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)

Read More

Self-Praise

“Self-praise,” says an ancient adage, “smells bad.” In other words, it stinks up the works. Regardless of how we prepare it, garnish it with little extras, slice and serve it up on our finest silver piece, the odor remains. No amount of seasoning can eliminate the offensive smell. Unlike a good wife, age only makes it worse. It is much like the poisoned rat in the wall—if it isn’t removed the stench becomes increasingly unbearable.

Read More

Comparison

If I may select a well-known phrase from the cobwebs of the fourteenth century and wipe away the dust to garner your attention, it is: COMPARISONS ARE ODIOUS. Odious . . . disgusting, detestable. If you want to be a miserable mortal, then compare. You compare when you place someone beside someone else for the purpose of emphasizing the differences or showing the likenesses. This applies to places and things as well as people.

Read More

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.

Read More

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:

Read More

A Simple Season

THE WONDER OF AMAZON just continues to spread. Tens of thousands of employees and hundreds of thousands of square feet of operations all work with amazing precision to coordinate the receiving, packaging, and shipping of millions of products all around the world. Now then—if one man can come up with an organizational plan as complex as all that, think of how much more efficient God’s arrangement was almost two thousand years ago.

Read More

Looking at the Big Picture . . . and Finding Hope, Part 2

Without realizing it, mighty Augustus was only an errand boy for the commencement of “the fullness of time.” He was a pawn in the hand of God . . . a mere piece of lint on the pages of prophecy. While Rome was busy making history, God arrived. He pitched His fleshly tent in silence on straw . . . in a stable . . . under a star.

Read More

Avoiding Self-Praise

“SELF-PRAISE,” says an ancient adage, “smells bad.” In other words, it stinks up the works. God says He hates “haughty eyes” (Proverbs 6:17). He calls a proud heart “sin” (Proverbs 21:4). He says if praise is going to be directed your way, “Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth” (Proverbs 27:2). The apostle Paul, who had much to brag about, drove home the message with these words:

Read More

Finding Fulfillment

FULFILLMENT MUST BE ONE OF life’s choicest gifts. It is a major building block toward authentic happiness. No doubt, Solomon had it in mind when he wrote these timeless words: If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored. It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them. PROVERBS 13:18–19

Read More

Give Yourself Permission

AT A BAZAAR IN NORTHERN INDIA, an old farmer brought in a whole covey of quail. He had tied a string around one leg of each bird. The other ends of all the strings were tied to a ring which fit loosely over a central stick. He had taught the quail to walk dolefully in a circle, around and around, like mules at a sugarcane mill. Nobody seemed interested in buying the birds until along came a devout Brahman. He believed in the Hindu idea of respect for all life, so his heart of compassion went out to those poor little creatures walking in monotonous circles.

Read More