The Kindness Challenge – Week 1 – Reflection

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Is there still kindness to find in this tired old world? There is as long as we are willing to extend it through our thoughts, words and actions. Kindness is not universal, or guaranteed, but it is easy enough to generate, we only have to open our mind and hearts to the possibility

That alone is a great reason to enlist in Niki’s 2017 Kindness Challenge. No matter how much kindness you think emanates from you and the way you live your life you can always squeeze out a little bit more. As I shared with Niki in an earlier comment I do not consider kindness the kinds of things we should do as a matter of politeness or appreciation. Kindness to me is about going another step or more, or taking the time to be deliberate toward another soul.

I admit I struggled with the Week 1 challenge. I don’t focus on myself very often. Not to say I am not kind to myself, I just don’t make it a conscious thing. But I see the wisdom in girding yourself up with a kindness focus so you are ready to give to others. So I took on Niki’s  Week 1 instructions and here I am with my first Reflections post.

As far as a mantra or affirmation I suppose I would think something like this “I am me, the person God made in a perfect form and He Loves me, so do I!” I do not struggle with accepting myself as much as I once did. I suppose that is as much maturity and deepening of my faith as anything else. I used to think my path in life was not ambitious enough. That was before I came to the realization that where I am is where God chose to place me.

I suppose the greatest kindness I have given to myself is to understand that truth. I no longer feel like a disappointment or that what I have done in my life does not measure up. We do ourselves and our children a disservice by setting out arbitrary milestones to meet to be considered successful. Each of us is unique and no pre-conceived benchmarks will fairly assess our lives.

Being the best “me” I can be is something I want, but not at the cost of failing to enjoy my days. My brother died unexpectedly at 29 with colo-rectal cancer. Since that moment 20+ years ago I have come to appreciate every day and certainly every birthday (see no regret for turning 50) as I know it is a gift.

This is my Week 1 reflection. I will be around to read others.

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Temporary Home – Daily Post – 05/09/17

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Isn’t every home temporary? I have called many different places home over my five decade life. There was my growing up home, a place I rested my head for the most of twenty-seven years. A college dorm room for two and a half, an apartment for two semesters as a cooperative education student. A house when first married for 30 days, an apartment for two and a half years, a small home for six more and the current residence going on seventeen years.

But do you understand our home on earth is temporary? Our life will end at some point and our future home will not be temporary but forever. Many choose not to believe this and of course that is their right. I am in the camp that believes if you do not actively choose the better option you default to the one no one wants: An eternity of torment in hell.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  John 14:2-3

In John 3:16 Jesus gives us the promise that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have eternal life. But where will this eternal life take place? Not on earth, because nothing here is forever. In fact one day there will be a new Heaven and earth.

Jesus is working in Heaven even now to make sure there is a place that will make even the finest of temporary mansions on earth look like a cardboard shanty town.  But the best part is that once we get to Heaven we will be so consumed with worship and praise we won’t even know what things compare to on the temporary planet we thought was our everything.

Don’t concentrate on the temporary here so much that you miss the eternal promise God grants to all. The eternal reward easily within your grasp is something you must not allow to escape you.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/temporary/

THREE THINGS THURSDAY – 5/4/17

I stumbled across this new way to spread the happy last week, but life was too hectic to take part. This week is really no less that way, but I cannot go another week without joining the others carving out a few moments to enumerate three things that they are thankful for.

Over the last few months I have seemed to tap into a different plane of my writing ability or rather ability to find subjects. Or maybe I should say a worthwhile blog invitational. Like the Kindness Challenge that will start on Monday. I don’t want to ever take on the persona of one that feels owed or entitled. Since my brother died at age 29 I have considered every day a gift and want to approach it that way.

So can I think of 3 things I am thankful for today? You bet your boots I can.

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Tomorrow my son will don a cap and gown and collect the paper work that will declare he is a graduate of East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. This is an answer to many a prayer let me tell you. As I told my son completing a college degree is no small feat. It is something that will deliver benefits his entire professional career. I know I will not be the only proud parent there, my wife is just as proud, but I am certainly very thankful he had the opportunity.

Over the last five or so weeks I have been beating my brains out and my wife and I have worked endless hours trying to re-build our deck, which we discovered had some structural issues when I had to tear some of it off to access the septic tank we wanted to get pumped. Hours before work and hours after have drained our time from any other project. Add in the coincidence of the graduation party/birthday party we have on the docket for Sunday and the time constraint added some stress. But Wednesday night well after dark and by cell phone flashlight we finished. I am so grateful we could get this completed in time to enjoy as we celebrate these milestones.

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My third thing is anticipating having both my kids home from school. Sure it will be an adjustment for all of us, but having the family together is always a good thing. Now that my son will be a graduate I know that the time is coming when he will exit our life to go on his own path and it is something I want for him but kind of dread too. Life changes so quick and trying to adjust on the fly can be tricky.

That is what I have for my first try at Three Things Thursday. I could list so many more and will over the coming weeks. Always remember to give thanks, because anything we have is a blessing from God.

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Before – The 2017 Kindness Challenge

I found Niki, from The Richness of a Simple Life, during this year’s 2017 A to Z Blogging Challenge. If you did not see any of her challenge posts you should click on her blog link and check it out. She has a great perspective and I am happy to connect with another strong Christian online.

Before we begin the seven week 2017 Kindness Challenge Niki has asked that we take some time to put together and intention post. What is that? It is kind of a plan for what we would like to accomplish in the Kindness Challenge. What will be the kindness you will seek to embody? How will you touch others or allow them to touch you?

I find myself in a weird mood as I approach this. I know everyone has a different perspective on kindness, but I want to share this thought. Kindness is not doing something you should do as a matter of politeness or being a positive part of society.

