Christmas at the Dietrichs

Christmas at the Dietrichs

Christmas in the Dietrich home was and is still a time when family comes together, to cook or bake, put up Christmas decor and make memories. 

Starting right after Thanksgiving, Christmas decor would always go up in our home. My mom, sister and I enjoyed and putting out all the the Christmas Nativities. At night we would turn on Rudolph and all 5 of us would put up the Christmas tree together. Everyone had their special ornaments that only they could put on the tree. 

The advent book would be set out and ready for December 1st when we would start reading the Christmas story. The memory of reading the Christmas story throughout December is a tradition that I now do in our home. The memories spent reading about the birth of Christ are some I will never forget. 

And then there was the baking.  My grandmother would always bring Jello Christmas cookie dough(recipe below) to the house where she would let us cut them out with her metal cookie cutters and decorate them how we wanted. Martha Washington were/are our staple Christmas candy(recipe below.) Martha Washingtons are definitely a recipe that are fun to do with the family. Dipping tons of chocolate balls leads tons of laughter and messes, which lead to great memories. We would always make enough Martha Washington to share with our little grandpa, he was little in stature but big in heart. 

One of the earliest traditions I remember as a child was the matching Christmas dresses. These weren’t just any Christmas dresses, mom handmade them. One year she even made one for herself. This tradition has continued though my daughters and nieces. Last year my mom worked so hard and made 4 matching Christmas dresses for our little girls. They were so excited to all be matching and were even calling each other sisters instead of cousins. 

Christmas Eve was busy with preparations of getting ready for the Nativity at church. My favorite part of Christmas Eve at church was the candle lighting and singing of Silent Night. Today, Cole and I still find so much joy and peace at going to church on Christmas Eve. 

Christmas morning started early at our home with the smell of sausage balls(recipe below) baking and hot coco in a Christmas mug. Our stockings would always be filled with nuts, candy and some odd piece of fruit. Family would come over for a delicious lunch followed by great fellowship. 

I have so many great memories from Christmas growing up. I am now a mom of 4 precious kiddos and enjoy making our own family memories and traditions. Some are the same as when I was young and some are different but the focus is till the same. Christmas time is when we remember that our Father sent the savior down to earth as a baby who would live a perfect life and then sacrifice it for all of us. A sacrifice made so humbly so we could all live eternally with our Father.

Jello Cut out cookies 

1/2 cup of margarine 

1/2 crisco 

1 cup of sugar

1 3oz. pkg of jello any flavor 

3 eggs

3 cups of flour

1 tsp. of baking powder

1/2 tsp. Salt 

Cream shortening and margarine with sugar and jello until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time and beat throughly. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix well. Chill for several hours. Roll about 1/3 of the dough at a time on flour surface about 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters. Bake on un-greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Martha Washingtons

2 lbs of powered sugar

1 can of eagle brand

1 stick of margarine 

1 cup of coconut(Optional) 

Mix together and add 2 cups of pecans

Make into balls and refrigerate for 30 minutes. While they are refrigerating heat up candy chocolates. Dip the balls and put back into the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Store in air tight container.   

Sausage Balls 

1lb of breakfast sausage

1lb of cheese 

2 cups of bisquick

Mix well together. Roll into small balls. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

We want to thank JoBeth Dietrich and Bethany Williams for sharing this post.  

Baking Christmas Cookies

Baking Christmas Cookies

In our busy everyday schedules and in our effort to make Christmas special, we can sometimes forget what Christmas is truly all about. “Keeping Jesus” as the main focus of Christmas was what moved me to start some Christmas traditions for my young family. Some of the traditions were passed on from my parents and grandparents. Like observing Advent…this is the expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the birth of Christ and the return of Christ. It begins four Sundays before Christmas. You light a candle at the beginning of each week, there is a devotion every day centered around the coming of Jesus. One year we made a tree skirt that told the story of Jesus birth, we also baked a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas day.

