Prayers vs. Good Thoughts

Pet peeves.  We all have them.  Most of us have a long list of them.  I know I do.  Incorrect grammar drives me crazy.  Younger people being disrespectful always makes me want to correct them on the spot.  One of the biggies for me though is people saying “I am sending good (or positive) thoughts.”  What is that?  Explain it to me.

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How does one send a thought?  Do you put it in a box and send it?  No, that wouldn’t work.   I suppose in lieu of praying people believe this is the next best thing.  Perhaps for them it even is the best thing, but it is not for me.  I would much rather have and offer prayer.  In fact, scripture tells us to “Pray without ceasing.” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

Do you believe a person’s thoughts are powerful enough to change someone else’s life?  I don’t.  Do I believe prayer is that powerful?  Pull up a chair and let me tell you some first hand experiences.  Yes, prayer is absolutely that powerful and effective.  Why, because God is powerful.

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Several years ago I had a stroke.  The doctors said there was damage done to my eyes and I would always see bright flashing lights, like strobe lights.  Always meaning every minute of every day for the rest of my life.  To the doctors’ baffling surprise my eyesight improved almost back to normal.  I had an army of faithful prayer warriors praying for me.  God heard and answered our prayers.  No positive thoughts or vibes sent my way could have healed me.

Family members have had cancer literally disappear thanks to our healing Heavenly Father answering our prayers.  Lives have been saved, jobs secured, and babies added to our family all because we prayed and God answered.   Money miraculously became available to pay for food or important bills, all because of answered prayers.  Accidents were avoided, injuries not as severe, and diagnoses not fatal where first thought, all due to faithful praying family and friends.  God heard and answered.  Prayer makes a difference, a big difference.

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I encourage you to pray for one another instead of merely saying you are sending thoughts.  It is not difficult.  There is no special way to pray.  It is a conversation between you and your Creator.  He knows everything about you already, even what you are going to say.  Open your heart and just talk to God.  The more you pray, the more you will want to pray and the easier it will become.

Don’t get me wrong.  Positive thinking is important.  It makes a huge difference in a person’s day.  We all awake each day with the choice to be happy and see life with the glass half full or we could be grumpy and negatively say the glass is half empty.  I do believe in positive thinking, but I just don’t believe in sending positive thoughts.

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Speaking of thoughts, I hope this has given you something to ponder if you ask for or offer good or positive thoughts.  Honestly, I would rather not have someone say that to me except for the fact that I can pray for them.   If they aren’t praying, they are missing such a blessing.  We all need blessings and prayers.  We all need God.

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Strike the Mark Book Tour & Giveaway by Celebrate Lit

Today on my blog is a stop on the book tour for Strike the Mark by James W. Gill.  There is information on him, his book, the other stops, and his giveaway.  Don’t forget to enter so you might win.

My Thoughts

Strike The Mark is a no nonsense book on prayer.  Its subtitle says “Powerfully targeted prayers for victory and breakthrough.”  This nonfiction book says “prayers that strike the mark are specific prayers authorized by the Holy Spirit and endowed with divine power to accomplish the will of God in your life and for the needs of the world.”  Wow, heavy reading here.

The author included scripture as well as person stories to make his point.  I particularly liked that each chapter was closed with a prayer.  His writing was concise and for the most part easy to understand.  However, at times I felt like I was in a theology class and my mind wandered.

There are twelve chapter in this book.  Dealing with a wide variety of topics such as confessing our sins and praying for others there are some chapters that touched me more than others.  I did learn a lot but sometimes I did not personally agree with his line of thinking.

I would recommend this book on prayer.  It would be perfect for a small group on prayer.  There is much to ponder and discuss after reading Strike the Mark.  I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but I was under no obligation to write a review.

