they were diseased. All I had to give him was a Tootsie Pop. I cannot say I was extremely generous by giving him the entire bag, but I wanted to give him something sweet to eat. I wrestled opening the bag; finally, I had to use my teeth to open the bag. Not cool, but I was afraid the light was going to turn green.

Once the bag was open, I reached in and started to pull out an orange and red pop, but then stopped. It was like the Lord said, “Give him your best.” God knew that red and orange were not my favorites, but chocolate and purple were. So, I quickly reached in, opened my window, and gave him a chocolate and purple Tootsie Pop. It might not seem like a big sacrifice, but when you understand the last two bags of Tootsie Pops I bought had no purples in them, you can understand my “sacrifice” a little better.

Now, here is the best part. I handed this young man the two pops. He saw them and gave me a big old grin through his crooked yellow teeth, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “thank you.” Yes, it was a small gesture on my part, but it started me out on the right foot and started his day out with a little sweetness too!

Kindness: A Fruit of the Spirit

Many of us have no idea how to treat others with kindness. As a Christ-follower, following Jesus’ example in the New Testament demonstrates a worthwhile goal to pursue. When Christ’s love and His Holy Spirit indwells us, kindness begins to permeate our thoughts first and then our actions.

When I look back at most of the people I have known in ministry, it is the trait of kindness that sticks in my mind. Many times, I personally received a direct outcome of their kindness or I saw them showering kindness on others.

But, come to think of it, kindness is the trait I look for or it finds me in my relationships with others. (Okay, I value honesty too!)

The trait that you look for or find may be different. It may be another fruit of the Spirit such as love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

While not exhaustive, some of the pastoral kindnesses I have experienced are . . .

  • The pastor who preached the gospel when I turned from my sin and believed in my Lord Jesus Christ. [Bill Lawson/Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, Houston]
  • The pastor who counseled me and baptized me. [Dr. James Harris/University Baptist Church, Fort Worth]
  • The pastor who gave me the best marriage advice ever. [Dr. John Bisango, First Baptist Church, Houston]
  • The pastor who filled in to marry us when our intended wedding pastor had to cancel marrying us two days before the wedding. [Dr. James Riley/Former pastor @ Second Baptist, Houston]
  • The interim pastor who loved our 6-year old daughter and led her to Christ and baptized her that very same day. [Bob Harris/Interim @ First Baptist, Humble]
  • The pastor I saw sweeping and cleaning up the kitchen after our daughter’s wedding shower which took place in his church. [Jerry Howe/Second Baptist Church, Levelland at the time]

And, I could go on and on! Fortunately, my husband and I have been recipients of being in wonderful churches all throughout our married life. Each unique in their own way. Praise God!

Kindness from Christ-Followers

But, it’s not the kindnesses I have received just from ministerial people that have impressed me. I have also been the recipient of individual Christ-followers’ kindnesses, like . . .

  • The ladies who brought meals to me after my children were born.
  • The college professor who gave me a passing grade when I shared difficulties I was having grasping the subject matter in his class.
  • The friend who consoled me after a horrendous breakup.
  • The elderly churchmen and churchwomen who mentored my husband and me when we were young adults by their examples and “invitations to have lunch with them.”
  • The friend who rejoiced with me when we bought a home while she lived in a small, rundown apartment with four young children.

Kindness was the trait that attracted me to my husband. When we dated, he was kind (and nice) to me. Need I say more after 39 years of marriage?

The Bible urges us to be kind to one another.

Honestly, I don’t think of myself as a particularly kind person. [Oh, I do not like saying that, but I desire to be a kind person.] When I see my rough and jagged edges, I don’t like what I see. That’s why it surprises me when I receive notes from my friends as I received recently.

One of my friends wrote,

You found me hiding pains and helped my healing: I am the vibrant woman I am today because you stopped where I was stuck, you became the step I needed to climb up and out: I am eternally grateful for your loving kindness.

I cherish comments like this. They encourage me to do better, to strive to be more kind and loving. And I appreciate those who refrain from telling me my bad characteristics until they are told with kind words—words that only the Holy Spirit can place in their hearts.

Moses’ father-in-law Jethro knew how to show grace and kindness when it came time to lead Moses to a better life when Moses was overloaded by all his pastoral duties.

Jethro said,

The thing you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.  Then he began to counsel him and teach him how to handle disputes by having the difficult decisions brought to him and having the minor decisions handled by the judges. (Exodus 18)

Now, that’s kindness in action!

Kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit. When speaking about walking by the Spirit, Paul states the following, concluding with kindness being one of the fruits of the Spirit:

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.  

Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another (Read Galatians 5:16-26).

Why Should We Be Kind To Each Other?

  • As believers, we are commanded to be kind. (Colossians 3:21)
  • Be kind so that the word of God may not be criticized or attacked. (Titus 2:5)
  • Because the Lord is kind. Psalm 145:17. (Titus 3:4)
  • God tells us to be kind because he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. (Luke 6:35)
  • God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
  • If you are kind, you will find life, righteousness, and honor. (Proverbs 21:21)
  • The Bible tells us that servants of God should be kind to everyone and not quarrelsome. (2 Timothy 2:24)
  • The Bible tells us to remember people kindly. (1 Thessalonians 3:6)
  • We should be kind to one another as God in Christ forgave us. (Ephesians 4:32)
  • You benefit yourself if you are kind while a cruel man hurts himself. (Proverbs 11:17)

Conclusion

As Christ-followers, no matter what we encounter in life, we are faced with many different situations and personalities. Obviously, sometimes we don’t feel like being kind. Fatigue, restlessness, and/or sin may cause our focus to shift away easily from God and His attributes.

Faced with our sometimes unkind attitudes, we should repent daily and pray that our lives will reflect the love of God in all we do—including being kind. Being kind involves loving others, being patient, and seeking God’s wisdom in all we say and do.

And, when we fail, let’s confess our harsh and callous hearts to God, and start over—even if it means addressing and apologizing to those whom we have hurt.

Bible Verses:

Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did. (Acts 9:36)

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. (Luke 6:35)

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, I so want to be kind. Help me each day to seek Your face and become more like You. Show me how to be kind to both my friends and enemies. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and guide me to situations where I need to shower others with kindness. Where I need to seek forgiveness, show me how to confess. You are holy and kind and I want to be like You in all I say, think, or do. In Christ. Amen.

God Bless,

Member of IWA-Inspirational Writers Alive!

Member of Biblegateway Bloggers #bgbg2

Edited by E. Johnson

Friends and Friendship

My friends remind me of flowers. They come with different names, different looks, different colors, and different occupations. They come with different parts, different fruits, different talents, and different purposes. Some flowers bloom at night and some flowers bloom during the day.

Our friends may be like us or they may be totally different than us. When I look at my close friends today, none of our relationships are the same. Some need nurturing; some need to nurture me. Some give me advice; some I give advice to them. Some like to eat at Mexican restaurants; some like to chat in their homes. Some like to talk politics; some do not know a thing about politics. Some friends are around for a season; some are around for a lifetime. Diversity reigns in friendships – and it’s so much fun.

Over the years, I have had many different kinds of friends. Some have been there to laugh with me; others have been there to encourage me; and others have been there to pull me out of a pit! My friends are valued treasures. They each have had a purpose in my life even if only for a season. Each friendship has been distinctive and productive.

My daughter is VERY social. I think she has around 1,800+ Facebook friends. When she had her third baby, I looked at her Facebook page and she had over 500 congratulations within 12 hours after the birth. That is incredible to me. I can tell you that she did NOT get her social energy from me. I am one of those people who usually have only a handful or two of good, solid friends at a time. I really can’t handle much more than that and be the type of friend I want to be (or should I say the type of friend God made me to be.)

Friends can be the biggest blessing ever. They are treasures to be valued. But, they can also be a huge disappointment if they stab you in the back or if they don’t fulfill their promises to you. But today, I want to talk about the kind of friends that love, nourish, and influence us for the better. Those are the friends I am most grateful for and those friends are whom I want to honor today in this blog.

A question I hear expressed over and over again is, “How should friends treat each other?” I want my friends to be gut-wrenching honest and respectful with me. I want my close circle of friends to cheer me up, to minister to me, to build me up, and to accept me for who I am – the good, bad, and the ugly. I, in turn, hope I can be that same kind of friend to them. The most hurtful thing I have experienced with friends, or should I say ‘so-called-friends’ is when I have found out they have betrayed a confidence and/or gossiped about me. Some of you know how painful that can be. It’s not nice.

On Pinterest, I found this quote by Ed Cunningham. On the post he says, “Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.”  How true is that? With casual acquaintances we expect to say, “Hi, how are you?” anticipating the common answer as “I’m fine.” But, with our friends, we want more than the “I’m fine” response. We enjoy listening to them, learning about their life, and loving them.

