Reflecting on the Scriptures: Busyness

Busyness. What is busyness? One definition is when an activity is lively but meaningless. That’s how I feel sometimes. Life seems so busy but are the activities meaningful or meaningless – or a mixture of both? Recently, I have let busyness interfere with my studying God’s Word and writing to share from the Scriptures.

     Are you busy?
          Are you working?
               Are you idle?
                     What are you busy doing?
                          Work? Home? Kids? Church?

Let’s talk about work. How would you define work? Activity that is productive and meaningful. Is it more of a  performance of duty? Something you must do. Can you find joy in work tasks? (This sounds like the topic of another blog post!)

What does it mean to be idle? Inactive. Not working. Pass the time by doing nothing. Can you be busy by being idle? In other words, busy doing nothing.

Let’s look at verses from the Bible that compare being idle and working to help us reflect on what type of person we should and want to be.

Idle:

Proverbs 19:15: Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless go hungry.
What does shiftless mean? Dishonest? Idle? Lazy? How does laziness bring on deep sleep? Do you think it’s a peaceful sleep? When do you sleep the best – when you’ve been idle or when you have worked hard?

Matthew 12:36: But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every empty word they have spoken.
What kind of words? Empty words. Hollow words. How does it make you feel knowing that you will be accountable for every word you have spoken on the Day of Judgment? Does that make you think twice about the words you speak and how they are spoken?

I Timothy 5:13: Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to.

Wow! These are powerful words. Let’s break this verse apart.

  • They get into the habit of being idle. If you can let being idle become a habit, can you make being a worker a habit?
  • Going about house to house. This makes me think that they had nothing else productive to do and just wandered about. What did this bring about?
  • They become idlers and busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they shouldn’t. Gossip? Slander? Empty words?

I don’t want to reflect on my words and actions and discover that they show me as being idle and passing the time by doing nothing. How do we ensure we are workers and productive and not just busy with activities that are meaningless?

Work:

Proverbs 16:3: Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
Commit to the Lord and He will establish your plans. God is in control even though we sometimes try to limit Him by making our own plans thinking that we know best.

In Ecclesiastes 3:17: King Solomon said, “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.”
We will all be judged. Do you ever feel that some people who may be wicked or unfaithful never face consequences of their actions? But they will, won’t they. One day. With God’s judgment – not ours!

John 17:4: Jesus speaking to God says, I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
Can you say these words to God? I (insert your name) have brought glory on earth to you God and finished the work you gave me. What kind of work has God given you? How do you know? Are you searching for an activity that will glorify God?

Think about the words in Matthew 5:14. I challenge each of you and myself to be “…the light of the world.” Let’s have our words and actions shine just as that “town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Commit, be active, shine!

Proverbs 16_3 MV_Busy_Idle_Work

Peace and Strength from the Scriptures

My last post was about peace and the plan was to have two or three posts that week on peace. However, it seemed that so many things began to happen in my life that prevented me from having peace in my life. I’m glad to be focused again and want to share several verses that helped me this week.

Slide1

Do others think of you as a peacemaker? How would you describe someone that you consider a peacemaker? Would you describe yourself as a peacemaker? If not, why not?

Slide4

 

 

How important is it to have peace in a house? In a family? In a church? In a community? Can we truthfully say that we hope for peace for everyone? Family, friends, neighbors, and enemies?

 
I find comfort in these verses, because as Jesus shared, the world will not give us peace.

Slide2

The Scriptures tell us to not be afraid nor to let our hearts be troubled. There are so many distractions in the world around us that it is difficult to find quiet and peace except through Christ. How is that possible? Because Christ has overcome the world!
Slide3

 

Take some time to think about what peace in your life means to you and whether or not you have it? If you don’t, how can you search for and find that peace?

Next topic – busyness!
Something that can really keep us from having peace in our lives!

 

Reflecting on the Scriptures: Peace

Our word for Strengthen through the Scriptures is ‘peace.’ How do you define ‘peace?’ Harmony? Free from chaos? Lack of disagreement? Do you feel at peace right now – this very minute? How do you find peace in times of chaos or discomfort? Be honest. Don’t give the answer that you think you should.

Romans 8:28 is a verse that I keep in my heart. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I can keep those words in my heart and understand them in my head, but sometimes that means I have to wait for God’s plan. The Bible tells us to be courageous and wait. I must admit when I am waiting, the feeling of peace is NOT within me! Then I have to remember John 16:33.  Jesus said, I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Let’s start the week with a look at Peace in the Proverbs.

 Proverbs 3:1-2
My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.

 Proverbs 3:17
Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.

Did you notice the ALL in that verse? ALL of her paths are peace!

Proverbs 12:20
Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.

Do you promote peace? Is promoting a high priority for you? There are so many that live for drama in their lives and sharing it with others. We should always aim to promote peace in our lives and the lives of others.

Proverbs 14:30
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Proverbs 17:1
Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.