The Christmas cookie making started when our children were very young and still at home. Of course we had to use my grandmother and Tante’s (aunt in German) Christmas cookie recipe. It wasn’t just the wonderful taste of the cookies but the anticipation of going to my grandparents and playing with my cousins, the feeling of love and family. We have carried this tradition on with our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  We still try to pick a day around Thanksgiving when most of our family is here to make our cookies. Some come home Thanksgiving just for the cookie making. Those who can’t be here have started their own tradition in their homes or wherever they may be, sometimes carting homemade cookie dough all over the state of Texas just to continue the tradition.  

Christmas is the season of love, joy, giving, and family. Traditions are a way of combining all of those into one beautiful package.  I can’t explain the feelings of blessing and joy watching my family laughing, sometimes throwing flour and smearing icing on each other or just enjoying being together. Seeing the children’s eyes wide with wonder and imagination. Decorating their cookies, licking their icing sticks (we do send their own cookies home with them – ha ha) and getting icing all over their faces. Those special times of being gathered together for one tradition also may lead to other traditions. The grandkids (Stewart & Elaine’s) after making Christmas cookies would put on a play for the adults to end a wonderful day of fun, food, and family. 

These are some of our most treasured memories. If we’re having a bad day all we have to do is look at some pictures of our cookie baking days and the children’s plays, then remember how blessed we are. 

We want to thank Elaine Norrell and Torrie Gilleland for sharing this post.

We Can Have Self-Control Because God is in Control

We Can Have Self-Control Because God is in Control

My husband Heath and I have been married for 10 years now, and when we were just dating back in 2011 I was the full time assistant manager at maurices. I worked there for 4 years, and during that time one of the requirements was to offer the option of signing up for the credit card to every single one of our customers. And if you know me very well, you know I love to SHOP, and being immersed in an environment of new clothes all the time did not help my self-control in regards to my card swiping abilities. We were encouraged to wear current clothes there to be a walking mannequin to the customers (makes sense, right?) My manager at the time talked me into getting the credit card (my first one ever) and from an innocent place, I truly thought I could use it and pay it off on paydays. Full disclosure – did I ask my husband if he thought that credit card was a good idea? NOPE. I want to encourage you here: our husbands often provide wisdom when our brains want to act impulsively (the opposite of self-control, I might add). More on that later though. 

We have been learning this year in 2 Peter chapter 1 that God has given us the ability to share in his divine nature (verse 4) but keep reading! The rest of the passage says we are able to escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires through these precious promises. 

Don’t you think human (aka fleshly) desires are the biggest cause for us to deliberately choose to not have self-control and just live on impulse? Human desires like keeping up with the Jones’, upholding an image we really don’t have or that we think we need, thinking we constantly need to have all the brand new stuff, when in reality we need to be content with what we have. 

I mean think about it; when we actually slow down, take a deep breath, and give ourselves time to truly assess something, we typically end up making a better choice simply because we are allowing not only our own minds to process, but we are allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to us regarding the situation. And like verse 6 says in our scripture, we are to supplement our knowledge with self-control and our self-control with patient endurance (aka perseverance). I don’t think that was said in that order on accident. 

So more on my story; I got a credit card without talking with my husband first. Before getting it, I honestly already shopped way too much and I thought a credit card would somehow help our paycheck to paycheck finances we were living with (and boy was I wrong.) 

Growing up, I shopped until I dropped with family members and friends, and often. It was all I had ever known, and I never really knew it was supposed to be or could be different. And I’ve learned now that there’s a better way. 

As a woman, shopping is one of those things that I *think* will make me feel better, and it might for a moment, but in the end I usually just get mad that I impulsively bought something that I may or may not have needed, spent money we could have used somewhere else or saved, and then end up frustrated that I feel like I have to hide it from my husband because of that, instead of remembering that my joy comes from Christ alone. Doesn’t that sound exhausting?

Most times when it feels like we are lacking self-control, we are simply not dwelling in God’s precious promises and his divine nature. We’ve allowed those human desires to take root and let the enemy convince us that our ways are better. 

