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.

Choose God’s Standard

Choose God’s Standard

Haven’t there been some great teachings on moral excellence this month? If you haven’t had chance, go back and listen online or read the blogs from this month, you will be encouraged. 

Choosing to have moral excellence is laying down my own agendas every day to my own moral standards and partaking in the divine nature we have been discussing about all year. 2 Peter 1:3 His 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. If I’m being honest, it can be hard, sometimes I let my standard of living be influenced by the world and not by the living scriptures. Sometimes there are even consequences to me choosing the worlds standards of living instead of God’s.

My husband and I lived the first five years of our marriage being swayed towards the world’s standard for how a husband and wife should live together.  Well, with the influence of the world came consequences. Two of them being that we were constantly bickering at each other, and we were not happy to be around each other. Around year 5 of marriage something changed though. We started church at Harvest and started to become partakers of His divine nature.

In the Bible story of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham pleaded with God to save his nephew Lot. The people from Sodom and Gomorrah were not living in moral excellence, but Lot was righteous, and God agreed to save him and his family (Genesis 18). At the end of chapter 19 when Lot and his family were trying to get out before the city was destroyed; something happens.

Genesis: 19:17 As soon as the angels had brought them out, one of them spoke. He said, “Run for your lives! Don’t look back! Don’t stop anywhere in the valley! Run to the mountains! If you don’t, you will be swept away!” 

The Angel of the Lord tells them not to look back or they will be swept away. In verse 25 & 26 you see a consequence of Lot’s wife not obeying what God commands of them. 

25 The Lord destroyed these cities and the whole valley. All the people who were living in the cities were wiped out. So were the plants in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back. When she did, she became a pillar made out of salt.

Lot’s wife chose to look back. It doesn’t say what she’s looking back to. Maybe her friends, her home, or maybe just curious, but whatever it was, she chooses to not obey God’s commands and she received a consequence for that. 

So, when you choose to live a moral life, try not to look back at your past, choose to take up the divine nature of Jesus Christ because obeying His commands always come with blessing. Read His word, build a relationship with Him and choose to stay on that path. 

And when you do look back, make a mistake, or fall back into that unmoral habit, because we do, repent for it. Repent simply means turning around and getting back in line with what Jesus wants for your life. 

My husband and I can still go back to the place where we were in those early years, but we quickly repent. We want to get back on track with the moral standard God wants for our marriage because we have seen blessings and fruit from that choice. Choosing God’s standard in your morals is always the best course to take for living the life He has intended for you. It’s also the best path to take to receive the blessings he has for you. 

We want to thank Bethany Williams for sharing this post.

Do What is Right & Avoid What Isn’t

Do What is Right & Avoid What Isn’t

I grew up being a check list gal. If you told me the rules, I could 100% do what you asked. In Church, I was a box checker for character, a rule follower. On the same note, I associated sin and repentance with guilt and shame. 

The moment I had someone explain to me that with repentance, we simply turn from, change our mind about the sin, and align our thoughts, desires, and heart with God, life seemed to make more sense. This deeper understanding in turn helped me in my convictions and ease of repentance. 

I have had the same issue with Moral excellence as a Christian. When I think of those words, my brain floods with everything I’ve ever done wrong, how I am not a “good enough” Christian. But if you actually look up virtue, or moral excellence, one definition is: “the quality of doing what is right, and avoiding what is wrong”

It’s simple. God asks us to do what is right and avoid what is wrong…. 

In our theme verse for the year, God asks us to live in moral excellence so that we can escape the corruption in this world because of sinful desires.  2 Peter 1:9 says, “For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.”

God calls us to do what is right. And he gives us the wisdom to discern

Do what is right. In how we speak to our children, our husbands, how we speak about people. In our work, in our hospitality. In what we watch on TV. What we share on Facebook. What we do in secret, and in the light. God asks us to do what is right, and avoid what isn’t. And when we misstep, he asks us to turn from, repent, and realign our mindset with God’s heart. 

We don’t have to stay stuck in guilt and shame. God has a fruitful joy filled life for us

God gives us a roadmap on how to get through life and experience his promises. That doesn’t mean hard times won’t happen, but he has graciously shared how we experience an abundant life because of HIM. When we choose what is wrong- it brings strife, conflict, exhaustion, frustration, and hardship. But if we choose to walk in what God has called us to, leaving our old ways behind daily, and always looking forward, striving for goodness and virtue… we can experience the life that God promised us.

My prayer for you is that you can shut out any guilt or shame of the past. REMEMBER you have been forgiven, and walk forward, striving for moral excellence so that you can experience the blessings of God, and be a blessing FROM God to others.

We want to thank Lori Johnson for sharing this post.

Do you have any tips for recovering after “putting your foot in your mouth” during conversation?

Do you have any tips for recovering after “putting your foot in your mouth” during conversation?

Let me tell you, you’re in GOOD company. 

Everyone has done this at one time or another. We all say things we regret and we’ve all “put our foot in our mouth”. 

The question is, what do we do after we’ve messed up and said the wrong thing?

First, we acknowledge it. The only way to change is to acknowledge where we’re at and move towards where we want to be. 

We also need to apologize and then move on. God forgives you, most people will understand and will forgive you and you must forgive yourself. 

One of my favorite verses I pray, most days is Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” 

Submitting my mouth to the Lord has helped me “think before I speak.”

Being aware of your tendencies, submitting to God and asking him to help you, and apologizing when you’ve made a mistake will make you a better communicator all around.

We would like to thank Julie Snellgrove for answering this question.

