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.

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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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Dialogues of the Deaf

It is impossible to overemphasize the immense need humans have to be really listened to, to be taken seriously, to be understood. No one can develop freely in this world and find a full life without feeling understood by at least one other person . . . . Listen to the conversations of our world, between nations as well as those between couples.

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Pursuing Worthy Trophies

HE WAS BRILLIANT. Clearly a child prodigy, the pride of Salzburg, a performer par excellence. One of the most brilliant and gifted composers of all time left earth at the young age of thirty-five. The man lived most of his life in abject poverty. He died in complete obscurity! His official name was Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Amadeus Theophilus Mozart. With a handle like that, he had to be famous.

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Careful, Don’t Stumble

NOTHING DAMAGES OUR DIGNITY LIKE STUMBLING! I have seen people dressed to the hilt stumble and fall flat on their faces as they were walking to church. I’ve done it myself, hoping no one was watching. I’ve watched a sure and winning touchdown by a running back foiled by a stumble. I’ve watched brides and grooms stumble in unison . . . shoppers stumble in stores . . .

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Are You Listening?

HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU HEARD someone say, “Are you listening to me?” Let’s be honest: in a culture awash in cell phones, social media, and other addictive technologies, we’re losing the fine art of listening. I don’t mean just hearing. Not simply smiling and nodding while somebody’s mouth is moving. Not merely staying quiet until it’s “your turn” to chime in. All of us are good at that game.

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Short and Sweet

AVERAGE LIFE SPANS ARE shorter than most of us realize. Unlike the great redwood trees that can last for a thousand years, most other things come and go quickly. Several examples illustrate how temporary things really are: Copper plumbing: twenty to twenty-five years; Face-lift: six to ten years; Car muffler: two to three years; Dollar bill: five to six years

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Friend of God

DIRECT INTERCHANGES between God and individuals don’t occur often in Scripture. But in Abraham’s life, his interchange with God takes the form of a true dialogue, a back-and-forth conversation between friends.

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Laying the Foundation of Courage

Elijah had prayed that it would not rain and, ultimately, it did not rain for three and a half years. So the dried-up brook was just an indication that the very thing he had prayed for was beginning to take place.

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