Kindness

I couldn’t find in the dictionary a satisfying definition of kindness. The synonyms I found were a little bit more relatable to an understanding of what this is. I found that generosity, charity sympathy, compassion and tenderness are some of those things that are compared to kindness.

 The word of God calls us to be kind to one another and to love one another, including our enemies. I think this is where it gets tricky. Loving our families and friends is almost normal, even on our bad days. Loving someone who is not particularly nice to us or that has hurt us can be a very challenging thing. However I learned first hand the power of how a kind heart can change your relationship with someone who right now you wish you didn’t even have to see.

Years ago, I worked with this lady. To my recollection I had not done anything to her and she had not done anything to me; but it was obvious to me that my presence was a thorn in her life. She would try to avoid any kind of interaction with me. If she had to talk to me, her tone would show her frustration in our interaction. I’m the type of person who tries to be liked, so the situation didn’t sit well with me. For months I prayed that whatever was bothering her life would be lifted, that she would be blessed, that she would find the love of God; I didn’t know if she was a believer or not.

One day, I was having a personal trial. She came to my desk and said “ I know I’m not your friend, but if you need someone to talk to, know that I’m here for you”. It totally blew my mind. Before she left my desk she left a small box. Inside the box there was a little plaque that to this day stays with me wherever I go. The plaque read, “there’ nothing that God and I can’t resolve together”.  It was double amazing for me and totally spirit lifting. The message in the plaque had given me hope and it came from the person I least expected. I will say that after that day our relationship changed. I’m not saying that she became my best friend, but we were able to talk amicably and if memory serves we went to dinner once within a group of friends.

 What act of kindness can you do today for someone whose personality or actions rub you the wrong way? Are you willing to make an impact in someone’s life, just by providing a smile? Take the challenge, it’s always rewarding.

Blessings

Naty

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Eggs and Bunnies by the Cross

As a Christian I want to celebrate things that are related to Christ and I’ve been on the search for the truth regarding our most common holidays. Easter is around the corner and all I’ve seen is colored eggs and rabbits. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, but my sixth grade teacher taught me in biology that rabbits had bunnies and hens laid eggs, so that combination alone makes no sense to me.

On the other hand, from my years in church and annual “Good Friday” movies, I never saw rabbits, bunnies, hens or eggs related to the cross of Jesus Christ. Where did this come from? I’ve asked around and nobody seems to have an answer. After much searching, my good friend Google finally led me to my answer, several articles and web pages about the traditions of Easter.

In reality we are supposed to be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the thing that distinguishes Christians from other religions and sects, it’s the fact that our Lord is alive, and not only alive, but conquered death on our behalf. Somehow in the early days of Christianity, the celebration of the Resurrection coincided with a Pagan holiday dedicated to the goddess of offspring and springtime named Eastre. The story says that earlier Christians wanted to celebrate their festivities, but it would have been dangerous and Christianity was sometimes seem as criminal, therefore they decided to modify their celebration for their own safety and to attract non believers.

Why eggs and bunnies?

 Both have been perceived as symbols of new life and fertility. This is also associated with the blooming of flowers in the spring time. There was an abundance of eggs during this time as eggs were not part of their diets during the Lenten season. The eggs were boiled for preservation purposes.

Colored Eggs

This tradition was created as another way to celebrate.  Early Christians would exchange colored eggs, kind of like Christmas and the gifts exchange. Eggs were boiled in flowers to obtain their color, that’s why when people paint eggs in modern society, they tend to use pastels.

Now, here’s the thing; at least in the United States of America it is no longer particularly dangerous to practice our Christian beliefs and to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, so I’m thinking, ‘Let’s drop the bunnies and eggs.”. I know that all big business will take offense to this particular mindset because of what holidays mean to the economy, but it’s the truth. Some people may think, “But it’s for the children”. How about if we teach the children that we have a bigger gift than the chocolate eggs and the Eater baskets? We have eternal life!

We want the future generations to live in the truth and the light. I think its time to live in that truth by knowing what our traditions really mean. Now trust me, I’m not against chocolate. I give you permission to eat all the peeps and chocolate eggs you want, but let’s make sure we are clear in our hearts about what our true celebration is this coming Sunday; the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

 

 

Resources utilized 

http://wilstar.com/holidays/easter.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Bunny

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/easterintro1.html

Traditions

Traditions are those beliefs and/or customs that have been passed down from generation to generation. One of the best examples is our celebration of Christmas. We celebrate Christmas on December 25th, as the day that Jesus was born, but historically it has been agreed that he was born closer to the month of April. You can hear people say that you can’t celebrate Christmas without a tree or decorations; the truth is those are merely distractions, there were no trees or decorations at the manger when Jesus was born.

 Traditions have colored the way we do things and have distracted us from the real meaning. In terms of holidays, I boycotted traditional Christmas last year and don’t get me started on Easter. All my readers have five minutes to explain to me the relationship between eggs, bunnies and the resurrection… Go ahead, I can wait!

 There are people who have chosen careers because it’s a tradition in their family for everyone to be a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer, or a policeman.  Some people go to a certain college because that’s where their family members went, not because it has the best program for their interests.

