Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

A Refresher Concerning Our Salvation

Psalm 51:12
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

RayMcDCan we remember the moment we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior – the moment of our salvation? Some of us experienced a sudden conversion. Some of us experienced a more subtle conversion – where God works on us for a period of time and we finally yield to His Spirit’s tugging. However we come to Christ there must be a change and that change – the moment of our salvation – brings a great deal of joy.

I remember a man who was caught in all sorts of sin in his life. He came to the church almost out of desperation – trying to find something that would give him a reason to live. When the moment of his salvation came – months after he arrived at the church (God loved him into His arms) there was a dramatic shift in his behavior. Sin no longer had a strangle hold on his life – oh he still fell from time to time but sin didn’t rule their life any longer. He would stand before the church – often – and celebrate the new found freedom that he had found in Christ. He had a new purpose in his life. He was free from sin and had great joy. Continue reading

October 20, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restore Me to the Joy of My Salvation

Psalm 51:12

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

IMG_0301Last night we preached about being rescued – how God rescued us from sin and death.  I asked folks to remember times when they had been rescued – like how I was rescued by the stranger at the beach.  I asked people to remember their salvation – the moment God rescued them from sin and death.  Do you remember the day you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

Some of us experienced a sudden conversion.  Some of us a more subtle conversation.  Yet however we came to Christ there must be a change and that change – the moment of our salvation – brings a great deal of joy.  The joy of being rescued.  It should compel us to live with such joy that others see the joy of Christ in us and want it for themselves.

I remember a man who was caught in all sorts of sin in his life.  He came to the church almost out of desperation – trying to find something that would give him a reason to live.  When the moment of his salvation came – months after he arrived at the church – and God loved him into His arms – there was a dramatic shift in his behavior.  Sin no longer had a strangle hold on his life – oh he still fell from time to time – but sin didn’t reign any longer.  He would stand before the church – often – and celebrate his new found freedom – the freedom he had found in Christ.  He had a new purpose in his life.  He was free from sin and had great joy.  He had been rescued and was rejoicing and glad and others could see it.

Continue reading

August 17, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Salvation – A Gift From God

Psalm 51:12

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

I love this passage – and those like it – because it reminds me that my salvation is not my salvation – it is a gift from God – it is God’s salvation.  God’s salvation is a gift God gives.  Here is a passage of Scripture that reminds us of this truth.  Ephesians 2:8-10 – 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We need to rejoice – as the Psalmist writes – in God’s salvation.  The Psalmist writes – several times – that it is God’s salvation.  Here is another account of this truth.  Psalms 35:9 – Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation.

Paul agreed with the Psalmist – surprise – surprise – surprise!  Paul agreed that salvation is God’s gift to us – we read that in his writing from Ephesians above and we read it again in this passage from his letter to the Christians in Rome.  Romans 5:1-11 – 1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

I am not worthy of God’s salvation – no matter how good I might be or have been – so I rejoice in God’s salvation – because God gives it to me.  It is better than any gift I could ever receive – really – better than any gift.  Rejoice with me in the Lord’s salvation freely given to those who turn their hearts to God!  Praise God.

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

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February 29, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor | , , | Leave a comment

Can You Remember the Joy of Your Salvation?

Psalm 51:12

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Do you remember the moment of your salvation?  The day you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

Some of us experience a sudden conversion.  Some of us a more subtle conversation.  Yet however we come to Christ  there must be a change and that change – the moment of our salvation – brings a great deal of joy.

I remember a man who was caught in all sorts of sin in his life.  He came to the church almost out of desperation – trying to find something that would give him a reason to live.  When the moment of his salvation came – months after he arrived at the church and God loved him into His arms – there was a dramatic shift in his behavior.  Sin no longer had a strangle hold on his life – oh he still fell from time to time but sin didn’t reign any longer.  He would stand before the church – often – and celebrate the new found freedom that he had found in Christ.  He had a new purpose in his life.  He was free from sin and had great joy.

I remember another person who had a more gradual conversion.  They grew up in the church.  They went to Sunday School and other ministries as they grew up.  Taking a bit of wording from John Wesley, one night at a revival service the church held their heart was strangely warmed.  It wasn’t as dramatic a change in their life as the previous person I mentioned.  They were basically a good person to begin with – they were only 12 – and although sin was present in their life – it didn’t have a strangle hold yet.  Yet even though they felt like they grew into their salvation – there was that moment when their faith became theirs and not their parent’s faith.  They were filled with joy and excitement as they felt this change in their life.

I’d like to say that both of these persons lived happily ever after and sinned no more but I can’t.  They still battled with sin in their lives.  The older man had to continue to battle the memory of sin – either it’s temptations or the residue of the evil that he lived before his conversion.  The young child had to go through the trying times know to us all as the teenage years.

Salvation doesn’t mean you will not sin anymore.  Salvation means that your sins are forgiven – that the full payment for your sins has been made by Christ on the Cross of Calvary.  Salvation means that you have turned from sin and turned to God – and even when your turning fails you – God is ever present to help pick you up and place you back on the right path.  His grace is sufficient to cover your sins.  Salvation is your relationship with God – a deep abiding relationship that is perfect on God’s part and a work in progress from our point of view.

But knowing that you are not perfect – simply forgiven – brings great joy – great peace.

So when you are down – beaten on by sin in your life – circumstances in your life – remember your salvation and be joyous.  Because you are a child of God – forgiven and blessed.

Psalm 51:12 – 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

And if you have yet to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior – do so today.  Confess that you are a sinner – lost without hope.  Ask Christ for the free gift of His grace – the forgiveness of your sins.  Ask Christ to enter your life – your heart – and to become your Lord and Savior – the Master of your life – the Savior of your eternity.  See if your heart is not strangely warmed – or even a dramatic shift in your life as you come to Christ’s loving arms.

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

April 20, 2010 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , | 3 Comments

   

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