When we come to Genesis 13, God has instructed Abram to leave his homeland and go to Canaan. Abram, Sari, and his nephew, Lot, settle in Canaan until a famine forces them to move to Egypt. In Genesis 13:1-12, Abram, Lot, and their households have returned to Canaan from Egypt. They settle in the land between Bethel and Ai. Both Abram and Lot were blessed with great possessions, including an abundance of livestock. Because the land is not sufficient enough to support the feeding and watering of both Abram’s and Lot’s livestock, there arises a conflict between their herdsmen.
Reflect on Abram’s response to the quarrel between the two households.
Reflect on what healthy conflict looks like? How should children express their differences with their parents? How should parents express their differences with their children? How should siblings express their differences with each other? How should adults in the family handle conflict.
In Psalm 69:30-31, David states, “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bull, which has horns and hooves.” (NKJV). This is a remarkable statement that will be underappreciated unless you read verse 29. There, David shares that he is afflicted and in pain. The attitude of thanksgiving and praise is present despite the presence of pain and affliction.
What a powerful lesson for us. We should exalt the name of the Lord and shine a spotlight on Him, even when life hurts. Even when life is not good for us, God is still good to us. He continues to be worthy of thanksgiving, no matter the trials. You may have faced the loss of loved ones, unemployment, sickness, or a variety of other challenges. Yet God is able to deliver you out of your grief, pain, and sorrow. He will set you securely on a high place.
We are then reminded that the thing that pleases the Lord is not our offering of things to Him. It is the offering of ourselves to Him. He desires our praise because He deserves our praise. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, make a commitment to consistently and continually have a heart of gratitude. While things in your life may be difficult and pain abounds, thank God. Praise Him at all times. Don’t allow life’s circumstances, the testing of Satan or the hatred of men to silence you. Join David in proclaiming, “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving”
The political season is finally over and we now know who will be the next president of the United States of America. This was an historic election season ending in Donald Trump winning the Electoral College votes necessary to occupy the White House. Regardless of how you voted or even if you voted, there are some actions that the people of God should take when it comes to the political process.
Pray for our political leaders. In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, Paul instructs Timothy to pray for all those in authority. Our prayers should be focused on preserving the freedom of religious expression and for the salvation of those in authority. We should also pray for peace and protection in the land. Remember that God can turn the direction of the heart of elected officials whichever way He chooses (Proverbs 21:1).
Be the church. The church cannot expect the government to do our job. As the people of God, we are the light of the world. We are called to dispel darkness. It is not the role of government to make America a Christian nation. It is the job of Christians to make disciples for Christ. When the church leads people to Christ, it really won’t matter what the law permits in terms of abortion, cohabitation or same sex marriage. God’s people are compelled to obey a higher law. So even if the laws of the land permit sin, Christians stand on the word of God. We are not just to be the moral conscience of the nation. We are to be initiators of change so that people can be transformed by the power of the gospel. Our goal is not to have a nation full of good people. Our charge is to move our country towards being a nation of God’s people.
Love always. Love leads us to protect, be kind, seek peace, and not be rude. God is not Republican or Democrat. God is love. He has called us to love. That means we speak to others in love. We don’t allow political affiliation to divide the body of Christ or deter us from loving others.
Participate in the process. In scripture, God used voices outside of the government to influence the government. He also placed His people in positions within the government to influence the government. All politics starts in a local context. In addition to voting in ALL elections, consider getting involved in your local government. You may not run for mayor or congress, but you can become a part of government task forces and committees. You can write your elected officials encouraging them to support or oppose certain pieces of legislation. Attend neighborhood association meetings. Do something to get involved. As you get involved in the process, don’t be surprised if God elevates you to positions of greater influence.
Live life. Don’t live in fear of who is or isn’t in office. Live in the assurance that God is on the throne.
Being a disciple or follower of Christ means that we imitate his mission. In John 12:46 Jesus says, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness” (NKJV). As imitators of Christ we are illuminators of truth. While Jesus did miracles and ministry, that was not his ultimate purpose for coming to this world. He came to be the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world. He came to set us free from our sins.
As we do ministry, we must never forget the mission, which is to seek and save the lost. The purpose of ministry is to meet people at the felt need and lead them to their ultimate need for Christ and salvation. We don’t feed people just because they are hungry, we should do it to show them their need to hunger and thirst after righteousness. We don’t do coat drives and back to school give away just because we want people to look good and feel better about themselves. We do it with hopes that people will be clothed with Christ. We should pray that God opens our spiritual senses to the avenues that He has provided for us to share Jesus through ministry. We should not have ministries just so we can say to others, “My church is busier than your church.” Ministry ought to help people find their way to Jesus.
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.