Tuesday, September 6, 2016

To Decide is to Commit to What is Important

"...Ask for ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it: and you will find rest for your souls."

Jeremiah 6:16

Four-thirty in the morning comes early, but I have made up my mind the night before that this day is our cycling day. My husband and I rise early four out the five weekdays to get our exercise in before we leave for work. We are on the road by five with headlights streaming through the dark, early morning hours. It is a commitment we make and keep because we have decided this is what we are going to do. Yes, some mornings I feel groggier than others, and some mornings I am the one reminding my husband that what we decided the night before will be followed through in our moment of weakness. 

Why do we decide and commit? Because we both know that our aging bodies require movement to stay functional. Like most people, we want to take our lives into the longest distance possible and exercise is a tool toward achieving this goal. 

To decide and commit is to understand what is important. Once you understand what is important, following through with a decision to commit becomes easier. 

The ancient paths, as noted in Jeremiah, is a reference to the truths of God's ways. These truths have been tried and evidenced as true through the lives of those who have acted upon them in faith. History reveals blessings and rest to those faithful and obedient to His revelations. 

Like exercise, I too have decided that God's truths are important. And when I decide to commit to them, "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and selfcontrol" are the gifts I recieve and bestow onto others (Galatians 5:23-24).  

Today, decide what is important and commit. When you are weak, remind yourself of the blessings and rest in following through. 

When you make up your mind, following through becomes a matter of remembering what you have decided. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The River of Kindness

"Where the river flows, everything will live."

Ezekiel 47:9

The gentle flow of a river has always captured my attention. I am awed by its beauty, fearful of its power, and thankful for the many ways a river nourishes and replenishes the earth. Rivers provide a source of food, electricity, transportation, and a venue for outdoor recreation. Historically, where the river flows, people live. 

Today, I experienced another type of life giving river, kindness. Not one to spend money on expensive drinks, I debated, prayed, yes prayed, and dialogued with myself as to whether or not buying a chai tea on my way to work was good stewardship of the provisions God had granted me. Finally, concluding that I could splurge today, I went to a popular coffee and tea shop to place my order at their drive through. I ordered and began to reach into my wallet to get the exact amount ready that was required. To my complete shock, the kind woman at the window smiled and explained that the man in front of me had paid for my order. Hard to convince, I required confirmation that I had heard correctly. Yes, my painfully debated drink had been paid for. 

Pulling away from the window, tears welled up in my eyes. God had reminded me of the life nourishing impact of kindness. My belief in the ability of mankind to be kind has recently been teetering from watching too many news reports of presidential hopefuls spewing venomous accusations at one another, pictures of cities protesting against perceived or actual injustices, and many other forms of anger displayed through mankind. My belief that kindness remained has been dangling.   

Research supports the impact that kindness has whether we are the receivers or givers; blood pressure is lowered, immune systems are strengthened, depression is lifted, and happiness is bolstered. I would like to offer some of my own, unresearched, thoughts about the power and impact of kindness:

1. Families are restored. 
2. Marriages are healed.
3. Poverty is reduced.
4. Hope is restored.
5. Purpose is discovered. 

My list could go on, but that would take away the time needed for you, the reader, to get up and write a letter, make a phone call, volunteer, or find another way to extend kindness. 

Where there is kindness, people will "live".