Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Does God Require Of Us?

Deuteronomy 10:12

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

RayMcDSalvation is a free gift – according to what I read in the Bible anyway. Here is a passage that shares this truth with us. Salvation is free – it is not something we can earn.

Ephesians 2:8–9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

While salvation is free and there is nothing we can do to earn it – there is a required response to our salvation.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Galatians 6:15 – Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.

Romans 6:22 – But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. Continue reading

October 21, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Does it Cost to Follow Jesus?

Matthew 10:37-38

37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

IMG_0301It is Good Friday. I had a funeral this morning for a long time friend from a previous church and a Good Friday service tonight at the church I presently serve. It is the day that our Lord sacrificed His life for me – for you – for all humanity – He paid for the sins of the world.

One thing I have always preached – there is a cost to follow Jesus. Salvation is free – but to truly follow Christ – there is a cost. That cost is a denial of self and an acceptance of God’s will in our lives. It is that Gethsemane moment where our will and God’s will clash – the cost is denying self and doing God’s will. The free gift of salvation requires a denial of self!

Here is today’s passage in partial context – it will help us understand the cost of following Jesus. Matthew 10:32-39 – 32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.  34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Continue reading

April 3, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Think About Your Mortality – Or Your Witness – Much?

John 14:1-3

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Do you think about life after death much?  I made a comment recently that we tend to think more about our mortality – our own death – after our parents have passed – because – all things being equal – there is no more buffer – we are the oldest generation.  A member said that really made them think.  I think about it.  My mom is 84 and she is the last remaining sibling in her family.  My dad is almost 84 and he has two brothers still living but has lost a couple of siblings already.  As their generation passes – I know I will think more about my mortality even more.

I think about my mortality as it is – with my job.  I face life and death situations often with members and friends – being a pastor.  I also recently got some blood work done and the results weren’t too good – so I’m thinking about my mortality even more today (and taking more seriously my need to improve my health).

So – do you think about your mortality?  I would imagine that Randy & Linda Owens had some serious thoughts about life and death when he was diagnosed with cancer recently – and even as they feel they got it all – he probably thinks about his mortality more than before.  Why Lord – why – does it take some event – like cancer or blood tests – to make us think about our mortality?

Now don’t get me wrong – I know that I know – as does Randy – that if we were to die we would be with Jesus.  I mean – today’s passage and others like it – give us confidence that if Christ is our Lord and Savior – there is a place for us in heaven that Jesus has prepared for us.  There is just something about taking that walk into eternity that rises in your mind when you think of our mortality.

Are we living to the fullest for Christ?  Are we living in such a way to hear well done good and faithful servant when we step into eternity?  Are we witnessing with our life in the ways God would want?  Could we be a better witness if we didn’t smoke – didn’t drink so much – weighed less – had better hygiene – took better care of our appearance – exercised more and so on?  After all – our body is a temple that holds the Holy Spirit.  1 Corinthians 6:18-20 – 18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

As I absorb the results of my blood tests – I realize most of the numbers are nothing that 50-100 pounds couldn’t correct.  When I think about my physical body – as active as I might be – I must think more of my witness to others.  Thinking about our mortality is natural.  Hurrying our death by not taking care of God’s temple is not.

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

July 24, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor | , , , | 2 Comments

Bought and Paid for By Christ on the Cross

Matthew 10:32-39

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.  34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

This Sunday we will start a new sermon series titled – The Cost of Following Jesus.  This whole week I have been looking at the above passage – preparing us for that series.

Monday we searched the first part of this passage – “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.”  We mentioned that most of us like to hear Atta boy/girl when we have done well.  We asked the question: how do we acknowledge God before men and women?

Tuesday we searched the second verse in this section of Scripture and saw what happens when we do not acknowledge God before people.  It is a part of this passage I’m sure some wish Jesus hadn’t included: But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”

Wednesday we looked at a few verses: 34-37 – “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”  For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;

Thursday we covered verse 38: and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Today we close this study with a look at verse 39: Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

The whole concept behind being a disciple of Christ is that we have been bought and paid for by the blood of the Lamb.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 – 18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

All we do in this life – once we have been saved – bought and paid for – is to live for Jesus.  Being bought and paid for by Christ means we are His – our life is to be lived for Him – rather than live for ourselves.

2 Corinthians 5:15 – And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

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

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July 29, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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