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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

What is Goodness?

Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.”  Matthew 19:17

I can hear my voice echoing through the ages to my children, and with the voices of other parents, repeating the same admonition… “Now you be good, you hear?”  No direction as to what good looks like to the child/children.  It is as if ‘good’ is a given.  Good is not a behavior we turn off or on.  It is an attribute of constancy.

When I read Matthew 19:17, I see that a ‘good one’ is limited to one.  Then what is this Goodness – one of the Fruit of the Spirit?  What does it consist of?  How can we have some of this goodness? 

Man, in his mind, creates lists and do’s and don’ts to be good!  Soon a self-test on Facebook will appear, listing some of these qualities so the participant can learn how good they are. It isn’t a secret to be discovered, it is a way of life that is chosen. 

 Wikihow first says, define what being good means to you.  Another is to be good for its own sake.  Find a guide and learn.  Give others the benefit of doubt.  Be a guide for others…Delight in goodness.  Be proactive.

Then came another list of how to….have a motivation for being good, trick yourself into being good, having people to look up to, count blessings, and the last one – wash your hands.  Huh?

 Someone once said, Don’t be good for nothing!  In other – Choose the One, our Lord God, Who created us…implanting eternity in our hearts, who created us to have a daily walking-talking relationship with Him and His children.  He made a way for us to be Good, through His Goodness in sending Jesus to be a sacrifice for our ‘ungoodness’.  God lets us choose Him because of His Great Love.

The other day I saw a small yellow butterfly sitting on a spike of purple flowers.  It didn’t move, except for an occasional flutter of its wings.  I wondered if the closed wings hid glorious color.  I waited, all I saw were black markings inside and the thought that in this life on earth, we see glimpses of God, Heaven, and eternal life if we watch closely. 

We long for the glorious beauty of the goodness of Heaven.  On the Lord’s Day, standing in the foyer after the service, I listened to the voices of my brothers and sisters I don’t know yet.  I felt that this is like Heaven, no fear, no concern, just God’s goodness given by the Holy Spirit enveloping me like billowing clouds in the sky.  Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus have a relationship with God and each other because of the Goodness of Love. This relationship is not bounded by distance or time but lives on in eternal goodness.  
Suddenly a reminder comes from a memory on a Facebook - a sister in Christ is remembering the same thing – and there is a sweet eternal connection.

The traits of a good person in another list is – honest in relationships, complements others as deserved, call parents regularly  That is where I stopped, knowing a man-made list can never be devised that measures us to ever compare with God who is Good.

Goodness is made up of kindness, love, gentleness, joy, peace, faithfulness and self-control and patience.   These are attributes of our Lord God and Jesus.  the Holy Spirit who lives within us when we choose to live with and for God and His Son Jesus, teaches us the beginnings of goodness.
James 4:17 - Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Hebrews 13:15-16 – Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
I Timothy 6:18-19 - Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Titus 3:1-2 - Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
Romans 3:21-24 - But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Ephesians 2:8-10 - For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 - Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Chris Tomlin wrote the lyrics – God is Greater.  As I am writing, I am struck by his words and worship Our God as I place these words in my heart…

And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.  And if our God is with us, then what could stand against. God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.  Our God is Healer, Awesome in Powers, Our God!  Our God! 


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Heaven-Sent Kindness

Kindness is a word of action that emanates from love, mercy, and grace.  The synonyms for Kindness contain three of the Fruit of the Spirit – Gentleness, Goodness, Patience or Forbearance.

Where does the Fruit of the Spirit come from?  I return over and over to this verse, Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.   Ephesians 1:4.  Our Jehovah God is the God of Action and Love.  There is no equal! Faithful and Kind, God always cares for His children.  Past, present and future tense – eternally, He is our God.

It has been nearly forty years ago since my Dad Herman Siemens left this earth.  I can no longer remember the sound of his voice, but I remember the essence of his energy, kindness, and love.  He made ‘going the extra mile’ a part of his life.  When he offered to take someone home from church, and they said, “you can let me out here.’  He always answered, “When I take someone home, they are ‘took’ home.”  Laughter, because of his purposefully mangled English, always filled the car. 