Often times, having self-control can seem impossible, whether you’re a woman who struggles with impulse buying and shopping behind your husband’s back, or if you struggle with over eating or turning to other things for comfort in moments of distress or overwhelm. 

In whatever area you struggle with self-control in, God is asking you to let Christ rule as King in your heart. We can have self-control because God is in control.

If I can tell you anything about my past experience today, it’s that I wish I had been more vulnerable to share my struggles with other women in our church. I was ashamed and I allowed the enemy to convince me that no other Godly woman I knew could possibly be struggling in this area like I was. I just needed to suck it up and deal with it on my own. That is a big fat lie my friends, and no matter what your struggle is regarding self-control, there is someone out there who can help you, pray for you, and provide practical resources to allow you to work through whatever it is. 

Upon my confession to my husband about the debt I had developed with my credit card, I realized I needed to truly surrender to what the Bible says about wives being submissive to their husbands. I learned that true self-control comes from a surrendered heart, and that I honestly needed to surrender to the obedience of Christ so that I could experience the fullness of God’s promises (which, like our scripture says, is our own ability to live in God’s divine nature because it’s our own). 

I want to encourage you today to be honest with yourself. Maybe you need to admit there’s an area of your life where you need God’s help in applying and practicing self-control. My advice to you is to share that with someone you trust and then surrender it to the Lord in prayer together. We have the King of Kings on our side and the opportunity to allow Him to rule in our hearts. Remember, self-control comes from a surrendered heart, and we can have self-control because God is in control. 

We would like to thank Paige Keller for sharing this post.

Self-Control is All About Yielding

Self-Control is All About Yielding

The definition of control in the dictionary is “to exercise restraint or direction over.”  Some synonyms are “dominate” and “command”.  That seems to mean that self-control would be how we exercise restraint over ourselves.  

At first glance, it looks like self-control is me taking the bull by the horns and using my willpower to do the right things and stop doing the wrong things.  I found out I can do that – with some things. 

Outward signs of self-control are the easiest to achieve.  However, self-control is more than just “being good”.  Even when I was lost, I could “be good” in front of people like my mom or my grandmother, or people at church.     

How many of you know that we can hold it together on the outside, at church or in public, when there is still a lot of out-of-control stuff happening behind closed doors or in our hearts and minds?  Trying to present a nice front for other people is not going to work for long.  

Self-control is my will yielding to His will by His power.

After Kelly and I were married, I really struggled with controlling my tongue.  If we had an argument, I would say we should get a divorce.  I never meant it, and I KNEW this was not God’s will, but words seemingly just rolled out of my mouth.  I know that I hurt him many times when all that was going on.  Here I was, a pastor’s wife, and I was yielding to my hormones and my sharp tongue!  I felt miserable and guilty almost all the time, and I stayed under condemnation because I didn’t seem to know how to stop this cycle. It was all about yielding – to the evil words, to bad temper, to feelings. 

God has the answer for us.

Self-control is my will, my hormones, my feelings, and my temper yielding to His will by His power.  

The book of Romans has so much to say about the issue of control.   

Romans 6:12-13 says, “Do not let sin control the way you live.  Do not give in to sinful desires.  Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin.”   

That’s good!  That’s what I want to do!  How?   

13b goes on, “Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have a new life.  So, use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” 

Instead of giving in, or yielding, to my smart mouth, I must give my mouth completely to God!  And that’s going to take some discipline on my part. 

It takes practice to be able to continually yield any part of our bodies to the Holy Spirit instead of yielding to our old nature.  And that practice is called discipline.  When discipline is required for something, I’ve learned that the enemy comes in with his lies to tell us things like: 

  • This is just the way you are. 
  • You’ve already made too many mistakes. 
  • You will never be able to stop this. 

The enemy says these same lies, whatever it is that you are trying to overcome.  

