Acts of Kindness (and 100 Acts of Kindness Ideas)


 

 DChitwood_NoActOfKindnessIsEverWasted

 Proverbs 21:21

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.

 Proverbs 11:17

A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.

My life has been touched many, many times by simple, unexpected acts of kindness. Those instances include receiving unexpected notes from friends, flowers, and meals when I was a young mother. There was the couple who helped me with my bags when I was traveling alone, and countless times someone has held the door for me. There was the time someone stopped to help me change a flat tire and the time I was not charged for a service call. Such a simple gestures can really add to someone’s day. One simple act of kindness can spur another on to do the same thing.

The opposite is also true – it’s easy to aggravate someone by being thoughtless, rude, or just insisting on our own way. Maybe it’s because we are in a hurry, or are thinking too highly of ourselves, or perhaps we are reacting to a bad situation – but there is really no excuse for being rude. Sometimes we just don’t show emotion because we don’t know someone we are interacting with – like a cashier. Keep in mind that a simple act of kindness can derail a thoughtless act.

Yesterday, someone bought lunch for everyone in my office. What a pleasant surprise! I watched how faces lit up when given the news. Everyone was smiling and enjoyed pleasant conversation with the welcome diversion from our usual busy Friday afternoon. Later I noticed one of the lunch recipients holding the door for not one, but three coworkers. Someone else held the elevator door. The lunch act of kindness was passed on.

God expects us to act with kindness towards one another. Kindness is a Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It is also mentioned several other places in the Bible. Consider the Prophet Zechariah’s words: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” (Zechariah 7:9-10). We are commanded to act kindly toward each other.

If we listen to the news it would be easy to become cynical and assume no one is kind to each other anymore. However, we have all experienced acts of kindness at some point. Pass it on.

 Micah 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

 The following list is just a few ideas to show kindness to someone. It’s so easy. I’m challenging myself to act more kindly to others, especially those I don’t know.

