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Monday, August 8, 2016

Amish girls waving from cart near Shipshewanna, Indiana 8/4/16
Last week as we traversed the back roads of rural Indiana we passed many of the Amish people who almost always waved. That's a great way to share a little love and kindness.
As you can see this horse is kicking in its horsepower to get these girls to their destination.

"Show A Little Bit Of Love And Kindness"

: My back is much better!

Message Summary:
Today we urge our readers to share God's love and kindness, most especially where it is least demonstrated.

.ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared" (Titus 3:4).

Collingsworth Family at Roxbury Camp 8/7/16

Yesterday afternoon we went to a jam packed concert at the Roxbury Holiness Camp to hear a group we have enjoyed for many years. The Collingsworth Family is a Mom and Dad and their four children, from ages 18-25. They sing a variety of musical styles. This week we're prompted by the Spirit to share messages based on several of these songs. The lyrics of our featured song today was written by John W. Petersen 48 years ago, though its message is pertinent and timeless as is most classic gospel music. It has an upbeat message that is so needed today, perhaps that's why the Collingsworth family includes it in each of their concerts.

The chorus goes:

Show a little bit of love and kindness,
Never go around with hatred's blindness,
Take a little time to reach for joy, and wear a happy face!
Sing a little bit when the days are dreary!
Give a little help to a friend that's weary!
That's the way to make the world a happy place!

(Hear it here)

Today there will most certainly be news concerning hatred's blindness. There will be many who experience someone's hatefulness today and an even greater majority will have a dreary day. It's just the harsh reality of living here below. We consider friends today who may feel a bit weary and just need a little lift for the day. What an uplifting difference we can make when we show just a little bit of love and kindness. Much better if we show a lot!

Today's Bible text is part of a rich theological statement written by Paul. He begins chapter 3 by encouraging his initial reader (Titus) and, through the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures all readers: "Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone" (Titus 3:1,2). That's still an important reminder. The world would look a little more like heaven, if this practical teaching was practiced by all.

Paul then reminds Titus of our past: "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another" (Titus 3:3). Notice that Paul uses the first person plural "we", including himself in this assessment. Consider what we know of Paul (Saul) prior to his conversion and how many of these characteristics are seen in his life at that time.

At this point Paul makes a great theological statement which may have been a memorized creed in the early church (note the beginning of verse 8 which states "This is a trustworthy saying.")

"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life."

The kindness and love of God our Savior appeared. God didn't show just a little bit of love and kindness but the full extent needed for our forgiveness through Christ's supreme sacrifice. Though we are not expected to lay down our life since salvation is provided only through the sinless blood of Jesus, we should still be motivated by His example to express love without reservation and practice kindness, the first and fifth fruit of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:22,23.

Paul completes the section by stating the impact of this love and kindness from God: "And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone" (Titus 2:8).

Today we urge our readers to share God's love and kindness, most especially where it is least demonstrated.

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, it is easy to express love and kindness when we're responding to one who has expressed these virtues toward us. We're awfully good at giving back that which we receive. But often the people who need it most are those who express little love and kindness. Their hearts are sometimes consumed with so much self-pity and resentment they have little room left for the works of the Spirit such as love, joy, and kindness. Lay upon our hearts one who has exercised little kindness toward us. Help us to lay down our suffering, in relation to their unkind ways, so that we can take up the love You offer us when we're most unlovable and extend it to those who seem unloveable to us. We want to offer love and kindness to others as an extension of Your love and kindness toward us, for when we were dead in our trespasses and sins You made us alive in Christ. Help us to be people of grace as You have extended it to us. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Amish buggie with boat trailer near Shipshewanna, Indiana 8/4/16
We passed a small lake near Shipshewanna where the Amish haul their boats.

Flower cart at the Das Dutchman Essenhaus 8/4/16
This colorful flower cart was seen near Middlebury Indiana at the Das Dutchman Essenhaus.

Building along interstate 90 near Chicago 8/3/16
Our photos generally focus on rural scenes since that's what we tend to find interesting. We avoid the cities when possible but it's hard to go around Chicago without getting in very slow traffic even many miles from the city center. However we did pass this interesting building that looks like gigantic building blocks.

Pennsylvania capitol in Harrisburg 8/7/16
On the way home from the concert yesterday Ester took this photo of Pennsylvania's Capitol building across the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg.

Collingsworth Family at Roxbury Camp 8/7/16
Here's another photo of the Collingsworth family taken a bit closer by Ester.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Show A Little Bit of Love and Kindness"  Video 
The Collingsworth Family

"It Matters to the Master"  Video  The Collingsworth Family

"I Found it All"  Video   The Collingsworth Family

"Jesus Saves"   Video   Booth Brothers & Collingsworth Family

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

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