The stock market has been in a state of free fall lately. Investors are getting nervous. Is there an end in sight to the continual drops in the market? What will happen to your retirement accounts? After years of historic gains on Wall Street, we now face the uncertainty of a possible recession. In our study on Sunday, August 23, we saw that God is the one who supplies us with what we need. We know that our jobs and any gains that we get from investments are just tools that God uses to bless us. Times like these remind us that we should trust God as your source and provider.
There is another, perhaps less obvious lesson that we learn when looking at our global economy. Analysts say that the reason for plummeting stock indices in the United States is the decline in the Asian markets. What happens half a world away impacts our economy. How’s that for connection! Romans 12:15 states, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” As Christians, do we have the compassion to be impacted by what happens half a world away? Are we moved even by what happens half a block away? Although our society is increasingly global, our compassion seems to be decreasingly localized. We suffer from compassion fatigue. Many people are just tired of caring. A disadvantage of having news available to us 24/7 is that the more we are exposed to the hurts of others, the more desensitized we become. I encourage us to renew our commitment to caring. Start with praying for those who are grieving and sick. Try sending a note to someone who hasn’t been in worship service in several weeks, months, or years. The stock market is a reminder of the connection that the body of Christ is interconnected. Let’s celebrate with those who celebrate and minister to those who mourn.
God's Report Card
We have come to that time of the year when parents rejoice and children weep. It is back to school time. It is a time of excitement and anxiety. Many are looking forward to seeing friends again. Guys are checking out the new girls and girls are peeping at the new guys. You may be going to a new school, having to make new friends. Perhaps you are worried about where you will fit in. Maybe you are hoping that you will get the easy teachers. Back to school is a tough time, but there is a word from the Lord in Daniel 1:17-21 that will help you have a good school year.
Our Season of Abundance
In case you haven’t noticed IT’S HOT!! I heard someone say it’s so hot that the devil left town and went back home. However if you have ever spent a summer in Texas, you know that is the way August is here. It should not surprise us that it is hot. I was actually surprised that it took so long for it to really get hot. The heat is nothing new. There is, however, one thing that is different this year compared to the last few summers: there are no watering restrictions. People are watering their lawns daily without the fear of a city citation. While we have not had any rain worth reporting in a couple of months, lakes and reservoirs remain full. The heavy rains of April and May have allowed us to endure the scorching heat of August.
So it is in our spiritual lives. Our season of blessing allows us to endure the heat of testing. Proverbs 6:6-8 lifts up the example of the ant. When food is available, the ant puts some away for the time when food will not be readily available. So many times, during our season of abundance, we don’t think about the possibility of drought. We may even forget about the droughts of our past. However, wisdom dictates that we prepare for drought during our seasons of abundance. Financially, that could mean saving your tax refund or not spending your pay raise. Emotionally, it looks like being there for others in their hour of need. Spiritually, it can be being a peacemaker for others, since you never know when you are going to need the intervention of a peacemaker in your relationships. It can be sharpening your marriage skills while things are going well, so that you will have some usable tools for the rough patches that may be on the horizon. What you do during the blessings of spring greatly shapes how you endure the drought of summer.
Life On Fleek!
Sunday, August 9 marks the beginning of our 2015 Youth Transformation. Most of us can quote the “Transformation Text” of the Bible, Romans 12:1-2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (NKJV)
As our children prepare to go to school, we encourage them to be transformed. God’s mercy is the motive for making a living sacrifice. In light of the fact that we are justified people, righteous in our standing before God, we are under obligation to live a righteous life. In view of the fact that we are the objects of the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification, we are to live those lives in the spiritual energy He supplies. In view of the fact that we are yet to be glorified, we are to look forward to our Lord’s coming, and purify our lives.
As you return to school, do not be fashioned according to the world. Don’t behave in a way which does not come from, nor is representative of what you are as a born again child of God. You must undergo a deep inner change by renewing the quality of your mind. This transformation is the work of the Holy Spirit in you! Be who God has re-made you to be. Focus on loving God with all your being. Read His word. Pray to Him. Lose yourself in Him and He will use you for His glory! If you do that, then you will have Life On Fleek!
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.