- Bold. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, bold is an adjective meaning not afraid of danger or difficult situations. Jesus was bold in dealing with difficult people and difficult circumstances. The people of God should walk through life with boldness. We can face whatever comes our way with courage because God is with us. Is there room for more boldness in your life? Talk to God about why you are afraid. Many times we are afraid of what could be and not what is. Often, our “could be” never becomes a reality. Explore ways that you can demonstrate the boldness of Jesus in your life. (see Joshua 1:5-9)
- Mission-minded. Early in His life, Jesus established that His priority was to do the work of the Father (Luke 2:49). Stephen Covey said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” The church exists to demonstrate the love of God and help win souls for Christ. The only way a church can be mission-minded is if the people who make up the church are mission minded. The mission of reaching the lost and strengthening the saved must become a personal goal in your life. What are ways that you can integrate the mission of the church into your everyday life? What can you do to move from knowing the mission to living the mission?
- Faithful to Biblical Teachings. To truly be a disciple of Christ, there must be a commitment to the words of Jesus (John 8:31-32). In order to be faithful to God’s word, we must value the word, learn the word and live by the word. Which is your area of strength? Where is there opportunity for growth? What is your strategy for personal growth with the word?
To be a disciple of Christ means that we study Him, follow Him, and imitate Him. In studying His ministry, there are three attributes that stand out. Jesus was bold, mission-minded and faithful to Biblical teachings. These are attributes that His followers should imitate.
The mindset of “When the going gets tough, I get gone” is pervasive in our marriages, family relationships, congregations, and places of employment. As our society continues to grow short with longsuffering, God continues to call His people to bear with one another (Ephesians 4:1-3).
In Ephesians 4, Christians are instructed to walk worthy of our calling. Paul exhorts us to see to it that our Christian experience, the Christian life we live, weighs as much as the profession of Christianity which we make. Don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk.
Bearing with one another in love part of what it means to walk worthy. Bearing with one another means making allowance for the faults and failures of others, or differing personalities, abilities, and temperaments. It is not a question of maintaining a façade of courtesy while inwardly seething with resentment. It is showing genuine love to those who irritate, disturb, or embarrass us.
Bearing with one another is the practical expression of patience. When we bear with one another’s weaknesses and failures in the midst of tensions and conflicts, we show a lifestyle that is consistent with our divine calling.
The largest part of this work for unity does not happen between you and me. It occurs within each one of us. Patience, forbearance, and forgiveness are not automatic actions that follow conversion to Christ. They are deliberate acts of the will when we yield our will to the Holy Spirit.
And don’t think that you are the only one who has to bear with others. Others have to bear with you. Our individual attitudes help to determine the ease or difficulty in which people are able to bear with us. How easy is it for others to bear with you?
As you go throughout this year, there will be opportunities for you to practice bearing with others. Don’t be so quick to cut people off. Remember that God bears with you, so you should imitate Him and bear with others. You will not be able to bear with others without forgiving others. How are we to forgive? Just as the Lord forgave us (Colossians 3:13).
The Wise Men, or Magi, play an important role in the life of Jesus. God used the wise men to save the life of the one who would save the world (see Matthew 2:1-12). These men came to Jesus to worship. Their example tells us what happens when wise men worship.
First of all when wise men worship, they worship. These men had come to the place where Jesus was in order to worship. It is important to note that these men were gentiles who traveled a distance to pay homage to the king of the Jews. Even in His infancy, we see that Jesus would not only be the king of the Jews, but would also be the Lord of all creation and would bring together both Jews and gentiles. Christ is worthy of our worship. When we come together on Sunday, it should be a continuation of our worship to God during the week. When we understand that life is about worship, it makes worship on Sunday easy. Worship isn’t about us, it is about God. These men who came from the East were men of standing and stature. They were academically skilled and intellectually astute. And yet, they bowed down and prostrated themselves in worship to the baby Jesus.