About the Book

Book: Strike The Mark

Author: James W. Goll

Genre: Christian non-fiction, prayer, spiritual warfare

Release Date: May 7, 2019

Strike the Mark CoverPrayers that strike the mark are specific prayers authorized by the Holy Spirit and endowed with divine power to accomplish the will of God in your life and for the needs of the world. On the cross, Jesus fulfilled the ultimate answer to all of our prayers, but He awaits our invitation to come into our situations and circumstances. When people of prayer intercede, they create a meeting place between the heavenly Father and His children. God comes upon the person who is praying and moves them from the natural to the supernatural. Empowered by God, the intercessor has the authority to cut down enemy forces and pick out “targets” for God’s lightning bolts of glory, bringing victory and breakthrough.

Intercession could be called “extreme prayer” because it links extreme needs with the extraordinary power of God. Inserting ourselves into the gap between God and a need, we call upon the Holy Spirit, our Helper, who is ready to move us from finite ability to infinite ability, take hold of difficult situations, and help accomplish the will of God. We have the great honor of being called to “paint targets” on cities, churches, ministries, family members, contemporary “Sauls” (those who persecute or cause difficulty), and even ourselves. Our believing, persistent prayers will Strike the Mark!

He covers His hands with the lightning, and commands it to strike the mark” (Job 36:32 NASB).

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

James GollJAMES W. GOLL is the president of God Encounters Ministries and has traveled around the world sharing the love of Jesus, imparting the power of intercession, prophetic ministry, and life in the Spirit. He has recorded numerous classes with corresponding study guides and is the author of more than forty books, including The Seer, The Discerner, Releasing Spiritual Gifts Today, Passionate Pursuit, The Lost Art of Intercession, and The Lifestyle of a Prophet. James is the father of four wonderful children with a growing number of grandchildren, and makes his home in Franklin, TN.

 

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, James is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Starbucks gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e2ac/strike-the-mark-celebration-tour-giveaway

But, Who is Praying for Me?

Prayer Warriors are constantly praying for someone.  There is so much to lift up to God and it seems so little time.  We intercede for the sick, lost, hurting, and needy.  For the mother whose baby is desperately trying to stay in her womb to grow strong.  For the father trying to work overtime or a second job just to make ends meet.  For the teenager caught in the middle of making some life changing decisions.  For our President and government leaders.  Let’s not forget our family and friends.

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See what I mean?  We have so many people depending and deserving of our prayers.  Years ago my niece, Phoebe, and I were talking about praying.  She was little and not even in school.  A friend had called me and asked if I could pray for her granddaughter.    One thing led to another and I told Phoebe if she listened with her heart instead of her ears she could hear who needed her prayers.  Many times God will tell us.

A couple of weeks later she was excited to tell me she felt her first prayer request.  After dinner the night before she heard her Daddy say that a lady he worked with was going to be out because of surgery.  “I don’t even know her name, Aunt Sissy, but my heart heard for me to pray for her.”  Wonderful!  She did understand what we were discussing.  Right then we stopped everything and prayed for the woman.  Now in her mid-twenties, Phoebe is still a Prayer Warrior.

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On the flip side, I have someone that has been mad at me for over two decades.  I can’t say exactly why, buy I have apologized and shouldered the blame in hopes of reconciling with this friend.  A few times I have tried to have a “peace talk” with her, but it always goes no where.  This last time, I asked how things had been going in her life and told her that I had been praying daily for her and our relationship.  Then I asked if she prayed for me and our relationship, too.  She looked at me as if my hair had just turned turquoise and laughingly said “no, why would I?”

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Out of all the vicious remarks this friend has made, none hurt even a fraction as much as this one did.  I thought everyone prayed for the people they loved.  Maybe that was it, she had stopped loving me.  All I know is that in that moment I felt so lost and alone.  No one was praying for me?  Prayer is the biggest blessing to give someone.

E4F86CFD-BFC0-42DC-9D3B-A222EC73FEB7.pngEver feel like you are lost and alone with no one to lift you up in prayer?  I have great news.  You may pray for yourself.  Yep, it is allowed.  Also, the Holy Spirit will lift you up, too.  You might be surprised to find some little Phoebes that have been listening with their hears and are praying for you.