Our friends shape our lives. They help us make the right choices. They will pray for us. They will support us in our anguish. And they know when to give us breathing room. Social media friends are nice for a little chat every once in a while, but face-to-face communication is best for deep friendships. I love my ‘SHOW AND TELL’ friends. Those are my friends I can stuff my purse with grandchildren pictures, my newest lipstick, my ‘not so good’ sewing attempt, and just share them. It is through this sharing that they will learn what made me who I am today. And, I love it when my friends turn around and share their “deep moments” with me, like perusing their wedding album, showing me their garden, or taking me to their favorite hangout.

The Bible talks of many friendships. God and Abraham were friends. Abraham trusted God to lead him in the right direction. Jonathan and David had a deep friendship that started in their youth. Even though they had parted due to necessity, their love for each other and their immediate family remained strong until death and even after. Ruth and Naomi were brought together through Naomi’s marriage to Ruth’s son. When Naomi’s husband died, their friendship continued and their friendship brought peace, joy, and contentment to each other. Then, there is Peter and Jesus. Peter stood by Jesus until his death. Even though Peter had denied Jesus, their relationship reconciled and continued. You might find yourself in the midst of one of these kinds of friendships right now. If so, be grateful – they are God’s gift to you.

Unfortunately, some people do not have many or any friends. This type of loneliness is tragic. Many times loneliness engulfs someone while they are living or working around multitudes of people. When I first moved from St. Louis to Houston, I struggled with loneliness. Sure, I met people at work, but they were casual acquaintances. I remember for years not having even one person that I knew well enough to call up on the phone to talk to. Even being a church member was not meeting my “friendship quota.”  Friends take time and between working a full time job and having a body that tired that I required a daily nap, I could not make friends. I just was doing all I could to get through the day juggling my job, the kid’s school activities, and my much needed daily siestas. Occasionally, a nice long phone call or a random chat would meet my need, but it was not too long until, I was feeling lonely again craving what I could not give, but still I longed to have.

In 2012, I retired from my job. I suddenly found myself with time to make some friends. I knew that close friendships take time to cultivate. I started praying for the Lord to show me who would meet my “friend need.” I realized I had to create time and be the initiator of “friend time” – sort of like how young moms plan play dates for their children. I needed to make adult play dates. I decided to invite people out to lunch just so we could chat and get to know each other. Unbelievably, I now have the reputation of having a “LUNCH MINISTRY” meaning I go out to lunch and get to know people. While I can’t say that everyone I reached out to reached back, but those who did usually became my good friends. I have not obtained thousands of friends, but I do have some very close friends that are there for me no matter what. But, it took time and effort on my part.

As I have mentioned, my relationships with my friends are all different. Most of these friends and I have a spiritual connection; we talk about God and spiritual matters also.

Below is the first word that came to mind when I was thinking of my friends. Their names have been changed, but just look for their diversity.

Gail – What fun we have laughing!

Penelope – A good political discussion gets our minds moving.

Sheila – Oh boy, we share pictures of our kids and grandchildren when we are together.

Kris – In the old days, ice-skating together was cool.

Betty – When I need encouragement, Betty is always there.

Bobbie – I listen. Bobbie listens. We learn from each other.

Debra – A deep chat on books, publishers, and business can nourish us both.

Jolie – Crazy. Oh crazy Jolie. We are so different but we can act crazy together.

Andrea – Fashion, purses, shoes, shopping – that is our link.

Wilemenia – It never fails. We go and eat Mexican Food! We love it.

If you find yourself lacking in friendship, you most likely will have to make the first step. Invite someone to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or anywhere that suits your fancy – somewhere where you can converse and get to know one another! Understand that not everyone you desire to be your friend will want to be yours. They may be overloaded with other responsibilities or life issues, so do not allow your feelings to be hurt. Each attempt to cultivate a friendship is one step closer than you were before. I have been in positions where I have inwardly though that I could never be friends with so-and-so. And guess what God did? He made some of them my very best friends. Show yourself friendly, be interested in those you encounter, and keep praying.

My friendship ramblings could go on, but I will stop now so you can spend a little time meditating about friends you have had, friends you have now, and friends you will have in the future. Sometimes you end up with a weed (a bad choice of a friend) and you need to walk away. Other times you may end up with a big ‘ol pink Gerber daisy type friend to laugh and share your life journey with. Best wishes all!

