Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

A New Year Is Coming – What Will It Bring?

Matthew 18:2-4

2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

We are entering a New Year in approximately 11 hours or so.  Some will stay up to see the old year leave and the new year arrive.  Some will have friends over to enjoy the change of years.  Some have headed to New York City and other places to join larger groups of people to celebrate the coming of a New Year.  Some will go to sleep as if nothing will be different or change.  Change is the key word.  The hope that a New Year will be better than the year just completed.  Facebook is filled with people hoping for a better 2012.  That we can get a fresh start and make changes in our lives.  If we change nothing and still expect a different result – well – you know what they say about that saying.

Have you ever read and wondered what Jesus meant by these words from Matthew’s gospel?  When Jesus says – I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  What is it about a little child that is so significant?

What is it about little children that we should emulate in order to follow Jesus?  Little children are open and honest.  Little children hope and dream. Little children – unless they have faced abuse or lived in oppressive situations – have faith in the possible – they even believe in the impossible.  Little children are ever ready to forgive and can bounce back from almost anything.

How can we humble ourselves in 2012 – put aside our education and learning – put aside our experiences that have jaded our thinking and feelings – and live as people of faith?  Can we make real change in 2012 to the way we do business as usual?  Can we truly put God first and seek after His face and desire His grace in our lives?  Can we be like little children and spend 2012 celebrating Jesus in our lives?

None of us know where 2012 will lead us.  We don’t know if we will see tomorrow let alone the whole of 2012.  But if we aim at nothing we are bound to hit it.

Most people make resolutions.  Some usually last a week or month and some for the whole year.  What if we decided today – hours before the year 2012 begins – that we will humble ourselves before Jesus in the coming year – and truly ask ourselves what would Jesus do in all areas of our life?  What if we were willing to change and be like little children in our trust of Jesus in 2012?

God promises that marriages would be healed – relationships would be strengthened – churches would be united and focused – God would be glorified.  Will you join me in 2012 and commit to change – becoming like little children and seeking His face and desiring His grace – and believe in what God can do?

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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December 31, 2011 Posted by | Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor | , , , | Leave a comment

Seeking Gods’ Wisdom – Day 3

Psalm 90:12

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Today’s reading has six passages:

Job 32:6-9, Psalm 90:11-12, Psalm 111:10

Psalm 119:169, Proverbs 1:1-7, and Proverbs 2:1-22

They can be found at this link – http://www.youversion.com/reading-plans/wisdom/3 or by clicking on the Scriptures if you can see hyperlinks with them.  I would be very interested in reading what you think of these passages about wisdom.  Leave a comment on the blog page or on my Facebook page.

Job 32:7-8 – 7 I thought, ‘Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.’ 8 But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding. Some of us may believe that wisdom comes with age – yet we all know older people who don’t seem to have much wisdom.  Wisdom comes – as we read in Job – from a person’s spirit being in connection with God’s Spirit.  It is not something that just happens but rather is something that develops as we seek after God.

Psalms 90:12 – Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. What is it you seek day in and day out?  What do you focus on when you rise in the morning?  A promotion at work?  A beautiful home?  Your check account balance? Are you waiting for graduation day?  The day of your marriage?  Our main focus each day should be a deeper walk with Jesus!  We should rise and seek after His grace and His heart of wisdom.  Something I say and post on Twitter often is I’m seeking His face, desiring His grace.  That should be our focus.

Psalms 111:10 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. Fear is a word we don’t do well with in today’s society.  We cringe at the thought of fear when it comes to God.  We would rather use the word – and often have – to revere the Lord – often because it is an easier word to push aside I think.  The Amplified Version of the Bible starts this verse by saying the reverent fear and worship of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom…  I think we are missing the fear of God – the fear of His wrath and His judgment.  This lack of fear causes us to take lightly sin and the ways of the world.  We cannot walk in the wisdom of God if we do not fear Him!

Psalms 119:169 – May my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word. Crying out to the Lord each day and often during the day is essential as we strive to seek the Wisdom of God.  Solomon wrote in Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.  Discipline has to do with doing something regularly – timely – as prescribed.  We cannot expect to gain the wisdom of God if we only seek after it on occasion.

Proverbs 2:1-5 – 1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. Again the command is to store up in your heart the words of God.  Wisdom comes from storing up God’s words and applying our hearts to His understanding.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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December 31, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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