Kindness Matters

Here are a few more quotes from my “Word of the Year,” Kind:

So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.  He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.  He has showered kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.  — Ephesians 1:6-8 [NLT]

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus.  So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.  All power to him forever!  Amen.  — 1 Peter 5:10-11 [NLT]

I have found my servant David.  I have anointed him with my holy oil…I will steady him with my hand; with my powerful arm I will make him strong…I will love him and be kind to him forever; my covenant with him will never end…  — Psalm 89:20-21, 28

People were being very kind to each other, being friends…It restores your faith…During the 36 hours that the train was stuck, younger passengers helped older ones reach their families to let them know they were OK.  A “Mom Brigade” was formed to take care of and entertain children.  — Passengers of an Amtrak train stranded in the Oregon mountains

Purim

Purim starts today and continues tomorrow.  What an amazing story this is from the Bible!  It reads like a melodrama — it has been a tradition to “boo” and make noise when you hear the name of the protagonist read–Haman.  For more fun traditions, complete with photos, check out this website.

What I love most about the celebration, is that God authorized it and said to give gifts to the poor on those days.  Isn’t that amazing?  To understand the meaning of Purim, you need to read the entire book of Esther.  It truly is a great (and true) story, and even humorous in many ways.  Here are a few excerpts:

When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, he was filled with rage.  He had learned of Mordecai’s nationality, so he decided it was not enough to lay hands on Mordecai alone.  Instead, he looked for a way to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire of Xerxes.  — Esther 3:5-6 [NLT]

Mordecai sent this reply to Esther:  “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed.  If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die.  Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”  Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:  “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me.  Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day.  My maids and I will do the same.  And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king.  If I must die, I must die.”  — Esther 4:13-16 [NLT]

…Haman hurried home dejected and completely humiliated.  When Haman told his wife, Zeresh, and all his friends what had happened, his wise advisers and his wife said, “Since Mordecai–this man who has humiliated you–is of Jewish birth, you will never succeed in your plans against him.  It will be fatal to continue opposing him.  — Esther 6:12-13 [NLT]

Then Harbona, one of the king’s eunuchs, said, “Haman has set up a sharpened pole that stands seventy-five feet tall in his own courtyard.  He intended to use it to impale Mordecai, the man who saved the king from assassination.”  “Then impale Haman on it!” the king ordered.  So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai, and the king’g anger subsided.  — Esther 7:9 [NLT]

Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to the Jews near and far, throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes, calling on them to celebrate an annual festival on these two days.  He told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor.  This would commemorate a time when the Jews gained relief from their enemies, when their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy.  — Esther 9:20-22 [NLT]

 

 

Rachel’s Challenge

I come across my “Word of the Year” — Kind — occasionally, but usually in conversation rather than in print.  I’ve seen it on an electronic highway sign related to treating other drivers kindly.  I’ve seen it in obituaries and heard it at weddings and funerals.  Kindness is desperately needed day to day, but sometimes is hard to find.  Here are a few quotes I’ve seen with this important word:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.  There is no law against these things!  — Galatians 5:22-23 [NLT]

Love is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.  It does not demand its own way.  It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  — 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 [NLT]

I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same.  People will never know how far a little kindness can go.  — Rachel’s Challenge; Rachel Scott, (1st student killed at Columbine)

I pray…you will grow up to be a strong leader in your country using kindness and the love of God as your method of leadership!  — Chris Jarvis to sponsored child, Abel

God grants our prayer, [even if] he does not always respond to the exact form of our request…even when he does not comply with our wishes, [he] is still attentive and kindly to our prayers, so that hope relying upon his word will never disappoint us.  — John Calvin

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.  — Mother Teresa

The Stepped-On Part

Today’s quotes are from Ken Gire again.  The love of Jesus for this man is amazing; He knew his whole life story.

He is Zacchaeus.  A short man…Somehow this short man has survived growing up in a tall world.  Growing up the object of stares.  Growing up the brunt of jokes.  Growing up the kid who got pushed around…a part of his childhood was trodden underfoot…But…Zacchaeus learned to compensate — first, to laugh at the jokes and later, to fight back…At last, he made it to the top — chief tax collector…king of the hill, looking down over Jericho…But the stature he sought among others has eluded him.  And so has friendship.  Suddenly Jesus stops.  As He looks up at Zacchaeus, shafts of the Savior’s love filter through the branches.  A long-awaited dawn shines on a despised tax collector.  And a strange warmth begins to stir the cold darkness of his soul…For years he has rendered unto Caesar; now he must render unto Christ an account of himself.  And his soul knows that the account isn’t good…But the Savior isn’t looking for an audit.  He is looking for something else.  He searches Zacchaeus’ eyes to find that stepped-on part of his life.  And on it he sees every footprint, every heel mark.  Jesus is moved with compassion for the little boy who had to grow up in a big man’s world…Look closely.  Witness a miracle — a camel passing through the eye of a needle…centuries earlier, the walls of Jericho came tumbling down at the shout of Joshua’s men.  Today another wall comes tumbling down in Jericho.  This time, at the offer of a king’s friendship.  This time, the wall of a rich man’s heart.  — Ken Gire, Intimate Moments With the Savior, pg. 73-77

Mary, no doubt, had a stepped-on part to her life, too.  Here is Ken’s gentle recounting of her quiet moments with Jesus at His tomb.