Bible Verses:

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31 ESV

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10 ESV

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17

Prayer:

Lord, thank you so much for the friendships you have allowed me to have and those I have right now. Allow me to be the kind of friend that will honor you and your Word. Let me recognize and reach out to people who need a friend. Let me love others as I honor You and Your Word. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

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Bible Gateway Blogger Grid (BG²) is an international network of independent bloggers who meaningfully blog—and who are serious—about matters relating to the Bible. Follow the members on Twitter using the BG² List.

www.PattiGreene.com

 

 

Kindness

In Lessons Learned in Life, Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s pet dog in the comic strip Peanuts said, “Always believe something wonderful is going to happen. Even with all the ups and downs, never take a day for granted. Smile, cherish the little things, and remember to hug the ones you really love.”  Snoopy’s profound quote reminds me of a verse I read recently in Luke 6:38 [ESV]: It states, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Basically, these two statements tell me that we may encounter tough times, but we should keep doing kind things for others, and when we do that, we will be blessed – not necessarily in verbal praise or in monetary ways, but by having a happy heart and receiving joy by showing kindness to others!

A few weeks ago I was in Star Furniture looking for some new chairs for my living room. As I was strolling the aisles, a lovely, elderly employee named Raymond* eyed me and told me I reminded him of his country – South Africa. I was intrigued as to why he said that since I just returned from living in Africa for two years. He quickly told me the leopard shirt I was wearing triggered memories of his birthplace and where he had lived most of his life. I told Raymond that my husband and I had just enjoyed a lovely vacation in Cape Town, South Africa ending our trek with an intriguing safari at the River Lodge Reserve in S.A. He bubbled over sharing about the country he had left 15 years ago for a move to the United States. I had made a Shutterfly photo book of our South Africa vacation which, when I told him about it, he wanted to see it. I emailed the link to our book to his wife’s email account later that day.

Patti in Leopard Shirt_500x500_edited-1

Then, yesterday, I needed to go back to Star Furniture to order a replacement piece for a piece of furniture I had bought there years ago. On my errand, I decided to throw my Shutterfly book into a bag for Raymond to see in case his wife overlooked my email or didn’t know how to open the file which I figured might be the case because of her age. [Please, don’t blast me for elder age discrimination, but I know how my parents are with their computer!]

Luckily, Raymond was working in the store when I returned. We both sat down on one of the store couches while he intently looked at every picture. He commented on places he had been: Table Mountain, Table Bay Hotel, and the Cape Town coastline. He smiled as he saw familiar sites and asked questions when he saw something new. He complimented my photographic skills especially when he was looking at the hyenas, tigers, and giraffes.  As I sat there watching his joy, he even stopped to educate me on South Africa’s sausage tree* when I asked him about it.

Sands-Lion-Reserve,-South-A

Raymond was a true picture of gratefulness. His joy made my heart full. It wasn’t a big effort on my part to place the book in my bag as I was heading out to Star. It didn’t take a lot of time to sit with him and let him ponder the good old days. I was reminded that thoughtfulness towards others creates blessings on both sides. And, please don’t take me wrong. I hope I am not sounding proud by sharing this story. I pray this blog is taken with all the humility I can muster. But, I wanted to share how sometimes just a small gesture of love is all that is needed to create a pocket of happiness for someone else.

As I read AOL’s online news yesterday, there was an article about a 5 year old boy, Josiah Duncan, who noticed a disheveled, homeless man sitting down at a Waffle House in Alabama. Josiah was sitting with his mom when he noticed that no one was waiting on him. He became troubled so he started asking his mother some questions and she explained what it meant to be homeless. Soon afterwards this young boy “jumped up and asked him if he needed a menu.” When asked what he wanted to eat, the man asked if he could have some bacon. Josiah told the man he could have as much bacon as he wanted. Before the man “chowed” down his bacon, this young boy asked the man if they could bless the food. He agreed and 11 other customers began to pray. Wow! This one small gesture directly affected not only the homeless man, but also his mother, himself, and 11 other customers.

Let’s all pray to develop a lifestyle of kind gestures. It really is the little things that count. And, as Snoopy says, “Never take a day for granted.”

God bless you.

Bible Verses:

Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4 ESV

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor. Proverbs 21:21 ESV

Prayer:

Lord, let me lift my spirit up to you: today, this week, and this month. Help me to create a lifestyle of kindness and thoughtfulness towards others. Remind me it is the little gestures in life that sometimes mean so much to others. Remove any empty gestures of love I may be tempted to show. Allow me to be an instrument of Your love – touching others with loving acts of kindness. Amen.

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Bible Gateway Blogger Grid (BG²) is an international network of independent bloggers who meaningfully blog—and who are serious—about matters relating to the Bible. Follow the members on Twitter using the BG² List.

www.PattiGreene.com

 

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