Secondly, when wise men worship, they don’t worry about who is not worshipping. When the wise men asked about the whereabouts of the one born king of the Jews, Herod assembled the chief priests and scribes and asked them where the Christ was to be born. The chief priests and scribes were Biblically astute enough to direct the wise men to Jesus although they would not go to worship Him themselves. But the wise men were so excited and joyous about going to worship the king that they did not worry about the chief priests and scribes not worshipping. Don’t let what other people aren’t doing keep you from doing what you know you should do.
Finally, when wise men worship, they understand who they are worshipping. The Bible tells us that they brought gifts. And the gifts that they brought indicate that they understood who they were worshipping. The Magi asked King Herod to point them to the real king. The gifts were not for Herod. They did not bow down to Herod. They bowed down to the one who was worthy of their worship and gave Him gifts. We worship Christ understanding that He is the Great I am. He is not just the Son of God, but He is God the Son. We worship understanding His purpose of healing the brokenhearted, setting the captives free and saving man from his sins. We worship Him because He is worthy!
Have you ever had an idea that you just knew God wanted you to turn into action? Perhaps you even shared your idea with your best friend or a trusted mentor, and they also thought that you should act on the idea. You begin to set plans in motion only to discover that God did not want you to move forward with your plans. That is what happened to David in 2 Samuel 7.
David was admiring the blessings of God and enjoying the comforts of his spacious house and it hit him that there was no permanent structure for the ark of God to dwell. So he had an idea to build a house for the ark of God. He ran the idea by Nathan the prophet and Nathan immediately said, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you.” How’s that for a green light! David can now make plans to build the house because the man of God has said, “the LORD is with you.”
But later that night Nathan receives a message from God that interrupts David’s plans. God tells Nathan that David will not build a house for the ark of God. I imagine that this was a shock to Nathan and a disappointment for David. But that is the risk that we take when we speak for God without hearing from God.
In our attempt to encourage and inspire others, we can be tempted to speak for God although we haven’t spoken to God about the matter. We should not promise that God will do what God never promised He would do. Many people feel disappointed by God because someone that they trust told them that God was going to bless them or that He was with them in an effort, when God had not spoken. It may not be God’s plan for a person to go back to school, get married or have children. Don’t speak for God when God has not spoken. What God has spoken is revealed in His Word. His word works in us, and by the power of the Spirit, we can discern what God is saying to us (1 Corinthians 2).
Additionally, in our zeal and excitement about our ideas, plans, and dreams, we often seek the endorsement of others before we seek the approval of God. We are reminded in Proverbs 19:21, “Many plans are in a man's mind, but it is the Lord's purpose for him that will stand” (AMP).
As you make your plans for 2020, consult with the Lord first. Remember that not every good idea is a God idea. Pray that God will reveal HIS plans to you. When you walk the path of God, you can do all that is in your heart for the LORD is with you.
We live in the information age. In fact, each day we are exposed to more information than we could possibly process. Between social media, 24-hour news stations, Google, push notifications, podcasts, audiobooks, apps, and random articles that fill our screen every time we open a new tab on our web browser, we experience information overload. If we are honest, we have more information than we could possibly use.
In 2 Timothy 3:14-15, Paul instructs Timothy to use the knowledge that he already has. The message is, “You know what to do, so do what you know.” Paul says that things are going to get worse as time goes on. But you do what you know to do. Don’t be discouraged. Be committed.
As Christians, is not that we don’t know what to do. The issue is that we don’t do what we know. The world won’t be getting any better. Evil men won’t become less evil. Deceivers will continue to deceive and those being deceived will continue to be deceived. But you do what you know. Hang on to God’s word. Continue to study the scriptures and put into practice what you study. Don’t worry about what evil and corrupt men are doing; you just do what you know.
People will be ugly towards you, talk about you behind your back, betray you with a kiss, lie on you, mistreat you, and spread rumors about you. But you do what you know God wants you to do. As a disciple of Christ, take the high road (see Matthew 5:11-12). You know what to do, just do what you know. Forgive those who mistreat you. Pray for those who try to use you. Take a stand against injustice and unrighteousness. Do everything in your power to live at peace with all people. Treat other people how you want to be treated. Love people even if they don’t like you. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.
Children obey your parents in the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath. Husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord. Don’t just read the Word; obey the Word.
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.