Kindness began with God’s love.  Along with goodness, the world was made.  Patience and gentleness come from God’s love alone.  Everything that is good, filled with joy and peace, comes from God Himself.  How He longs for His Will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven.   

He sent Jesus to be the sacrifice for our sins.  Why?  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  John 3:16-17.

Jesus left his place beside His Father in Heaven, to be the recipient of all the acts of vile unkindness devised by Satan within the hearts of men.  He was betrayed, beaten, mocked, scourge forsaken and finally crucified between two thieves.  When we choose someone to worship, it will not be someone who lies dead, but raised to new life by God himself – Jesus, Who returned to Heaven.

Jesus is Lord, more than a prophet or a teacher.  All the pain and suffering on earth Jesus endured was because of His love and kindness for us.

What does Kindness look like? 
Serving, Giving and Sharing in the name of Jesus.
·      Giving your food to the hungry.
·      Giving your coat to someone who is cold.
·      Sharing hospitality to strangers.
·      Smiling to ease a hurt soul and give them hope.
·      Using common courtesy with words such as please and thank you.
·      Speaking words of encouragement to the discouraged.

And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Matthew 25:40

What does it take to a kind person?
·      It takes a spirit of humility.
·      It takes the constant joy of Jesus.
·      It takes patience.
·      It takes a gentle hand.
·      It takes love that leads to awareness of needs of others
·      It takes peace within and self-control to love like Jesus.
·      It takes a Jesus-heart to give kindness to others.

Kindness according to Scriptures:
  • For His merciful kindness is great toward us. And the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!  Psalm 117:2
  •  And raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.  Ephesians 2:6-8
  •  For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.  But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,  not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.  Titus 3:3-5
  •  But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  2 Peter 1:5-8
  • Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  Colossians 3:12-13
  •  Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:31-32

Photo by C Keyler 


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Enduring Patience

Why is Patience one of the attributes of God and a part of the Fruit of the Spirit?  Patience manifests the residence of the Holy Spirit living within us.  It is a desired quality we want in those we have dealings with whom we have dealings, but so difficult to attain.

I found articles about the ‘how to’s’ of achieving patience.  I chose the one with five how to’s.  Included were to count to ten and take deep breaths, meditate or walk and be grateful.  Also, another is seeing another’s point of view or ask questions with an unclenched fist and mind.  I am sure there is a ‘test’ to determine the level of patience a person possesses as well.  I am sure in the heat of the moment, we can whip out the list and follow it. As I read these ‘helpful’ steps to patience, I realized that one eternal source is by-passed.  Why not go to the Author of Patience? 

Patience is an Attribute of God himself, so why not study His Word to learn about God’s patience?  The Old Testament is filled with testimonies to God’s patience and kindnesses with his chosen people who often tried his patience.  The Holy Spirit is a gift from Jesus and lives within us as a Guide and Teacher.  An outgrowth of living with the Holy Spirit is Patience.  It is a mark of someone who understands the love of God and His patience with His people who often rebel and turn their backs. Some proclaim themselves more intelligent than the Creator who created the wonders of our earth and universe.

The Creator is the Author of Love, who loves us and chose us to live holy lives and serve and praise Him even before He created us in His image.  He loved us before He created this earth.  What does it take to know this Creator of all life?  It takes a humble spirit and willingness to worship Him alone.  Listening to His Voice alone!

Last Lord’s Day, the lyrics from the song, 10,000 Reasons (Matt Redman) reminded me of the glory of God…. And on that day when my strength is failing/ The end draws near and my time has come.  Still, my soul will sing your praise unending/ Ten thousand years and then forevermore.  Bless the Lord, Oh, my soul, worship His Holy Name. Sing like never before, oh my soul, I'll worship your Holy Name.