Christ-like Character

Christ-like Character

I have heard the term “moral excellence” many times throughout my life, but I never truly understood what it meant. In my mind, excellence was equal to perfection. Perfectionism and people pleasing have been struggles of mine for as long as I can remember. Because perfection is unattainable, living life in this mind set led to many insecurities, fear, and self-doubt, which led me to believe I could not make a difference in the kingdom. Instead of being bold and speaking up at times when I should have, it was easier to be invisible. When people don’t notice you, they don’t see your failures. I couldn’t be perfect, so I didn’t want to be seen.

Thankfully, through maturing in my walk with Christ and through discipleship, I have been letting down my “shield of invisibility”. I had a choice to make and was ready to step into who he created me to be. I could choose to partake of his divine nature or continue the path of pridefulness and perfectionism. If moral excellence doesn’t mean I need to be perfect, what does it mean? I’m going to be vulnerable and admit that it took a lot of prayer and diving deeper into the definitions of perfectionism and moral excellence for this blog before I truly began to see the difference between the two.  

What I discovered is perfection is striving to be better than everyone else, but moral excellence is striving to be better than what one already is. Perfection puts the focus on worldly characteristics whereas moral excellence puts the focus on building Christ-like character. Webster defines moral excellence as “the quality of doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong”.  In other words, living a life of moral excellence means living with virtue and integrity.

As followers of Christ, we are called to increase in moral excellence so we will not be “ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8). I don’t know about you, but I have spent too many years as ineffective and unfruitful. I would much rather grow in knowledge and virtue and have a heart open and ready to be used by the Lord. So where do we learn how to practice moral excellence? 

First, through the example of Jesus-the only one who is, and ever will be, perfect! The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Jesus and moral excellence is Matthew 4:1-11 when Jesus is tempted in the wilderness. Even through hunger and exhaustion, Jesus resisted temptation (and used scripture to do so).

Second, through being diligent about spending time in prayer and in God’s word. Jesus was able to use scripture in response to Satan’s temptations because he knew the word in his heart. Through reading God’s word and hiding it in our heart, we will learn what Christ-like character looks like and how to respond like Jesus against the corruption of the world.

Across the nation, there seems to be more and more churches teaching “Progressive Christianity”. If you are unfamiliar, this movement seeks to re-define or re-interpret the Bible and the Christian faith. There is also a Christian deconstruction trend all over social media-which has ultimately led to many abandoning their faith. Instead of doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong, so many have chosen to adopt the practices of the world. Peter writes “be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall” (2 Peter 1:10). We must consistently study God’s word, spend time with the Lord in prayer, and choose to stand for biblical truth. Not to show the world how “perfect” we are, but to show them who Jesus is. 

We want to thank Courtney Harper for sharing this post.

What are your favorite life verses that you hold on to?

What are your favorite life verses that you hold on to?

You asked, and we answered! Over the next few weeks we will be sharing some of the questions that were submitted during our 2022 Harvest Women’s Retreat, and the answers from some of the women in our church.

When I let fear start to creep in:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

When I become overwhelmed, I remind my self of who He is:

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:10-11 

When I doubt, I cry out:

… “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 

When I need a reminder of His faithfulness:

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth..” Psalm 121 

We want to thank Sandra Villa for answering this question.

Glorify God

Glorify God

The definition of moral excellence is doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. 

After looking up this definition I thought to myself, “oh yes, I do that”. I have stood strongly to my convictions. Growing up, I chose to strive for moral excellence because I wanted to be a good example to my 3 younger siblings. I withstood the pressures of high school and college without doing the bad things. But then I caught myself wondering what about now and felt God leading me to dig deeper. 

Moral excellence is the pursuit of the moral will of God in every area of life. Not just the big things. Do I do this? Do I show moral excellence in all things? Do my small children who are always watching see moral excellence in me? I found a definition that mediocrity is undeserving of blame but unworthy of praise. I don’t want to be that. I want to be morally excellent. 

In order to be morally excellent we need to have the desire to please and glorify God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 states, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 

To glorify God means we value Him and honor Him in our actions. God is glorified when we obey Him and live the way He calls us to live. I want others to see God in me. 

The desire to please and glorify God isn’t to earn His love but instead is because we love Him. 1 John 2:5 says, “But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.” 

God wants our willingness to do what he asks of us. He wants us to choose what is right and avoid what is wrong. God loves us and wants the best for us.  Making wise choices sows blessings now and for the future. “Be careful to obey all my commands, so that all will go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and pleasing to the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 12:28

Choosing moral excellence glorifies God, but it is also for our good. Let’s choose to glorify God in all things. 

We’d like to thank Bailey Adams for sharing this post.

How do you introduce a non-believing spouse into attending church, etc.?

How do you introduce a non-believing spouse into attending church, etc.?

You asked, and we answered! Over the next few weeks we will be sharing some of the questions that were submitted during our 2022 Harvest Women’s Retreat, and the answers from some of the women in our church.

There are probably many ways to introduce a non-believing spouse to attending church, but I feel the most effective way is through our life groups. The settings of our life groups are informal and a great place for fellowship and an introduction to people just like you and your spouse. Life groups and fellowship give a great opportunity to invite people to the church in a more comfortable atmosphere.

I would also like to add, there is no greater invitation than living a life of example to our spouses. Jesus is the greatest example of how we should approach an open invitation of salvation to people we love. Galatians 5 tells us about the fruits of the spirit that help us display Jesus in our homes and in our marriages. What does the heart of God look like? Patient? Kind? Gentle? Loving? I think these attributes help us draw our spouses into the open invitation of Jesus.

We would like to thank Crissy Urrutia for sharing this answer.