  1. It all starts with a smile. Look people in the eye and give them a big smile.
  2. Open the door for someone.
  3. Bring flowers to a friend or neighbor.
  4. Buy a co-worker their favorite soda or treat. Leave it on his or her desk with a smiley face sticky note.
  5. Drop off toys, a game, or stuffed animals at a homeless shelter.
  6. Introduce yourself to neighbors and bring baked goods or sweets.
  7. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
  8. Wash someone’s car for them.
  9. Send a card or handwritten note to someone you hardly know.
  10. Help an elderly person cross the street.
  11. Help someone carrying a lot of stuff.
  12. Pay someone a sincere compliment.
  13. Leave a nice note for your spouse/child/friend.
  14. Open the door for someone.
  15. Help a younger sibling with homework.
  16. Let a car merge in front of you and do it with a smile.
  17. Participate in a park or beach cleanup.
  18. Exercise patience.
  19. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.
  20. Help someone with their bags or luggage.
  21. Offer to take a picture for tourists.
  22. Pay for the coffee for the person behind you.
  23. Share your class notes with a classmate.
  24. Help a friend move.
  25. Strike up a conversation with a stranger.
  26. Make your sibling/child/roommate’s bed for them.
  27. Help a lost tourist find his or her way
  28. Mentor someone.
  29. Give a generous tip to your waiter.
  30. Bring a welcome gift to new neighbors.
  31. Befriend a lonely person.
  32. Reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while.
  33. Compliment a stranger.
  34. Let someone take your parking spot.
  35. Don’t honk at cars (or people).
  36. Bring baked goods to the office to share.
  37. Donate your blood at a blood drive.
  38. Sit with someone who is eating alone.
  39. Go visit strangers in a nursing home. Read to them.
  40. Let someone go in front of you at the cashier.
  41. Bake cookies for the firemen.
  42. Donate clothes and shoes to the needy.
  43. Clean up after someone in the lunchroom or cafeteria.
  44. Recommend your favorite restaurant to a tourist.
  45. Do your sibling’s or roommate’s household chore.
  46. Praise a child to the parents while the child is present.
  47. Hold the elevator door for others.
  48. Text a friend to say you’re thinking of them.
  49. Offer someone a piece of gum or a mint.
  50. Bring misplaced shopping carts back to the designated area.
  51. Organize a study session for your classmates.
  52. Offer to babysit your friends’ kids for free.
  53. Donate your locks of hair.
  54. Tell someone you’ve fought with that you’re sorry and that you forgive them.
  55. Sign up to be an organ donor.
  56. Leave extra time in a parking meter.
  57. Pay for your friend’s tab.
  58. Give a blanket or umbrella to a homeless person.
  59. Be kind to someone you dislike.
  60. Encourage someone who is working hard at the gym.
  61. Vacuum the floor for your roommate.
  62. Take a shorter shower to save the hot water.
  63. Make a donation to a charity you care about.
  64. Bring homemade food to a new mom or single mom.
  65. Teach a child how to ride a bike.
  66. Bring a homeless person some food and a drink.
  67. Send a care package to someone in the military.
  68. Email your boss or professor and tell them how much you love learning from them.
  69. Be sure to say “good morning” and “thank you” to all service workers (bus drivers, police officers, mail carriers, and firefighters).
  70. Help a friend look for a job.
  71. Let your friend vent and listen to her problems.
  72. Make a playlist for your friends.
  73. Let someone else take your seat on public transportation.
  74. Praise the work of others.
  75. Let someone cut in front of you in line.
  76. Donate $1 to the next tip jar you see.
  77. Tell a street performer how amazing he or she is.
  78. Share your umbrella with someone who didn’t bring one.
  79. Help someone carry groceries to the car.
  80. Offer to work late for a co-worker who needs to leave early
  81. Donate books to the local shelter or hospital.
  82. Volunteer at an animal shelter during adoption events.
  83. Sponsor a child in a developing country.
  84. Write a letter to your former schoolteachers and tell them how much they influenced you.
  85. Help someone change their tire.
  86. Sign up for a bone marrow donation.
  87. Volunteer at a disabled student’s learning center.
  88. Shovel someone’s walk or driveway.
  89. Rake your neighbor’s leaves.
  90. Bring in a neighbor’s trash bins.
  91. Offer your seat on a plane so a family or couple can sit together.
  92. Support your own and your friends’ kids at their recitals and games
  93. Participate in a fund-raiser or donation.
  94. Offer to pick up your friend’s children after school.
  95. Offer to pet-sit for your friend for free.
  96. Pay someone a compliment.
  97. Bring a treat to share with your coworkers.
  98. Send someone a small gift anonymously.
  99. Leave a nice comment on a blog.
  100. For no particular reason, hug someone you love like you mean it.

Colossians 3:12

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience

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Love Is In The Air


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1 Corinthians 16:14

Let all that you do be done in love.

It’s the time of year when we find boxes of pink and red heart decorated candy and trinkets just about everywhere. You also find little stuffed animals and greeting cards expressing love. These tokens of love and friendship line the seasonal section of many retailers. Grocery stores set up portable tents to house fresh rose bouquets so you can drive though to pick up a gift for your sweetie. It’s still January, but reminders of Valentine’s Day are everywhere. It’s an 18 billion dollar business.[i] For just one day!

Couples will go out to a fancy dinner and express their love to each other. Children exchange little valentines in class parties. Millions of women will receive flowers and jewelry from their loved ones on one specific day. Why do we celebrate expressions of love and friendship on select days of the year? Why can’t we express love more often?

I think we can, but often times we don’t, because by nature, we are selfish creatures. Most often, we live for ourselves. Just take a look at the career you chose, your home, your bank account, and your pastimes. These are all expressions of ourselves; our own interests. We often live for ourselves at the expense of other people. We have to make a decision to show love. Holidays remind us to do that.

Deep down, we understand God created us to love others. So we turn to books and relationship experts explaining how to love your mate or family better, or how to express love in general. We should be turning to the good book for help expressing love. The Bible has a great deal to say about the subject. One of the most quoted passages on love is found in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13:4-7. It’s succinct.

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.