Mary is left behind; tears, her only companions.  She takes those tears with her as she enters the tomb to take a look for herself.  And suddenly, the woman who was once possessed with demons finds herself in the presence of angels…[Then Jesus Himself appears].  Maybe the morning is foggy.  Maybe tears blur her eyes.  Maybe Jesus is the last person she expects to see.  Whatever the reason, she doesn’t recognize Him.  That is, until — “Mary.” … Overwhelmed, she throws her arms around the Lord she loves so much.  She had been there when He suffered at the cross; now He is there when she is suffering.  She had stood by Him in His darkest hour; now He is standing by her in hers…

How hard it is to see clearly when devastating circumstances fill my eyes with tears.  How blurry everything gets…

Where there is doubt, roll away the stone and resurrect my faith.  Where there is depression, cast aside the grave clothes and release my joy.  Where there is despair, chase away the night and bring a sunrise to my hope.  — Ken Gire, Intimate Moments With the Savior, pg. 132-133

Thin Thread of Faith

I recently came across some wonderful quotes from one of Ken Gire’s books.  I’m going to share them throughout the week, and I’m sure they’ll be a blessing to your heart.  Here are some stories that show Jesus’ sweet understanding of women’s needs.

I love the gentle and clever wording of these quotes:

And so, with that thin thread of faith, this frail needle of a woman stitches her way through the crowd…This desperate woman pushes her empty hand through a broken seam in the crowd and, for a fleeting moment, clutches the corner of His garment.  Jesus is pulled back.  Not by the grasp of her hands so much as by the grasp of her faith.  — Ken Gire, Intimate Moments With the Savior, pg. 49

“Martha, Martha.”  His address is tender and affectionate, yet it has a plaintive tone.  Like the time He would weep over Jerusalem, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…” or when He would prepare Peter for his fall, “Simon, Simon,” Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  “But I have prayed for you…”  Or when He would confront Saul on the Damascus road, “Saul, Saul.  Why do you persecute me?”  “Martha, Martha.  You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better.”  — Ken Gire, Intimate Moments With the Savior, pg. 67

This next one is regarding the woman with the alabaster jar.  The men objected to her obvious expression of appreciation to Jesus.

What a stab in the heart his must have been to their honored guest.  Bickering about the poor when one sits in their midst famished for a crust of human understanding…Mingled with tears, the perfume becomes, by some mysterious chemistry of heaven, not diluted but more concentrated.  Potent enough behind the ears of each century for the scent to linger to this day, a fragrant reminder of her extravagant love.  On the cross, stripped of his clothing, Jesus would wear only the perfume that Mary had lavished upon his hair.  It was that perfume which filled his nostrils and covered the stench of mockers rabbled around the cross.  And maybe, when he took a deep breath, it was that perfume which gave Him the strength to say, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing…”  The Savior had come to earth to break an alabaster jar for humanity.  And Mary had come that night to break one for him.  — Ken Gire, Intimate Moments With the Savior, pg. 82-83

 

I Know Karate

In looking at my old notebooks of quotes, I came across this sweet but sad one:

I know karate, so it’s OK — I’ll lead the way out.  — Child in the Sandy Hook school shooting (12/14/12)

Here are more quotes, going back to a 2007 notebook:

The wise counsel God gives when I’m wake is confirmed by my sleeping heart.  — Psalm 16:7 [MSG]

It’s the person who loves brother and sister that dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others.  — 1 John 2:10 [MSG]

If a man does not keep pace with his companions perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.  — Henry David Thoreau

If we want to live in harmony with the universe as God has ordered it, we must live our lives in response to those rhythms…From the heart of God comes the strongest rhythm — the rhythm of love.  Without His love reverberating in us, whatever we do will come across like a noisy gong or clanging cymbal.  — Henry David Thoreau

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.  — Psalm 90:1-2 [Given to me when Chris was climbing the Grand Teton in 2007]

 

 

Memorable and Sobering Quotes

I came across this quote several years ago, and it’s truly a memorable & sobering one.

For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph, a tumultuous parade.  In the procession came trumpeters, musicians, and strange animals from the conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments.

The conqueror rode in a triumphant chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him.  Sometimes his children, robed in white, stood with him in the chariot or rode the trace horses.

A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning that all glory is fleeting.  — The movie Patton

More great quotes follow here:

Mother Teresa was once asked, “How did you receive your call to serve the poor?”  She answered, “My call is not to serve the poor.  My call is to follow Jesus.  I have followed Him to the poor.”

We are to be long-tempered in contrast to short-tempered, to suffer long instead of being hasty to anger and vengeance…so to maintain unity, we set aside “self,” set aside our own needs and be willing to suffer last place instead of first place, even to look like we’re wrong if it will maintain unity.  We’re not talking doctrinal issues here — but rather things of personality and human interaction…When we’re impatient and short-tempered with people, it’s really because we’re impatient with God.  We are at that moment not trusting in and leaning upon Him to give us strength.  — from Word for the Day, 5/9/12

Your testimonies are my  heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.  — Psalm 119:111 [ESV]

Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!  Be their shepherd and carry them forever.  — Psalm 28:9 [ESV]

The Lord knows the days of the blameless and their heritage will remain forever.  — Psalm 37:18 [ESV]

God often gives in one brief moment that which He has for a long time denied — Thomas à Kempis