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There are no special words needed.  No super formula.  Just have a heart to heart with your maker.  The Bible tells us in Romans 8:26“…but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

We always have someone praying for us.  No need to fret.  Easy your mind and rest in the Lord.  Oh, and keep praying!

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Listen to What I Mean and Not What I Say

My Mammaw used to tell us often, “you need to listen to what I mean and not what I say.”  To a kid that sounded ridiculously funny.  As an adult, I get it.  How many times have I lost a word when speaking or switched one for another?  Anyone else ever do that?

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My husband laughed at me as I asked him recently to put something in the dishwasher in the garage.  At the time I was doing dishes and needed something put in the outside refrigerator.  My daughter would have chuckled and complied.  Not my comedian of a hubby.  “Want me to put in dishwasher soap, too, honey?” he asked trying to maintain a straight face.    Then I realized what I had actually said.  (Watch for him in a comedy club near you – hahaha!)

Words are meant as a means of communications.  Sometimes they work smoothly and others they just don’t.  We share them with others.  Sometimes when life gets tough and trials come, words fail me.  They want to stay bottled up inside.  Friends are always ready to lend a shoulder and ear, but it isn’t always that easy.

Abba hears us and knows exactly what we mean even before He hears the words.  His Word assures us of that.  Isaiah 65:24 says “…before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”  Our God is so powerful He know our prayers before we pray them.  He always listens to what we mean.

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Sometimes my soul is weary or hurts and words leave it.  I want to pray but I can’t seem to form the words.  Tears fall with no problem.   Things in my life or the world seem insurmountable.  There is a lot going on that should not be.  In Romans 8:26 scripture tells me that “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”  So God hears me even when I cannot form the words.  The Holy Spirit knows.

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I hope you take comfort as I do in knowing that our prayers are always heard even when we are so down hearted we can only “be silent” with God in prayer and let the Holy Spirit intercede for us.  If you misspeak, like I often do, God hears what you mean. He sees us through the eyes of a Loving Father.

Unsolicited Advice

Since my husband has retired we spend almost all of our time together.  Good thing we still love each other very much!  Honestly, it is what I have been anticipating for many years, our time.

He never was one to do anything in the kitchen except lick the spoons or steal some cookie door off of the sheet right before I popped it into the oven.  It made me ponder how my friends had gotten so lucky to have husbands that cooked.  Not mine.  He is a self proclaimed “eater”.  Without eaters the world would not need cooks is his logic. (lol)

Last week I was preparing dinner.  A simple beef roast with vegetables in my Rockcrok, a slow cooker.  All of a sudden I had a supervisor.  “Those potatoes need to be cut in quarters instead of halves.” my husband gingerly stated.  Having gotten away with that a minute later he stopped me and said “Whoa, you have enough carrots in there.”  Now I was getting a bit irritated.  The final straw was when he asked “Do you always use that many herbs and keep the celery leaves on?  Maybe that’s too much.”

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I don’t tell him how to run things in the yard or take care of the vehicles, because I have no experience.  He knows so much more than I do in those areas.  Just like I know so much more about cooking than he does.

As soon as that comparison came to my mind, so did something else.  How many times have I done the same thing with God?  Ouch!  Have I really tried to give advice or tell the Creator of the Universe what to do?  Well, yes, I guess I have.

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There have been times I have taken things to Him in prayer, and instead of asking that His will be done or for His help, I have listed what needed to be done.  Have you ever done that?  I would pray asking Him to do specific things so that the end result would be what I thought I needed.  How ridiculous is that?  The child giving instructions to the all knowing Father? Unsolicited advice being given to the One that directs us?

Scripture tells us in Philippians 4:6-7:  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Abba doesn’t need a work order from me.  His way is perfect.  He already knows what needs done and what will happen.  All I need to do is lift my request to Him.  God knows exactly what needs to be done.  He is not waiting for my suggestions on how to solve a crisis.