To say thank you is not kindness. To do something after you are instructed is not kindness, at least in my estimation. In order to register on the kindness scale I think your action must be beyond your normal habits.

The kind of example I might give is seeking out the manager of a retail store and telling them what a good job their staff does. Or what a good job they do about keeping their store clean and stocked. Take a buggy in for someone in a parking lot so they don’t have to roll it to the buggy return. You are going in anyway.

Recently there has been some opportunities to send birthday cards to members of my church. I have been selective in who I send to, choosing those who may not receive a card from anyone else. Everyone deserved to feel special on their birthday, so it is a small thing on my part.

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Looking at the seven weeks and themes I can give a better intention of what will be the focus.

  • Week 1 | Self-love
  • Week 2 | Self-compassion
  • Week 3 | Self-acceptance
  • Week 4 | Kindness role model
  • Week 5 | Choosing kindness
  • Week 6 | Kindness without expectation
  • Week 7 | Grateful for kindness

 

I may have trouble with week 1 because as a Christian I feel like self-love is something that can cause issues. This blog is called Living the J.O.Y. Principle, which espouses the idea of Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last. I find the more I focus on Jesus and doing for others the happier I am.

However, I do realize you must have balance in all things and eventually you will tap yourself out with no input to your own self-development. I suppose that may be a big reason I wanted to take part in this challenge. Plus a challenge with a large quantity of participants provides someone to hold you accountable. We could all use more of that can’t we?

2017 Before Posts

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wanderlust

The Weekly Photo Challenge is like a mini-lottery game to me. You never know what might pop up as the topic of the week. But unlike the lottery, at least in my experience, there is a winner every time with the Weekly Photo Challenge, you just have to peruse the photo archives.

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I am on the left in my “HOT” weather gear.  

I wanted for years to travel to do mission work with my church. In about 2010 or so I finally got the chance as we traveled to the gulf coast of the United States to work on a church roof that needed to be replaced. I have been to the tourist areas in Florida like Orlando, Saint Augustine and Melbourne, but this was my furthest trip into the western side of Florida.

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In 2012 I joined a team of 10 others on my first international mission trip to Belize. This picture is from Old Belize, the most tourist centered place we visited and it was only for lunch on the way to the airport on the last day. Most of our time was in and around the capital of Belmopan.

alaska I hope to take in the breath taking beauty of our 50th state this fall as my wife and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. There is an ever-growing list of places I want to see and this seems a great starting point.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/wanderlust/

 

HE AROSE!!!!

IF you are a Christian you should be celebrating today. NO WAIT! YOU MUST! YOU MUST CELEBRATE TODAY. Today is the day the greatest promise in the history of time itself was realized. Jesus the Christ shared with his disciples and everyone he met that one day he must suffer, be put to death and after three days in the tomb rise from the dead.

Today is Easter, the day each year Christians can rejoice in the promise Christ made during his brief time on earth. He told his disciples this and explained it multiple times, but yet they had not the ability to comprehend. Sure, it sounded pretty fantastic. I am sure no one else they ever knew claimed this to be their future or actually realized the feat.

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The tradition at our church is to place a purple cloth on the middle of three crosses that fronts our church on Good Friday. Purple has a royal connection so it relates to the kingship of Christ. The Roman soldiers nocked this possibility, even creating a sign to hang above Christ on the cross that named him King of the Jews. They thought they were humiliating Him even more than stripping him naked, lashing him across his body and driving steel spikes through his hands and feet.

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On Sunday the purple cloth is replaced by one that is white. The white represents purity and the victory of resurrection. There is also the connection to the white linen clothes that were found neatly folded in the tomb when Mary and Mary Magdalene came to the tomb on third day to Check on Jesus’ body.

Today people will celebrate the most important day in the life of a Christ follower. Without the truth of today nothing else in Christianity matters. Christ voluntarily chose to sacrifice His life for our sins. If we do not choose to sacrifice one day to acknowledge and rejoice we are a sad lot.

Let this day be the greatest chance to connect with the truth of Christ’s Love. Who would you willingly give your life for? Your spouse, child, parent, a good friend? What about a complete stranger? A thief. A murderer? Jesus gave his life for ALL. To balance sins not even committed yet. For all sins from the beginning of time. Jesus covers it all.

If you have never given your life to Jesus I have many posts on this blog about the process and I would love to lead you through it. Congratulations to all of you today, you are blessed beyond your wildest dreams if you have met Christ!

 

 

Denial – the easy response when you see sin in your life

DenialI know anyone who has ever been alive longer than a couple of years has heard about sin. It is the product of many of this mortal life’s good and bad experiences. Sin comes in many forms. There is purposeful sin, accidental sin, ignorant sin and more. But in the end it is all against God’s instructions for how to live a Christian life. Do you think God hides any of this information? He doesn’t. He puts it out front and center for our consumption. If we do not know its because we don’t care to look for it or ask about it.

What is the first human reaction when we are faced with the thought we may have committed a sin? I think it is denial. We think “oh no, not me!” “I didn’t sin. If so I didn’t mean to.” But if we are honest with ourselves many times we do indeed sin. I have been a Christian for more than thirty years and I still sin way too often. Thankfully my knowledge of the difference between sinful acts and those that aren’t sinful has increased, but the sin nature is still present.

I used to try the denial route. It is easy to deny and try to blame your actions on the situation, the weather, the stock market or anything else. But all this does is prolong your feeling of conviction that comes from wanting to please God with your actions. The best thing you can do when you realize you are sinning is to remove yourself from the situation and confess your sin.

Accept that you are mortal, that sin will always be a challenge and try to learn how to head it off before it gets tis claws in you. Isn’t it better to not have to dive into the denial pool? God loves you, will accept you wherever you are and will change your life, including how you deal with sin, if you will just follow his lead.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/denial/