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God’s Kindness


A.W. Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” I can tell you that usually it is an adjective or an attribute. So many think of God as a disciplinarian in the sky waiting for us to mess up so He can send us to hell. I don’t believe that description is true. Who would spend everything they have on something, then wait around and hope it fails? God paid for our sins with the death of His Son. That description doesn’t make sense. 

One that does, and we rarely discuss, is His kindness. It’s not usually how we choose to describe God, but it’s one of the most accurate descriptions of Him. He is kind to you and me because of how much He loves us. He is constantly doing things for our good, and we hardly give Him credit for it. Today, let’s reflect on God’s kindness and look for the areas where He’s been kind to us. You’ll find that He’s shown you a lot more kindness than He has wrath. 

Here’s some Bible verses that discuss His kindness. 

1. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
Ephesians 1:6-8 NLT

2. But You, O GOD, the Lord, show kindness to me, for Your name’s sake; Because Your lovingkindness (faithfulness, compassion) is good, O rescue me;
PSALM 109:21 AMP

3. As the scripture says, “He gives generously to the needy; his kindness lasts forever.”
2 Corinthians 9:9 GNT

4. As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it.
2 Corinthians 6:1 NLT

5. How happy are the people who worship you with songs, who live in the light of your kindness!
Psalm 89:15 GNT

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Spiritual Discipline 

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.


I was visiting someone who was working on a LEGO project with his kids. They had hundreds of LEGO pieces neatly arranged on their table and a step by step guide. I watched as they looked at each step, found the pieces, decided where they went, put them on there and moved on to the next step. Each step took a while because you had to find the right pieces in the right color and then look at a cartoon drawing of where they went to help them place them.

After watching them build for about twenty minutes, I began to get curious. What were they building? I couldn’t tell from where they were in the project. They showed me the picture on the box so I could see the final outcome. I looked at it and where they were, and quickly realized this was going to take days to build. It was not your average LEGO building project. It was going to take multiple steps to get through it along with time and dedication. It reminded me of the spiritual discipline it takes to walk by faith.

For many of us, God has put a dream in our heart, or has given us a promise of where He wants to take us. In essence, He’s shown us the picture on the box. We then have a series of steps to go through in order to achieve that picture. Each step takes time. First we have to get the courage to take the next step. Then we have to find the pieces of that step and find where they go. Once we get them in place, it can be a while before God shows us the next step. When He does, the process starts over. 

After a while of following the steps God has laid out for us, we can begin to see what He is doing and how those parts fit into the overall picture. In the beginning though, it’s tough to see how any of it relates to what God is doing, but these are the foundational pieces. If we don’t get these in the right place, the rest will not work. It takes spiritual discipline to follow the steps God gives us. That discipline produces the patience and endurance needed to get us where we’re going because it’s easy to want to quit along the way.

If you’re looking at your life and wondering what God is doing, ask to see the box. Let God remind you of the final outcome. To make something incredible, it requires a lot of small steps and intricate details. Don’t get so lost in the steps He has given you that you lose sight of what He wants to do in and with your life. Also don’t worry about the next step until you’ve completed this step. God will reveal each step in His time, not yours. Psalm 37:23 says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their life.” God knows the details of each step of your life. Trust Him and follow where He leads.

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Blindfolded


Several years ago, I used to have my classes take each other on trust walks. I would bring half the group to the front of the class, blindfold them, and then bring up the other half. The half that could see had to come stand in front of someone and then take them on a five minute walk through the building and the guide them back. The catch was that they couldn’t touch the other person. They had to do it all through voice directions while being around the rest of the group.

Trusting God often feels like that exercise. We often feel like we can’t see anything, we don’t know where we are going, and there are a lot of competing voices around. God asks us to trust Him, and to walk by faith instead of by sight. It can be very difficult at time to take those steps and to walk into the unknown when we can’t see. If we will trust Him, He will lead us into the life we were created for, and we will find peace. We just have to be willing to put the blindfold on.

Here are some Bible verses on trusting God.

1. You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3 GNT

2. Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD ’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. 
Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG

3. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.
Psalms 37:5 NLT

4. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.
Jeremiah 17:7 ESV

5. Trust in the Lord. Have faith, do not despair. Trust in the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 GNT

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The Blessing Thief

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

If I’m honest, I’d rather be a person who helps others than a person who receives help from others. It’s hard for me to accept help even when I need it. There have been times in my life though when I’ve needed help because I was unable to do what needed to be done. When others tried to help, I tried to push them away. Then one day, a person who was trying to help me said, “You’re robbing me of my blessing if you don’t let me help!” I had never thought of it like that.

I had forgotten that it is more blessed to give than to receive. I was definitely blessed by their giving, but I didn’t think about the blessing on the other side. I know they weren’t doing it for the blessing, but in my refusal, I was robbing them of what they would have received from God for helping me. Every act of service gets two blessings. By declining my blessing (them helping me), I was denying them theirs. So why do we reject help?