Patience is…
-       -Holding God’s Hand and seeing His will and His way.
-       -A moment by moment, enduring way of living.
-       -Knowing Jesus Christ alone holds all our tomorrow that lead us to life eternal.
-       -Breathing in the fresh air of His Word day by day.
-       -Living with, in, and for the Way and the Truth, Jesus provides for us.
-       -Unbreakable and enduring power of Jesus that makes our lives count!
-       -Waiting with anticipation and joy for the second coming of Jesus!!!
-       -Seeing opportunities to serve others with the Gentleness and Kindness in His Name.
-       -Learning to see beyond today and choose to live in the way of Jesus alone.
-       -Accepting trials as readiness moments of Joy.   

My Favorite Verses Teaching Patience…
-Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones.  Proverbs 25:15
-May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.  Romans 15:5
-We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.  I Corinthians 6:6
-But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23
-We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, Colossians 1:11
-Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Colossians 3:12
-But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. I Timothy 1:16
-But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 2 Timothy 3:10
-Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.  James 5:7
-For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. James 5:10
-And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him—2 Peter 3:15

Other Scriptures Attesting to Patience or Longsuffering of God
-Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?  Romans 2:4
-With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, Ephesians 4:2
-The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.  2 Peter 3:9
-The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.  Psalm 103:8
-He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, But he who is impulsive exalts folly. Proverbs 14:29
-A wrathful man stirs up strife, But he who is slow to anger allays contention. Proverbs 15:18
-So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  James 1:19-20


Tuesday, August 09, 2016


Peace – that attribute of God the Father, Jesus, the Son, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit, can be ours when we trust completely.  The antithesis of peace is noise, the busyness of life, struggling to achieve in this world and please others.

We live near a busy highway of constant traffic noise.  Somehow that constant traffic noise disappears when I contemplate God’s peace.  This is peace grows soul-deep inside us.  It does not depend on the whims of others, but our relationship and walk with Jesus.

I learned to care for my husband as his journey into dementia deepened. I struggled to find peace.  The responsibility became too much for me - I tried in my own strength.  Finally, I asked, ‘Is this what God is teaching me to rely and trust in Him?’  Yes! 

I began to look back and see His Hand guiding me to Him in humility and in love.  Yesterday my husband didn’t remember me -- or his children.  I told him our love story that continues. I told him how we met and married and the births of our children, their weddings and grandchildren and those that come after. 

Jehovah God has left us His Love Story, in his inspired words, The Holy Bible.  Long ago his chosen people remembered and retold the wonders of God’s love through the generations.  Even as I recounted our love story to Ed, I recounted God’s love story to our children.  We human beings often forget and God sends reminders each new day with the dawn of new mercies, the refreshing rain, the quenching of our thirst and giving us the very food we eat. Remembering God’s love and forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus we find the beginnings of Love, Joy and Peace and with this is living Hope all tomorrows with Him.

My Mother wrote the Precious Presence of God in the last few years of her life. 
Precious Presence, we remember, All your love on Calvary’s hill: Warm us with your great compassion.  Bend us to obey your will.  Touch us with your love and mercy.  Let us share the touch we feel:  Let us hear your gentle speaking.  Promised words that bless and heal.

When I was younger, I wondered why Psalm 23 was often quoted when peace is desired.  I really listened – and read, and know.  I noted the verbs telling what the Lord God will do – not what I do:
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.  He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.  He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff   protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.  Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me   all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

I found two quotes that interested me as I found both to be true: - A soft voice is the sound of peace.  In acceptance there is peace.

My Favorite Scriptures of Peace
-But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.  Proverbs 1:33
-Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.  Psalm 37:37
-I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people. But let them not return to their foolish ways. Psalm 85:8
-Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven. Psalm 85:10-11
-For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “May you have peace.” Psalm 122:8
-God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9
-Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.  Romans 12:17-18
-“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am.”  John 14:27-28
-Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  John 20:21-22
-Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.  Ephesians 4:2-3
- For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.  He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.  Ephesians 2:14-15
-Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7
-And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.  Colossians 3:15
-Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.  I Thessalonians 3:16
-Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.  Hebrews 12:14
-But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.  James 3:17-18

-Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.  2 Timothy 2:22