Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Holding Onto His Teachings

John 8:31

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”

112015 Ray McDonaldHow’s your Prayer/Fast going? Are there any words from the Lord through your increased prayer life? My sermon Sunday about worship was mainly something that came to me during a recent extended prayer time.

I was also thinking about dates and stuff – brought on by the recent passing of my father-in-law. It has been 3½ years since my father passed. I will turn 61 next month. This spring I will celebrate 43 years since I graduated High School. This summer my wife and I will celebrate 36 years of marriage. Starting this summer I will be in my 40th year of ministry. July 1st I will begin my 4th year sharing with the fine people of First United Methodist Church in Laurel – Maryland. All of these dates will come about – the Lord willing.

Throughout this life of mine – I have learned a great deal from many. My father was my key instructor through much of my life. Not only lessons on being a man and a father – but – because we shared callings – he taught me much in the way of being a pastor. In high school – college – and seminary – I learned much as well. I remember lessons learned from Mr. Bridger in Science. I learned a great deal from Big Al Larimore – both on and off the court. I learned a great deal from a dear friend – Harry Dobson. In ministry – aside from my father – I have learned a great deal from Rev. Ed Ankeny – one of my first bosses in ministry. I learned a great deal from an early DS – Rev. Richard Clifford. Many of my colleagues in ministry have taught me so much. I continue to learn much from my wife Carolyn – my life partner – and from my children – Shelly – Nicole – Jaclyn – Justin & Jason. And new lessons are being learned daily from my four granddaughters – Vyrie – Justice – Scarlett & London (namely that Pop knows when to give them back to a parent – LOL).

Here’s today’s passage in partial context. John 8:21–32 – 21 Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.” 22 This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?” 23 But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” 25 “Who are you?” they asked. “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. 26 “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” 27 They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. 28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” 30 Even as he spoke, many believed in him. 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

To whom do we belong? To whom do we turn to for life’s lessons? My hope is that we will learn the best and most important life lessons from following Jesus – from being His disciple. As we walk through our Prayer/Fast – let us remove the things that hinder our walk with Jesus and be drawn closer to Him – truly developing as His disciple.  If we are His disciples – holding onto what He teaches – the truth will indeed set us free!

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

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February 15, 2016 - Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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