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My prayers now take a different tone.   I know God knows and does what is best.  When I pray I take my concerns to Him, thank Him for being bigger than any issue I have, and leave it with Him.  Believe me, it isn’t always easy.  Sure I would love to include my suggestions but that would be silly.  Jehovah is our powerful God.  He isn’t our God that needs help.

Think about this the next time you pray for something.  Don’t make the same mistake I did.  Ask Him for help not if He needs any.

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The Devoted Life, a Creative Journal by Marjorie Jackson

Nutrition is about what is in something that we put in our body.  Like green beans or cookies.  Everyone is aware of food nutrition, but are we aware of our spiritual needs?  What are we feeding our soul?  What do we give our young women to put into their hearts, minds, and spirits?  I have just the thing.
The Devoted Life, a Creative Journal by Marjorie Jackson is delightful.  It is marketed and labeled as being for teen girls, but any woman could use it.  There are 31 devotions so this is a month of inspiration and encouragement.
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The book itself is rather small and slender.  It would easily slip inside a purse or tote.  The cover is a sleek stylish imitation leather and doesn’t look like a young girl.  There is an attached pink ribbon bookmark to keep reader’s place marked.
At the beginning of each section is the title along with small illustrations to color.   The daily devotion consists of scripture followed by one-page commentary and three additional scriptures for in-depth study.  There is room to journal any thoughts from the lesson or prayers.
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This would make a wonderful small group study for older teens or young adult ladies.  Actually any ladies’ group would enjoy it.  Topics are relevant and timely.  Friendship, family, relationships, God, trust, and prayer are just a sampling of the subjects tackled. Lessons are short enough to get finished in a little amount of time but long enough to teach readers.  It has plenty of free “create your own” spaces.
The coloring and journaling devotional are becoming very popular.  After looking at some others, I can honestly say this is one of the better ones.  Don’t be misled when you thumb through it.  It will look pale and drab.  It is just a plain coloring journal.  Wait until your creative ideas take over and colors bloom on the pages.  It will be a masterpiece to treasure for years to come.
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I highly recommend this lovely, God glorifying Journal.  I have twin granddaughters and look forward to buying each of them a copy when they are a bit older.  In fact, I plan on doing it with them.  It would be a wonderful group project, gift, or something to buy yourself.  I give this a 5 out of 5 stars and hope there are more to come.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own, honest ones.
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Be God’s Vessel

On a rare trip to the inside of the grocery, I noticed most people hurrying past the Salvation Army bellringer.  No eye contact, and especially no hello or Merry Christmas to her was offered.  I supposed people were afraid it would cost them a donation.  My attitude was taking a turn for the worse so I checked it at the door.

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Inside was a flurry of activity.  School is out for Christmas break, and kids were excited just to be at the grocery store.  “Mom, could we get this?  Mom, I really want some of these.  Mom, Mom, Mom!”  Poor mothers were trying to finish shopping while kids were requesting items not on the list or in the budget.  I spied one young mother longingly check the price of a turkey and then ham.  Reluctantly she put both back and went to the reduced section where she picked up some marked down ground meat.  The four kiddos danced around the packaged lunches down a ways that all kids love but were good when she shook her head no.  For a family of six, her cart was surprisingly scant.  I crossed paths with them again as I went down the toy aisle checking for stocking stuffers for my four grands.  The kids were eager to offer opinions even though they were much younger than my grands are.

I was delayed at the pharmacy for a short bit but ended up in line next to the delightful family.  After flagging down a worker, I asked him to hurry and get a ham, turkey, dozen lunchables, and some toys the kids had ogled.  I was ready to check out and the mother was next in line next door so I needed him to hustle.  He did.  With the help of “Ryan” I was able to get these bought and later loaded into her van without her knowing.  He even contributed some items he knew she needed since she shops there often.

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At her checkout time the mama did not have enough food stamps to pay so she started to put things back.  The person in back of her asked “for the privilege of paying for your order” and even added some items from his cart and the candy display.  I heard the woman say through tears she had prayed for a miracle and thanked the man for allowing God to use him.