God made us unique. He took his time to form each and every one of us, and every one of us has See full size imagea different purpose in the body of Christ. Following traditions, in my humble opinion, are not either good or bad, unless of course the tradition harms the person or others; but it’s not necessary in the implementation of God’s plan for us. We need to ask ourselves what opportunities we have wasted because that’s not what we usually do, the way we usually do it, or the way the people around us did it?

How about when our blessing comes in a different package than what we are used to or expecting, and because we’re not familiar with it we pass it right by? Can you believe that the greatest lesson of marital love I learned from a homeless man? I was part of a ministry that was feeding the homeless. This man came to our line and grabbed his portion of food; something in him caught my attention. All the others sat in front of where we were and ate, he ran with his food to hide. Another person from the ministry and I followed him at a distance, his wife was under some boxes sleeping, probably after heavy drug use. She was very weak, he told her that he had brought her something and lifts her head up with his arms and started feeding her his food. We told them that we had enough for him to eat too. He thanked us but told us that he had come to the line just to make sure that she would get something to eat.  When I think about how a husband should love his wife, I think of them. It was not wrapped up in the prettiest package, but it blessed me. How many lessons or blessings have we missed because of our pre-conceived notions and traditions?

Evidence of Real Love

Evidence of Real Love

I was able to witness and experience one of the most beautiful days in the life of my dear friends Richard and Carrie Rice. They have been married for three and half years and have a great testimony to share on how God has not only developed their relationship, but how they have grown in their faith and in their obedience to God.  

When they originally got married they felt that it was God’s time to do it and without bells and whistles, they got united in the commitment of marriage. God has been growing and using them as they have been obedient to his will. Carrie, even though happy with her groom, felt that she had missed on having a celebration of that special day.

This year, she submitted a letter to the local Christian radio station “The Fish”. They were running a Valentine’s contest where they would choose 50 couples and do a wedding for them to renew their vows. This radio station does this contest every year and Carrie had submitted a letter of participation each time. This year she won. She was very excited. God had provided the wedding of her dreams. This wedding was not only going to provide her with a ceremony, but a wedding cake, flowers, catered lunch, pictures, video and gifts. This time more than the commitment to each other, they were celebrating their covenant with God and with each other.

The event was cancelled in February due to inclement weather and the activity was performed today.  Carrie and Richard had thought of the traditional wedding attires when they originally won, but then they realized that it’s not a white ball wedding dress and a tuxedo that makes them tick. It’s not a tiara, a veil and a tie that made them fall in love. So they decided that they wanted to get married in their tennis shoes and “skinny jeans” like Richard said.

They were the only couple in jeans, so they did get various looks from the other participants. Even there were comments in the bathroom about how “diverse” the chosen attires had been, not knowing that Carrie was in the stall. She came out and laughed about it and said, “Yes that would be me!” Beyond their looks they were very well noticed amongst the crowd. They received compliments for showing passion in the way they kissed and looked at each other during the ceremony. To them it was not about looking pretty, it was about their true love for each other.

During the ceremony, Carrie surprised Richard with his wedding ring. His ring had broken some time ago. She had it fixed to give it to him today. He was blown out of the water, but was also a little disappointed that he didn’t have a gift for her. Brandon Heath was singing and Richard felt in his heart a prayer. He prayed that God would bless his wife with the grand prize, so that this day would be even more special than it already had been for her. At the end of the event, the hostess presented the grand prize, a $2,000 diamond necklace. “And the winner of our grand prize is” as the hostess and Richard said at the same time “Carrie Rice”. At the table there was confusion for a second, none of us could believe that Carrie had been the winner. There were screams and praises from Richard’s mouth. Hours after the event had ended we were all still in awe on how God had answer his prayer, blessed his wife and made this day perfect. They were able to share their story with some of the people present, including Brandon Heath, who was very impressed.

Of course winning the prize it’s awesome, and the answered prayer it’s a testimony of God’s love, but what is greater for me is the evidence of true love without the masks of society and how he wants us to be real. He wants us to be us, and as we obey and become real with ourselves, our connection with our Creator will definitely be closer.

Inventory

This is the time of the year where we usually see where we are, what we have done and where we are headed. Things like losing weight, getting rid of a bad habit, reorganizing finances are at the tip of everyone’s tongue.

 I think those are good as long as you have a feasible, realistic plan to get them done. It’s also important to make sure that you have all the resources that you need to make them happen, including support and accountability. Yes, accountability, big, huge word. Do you trust yourself to do it on your own? I don’t. I promise myself I am going to do things all the time and they rarely get done. We all do better when someone is watching, that’s why accountability is so important.

In addition to that, are your goals in accordance with your purpose? We all have a purpose that has been set up by the Creator. Are your current goals in alignment with that or are they all about you?

This is the week when we usually take inventory of our lives. That is usually a good thing anyway. Make a difference this year. Make this year different than all the others.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Make sure that you include forgiveness in the list. No better way to lose some weight than to let those heavy burdens go.
  • Include yourself in the forgiveness list. Sometimes, we have already apologized and even prayed for forgiveness, but we’re still carrying the guilt and the shame. It’s time to let it go!
  • Include others in your plans. Like I said before accountability, guidance and support are going to help you achieve your goals.
  • Try to include something service related. It will keep you balanced.
  • Make sure that your goals are balanced in time and effort.
  • Have a blessed 2010!!!

 Naty

*the image was found online if anyone needs credit for it, please page me*