We tend to think of love as a feeling, but according to 1 Corinthians 13 love is a behavior. It’s an act. When I think of that, I have to remember how I acted to certain people, mostly my family. Have I acted like I truly loved each one of them, or did I hurry them through homework, dinner, chores, and afterschool activities? What about the times I’ve been short tempered, or worse, uninterested? What about the times I was not available for a friend who truly needed me?

I’ll still remember my loved ones as Valentine’s Day approaches, but I’m committed to acting like I love my family and friends, expressing love every single day, in every act. It’s not always going to be easy. I need to learn more patience, to be more interested, more aware, and tolerant. I am grateful for the guidance given me in the Scriptures.

John 13:34-35

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.”

Blessings on your day.

Scripture:  www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images

[i] http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/13/living/valentines-day-statistics-btn/

 

Remnants of Christmas


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Yesterday I ran across a pre-decorated holiday gift box. Somehow I missed it when I packed up all the other Christmas decorations a few weeks ago. When I touched the box I had several fond memories of Christmases past flash through my mind. What I remember most is the Joy of Christmas, not gifts. It got me to thinking, “Why can’t we have Christmas Joy all year?”

During the holidays, people are generally happy and seem joyous and excited about the season. Sadly, most are not really experiencing joy, but are experiencing happiness instead. Happiness is fleeting; it’s based on external circumstances. The realities of this broken world soon return and their thoughts focus on problems, rather than the meaning of Christmas.

The Bible mentions joy, or joyful, over 200 times! Joy is a gift our Heavenly Father wants us to have. In John 15:11 Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” What a cause for celebration – not just at Christmastime, but every day.

Joy is internal. It’s a spiritual reality based on our relationship with God. The great message of Christmas is that Jesus, God’s precious son, has come to save us. We have the promise of eternity, with our beloved Savior, no matter what happens to us in this life. Proverbs 10:28 reminds us, “The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.” Therefore, the Christian can find joy in the midst of any circumstance.

1 Peter 1:8-9

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

 One of my favorite Christmas carols is Joy to the World. I’m singing this wonderful song to myself as I type this post. Joy to the world, the Lord is come! May your heart be filled with joy today and always.

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joy to the world lyrics

 

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Images: google images

Shalom


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John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

The Hebrew word shalom is often used as a greeting, and the word means peace. That’s a nice sentiment. But, there is always something that causes us to fret, to lose our peace. This week it’s been the stock market, but it can be weather, illness, broken relationships, and job loss – to name just a few. How can we embrace the peace Jesus gave us in John 14:27? Perhaps one reason is that we don’t fully understand the peace of God.

For my quiet time this year I’m using the One Year Devotions for Women, by Ann Spangler. The theme of the devotional is God’s Peace. Below is a quote from the January 7th entry:

“But what exactly is peace? When most of us think of peace, we think of an absence of conflict or the sense of tranquility we sometimes feel after a walk in the park or a day the beach. But the Hebrew word shalom is far brawnier than the English word for peace, encompassing these ideas and more.  Shalom contains the idea of completeness. It is the sum of all the blessings God can bestow – healing, prosperity, soundness, well-being, good relationships, perfection. It is what happens when God shines his face on you, when he turns toward you in all his greatness and brings you good.”[i] (Emphasis mine).

To be sure of the accuracy of the author’s claim I verified her definition with the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. The word shalom is so much more than a greeting. The word shalom is a powerful blessing!

We all struggle to remember to embrace the peace Jesus gave us. Try to remember the full meaning of the gift of shalom, so you truly feel the peace of Christ.

Numbers 6:23-26

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

‘The Lord bless you and keep you;the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.'”

  Shalom.

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Scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images

[i] Devotions for Women, Ann Spangler, Tyndale, 2012, Day 7.

A Fresh Journey Through The Scriptures


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I was busy tending to my daughter when I heard the doorbell ring followed by the thud of a package dropped on the doorstep. Knowing its contents I was a little annoyed at how carelessly the package was handled, but I reminded myself the book inside probably wasn’t damaged.

I had been looking forward to receiving this particular box for over a week. I tore open the package like a kid unwrapping a Christmas gift. Inside that box was my new Bible. I don’t really need a new Bible. It’s just that I decided to embark on a new adventure through the Scriptures and thought a new “vehicle” would help me get the most out of my upcoming journey.

