The View From Here

The Greatest Gift

What is the greatest thing you have ever given?  Some give money, others give their time and you find the generous soul who is quick to volunteer their spouse.  But there have been a few who, with one act, give everything. Memorial Day is a day when we remember those who gave a greater gift than most, and yet it still pales in comparison with the greatest gift that could be given.  Read on to learn more about that gift.

Memorial Day in the U.S. began as "Decoration Day."  It was celebrated after the Civil War with veterans of the Union Army decorating graves of their comrades who had fallen in battle.  It spread through the North and the South, and eventually, it morphed into what it is today.  It is different than Veteran's day, which is for recognizing all who have served in the military.  Memorial day is for remembering those who gave the one thing that could not be replaced: one's life. 

Today, we thank God for those who were willing to sacrifice their lives so the rest of us can live in freedom and peace.  Freedom and peace do not happen on their own--they must be fought for and protected.  There is a tremendous price to be paid.

Every life laid down in service of our country points to the greatest gift ever given.  Jesus Christ set his freedom aside and his the peace that existed between Him and God, the Father.  He was bound, beaten and butchered on a cross, that cruel instrument of crucifixion.  He became your substitute.  He had no sin, but God took your sin and laid in on Jesus.  When this happened, that perfect Father-Son relationship was broken for the first time, and Jesus cried out to his Father, "Why have you forsaken me?" 

Reflect on this, the greatest gift, today, as you remember the lives laid low for your freedom.  Jesus died to set sinners free.  He rose again, conquered death, and if you believe in Him, you will have forgiveness--freedom from sin--and peace with God.

Posted by Joshua Holland with 0 Comments

The Fruit of the Spirit (Pt. 6): Kindness

I must confess that writing a blog about kindness is really hard. The principle is easy to understand yet hard to apply to real life. Acts of kindness are prevalent when things are going well and life is great.   Yet kindness becomes a profoundly difficult task when I am having a bad day or dealing with people that irritate me. I heard a story the other day about a guy who was having a tough day. Nothing was going right and he was running way behind. He had to stop at the store to pick something up, and on his way out of the store he saw a woman just sitting in her car. He was running late and so he pushed past her and kept moving to his truck. He could not afford interruptions now.  Yet the Holy Spirit kept nudging his heart, and he finally gave in.  He returned to the store, bought some flowers and took them over to the woman. He realized the woman had been crying and he was able to encourage her and reveal the love of God to a woman he had never met, and likely will never see again.

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you”(Eph 4:32). We recognize that kindness like all the fruits of the spirit is not something that we are able to do in our own strength.  It can only be achieved by abiding in Christ (John 15). Our job then becomes the obedience to act upon his promptings in our lives. God doesn’t override our hearts and force kindness, he gives us the ability and desire, but the act of faith is to obey and act in kindness when He reveals opportunities to us.  Christ also encourages us to be kind even to our enemies (Luke 6:23) or those people that just drive us nuts. Lastly, God marks us with His kindness, so that it just radiates in our lives (Proverbs 3:3). It is as if we are branded with Christ kindness. Literally, God call us to “outdo” everyone in kindness.

I take away two things for the story above. First people all around us need to see God through our kindness. God gives us a wonderful opportunity to minister to people and share the gospel by our life and works of kindness.  I call this lifestyle evangelism.  Next, there are people in each of our lives that are hard to love and be kind to.  This could be a family member, friends, coworkers, clients/customers or even someone with a goal to irritate us.  We do not naturally offer kindness to enemies, yet God wants to show Himself real by transferring His love into our hearts and giving us the desire to be kind.  Ask God to help you if you are struggling to be kind to your enemy, and watch God do something exciting. 

           

Posted by Jamie Mead with 0 Comments

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