Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Fixing Our Eyes On Jesus

Hebrews 12:2

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I have been a pastor for 40 plus years and in the church my whole life (62 years and counting). I have developed a number of sayings over the years that – for me – help sum up our faith or help me understand it a little better. One of my favorites and the favorite of many is this – Christianity boils down to attitude. I developed this saying in my early ministry because I saw that the church (including me) often has an attitude issue – a heart issue. Too many times disagreements within the church came down to attitudes and personal desires rather than an earnest seeking of God’s will. We often have quarrels among us because of our feelings rather than a disagreement on God’s will.

With this understanding – a number of years ago I added the following to this favorite saying to make my intent more clear – Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart. Too many times personal desires and interests divide even the Body of Christ. I know of churches that were divided over the color of the curtains in the social hall or whether to have pew cushions or not. I’ve known churches that have been divided over whether to have an organ or a piano and most recently over whether to have a praise band or not in worship. I’ve known churches that were so inwardly focused at times – that real eternal issues never got discussed. Real heaven or hell issues could not be addressed in some churches – because the membership was too divided over trivial things – over things that do not promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Continue reading

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July 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Facing Hardships for Jesus

Hebrews 12:2

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Photo on 6-21-16 at 2.53 PMHave any of us endured hardship for a cause? Hardship is so hard to define – because it can mean different things to different people. For instance – in elementary school I remember declining an invite to play in a game of kickball because my best friend didn’t get picked. That was a hardship for a competitive person like me – even in elementary school! Others have mentioned not joining a club or a fraternity because a close friend failed to receive an invite.

I’ve heard of colleagues and friends who have turned down promotions and raises in order to remain where they felt God called them. I’ve known parents who have sacrificed for their children – going without in order that their children might have what they needed and at times what they wanted. Hardships come in many ways. Continue reading

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keep Your Eye On Jesus

Hebrews 12:2

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,

As I was growing up – I played several sports.  In most sports using a ball – one of the most common instructions you will hear from a coach is – keep your eye on the ball.  In baseball – if you are hitting – you need to keep your eye on the ball – so that the bat will meet the ball – squarely and deliver a hit.  If you are fielding the ball – you need to keep your eye on the ball – watching the ball into your glove.  Playing football – as a receiver for instance – you often hear coaches telling them to look the ball into your hands – in other words – keep your eye on the ball.  You cannot throw the ball until you catch the ball!

If you watch sports – like football – you might hear the TV personality say – when a receiver drops a pass – he was running before he caught the ball.  In other words – he took his eyes off the ball and looked to see where he was going to run after catching it or who was going to hit him after he caught it.  As a defensive player in football – you really need to keep your eye on the ball – trying to decide who has it so you can tackle them.

In today’s passage the author is trying to get us to keep our eyes on Jesus.  Too often we have horizontal vision – looking around us.  When we look horizontally we tend to convince ourselves that we aren’t too bad – compared to the others around us.  Our Christianity will never be what God wants it to be if we focus on others rather than – vertically – concentrating on Jesus.  If we keep our eyes on Jesus we will always be striving for the perfect example and not the imperfect (including us).  Our pastors aren’t perfect – neither are other Christians.  We all have our flaws. That is why we must keep our eyes on Jesus.

The author includes today’s passage in this section of instruction: Hebrews 12:1-3 – 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

As you walk out your faith today – keep your eyes on Jesus – and He will see you through.

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

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November 10, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , , | 1 Comment

   

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