I want to be happy
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Some people hate shopping and venture out only to purchase what is absolutely necessary. Other people are almost addicted to the rush they get when they spend money. You know the drill: “When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.” What is it about spending money on ourselves that is so compulsive? Well, we’re all materialistic to some degree. If getting stuff makes me happy, then getting a lot more stuff will make me a lot happier, right? If... Read More
What if I can't forget the past?
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Communicating, listening, showing compassion, and emotional bonding are all things men in general need to work on. Holding grudges is one for the ladies. It can be wonderful to have a memory like an elephant when it comes to remembering anniversaries and distant relatives’ names. It can be an anger prison when your thoughts are dominated by old hurts. Some person long ago invented the cliché forgive and forget. That’s impossible. You can’t expunge pain memories from your mind as... Read More
Spirit gifts: Showing mercy
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“All people will know that you are my disciples if you love one another,” said Jesus, right after he had washed his disciples’ feet, right before he offered his life for their sins. Loving somebody else means that you choose to see his or her worth, that you value your relationship, that you wish to imitate Christ himself. “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. . . . If it is showing mercy, let him do it... Read More
Spirit gifts: Leadership
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In real estate, as you probably know, the top three criteria for price are—ta-da!—location, location, location. In the world of the church, the top three criteria for a healthy and growing congregation are leadership, leadership, leadership. Good leadership and governance are unfortunately not automatic in a Christian organization. Is your church well led and well governed? If it is, give thanks where thanks are due—to the Holy Spirit, who built those gifts into your leaders. “We have different gifts, according... Read More
Spirit gifts: Generosity
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Maybe you know this already from personal experience, but people’s generosity has little to do with their degree of wealth. Social scientists confirm that there is no correlation between wealth and generosity. There is, however, a strong correlation between generosity and the Spirit of the Lord, one of whose most valuable gifts is a willingness to share resources. “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. . . . If it is contributing to the needs of others,... Read More
Spirit gifts: Encouraging
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The little girl came home from school beaming. Her mother asked, “Did you get a part in the school play?” “Yes!” she said. “I’ve been chosen to clap and cheer!” Some genius teacher was obviously anointed with the gift of encouragement, and she helped a child to discover the joy of encouraging others early in her young life. You know what it’s like to feel unappreciated. Boy, do you know! Sometimes it seems like you give and give and nobody... Read More
Spirit gifts: Teaching
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One of my all-time favorite bumper stickers reads, “If you can read this, thank a teacher.” Can you even imagine the thousands of hours that a small army of caring adults spent with you so that you could learn to decode the symbols on a page? make sense of an array of numbers? learn the intricacies of musical notation? I know that in theory people could read the Bible all by themselves, be brought to faith, and grow to Christian... Read More
Spirit gifts: Serving
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When I hear it said of someone, “She is so gifted” or “What a gifted young man!” people are always speaking about overachievers, out-front leaders, or outstanding performers. I never hear it said of people for their humility. And yet a humble servant-attitude is a priceless gift of the Holy Spirit. “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. . . . If it is serving, let him serve” (Romans 12:6,7). In a world that admires ego, chest-thumping,... Read More
Spirit gifts: Prophesying
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When Jesus ascended into heaven, he was not abandoning the believers. In fact, he assured them repeatedly before he “left” that his eyes would be on them, his heart with them, and his ears open to their prayers. Furthermore, he promised to send a mighty deluge of the Holy Spirit, who would strengthen and enlighten them for their lives of ministry. The Spirit also brings gifts, and each believer has a unique combination. Nobody can say, “I’ve got nothing” or... Read More
God is patient
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“Revenge is a dish best served cold.” Those words first appeared in the novel Mathilde by French author Marie Joseph Eugène Sue and were quoted approvingly in movies like The Godfather, Star Trek II, and Kill Bill. The point is that your vengeance will be more effective if you go slow, brooding and planning.  God calls himself “slow” as well. But the slowness is not in his brain processes or his revenge fantasies, but in his temper. He is patient... Read More