Condemnation is another tool of the enemy to keep us from turning to God and from yielding to the Holy Spirit.  Even a person who is saved can be living under condemnation when they have not received the truth about the gift of grace.  Each time I failed, I developed a worse and worse opinion of myself.  I thought that I would eventually drive my husband away, and I didn’t know what to do about it.  He always forgave me, but I feared that I had done irreparable damage to our marriage.  Something had to stop the cycle! 

I had been so focused on what I was doing wrong that I could not overcome it!  When we spend so much of our time thinking about the sins we have committed and worrying about how to make ourselves stop doing them, we are dominated by our sinful nature.  We are not living in the freedom from sin that we have in Christ. 

Letting go of condemnation and receiving forgiveness is a big part of yielding to the Holy Spirit.  It removes our focus from our sins and places our focus on who we are in Christ.  Then we can yield to the Spirit and not to our fears or condemnation. 

The key to self-control is yielding everything I understand about my mind, my will, my emotions, and every part of me to everything I understand about God by power of the Holy Spirit.  Self-control is living in the freedom of Christ!

We want to thank Sheri Warren for sharing this post.

My Life is Not My Own

My Life is Not My Own

In worship yesterday, there were two lines in two different songs that moved me to tears. I just couldn’t stop crying. I’ve been thinking about those lines ever since…

“I need you more than the air that I breathe.”

“You’re never gonna let me down.”

My tears weren’t sad tears or happy tears. They were overwhelmed-by-the-goodness-of-God tears. 

It’s good for us to be reminded that we need Him. Desperately. It’s the most vulnerable place to be to need Someone more than something that keeps our lungs filled to stay alive. But here in this season, I really do need Him more than the air I breathe. I don’t want to just stay alive…I want to live

I’ve been thinking a lot about this verse. It was a prayer that Jeremiah prayed. 

“I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course.” Jeremiah 10:23

Our lives are not our own. When we chose Him, we chose to lay it all down. Our plans. Our dreams. Our rights. Our everything. We don’t like to think much about this truth. When the Apostle Paul says, “To live is Christ, to die is gain”, it’s much easier to skim past that verse than to count the cost of living it out. 

The theme for this month in our women’s ministry is self-control and what I’ve come to realize is that I don’t struggle with self-control when I’m fully aware that my life is not my own. If my life isn’t my own, there’s nothing for me to control. But when I start losing sight of this truth, when I start taking the helm of my life, I begin to spin out of control. 

“You keep her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because she trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

I have always loved this verse. I memorized it this way…with her and she instead of him and he. God woke me up with this verse a couple of weeks ago, so I decided to dig a little deeper into its meaning. The Hebrew word for mind in this verse could also be translated as mindset or frame of mind. This word also means pottery formed by the potter. We could paraphrase the verse this way…

You keep her in perfect peace who’s settled that she is the clay, and You are the potter, because she trusts You. 

Self-control isn’t about taking control; it’s about releasing it. But not to just anyone…to Someone. The Someone that is “never gonna let us down.” He’s the potter. We’re the clay. He’s the peace-giver. We’re the peace-receiver. 

If this isn’t a truth that we meditate on daily, we’ll drift from the awareness of it. I know this all too well. When my mom died, I didn’t think there would ever be a day that would go by that I wouldn’t think of her. But after 33 years of being without her, there are many days that, sadly, I don’t remember her at all. 

Several months ago, my Dad and stepmom gave me a bag they found with some of my mom’s needlework projects. When I picked this one up, I couldn’t help but run my finger over each colorful stitch, knowing she had touched the thread too.

What was she thinking about each time her needle plunged up and down through the fabric? Surely, she was thinking of me and my sister as she stitched each word. As I ran my finger over them, it connected me to her in a way I haven’t felt connected to her in years. 

So, early this morning, I decided to go outside and plant my bare feet in the grass. His creation. I wanted to touch something He had touched. To feel connected to Him. 

There was no trace of the sun on the horizon and there were still stars in the sky over our quiet corner of the country. The dew was cold and refreshing under my feet and the only sound I could hear was the whir of the well motor in the field across the road and then there it was…the awareness.

