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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Philadelphia Flower Show
The Philadelphia Flower Show which begins this Saturday is the nation's largest and longest-running horticultural event beginning in 1829, and features stunning real plant and flower displays by the world’s premier floral and landscape designers. You won't see the artificial flowers here!

"Extraordinary Kindness"

Message summary: An anxious heart weighs down people all around us. Kind words have such power to cheer others. Can you recall when this last happened to you? When was the last time you gave out a kind word?  Today let's be dispensers of kindness. Henry Drummond wrote, "The greatest thing a man can do for his heavenly Father is to be kind to some of His other children." Let us cheer the anxious hearts around us today.

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"The natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all" (Acts 28:2). "Be kind and compassionate to one another" (Ephesians 4:32). "An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up" (Proverbs 12:25).

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,
Offer a little help to a friend who's weary
That's the way to make the world a happy place.

Kindness diaries
Last week Keith, a friend I was visiting with, told me about a short documentary series he enjoyed on Netflix titled, "The Kindness Diaries". Leon Logothetis travels around the world in a yellow motorbike with a side car he dubs "Kindness One". He purposefully relies on the kindness of those he meets in his travels and has some very moving experiences as they extend kindness to him. The videography is outstanding and seeing how people in remote locations really live is an eye opener.

But the most moving part of the series is when he reciprocates their kindness with a generous gift they had no idea was coming. I won't ruin the series for any who may choose to watch it but I was very touched by the relative simplicity of these gifts yet how incredibly meaningful they were to the recipient. The show demonstrates that "the language of kindness needs no translation".

Have you noticed how kindness, like so many other godly virtues, seems to be diminishing in our culture? Often we hear about "road rage" and other current faddish explanations for people's failure to act in kindness and consideration to one another. We who are motivated by the royal law of Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself" (James 2:8) will desire to show the kindness of God to those around us by deferring to their needs rather than our own.

However, as "The Kindness Diaries" illustrate, being kind is not a uniquely Christian act. In our daily text the native islanders of Malta showed Paul kindness before he even began to minister to them. Indeed we have met many kind people who make no claim to be a follower of Christ (and quite bluntly we've met some that do make such a claim but show little kindness and actually we have even met a few "pretty mean" Christians!)

Campfire Today let us consider the example set by the native islanders on Malta, who showed extraordinary kindness to Paul and his traveling associates. It's a great verse we can easily overlook as we read through the Bible. Their kindness was demonstrated by the warm fire they prepared that helped dry out the 276 shipwrecked passengers.

The passengers from the shipwreck must have been chilled right down to the bone as they fought off water for two weeks, as they survived the cold, billowing deep sea while grasping broken pieces of the ship. Likely the clinging emotions of suspense and fear were finally dissipating due to their arrival on sturdy, dry, land, hearing the sound of a crackling hot fire, and being eagerly received by the natives of Malta. Perhaps the lady folks were busy preparing a warm meal to fill their hungry bellies. (Read Acts 27 & 28 to get a full sense of this dramatic sea voyage which includes the shipwreck.)

The Scripture calls believers to live a life of kindness. "Be kind and compassionate to one another," Today we all have God's call upon our lives to express His kindness to an often harsh world and to be encouragers to the many who are in desperate need of an encouraging word. And we can do this in so many different ways. Let us all seek the Lord about how we can show kindness today!

Kindness diaries We encourage you to consider the power of small acts of kindness done in the name of the Lord. Jesus spoke of the "cup of water" given in His Name (Mark 9:41). Paul anticipated a guestroom and a time of refreshing with Philemon in his home (Philemon 22).

Are there people in your neighborhood or workplace who are resisting the gospel? How can you show your love and concern by meeting their needs? Sometimes the first step in witnessing is extending kindness with no strings attached!

An anxious heart weighs down people all around us. Kind words have such power to cheer others. Can you recall when this last happened to you? When was the last time you gave out a kind word?  Today let's be dispensers of kindness. Henry Drummond wrote, "The greatest thing a man can do for his heavenly Father is to be kind to some of His other children." Let us cheer the anxious hearts around us today.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, our lives are often tossed to and fro by the billows of heartache, loss, disappointment and uncertainty. We're so grateful for caring friends who are like the islanders of Malta in Acts 28 who cheer us on and wave us in as we're seeking dry and steady ground. They welcome us with warmth like that of a sizzling campfire when we're drenched with chilling water from the billowing sea. Rather than shake their finger at us and scolding us for getting caught in the storm, they provide shelter, food, and wise counsel so that we no longer feel alone or fear that we will perish in our troubles. Help us to kindle friendship with others by being a beacon of light providing support, encouragement and scriptural navigation helping them to replace their despair with eternal hope. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Show A Little Bit Of Love And Kindness"  Video 
The Collingsworth Family A very happy motivational song! This indeed is a family group. We have heard them several times live.

Brooksyne visiting with Phil Collingsworth 8/7/14
Here's a photo of Brooksyne visiting with Phil Collingsworth, father of the singing group, during concert intermission at the Bluegate Theater in Shipshewana, Indiana on 8/7/14.

"Love in Any Language"  Video  Homecoming Singers

"The Kindness Diaries"  Trailer  Another Trailer   The show is available on Netflix but also may be available elsewhere.

"Kindness"  Video  
Chris Tomlin  This song considers the kindness of the Lord that leads to repentance.

The Philadelphia Flower Show

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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.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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