Four times I’ve taken the challenge to read the Bible in one year, and each time was a blessing. This time, I’m taking a different approach. I’m going to read the Bible in three years. I know it sounds like I’m taking a half-hearted approach, but hear my plan.

  • Year 1: Read the New Testament, history between the testaments, and the study notes for each verse. Read a Psalm and a Proverb every day.
  • Year 2: Read ½ the Old Testament, (Genesis to Esther), history of the Israelites and the study notes for each verse. Read a Psalm and a Proverb each day.
  • Year 3: Read the second half of the Old Testament, (Ecclesiastes to Malachi), accompanying world history and study notes for each verse. Read a Psalm and a Proverb every day.

Instead of speed reading the Bible, I look forward to savoring every morsel. I want this trip through the Scriptures to be a personal exploration of the Bible. I also want to plant all of God’s Word deep in my heart and soul. To do that I need to take more time to mediate on individual verses and passages – something difficult to do when you intend to read the entire Bible in just one year.

So, for my three-year quest I bought a new Bible, in a different version. It’s a Study Bible with thousands of articles and dozens of maps. These tools should guide this new adventure like a compass and detailed map. Fortunately, I will also have a dedicated tour guide for my quest – God. Care to join me?

Blessings on your day.

*The Bible I selected is the ESV Study Bible.

 

Psalm 119: 18     Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Psalm 119:105     Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Joshua 1:8

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Scripture: http://www.openbible.info

Image: Google Images

The Faith of my Daughter


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Rising up a child in the faith is a constant thing. We can’t just let Children’s Ministers and Youth Group leaders be responsible for the spiritual training of our children. Parents must also cultivate a deep faith in our children and constantly set an example. I’ve tried to do that, by answering my daughter’s questions, and keeping our faith alive at home. In addition to regular church attendance, my daughter watches her parents pray, attend Bible Study, and listen only to Christian music. Sometimes I wonder if I am being successful. Monday morning I got my answer.

My 10 year-old daughter had knee surgery yesterday. I spent quite a bit of time in prayer leading up to her surgery, asking God to guide the surgeon’s hands, keep the medical staff alert and accurate, and for my daughter to not feel significant pain. I prayed for quick and complete healing. I alerted my church and posted my prayer request on Facebook; many friends lifted my daughter up yesterday morning. I knew she was covered in prayer.

After my daughter was prepared for the operating room she asked for a moment of privacy – to pray. A 10 year-old asking for privacy to pray! My heart leapt for joy!

Children surprise us sometimes, don’t they? Just when we think they haven’t heard a word we said, we find out that they have been listening – intently. Proverbs 22:6 tells us “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” This verse tells us that what we do as parents does matter and should give us encouragement to continue set the right example and to train up our children in the faith.

That my daughter’s faith is growing should not come as a surprise to me. During the summer of 2014 my daughter asked for a Bible and a cover. She wanted to pick a Bible that was meaningful and useful to her. That trip to the Christian book store was a wonderful experience. We prayed she would select the Bible God wanted her to have. I watched as Elianna opened different versions, read some verses, and finally selected a simple, NIV Bible. She still uses that Bible frequently and has highlighted numerous passages. She was only 9 at the time she chose it.

My daughter knows the words to most of the Christian music we listen to, and often signs along. She knows my favorite songs and has a knack for knowing when to play a specific song for me. Until yesterday I didn’t realize what a big deal this was. I just thought she was playing music like any tween would. But when we drove her home from the hospital, it was Christian music she wanted to listen to. It calmed her and gave her peace.

My daughter’s story of faith goes back to when I was pregnant with her. I had prayed for a daughter for many years, but had lost several precious babies to miscarriage before I became pregnant with my daughter. To honor God for this special, precious gift of a baby, we gave her a name that would also be her testimony: Elianna. Elianna is a Jewish name that means “The Lord has responded, or God has answered my prayer.”

I have prayed other prayers for my daughter: for her safety, her spiritual growth, to do well in school, to meet and marry a godly man, and to have a career that will bless many. Parents, prayers for your children are powerful, and our great God hears them all. Won’t you pause for a moment and lift up your precious child (ren) to Him right now?