The awareness that He is big, and I am small, and yet, He’s near

The awareness that He is in control, and I am not, and yet, I’m free

The awareness that He is the potter, and I am the clay, and yet, I’m at peace

He gave me life and breathed His breath into my lungs, and I am most aware in this moment that my life is not my own, and yet, I’m truly living.

We would like to thank Amber Curry for sharing this post.

Giving God Control

Giving God Control

Do you feel like you are in control of your life or are things controlling you? Most of us deal with some sort of “vise” that seems to take control of us if we aren’t careful. It could be that you have lost control by spending too much, eating too much, drinking too much, scrolling social media too much, exercising too much, and even watching too much tv. But did you know that God has given us everything we need to have self-control?

All year, we have focused on the following verses:

2 Peter 1:5-9 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Notice, since God has made His power available to us and has given us everything we need for a life of holiness, that means we can have self-control as Christians. It’s not an impossible task.

We also see from this passage that self-control is part of a chain of qualities that we should have in our lives and should grow in. That’s what Peter means when he speaks of possessing those “qualities in increasing measure.” We should take heart in realizing that all of us experience this process of growth. None of us have finally arrived. We’re all on the same journey together as we grow in these qualities, including self-control!

Exercise is not a sin. Scrolling social media is not a sin. Shopping is not a sin. However, anything that controls us can cause us to stumble. I don’t believe God wants to shame us or make us feel guilty about doing any of these things. However, when we put all those things BEFORE God, then we aren’t growing in our relationship TO HIM!

When we become a follower of Christ, that doesn’t take away everything that controls us. But the Bible reminds us that the world no longer controls us, but He who lives in us leads and guides us. 

Ephesians 4:22-24 “in reference to your former way of life, you are to rid yourselves of the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you are to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

 I want to give you practical ways to help you when you want to gain control over these areas:

These suggestions are not exhaustive, but here are a few practical ideas for exercising godly self-control, as seen in Scripture:

Step 1. Renew your mind through God’s Word. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

Step 2. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s help. “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him…and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:16,17-19).

Step 3. Confess your habits to God and others. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).  Look to Scripture or people in your life who lived a life of self-control. Ask yourself: what made them different? What kinds of habits did they include in their lives? 

Step 4. Identify and remove your triggers. “…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

Step 5: Develop a plan: Develop an action plan to help you overcome those areas where you need to have self-control. Be as specific as possible. Use apps when necessary. Find people who will hold you accountable. Look for people who are going to be tough and who you know will help you stick to your action plan.

Step 6. Remember the gospel when you fail. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Praise God for the magnification of his grace in our weakness, as we pursue the important exercise of self-control, which is highly glorifying to him and the wonder of his eternal gospel! 

When you realize that you aren’t giving control of your life to Christ, it can lead to a path of destruction. You will spend time seeking after worldly desires instead of Godly desires.

But when you surrender your life to Christ, you will begin to see the fruit of the Holy Spirit in all areas of your life. And just like the verse in Peter that we’ve been studying all year, His (Christ’s) divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

We want to thank Vickie Young for sharing this post.

Love People, Period.

Love People, Period.

Brotherly love…. as I ponder what this really means I can’t help but wonder what the disciples must have thought and felt as they watched Jesus model this before them. In their day and time, to be humble was regarded as distasteful by the pagan world. Pride was more highly prized. So, this concept of showing brotherly love was new and very different. But they watched Jesus walk this out before their very eyes!

I decided to look up the definitions of brotherly love and came across this one that stood out to me. Brotherly Love: feelings of compassion toward one’s fellow humans. When you take a few minutes to stop and look around, or pay attention to the things going on in the world, do you see or sense brotherly love? Why not? As followers of Jesus our world should look much different!

1 Corinthians 13:1-8,13 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” In other words, our lip service is just a bunch of irritating noise! “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. So now faith, hope and love, abide all three, but the greatest of these is love.” When we take time to invest in people, because Christ lives in us, He comes flowing out of us in love for others!

