For Generating a Gentle Spirit

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 5:25–6:2)

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Doing vs. Being

My high school graduating class had its thirtieth anniversary reunion a number of summers ago. I’m sure they had a ball. A blast would better describe it, knowing that crowd. You gotta understand the east side of Houston back in the 1950s to have some idea of that explosive student body . . . a couple of thousand strong and a lot of ’em mean as a junkyard dog with a nail in his paw.

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A Rare and Remarkable Virtue

Perhaps you’ve uttered the American’s Prayer at some anxious moment recently: Lord, give me patience . . . and I want it right now! This rare and remarkable virtue is within the and-so-forth section in Galatians chapter 5. You know how we quote that passage . . . “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, and-so-forth.” That lazy habit has caused a very important series of virtues to become forgotten.

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Rumors

Abraham Lincoln’s coffin was pried open twice. The first occasion was in 1887, twenty-two long years after his assassination. Why? You may be surprised to know it was not to determine if he had died of a bullet fired from John Wilkes Booth’s derringer. Then why? Because a rumor was sweeping the country that his coffin was empty.

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A Rare and Remarkable Virtue

THE RARE AND REMARKABLE VIRTUE OF patience is within the and-so-forth section in Galatians chapter 5. You know how we quote that passage . . . “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, and-so-forth.” That lazy habit has caused a very important series of virtues to escape our notice. Let’s read it together as a refresher: The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives:

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The Cost of Following

DO YOU RECALL JESUS’ RADICAL philosophy of servanthood? It’s found tucked away in His now immortal words: He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” LUKE 9:23 Following Christ as His disciple is a costly, unselfish decision. It calls for a radical examination of our self-centered life.

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Learning to Be Last

I’LL NEVER FORGET A TRIP I took with my older son to shoot the rapids on the Rogue River in Oregon. While our group was receiving instructions from the guide, I began to study the canoes. Some were old and worn, but a few were obviously new. Being selfish, I wanted Curt and me to get the new ones, so I whispered in his ear: “Curt, start moving over to the left.”

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Tenderness

BACK WHEN I WAS A KID I got a bellyache that wouldn’t go away. It hurt so bad I couldn’t stand up straight. Or sit down without increasing the pain. Finally, my folks hauled me over to a big house in West Houston where a doctor lived. He had turned the back section into his office and clinic. It was a hot, muggy afternoon. I was scared.

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Giving Thanks All Around

IT’S ALMOST THANKSGIVING . . . MY FAVORITE. When it comes to holidays, this one tops ’em all, in my opinion. I prefer it because it is so healthy, so encouraging, so valuable . . . and so understated. I prefer it because there are no jingles to sing, commercials to endure, gifts to buy, places to go, or meetings to attend—just be thankful. Just look up, look around, look within, and say, “Thank you, Lord.”

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An Abundant Life

CALL IT THE REBEL IN ME, but I simply cannot bear plain vanilla when life has so many other flavors far more interesting and tasty. God has so much more in view for all of us. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. JOHN 10:9–10

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