That day God used me, Ryan, and another man to provide groceries and toys for a faithful, praying woman.  I tell you this not for any glory for myself at all, but for God.  He is Jehovah Jirah, our God that provides.  Answering prayers is just in a His nature.  He will use you if you just make yourself available and ask.

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Friends, I am abundantly blessed and that could have easily been me or one of my children except for the Grace of God.  If you are nudged this season by Abba, please follow through with it.  Let Him use you as the vessel to answer someone’s prayer.  You will end up being blessed.

Praying for the Kids

As you can tell from this blog, I am a Prayer Warrior.  Praying for my family, friends, and myself is extremely important to me.  I firmly believe in prayer.  Time spent with my Maker in prayer is a necessary part of my life.  Once a day is never enough to go to God because things or prayer requests continue throughout the day.  Do you pray often, too?

I was taught the Acts Method of praying when I was young and it has stuck with me.  There is no right or wrong way to talk to our Heavenly Father.  Jesus outlined the perfect way in Matthew with the Lord’s Prayer.

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ACTS Method of Christian Prayer

  1. Adoration: Give God praise and honor for who He is as Lord God.
  2. Confession: Honestly confess the sin in your life.
  3. Thanksgiving: Say what you’re grateful for in your life and in the world around you.
  4. Supplication: Pray for the needs of others and yourself.

How do you pray?  Are there certain things you pray about each day?  I certainly do.  The main thing is the children in our family.  That encompasses the generations under mine.  Ever since my children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews (which include my cousins’ children – we are a close family) were born or little, I have prayed for them.  With a family our size I use a prayer journal to keep me on track.  It also allows me to write praises when the prayers are answered.

What would I pray?  First I asked for health, safety, and protection.  I want them to be safe from harm and health issues.  Then I prayed that they would grow to know God, be saved, and baptized.  It is my prayer that they will recognize the purpose God has for them, why He created each one.  I prayed for their future spouses that Abba was preparing them for their future lives together.  Marriage needs more than two people to survive.  It needs God in it, too.  I pray that their spouses will be Christian and that a God will bless their union.  Finally I pray that they would do their best in life and be happy.

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Even though many are grown with children of their own, I continue to pray for them all.  We are never too old for prayers.  My prayer might provide the extra protection needed one day.  Intercessory prayer is important.

How long should we pray about something?  In Thessalonians the Bible says to pray without ceasing.   Prayer has no time limit.  Keep praying or P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens).

The next generation of children are included in my prayers now.  Protection and safety is a concern in this world.  Happiness is what every Mama, Gram, and Auntie desires for her little chicks.  Don’t you agree?

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After years of praying I was recently rewarded as God’s Army gained another Warrior.  Yes, a family member was baptized and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior.  I rejoiced as I know Heaven did.  There have been many more victories and each one is recorded without surprise.  I delight in knowing that we will be together in Heaven one day.

Don’t stop with your family.  There are many friends that need prayer, too.  Let’s not forget society.  The shootings and violence.  Our leaders need prayers to make the right decisions.  Our military need pray for protection.  Our nation needs prayer for so many reasons.

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If you are praying for something or someone, don’t lose hope.  It may take decades for your answer, but everything happens in God’s perfect time.  If you haven’t started praying for your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, I would urge you to begin today.  The reward is priceless.

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Do You Remember?

What were you doing on that Tuesday morning September 11, 2001 when America was under attack by terrorists?  Ninety percent of adult Americans will remember the nightly news reported.  Honestly, I think even that percentage is low.  I remember being in my kitchen alone that day mixing up banana bread.  The television on the counter was turned down low.  I glanced and saw chaos on the screen.  As I watched in horror a second plane hit and the news reporters were frantic.  The bowl of batter dropped from my hands as I fell to my knees in prayer.