God is love. Jesus modeled love. One of the things Jesus said to His disciples is found in John 15:9-17: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”

Did you catch that last sentence? “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” First, I want to be a friend of God, not His enemy. Second, this was not a request! As disciples of Jesus, we are commanded to love everyone! When we walk in obedience to Jesus, others are drawn to Him. In John 13:34–35 Jesus is telling the disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another”. Love must be the distinguishing mark of Jesus’ disciples. Our world will begin to look very different if we show brotherly love to all people!

Colossians 3:12–14 says, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all this put-on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” People are messy! Relationships are hard. But the Spirit of Jesus who lives in you will flow through you and help you love others with a pure heart! 1 Peter 1:22

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn is to love people, period, no matter what! Love them where they are for who they are with no strings attached and no expectations. That means even if they don’t love me back, I am commanded to show brotherly love. I am to treat people like I want to be treated, no matter how they treat me. Leviticus 19:18

Mark 12:30–31 ‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. If we profess to be a disciple of Jesus, we are commanded to love!

We have lost people who need a relationship with Jesus all around us. He showed us His love when He gave his life for us. We can show others His love when we love like Jesus does!

We want to thank Janie Keller for sharing this post.

Quality Kindness

Quality Kindness

Kindness by the very definition is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. That word quality has always stuck out to me. When we imagine anything of materialistic possession, we tend to lean to the cliche of “Quality vs Quantity.” The quality of our kindness is equally important to the quantity of people we come into contact with on a daily basis. Being friendly seems easy enough but when someone is not being friendly toward us, it takes that extra nudge from the Holy Spirit to say, “today I will not give in to flesh and continue to walk in kindness.” Generosity is so much more than purchasing that morning coffee for the car behind you. Being considerate of others places us in line with obedience to the Lord calling us to be selfless.

I love reading my bible in The Message translation. It always hits in just a different way. Romans 12: 9-10 says Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.” Whew, that’s so good! Love from the center of who you are! Out of the abundance of your heart, soul, depths of it all, pour out your love to others. God says “run” from evil and hold on for dear life to what is good. 

In our home, we recently had this very issue come up. Around spring break, we knew God was calling us to pull our boys out of public school and place them on a homeschool curriculum. There were many things lacking in the district they were in, and peace needed to be restored in our home. They had so many questions. “Mom, what do we do if we see our old friends? What if the bullies come up to us in the store?” “How do I answer if my teachers ask me what’s wrong and why we left?” My answer was the same with each question, “Baby Love, you just be kind. Do not respond with hateful comments. Kind words and kind responses. The Bible says a kind answer will turn away wrath, so just be nice.” 

As they now get up and get ready for the day, they say this scripture over themselves, “I choose to put on (shirt) compassion, (pants) kindness, (socks) humility, (shoes) gentleness, and (hair) patience.” Colossians 3:12. This is their daily confession. As we prepare for another day, starting it this way just sets the tone for who they come into contact with. 

The bible calls all believers brothers and sisters in Christ, and in John 13:34 Jesus gives the commandment to love each other just as He had loved those surrounding Him. In this chapter, first, Jesus washes the feet of the disciples. Then He talks about His betrayal, and in the verse where he is telling us to love just as He did, He also gives a glimpse in how one of His beloved followers will deny Him.

Ouch! That one hurts!! Jesus is sitting there telling us to love our brothers and sisters so deeply with the same love as He gave to us, knowing there will be days where we may say or do something we regret. Maybe just like in Peter’s case, we will say those things or do those actions more than one time in the same day. However, there’s always grace in the kindness we show to others. There’s always mercy in the forgiveness of our hearts when we show that kindness and it isn’t received with its proper intention. Each day is a challenge. God knew it would be. But by choosing to cover ourselves in the most beautiful attributes He gave us and beginning our days with, “Today, I will Love like Jesus,” those days won’t be perfect, but each one will be better than the day before. Every interaction we have is another opportunity to show the love of the Father. In actions, in words, in reaction, in silence. It’s all in the choice to be kind.