Have you ever had a meal with family or friends that was full of contention and strife? How did you feel during the meal…and after?

Proverbs 29:17
Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.

This verse hits at home and goes back to God’s plan of giving instruction to our children. Is your life as a parent always going to be peaceful? Of course not. However, with teaching and disciplining your children will be more like to bring peace to you rather than turmoil.

Our challenge this week is simple and straight-forward. Look for peace in your life. Share with others how you found that peace and how they can find it also. Our memory verse this week can help us meet this challenge.

John16_33_Peace MV

Have a wonderfully, peace-filled week.

Kim_Oval

Wrapping Up: Kindness

We have focused on two words this week: kindness and love. In the Old Testament, 2 Samuel 9:3 states: The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.” What inspired this act of kindness toward Jonathan? Love was the inspiration. This makes me think of the phrase ‘loving kindness.’

In Luke 6:35, Jesus taught:  But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

Love your enemies? Do good for your enemies? Lend to your enemies? Don’t expect anything in return from your enemies? Do all of those things seem easy to do? What is our reward to reaching outside of our comfort zone and doing them? A great reward and being children of the Most High BECAUSE God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. In the next verse we read: Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:36). God is our example to be merciful and kind to everyone – family, friends, and enemies!

To help review the Scriptures that we have read this week, you can download, print, or find key words on the Kindness word search. Click here:  Kindness Word Search.

Have a blessed weekend. See you on Monday for our next Strength from the Scriptures study.

Kim_Oval

Strength from the Scriptures: Kindness

Happy Wednesday to All!

Remember that our discussion today is on the different kinds of kindness. Let’s begin by looking at Acts 20:35: In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” The use of ‘kind’ in the sentence is not the same definition that we used earlier. Here it means a type or variety of hard work. However, let at the ‘kind of hard work’ discussed: help the weak which is a blessing of being able to give to other. Isn’t that an example of kindness?

Can you show kindness to strangers? How can you show kindness to strangers? In Leviticus 19:34, we read: The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God. Isn’t this the same message that we discussed earlier – love your neighbor as yourself? Now, we are told to love those residing among us – strangers. Let’s flip over to the New Testament where Jesus shares: For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in… (Matthew 25:35)  Which is easier to show kindness toward – a stranger or a friend or family member? Why do you think this is?

Next, let’s move to the book of Galatians to see an example of a kindness that helps to bear the hardships and difficulties those around us may be experiencing. Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 

  • How do we restore the person caught in sin?
  • Why should we watch ourselves?
  • What happens when we carry each other’s burdens? (Have you ever thought about this in the reverse? You should be willing to share your burdens with also, shouldn’t you?)

Galatians 6:10 continues by telling us that as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Opportunity. Do good. All people.

Look around and discover how you can extend simple kindness to someone today and every day this week. Maybe they are carrying a burden, big or small, that you can help lighten with an act of kindness. Look for those opportunities where you can show kindness to those around you – to ALL people.

Keep working on our memory passage. It’s longer this week but the message is so important to each of us. Some of you may already have these verses written on your heart. That should be the goal for all of us.

Praying for each you.

Kim_Oval

Reflecting on the Scriptures: Kindness

Hello Friends!

How many of you have been invited to play the game where you take the first letter of your name and find an adjective that starts with that letter AND describes you? Is there a certain adjective that you always use? How does it describe you? My name begins with a ‘K.’ What do you include for a ‘K?’ I usually add the word, ‘kind.’ How would you define the word ‘kind ‘to’ someone? Friendly? Benevolent? Nice?

When a group of young children are playing together, what phrase is often said? ‘Be nice.’ Be nice to your…friends…brother…sister…cousins…the list goes on and on. What is expected of those children to ‘be nice’ to the other children? Do you ever look at those in the world around you and wonder what it would be like if everyone treated everyone nicely? What would the world look like if we were ALL nice to EVERYONE?

What did Jesus answer in Mark 12:29-31 when asked what the greatest commandment was?  “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Think about that: loving your neighbor as yourself. Think about the people in your close circle of family and friends and those that you worship with and what about the leaders in both business and government. Can you imagine what the world would be like if EVERYONE loved God will ALL of their hearts, souls, minds, and strengths? What if EVERYONE loved their neighbors as themselves?

Mistrust, envy, and hatred of others is nothing new. As Solomon shared – they is nothing new under the sun. But do we just use that as an excuse and dismiss the unkind actions of those around us – or even our own unkind actions?

Our memory passage for this week is: 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mark 12_30_3131 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Mark 12: 30-31. This passage is also our challenge for the week. Stop often and reflect on your own thoughts and actions. Are you demonstrating that you love God with ALL your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Not just one or two of these but all four! Secondly, when you are reflecting, ask yourself how you are showing love to your neighbor each day.

Come back on Wednesday to discuss the different types of kindness that are taught in the Scriptures.

Kim_Oval