Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 13 of Lent

Matthew 23:12

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Today is day 13 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan on www.youversion.com. I hope you are enjoying the reading plan as it walks us through some of the events in Jesus’ life as He walked to the cross.  Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross.

Today’s reading reminds us to be humble for sure.  If we are followers of Christ – we need to walk as He did – with humility.  For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.  How are we walking in humility this Lenten season?

Read the entire reading for today and share what it says to you.  The entire reading for today is Matthew 23:1-39 – 1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 5 “Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries  wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’ 8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. 13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. 14 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Therefore you will be punished more severely. 15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. 16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it. 23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. 25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. 27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. 29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers! 33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation. 37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ “

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March 5, 2012 Posted by | Encouragement, Faith Journey, Lenten Thought | | Leave a comment

God Still Has Miraculous Powers!

John 20:26

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

Do we believe in the impossible?  Do we serve a God who can do all things – even the impossible?  We read stories throughout the Bible of miracles that God performed.  We could spend weeks and maybe even months writing about the many miracles that God performed – as recorded in the Bible.  Today’s passage is just one of these miracles.  Jesus appeared with His disciples – even though the room was on lock down and there was no way in!  This is a post resurrection appearance – and that in itself is a miracle of God.

What miracle do we need in our lives today?  Do we believe in a God of miracles?  Or is our God weak – like us?

We might be able to name a few miracles we would like in our lives – like healing from cancer – healing of our marriage – getting our children on the right path.  But the question of the day is – do we believe that God can do all things?  Do we believe in a God of miracles – or is that just a Biblical story that we no longer believe?

People like to quote Philippians 4:13 – I can do everything through him who gives me strength – but do we really believe this passage – or is it just nice to hear/read?  Do we believe we can do all things through Him who strengthens us?

Of course 1 Corinthians 13 is most commonly called the love chapter – and so we focus on the love language in it – but do you really read what it says before it gets to verse 4 and following?  1 Corinthians 13:1-3 – 1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.It is a report of some of the miracles God has given His church – from Chapter 12 where Paul writes about the miraculous powers of the Holy Spirit working in believers.  Do we believe that God is operating in our lives today?  Do we believe that God is still God?  That God is still the God of miracles and miraculous powers?  Well – I do – and I believe God can change any person or any situation to His glory if we would just allow Him.

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

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March 5, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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