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My phone rang nonstop.  Friends and family called in disbelief.  My daughter was in college and I just wanted her home.  Same thing with my working husband.  He is ever the voice of reason and I needed him.  My son wasn’t home either.  He had his own house.  I wanted them all here so our family was together and safe.  The sky was eerily quiet without a single aircraft.

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Church was more emotional than ever before on Sunday.  Attendance was extremely high. In crisis we turn to God, don’t we. Isn’t it a shame we all don’t stay that close after it is over?  It looks like our country could use His protection, guidance, and healing again.  The death total was just under 3,000 while the injured was twice that.  The terrorists coordinated four airplane attacks to kill Americans.  Innocent people in what they deemed a Holy War.  I cannot imagine how saddened God was by this. We all were, and we don’t even begin to love like Him.

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America pulled together then, and we turned to God.  What changed that made some of us turn our backs on Him and His commands?  Why have we turned on each other?  Where did our love, compassion, and kindness go?  63E3C1DD-A4D7-4786-B618-FDD05785A2CFWe need to take back our patriotism and faith.  Give up this name calling and bickering.  Kneel and pray for each other.  As the Bible says “humble ourselves”.  If we do, then we will start to see more unity.

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If you can remember where you were, you will remember the horrible feeling of terrorism, and the wonderful feeling of unity in America.  Our nation was one.  Let’s stand together again in memory of those that lost their lives that day.  Remember, except for the grace of God, it could have been us dying in an attack.  God didn’t save us to bicker, insult, and fight.

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Kindness…..Let’s Start a Campaign!

Thanks for joining me today.  There is something I’d like to ask you.  Would you join me in something else?  I am wanting to start a kindness campaign.  What do you think?  There is absolutely no money involved unless you are moved in that direction for some reason.  Doesn’t this sound like a wonderful project?  Thanks!  I think so, too.

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First, we sorely need this now because electronic devices have taken personal interaction and emotion out of our conversations and day to day dealings with each other.  Isn’t it quicker to send a text than call?  However, many times words written are more harsh than those spoken.  In fact, the same holds true with telephone calls versus face to face conversations.  Right?  It is a bit harder to be mean and cold when looking someone in the eyes and being able to see the hurt you inflict.
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What would this kindness campaign be?  I suppose we need to get to read the definition of kindness first.  The dictionary says kindness is the quality of being friendly, considerate and generous.  Kind is an adjective meaning having or showing a friendly, generous, and considerate nature.  Well, that sounds familiar.  Synonyms for kind are good-natured, caring, selfless, compassionate, understanding, friendly, thoughtful, loving, good, attentive, and hospitable.  Antonyms are mean, selfish, and inconsiderate.  Sounds reasonable to me.  What do you think?  Which would you rather be?
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Does the Bible say much about kindness and being kind?  Yes, it does.  Our instruction book for life is filled with verses about it.  Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”  Who wants to wear kindness?  I bet that looks beautiful on everyone.  Another one in Ephesians 4:31-32 “All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.”  Now that is very clear.  A simple be kind to one another.
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It is my true desire for us to show kindness to others.  Yes, some do mean to harm us, but there is an internal war going on here.  Friends and family are saying many hateful, absurd things that are fueled by mobs of people they have never met.  We need to step back, regroup, and be kind.  None of us are perfect.  We all mess up and sin.  Everyone needs grace, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness.
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Join me in being kind.  This movement needs to start some place, why not with us?  At least try it for the remainder of July.  Refrain from the negative political and newsy posts.  Stop demeaning and attacking people that have not personally interacted in a hurtful way with you.  Be part of the solution and stop fueling the fire.  Spread kindness, joy, and smiles.  Take a break from stress, meanness and finger pointing.  Recruit others to our Kindness Campaign.  Spread kind words and deeds.  Who knows, by August we all might feel so wonderful that we continue.  Most of all, please pray.  Pray for kindness in others and yourself.  Then just like the old song says….”and the world will be a better place for you and for me, just wait and see!”
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I Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant”
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Proverbs 16:23-24 From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive. Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.