Kind Word Post Cards

In this week’s post, I challenged us to speak a kind word to someone once a day. While the spoken word is wonderful, a written word can be a blessing, too. It’s easy to dash off an email or a text message, but don’t forget the value of snail mail as well.

I admit I’m traditional but I can’t imagine anyone not liking getting a handwritten note from a friend. I often open my mailbox anticipating a card or letter nestled in among the bills and junk mail, and when that happens, it always brings a smile to my face.

Send a note of encouragement to someone this week. An “I was thinking about you,” “I’m praying for you,” or an “I think you’re amazing” kind of note will cheer the heart of the person who receives it.

Should you take the snail mail challenge and not have any stationery, here is set of post cards you can print and send to your friends:   Kind Word Post Cards

Printing instructions: Print page one. Send it back through your printer aligned just as it came out of your printer and then print page 2. Trim each card so that the photo on the front does not have a white border. Print on white card stock or photo paper that is glossy on one side and matte on the other. Print the pictures on the glossy side.

What’s Your Story?

One of the assignments in the Solomon Says study is to write your testimony, the story of how you decided to become a Christian. Remembering how God drew us to him is important because it reminds us of what God has done for us, and when we tell this to others we can encourage them and offer them a hope that the world cannot give. Recently, my co-teacher and friend, Katrina, and I talked about the importance of sharing our testimonies and she played the Matthew West song, “Next Thing You Know,” for me. The lyrics of the song reflect his testimony and his request for each of us to consider, “What’s your story?” Katrina and I have written our stories to share with you.

My Story

1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” (NIV).

So, what’s your story? Share it with someone today!

Are You Emotionally Intelligent?

Knowledge is power, and when it comes to anger, knowledge is peace. Because anger is a secondary emotion, if you study yourself closely, you can learn the primary emotion or emotions that trigger your anger. And, when you understand what triggers your anger, you can manage it before it becomes destructive.

Consider an angry moment you had recently. Why were you angry? What primary emotion (frustration, fear, disappointment, jealousy, insecurity, pride,…) led to your anger?

When you realize what most often triggers your anger, you become self-aware, and when you act on your anger in appropriate ways, you become self-managing. Self awareness and self management are two of the components of emotional intelligence. The other two components are social awareness (understanding how the people around you feel) and relationship management (successfully interacting with others, regardless of the atmosphere in which those interactions take place).

If you feel you are not highly emotionally intelligent, the good news is you can change that. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves wrote a book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, that includes strategies to help you increase the four components of your emotional intelligence.

Jesus was the most emotionally intelligent person who ever walked the earth. His empathy and compassion served as the antidote for anger, and when he did get angry, it was for a righteous reason (the breaking of God’s law), and was always displayed in a God-honoring way.

To learn more about the characteristics of emotionally intelligent people, you can read this article. Study yourself a bit and learn ways to manage your anger, all for the goal of living out Philippians 1:27a: “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

Like a Sip of Cold Lemonade on a Hot Day

“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”

Proverbs 11:25 (NLT)

The idea of being generous in the world’s eyes is not synonymous with being prosperous. If you are always giving, how can you ever store up wealth for yourself? As contradictory as this idea may seem, it proves true when you approach it from a spiritual standpoint.

Solomon explains in Proverbs 11:25 that the generous person – the one who does not cling tightly to all he or she has, who willingly shares with others and who makes an effort to give to anyone in need – will themselves find great blessing. Sometimes this blessing can come in the form of a return act of kindness from the person to whom we have given. But, even when we aren’t repaid materially, we always receive satisfaction and joy, as Proverbs 11:25 says.

What do you think of when you hear the word refreshment? My first thought is a cold sip of lemonade on a hot summer day. When you are sweating and your mouth is dry, the coldness of the lemonade brings refreshment to your body. The sweetness and the tartness combine to make you smile and you are refreshed – brought back to a healthy, hydrated state.

People in need are like that state of thirst, before the lemonade has quenched it. There are many ways people can be in need – materially, emotionally and spiritually – which means generosity can be given in all those ways as well.

How generous are you? Is there someone you know today that you can help by providing a material need? Is there a lonely person you know who would enjoy some company? Is there someone close to you upon whom you need to lavish compassion and grace? There are so many ways we can be generous, and when we are we can be that cold sip of lemonade to someone’s dry desert.

Proverbs 3:27-28 exhorts, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it is in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, ‘Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.'”

Pray for ways you can be more generous with your possessions, time and emotions. When God answers, do not delay. Refresh others, and in turn, you will find refreshment, too!

 

The PDF below is a card that can help you organize ways you would like to be more generous. Print it on 4.5″ x 6.5″cardstock, and then fold it as a trifold. When it is open it can stand up, and when it is closed, it is in the shape of a small bookmark that you can slip into your Bible.

generosity-trifold

Try the Triple Wash

“Who can say, ‘I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin’”?

Proverbs 20:9 (ESV)

Doing laundry is usually fairly routine – I put the clothes in the washer and then into the dryer, and finally fold or hang them up and put them back in their rightful place in the closet… unless, of course, something runs through the washer and dryer that wasn’t supposed to, like a crayon. Much to my dismay, I discovered that I had sent one of my daughter’s red crayons, apparently hidden in the pocket of some jeans, through the dryer, along with a full load of clothes. Everything, including the inside of the dryer was streaked with red wax. After much effort searching the Internet, I found a cleaning process that removed every stain; it took multiple cleaning agents in three washings, but it worked. The clothes were restored to pristine clean.

Proverbs 20:9 reminds us that keeping our hearts pure is a lifelong process. We must be proactive in rooting out negative attitudes, because every attitude that resides in our hearts will eventually come out in our actions and speech. Take an inventory of your own heart attitudes through prayer and begin to live out 2 Corinthians 10:5: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” When you have a specific attitude you want to grow in your life (such as patience, joy, forgiveness, etc.) search God’s word and find three verses about that attitude that will help you cultivate it. The Change My Heart Attitude Card below is a handy way to record the verses you choose and carry them with you anywhere.

The melted-in crayon marks on my daughter’s clothes are like the negative attitudes that can become grafted into our hearts and create strongholds over us. These attitudes may take the form of pride, jealousy, hate, anger, bitterness, or unforgiveness – all of which are sin in God’s eyes. Once we become convicted of these attitudes, we may think that it is impossible to remove them. But, the task is not hopeless! With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome our negative attitudes.

Romans 8:37 tells us that “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” So, just like the crayon-stained clothes, our hearts can be triple washed with prayer, confession and praise to the one who made us and loves us. When we pray for discernment (Lord, what do I need to change in my life?), confess the sin that we recognize in our lives (Lord, I’m sorry for doing…, please forgive me and help me to not do that again.) and praise God for his mercy and grace (Lord, thank you for forgiving me and helping me overcome…), our negative attitudes will eventually disappear, just like those tough crayon stains did from the clothes.

change-my-heart-attitude-card