Believe it or not, we are halfway through 2018! The midway point of the year is a great time to glance back and look forward. Many people make commitments for the New Year. We set personal, professional, family, and spiritual goals. We say we are going to eat less and exercise more. We will worry less and pray more, work less and be at home more, watch less television and read the Bible more.
Unfortunately, by this point in the year, many of us have fizzled out on our commitments. We had great intentions, but it is very likely that we did not have a plan to go with those intentions. When there is no action plan there are false starts. We go along well for a little while, and then life happens and we go back to our comfortable and familiar habits, patterns, and routines. The good news is that you don’t have to wait until 2019 to try again.
Lamentations 3:22-23 states, “Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” (CSB). Each morning God gives us a fresh start. As you glance back at the first six months of this year, do just that: glance. Don’t gaze back, glance back. Don’t live in the past and get stuck there. Whether you had more successes or more failures so far this year, look forward. God’s mercies are new every morning! If you failed everyday of this year, God is giving you a new start this morning. If you have succeeded everyday this year, it is only by the faithful love and tender mercies of God that you will succeed today.
Make the last half of 2018 the best half!
Now is a good time to be alive. We often take for granted how good we have it because this is all many of us know. The modern conveniences and quality of life afforded to us today were unimaginable just 20-30 years ago. Unfortunately, as we enjoy the privilege of privilege, many of us have adopted an entitlement mentality. We treat privilege like a right. If we are going to be more like Christ, we must lose our entitlement mentality and adopt the servant mindset. I Peter 4:7-11 reminds us of the service that we as servants of God should render for God.
In order to have a servant’s mindset you need a servant’s temperament (v. 7-9). Peter understood that this world is only temporary and that life as we know it will come to an end for all people. The end of all things is near, we are living in the last days, so be serious and watchful. We should have some sense and some self-control. Keep your mind clear, so that when life happens, your first response is to pray. When you have a servant mindset, you trust the Master to handle life’s messes.
Our prayers are reinforced by our actions. Love should be the activating force behind our actions. Love should be fervent or constant. The word literally means to stretch out. It communicates the idea that one does not waiver in his display of love. The word picture of stretching out means that I go beyond normal limits. The fact that we are told to “keep fervent” in our love suggests that love can grow cold over time. When you feel like turning off your love for people, keep stretching. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love makes allowances for our humanity, as long as that allowance is not damaging to the soul. The love that covers and protects is the kind of love we should show for one another.
We are to be hospitable without complaint. It is sometimes inconvenient to be hospitable. Serving others will cost you some time, money and may cause you to have to adjust your schedule. But don’t get mad about being friendly. Don’t complain because you showed care and concern. Be hospitable.
God saved you to serve. Do something with the gift that God has given you.
As humans, we like to be in the know. Shows like Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood and TMZ dish out the latest gossip on celebrities. Many people want to be the first to know what’s going on so they can be the first to tell what’s going. Our culture is obsessed with nosiness. This obsession more often than not, centered around information that is insignificant and unimportant.
But there are some secrets worth knowing. There is some information worth sharing. God has some secrets. And the God that we serve is willing to share some of those secrets with us. We learn here is Psalm 25 that there are some secrets that God doesn’t keep. So how does one access God’s secrets? The key is in Psalm 25:14, “The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him…” The promise is for those who fear the Lord. This fear is not an “afraid of the boogey man” kind of fear. It is a reverence where one recognizes the power and position of God, and renders proper respect to God based upon His power and position. We must have a clear sense of awareness of the essential difference between the majesty of God and the inadequacies of man.
Those who fear God have the assurance of the blessing of God (v. 13). “His soul will abide in prosperity.” The Lord blesses those who fear Him from the inside out. Those who recognize the awesomeness of God will be blessed with peace and well-being. This leads us to verse 14.
Many of the restaurants and retailers have email clubs, where if you join their club, they will send you exclusive offers and discounts. The perks are only for the people who are part of the email club. God has some exclusive offers for those who recognize His worthiness and respect His holiness. There are some things that God has that aren’t for everyone. The Psalmist says that the secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him. The word picture is being close together so that you can be secret in your communication. You have to be close to God if you want Him to share some secrets with you. God reveals His covenant promises in scripture, but those promises resonate with those who are close. There is a deeper level of spiritual awareness and enlightenment for those who have the right relationship with God. For those who are close enough to hear the secret, God reminds us that His covenant is true. His deliverance is sure. His promises are real. His plans are available to those close enough to hear.
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.