Keep Doing What is Good

“Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.’ ” – 1 Peter 3:13,14 As we continue exploring Jesus’ teachings on treasure, He taught us there is both a heavenly and an earthly perspective. We can also apply this understanding to how we deal with people who are offensive. How should we respond when people are mean or cruel? The worldly way is to lash out, to tell it like it is at all costs. The heavenly way is with respect and gentleness. This response is often difficult for us to carry out.  In 1 Peter Chapter 3, it was a period of hardship for many Christians in the Roman world. Rome was under the rulership of Nero, who many blamed for the great

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Be Gentle

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1 Today, I want to share how being aware of what people are going through and being sensitive to their pain enables us to love as Jesus did. I want to talk about how we can become a life-giving presence in relationships with others — be gentle.  In our world, it seems that we have gotten more and more harsh with each other. Whether in politics or religion, people have become violent in their rhetoric and language. When we get in a fight with our spouse or get angry at the guy who cut us off in traffic, many of us tend to respond angrily and with a mean spirit. However, this is not helping us as a society. Even as we are forced to function in an angry world, there’s one important thing to remember:

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Soften Your Heart

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 36:26 In my own life experiences, I have struggled with addressing various issues with a hardened heart. In our world today, we know how to power up, and to tell it like it is, feeling like we have to always be tough on the outside. Today, I want to challenge you to soften your heart! First soften your heart to God, then to your friends and co-workers. If you are married, soften your heart to your spouse, your kids if you have any, or your parents. God has good things in store for you, but our hearts must be softened to fully receive them. Suffering through bad experiences can indeed make us feel despondent and discouraged. Maybe in

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Hold Others Gently

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” – Ephesians 4:2 Henri Nouwen once said that being in a relationship with another person is like holding a bird with broken wings. In other words, we must acknowledge that the human soul is fragile. An injured bird is delicate, and it can’t be grasped too tightly lest it be crushed and hurt further. Likewise, as we attempt to connect with and express care for someone else, we must be gentle. Otherwise, we might squash their spirit and smother them in our attempts to “help.” And while we can’t hold on too tightly, we also can’t be careless with our connections. Like an injured bird will fall and die if not cradled securely, when we refuse to engage emotionally with those closest to us — whether our spouse, our kids, or our friends — our bond is

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The Fruit of the Spirit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22,23 The fruit of the Spirit is something that we talk a lot about, but what does it really mean? While much is written and theologized on the subject, I’m inclined to look at it more simply. First of all, the list of characteristics that Paul gives in Galatians do not define multiple fruits, but components of the same fruit. In other words, it’s one fruit that is multi-faceted and manifests in different ways. Some days love will be the dominant flavor, and other days, peace and gentleness will be primary, but all of them will be evident in some measure. In fact, the different characteristics crossover, and one tends to give rise to the others. This is why I’m leery of religious people

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The Allure of Gentleness

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” – Philippians 4:5 I don’t know about you, but the world we’re living in wears on me sometimes. Especially since the dawn of the pandemic, it seems like there’s an angry energy that’s permeating society. While I believe it’s fueled by political tensions, a barrage of fear, and the pressures put on us by an increasingly media and image-driven culture, at the end of the day, it’s draining. Sharp edges and harshness seem to be all too common in interactions and reactions, and this is precisely why the children of God need to step up and be the antidote. Like Dallas Willard once said, there’s an “allure in gentleness,” and especially in times like these, we can be a source of healing and comfort to people. Because we’re filled with the Holy Spirit, we have the power to forgo

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Perfection Isn’t Required

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33 To be more effective for God in the coming year, it’s important to remember that we don’t have to be perfect to make a difference. When I was in high school, I decided I was going to start sharing my faith with anyone and everyone who would listen. That said, I went straight to the campus drug dealer and told Him about Jesus. Much to my surprise, He received the message with great enthusiasm and prayed with me to accept Christ. After that, he began sharing his newfound hope with others, and I was blown away as He embraced the things of God. However, a while later, I saw him standing in the school parking lot dealing crystal meth to another student. This troubled me, and I began

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