We want to thank Ashton Riddle for sharing this post.

Love One Another

Love One Another

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, KINDNESS, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Galatians 5:34-35

Brotherly kindness. That brings so many things to my mind. Some are big, some are small, but all touch someone’s life.  

The example of brotherly kindness that came to my mind first was the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-37. When the expert of the law asked Jesus “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”, Jesus asked him what was written in the law. The answer was, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’, and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  That’s when Jesus shared the parable of the Samaritan helping the injured man on the road. Three people came upon the beaten man who was half dead-a Priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan.  It was the Samaritan who showed true brotherly kindness to the man. He took care of him and paid for a place for him to heal. The Samaritan loved this stranger with all his heart, all his soul, all his strength, and all his mind. To me, this is a huge example of brotherly kindness.

The second command was to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. If we stop to think about this, do we really do that, or even attempt that? In this day and time showing brotherly kindness has taken a backseat to self. With social media we feel the freedom to say or respond to things anyway we want to. We spew hatred, judgement, and our own agendas with words we would never say to that person’s face. We feel like we have a “right” to share what we think. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” If we truly shared brotherly kindness with each other, there would not be so much division in our country, our state, our community or our families.  

So, how do we show brotherly kindness?  It doesn’t have to be as big as the story of the Good Samaritan.  It could be as simple as smiling at a stranger we pass in Walmart. It could be opening a door or holding a door open for someone. It could be slowing down to allow someone to enter your lane of traffic (and not yelling at them to speed up). It could be telling the customer service representative to have a blessed day, especially after they have dealt with a long line of customers. And the list could go on.

I personally like to show brotherly kindness with a smile. I like to smile. I like to see other people respond with a smile. It was so hard for me during Covid when everyone was required to wear a mask. I couldn’t see people’s smiles and they couldn’t see mine. I’m so glad those days are past. Your act of brotherly kindness might be a handshake, a word of comfort, serving someone a cup of coffee, rocking a baby in Kid City, etc. The list is endless. Find your gift of sharing brotherly kindness. John 4:32 says, “A new command I give you. Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciple, if you love one another.” Your act of brotherly kindness could change the world-one person at a time.

We want to thank Hope Warren for sharing this post.

Cool to be Kind

Cool to be Kind

It’s cool to be kind. Such a popular quote to put on a T-shirt. As a teacher and mom, I love this quote. Out of the striving to be “cool” I see amongst the kids, I think initiating kindness should always be the first step, but sometimes we fall short. Today I want to talk about how we implement kindness in our everyday life to express to those around us they are loved and chosen.

The first and most powerful way we implement kindness is through the words we speak.

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Proverbs 16:24 NIV

I know when I speak, words of kindness aren’t always coming out of my mouth. I feel frustration; people aren’t perfect, and neither am I, but the Bible tells us the importance of our words. This specific verse tells us our words bring healing to the bones. I want others to be healed. I want the kindness that flows out of my mouth to lead souls to Christ. I want the children who surround me to be led to the feet of Jesus every time I speak. I want them to know it’s “cool to be kind” based on the life changing words that come out of my mouth. I want the desire of gossip to flee in the name of Jesus and unity to be spoken over every circumstance I find myself in. We as women have a big role to play in implementing kindness in our families, our jobs, our community. Let’s start with our words.

Another way we implement kindness is through the way we act.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Colossians 3:12

We are God’s chosen people set out to lead others to Christ. What a cool privilege we have! When I wake up and get dressed, not only do I want to clothe myself physically, but I want to clothe myself spiritually as well. I want to prepare myself in such a way that I am ready to face adversity with fruitfulness. I want to face negativity with positivity. I want to face an unkind world with kindness.

We are not only surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ, but we are also surrounded by the lost. If one lost sheep can find their home in Jesus Christ through my kindness, then every bit of effort to watch my words and my actions will be worth it.

It’s cool to be kind!

We want to thank Sarah Perry for sharing this post.