For me, I grew up in a family that needed the help of others often. God was always faithful to us and people showed up at the right times. I’ll never forget one family that helped me in particular. As they gave me a tremendous gift, I asked how I could repay them. They said, “One day when you’re able, do the same for others.” I decided then and there that I wanted to be a person who helped others rather than a person who needed help. So when I need help, it takes me back to that time and the feelings of being the poor kid back.

In Matthew 10, Jesus was sending out the disciples to preach all over Israel. He told them not to take any money, which meant they would be dependent on other’s help. He knew that if we needed help, it would also keep us humble. In verse 41 He spoke a life changing truth when He said, “Accepting help is as good as giving help” (MSG). By accepting help from others, you are actually helping them. They get a blessing from your acceptance. Don’t deny or rob others of blessings because of your pride. Look at it as your way of helping them when you have nothing else to give. Don’t be a blessing thief.

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Embracing Our Weaknesses


I was speaking with a friend the other day, and I asked how his shoulder was recovering after his replacement surgery. He said it was improving, but now he was being treated for Tennis Elbow in the other arm. It turns out that while he was having trouble with his shoulder, he was overcompensating with his other arm to make up for it. Now it has created a whole new problem that will require more work to correct.

Each of us have strengths and weaknesses. Like my friend, we try to overcompensate for our weaknesses. That’s not God’s plan for us. Our weaknesses remind us of our need to rely on Him in our lives. When we try to bypass Him no do things on our own, we create more problems in our life. We need to learn to embrace our weaknesses, and allow them to push us to rely on God more in our lives. 

Here are some Bible verses about trusting God through our weaknesses.

1. We don’t just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them.
2 Corinthians 13:9 MSG

2. If I must boast, I will boast of the things that reveal my weakness [the things by which I am made weak in the eyes of my opponents].
2 CORINTHIANS 11:30 AMP

3. God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful.
1 Corinthians 1:27 GNT

4. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT

5. And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
Hebrews 11:32-34 ESV

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Releasing Burdens


My son thinks he can do anything I can do. I was moving some heavy bags recently, and he wanted to move one. He struggled with it as he pulled and pushed on it. I offered my help, but he refused. “He said, “I got it, Dada. I can do it.” I replied, “I know you can, but I can do it more easily.” He still refused. He wanted to do it. He wore himself out trying to do it. I don’t know if it was my stubbornness or my pride that he got that compelled him to keep doing it alone. Either way, he refused my help.

As I watched him, I couldn’t help but think how often I am that way towards God. I often carry these heavy burdens. They’re not necessarily ones that God gave me. They’re just ones that I’ve picked up and have tried to carry. I’ve tried pulling them and pushing them, all the while wearing myself out. God whispers, “Let me take that,” but I refuse. “I can do it, God,” i say. I can imagine him shaking His head like I do.

It could be my stubbornness or my pride that keeps me from handing my burdens over to the Lord, but either way it’s wrong. When I refuse to give my burdens to the Lord, I’m telling Him that I don’t need Him. I’m telling Him that I can do anything He can do, and that’s a problem. We can’t do what God can do, but we’ve been trying to since Adam and Eve. We’ve got to let go of the things that weigh us down, wear us down and hold us back.

Psalm 55:22 says, “Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you” (NLT). One version says to release them. We have to be the ones who let go. God isn’t going to take them from us forcefully. He has already made the offer for us to cast them on Him. It’s now up to us to let go and to trust Him. Let God do what He does and quit trying to do His work for Him. Trust me, your life will be a lot better.

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The Perfectionist’s Problem


One of the first lessons I learned in writing is that it’s ok to send out a devotion with typos. I apologize to you for them, but it’s partly on purpose. I’m a perfectionist at heart. I like things to be a certain way. I don’t want you distracted by words that have been autocorrected into something I didn’t intend. I also want these devotions to be polished and have the finishing touches put on them so that it’s easy for you to read. However, if I wait until they’re perfect, I’d never put one on the website. 

“Perfect” is an illusion that creates procrastination. I can hide behind that word all I want, but really my perfectionism is my fear keeping me from hitting the publish button. I will never have this devotion or any other one perfect because I’m imperfect. I’ll never have all the words just right, the grammatical pieces in place or the setting just right. I can tweak them over and over again, but if I never hit the publish button, what good is it? 

I like how Ecclesiastes 11:4 puts this dilemma. It says, “If you wait until the wind and the weather are just right, you will never plant anything and never harvest anything” (GNT). That verse is a huge gut check to my perfectionism. Not hitting the publish button is akin to not planting anything. If I wait until everything is perfect and just right, I’ll never do what God called me to do. It’s a trap that many of us fall into.

As I was wresting with it early on, I was reading a book by Mark Batterson. He wrote that we get “ready, set, go” backwards. We should be more like “go, set, ready”. If God has asked you to do something, start doing it. You’ll never have everything just right or perfect. If you wait until the conditions are right, you’re going to still be standing on the starting line when you die. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to let my perfectionism keep me procrastinating my whole life. I’m sorry if these aren’t perfect, but neither am I. 

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