Father God,

We lift up the child(ren) You entrusted to us. As parents, we ask for wisdom to guide them to You and be godly examples. We pray earnestly for them to know You and accept Salvation through the precious blood of Your Son, Jesus. We pray for them to be obedient to You. We pray for our child(ren) to trust You fully and grow deep roots of faith. We pray for them to gain spiritual wisdom so they can make the right choices and follow the perfect path You have for them. Lord, we ask you to protect our child(ren) from every harm. Grant them wisdom to recognize the tactics of the enemy and flee from every temptation. Help them be strong in this broken world, and grant them the ability and courage to share Jesus with many others. Amen.

May you recognize how the Lord has richly blessed you and your precious children!

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: Google Images

 

Prayer Journaling


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I’ve been keeping a prayer journal for several years now. This daily ritual helps me remain focused so my mind does not wander. It’s also a record of my requests. I can go back and look at how God has worked in my life. This is part of what I wrote this morning:

Dear Heavenly Father,

It is the dawn of a New Year and I look forward to all the possibilities it holds. But I will need Your perfect guidance in my life. Please be there to silence the lies of the enemy and remind me of whom I am in You. Help me rest in Your truth. Grant me clarity of purpose and the courage to carry out Your will in every aspect of my life.

As I was praying this morning, I was prompted to turn to the prayer I wrote January 1, 2015. Reading that prayer almost brought me to tears. Throughout the year God’s faithfulness was evident as I remembered how he answered my prayers and prepared me for the big change coming to my life.

Keeping a record of your prayers is also a record of the faithfulness of our Lord. Turn back to any date, read your prayer and remember how God has helped you face your struggles by being by your side. It reminds me of how much our Lord has blessed me and helps me feel a renewed sense of gratitude.

If you would like to start a prayer journal today would be a great day to start. You can write your prayers in Bibles created for journaling, in the margins of devotionals, decorative journals, spiral notebooks, or even electronically. (Electronic versions are easier to search, but I prefer to write to God in longhand.) After a few months, go back and review your prayers. Thank God for answering your prayers. This is a great exercise to remind you of our Lord’s faithfulness. If you don’t know what to say, listed below are a few ideas to get you started.

Prayer Prompts:

Copy the Lord’s prayer, and then expand on it. Pray a prayer of confession.
Rewrite the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, and then add to it. Pray for safety.
Pray for someone you don’t like. Pray for the nation’s leaders.
Pray the Psalms. Pray for your health.
Pray for your family. Ask God for the ability to make wise, godly choices.
Pray for your friends. Pray for the world, one country at a time.
Pray for your co-workers, and your boss. Pray for an end to terrorism.
Pray for the military and first responders. Pray for Christians where Christians are in the minority.
Pray for your schools. Thank God for the people in your life.
Pray for every family on your block. Thank God for your job.
Pray for your physicians. Thank God for your possessions.
Pray for your community leaders. (Try to) List your blessings.
Pray for peace and goodness to fill your home. Thank God for pure water and plenty of food.
Pray for your pastors and church elders. Pray for missionaries.
Pray for those who write books that explain God’s Word in more detail. Pray over your daily calendar.
Pray about your goals. Pray for our nation’s leaders.
Ask God to guide you through His Word. Pray for healing to broken relationships.
Pray for Wisdom. Pray for your future.
Pray a prayer of confession. Ask for guidance on how to serve the Lord.
Pray for safety. (Try to) List your blessings.
Pray for the nation’s leaders. Thank God for pure water and plenty of food.
Pray for your health. Pray for missionaries.
Ask God for the ability to make wise, godly choices. Pray over your daily calendar.
Pray for the world, one country at a time. Pray for our nation’s leaders.
Pray for an end to terrorism. Pray for healing to broken relationships.
Pray for Christians where Christians are in the minority. Pray for your future.
Thank God for the people in your life. Ask for guidance on how to serve the Lord.
Thank God for your job. Thank God for your possessions.

 

May you be richly blessed as you discover God’s faithfulness to you as you turn to Him in prayer.

Psalm 77:11-12

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”