Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

profileSome things are hard to understand in life.  I just experienced my 40th High School reunion last weekend and some of us have aged – lol.  Hard to understand how it has been 40 years since we walked the halls of High School together.  Talking with some of my classmates – life has taken some turns for the good and for the not so good.  Some of our classmates didn’t make it to this 40th reunion – already having their journey on earth ended.  Some things are hard to understand – even when we spend a lot of time trying to understand.

In 35 plus years of ministry I have had to help a number of people understand that our understanding is not all that and that we should rely on a higher power for sure.  When a child is born with a special need – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  When a person has taken their life – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  When a marriage fails – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  When a child dies unexpectedly in a crib at night or from a disease – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  When a young mother or father succumbs to a disease – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  When called in the middle of the night because a young person was just lost in a car accident – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  And I could go on and on.  When I have or someone else has yielded to the same temptation – again – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  Life has some difficult moments and being in ministry – I have experienced much of it with folks and with my own family. Continue reading

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August 14, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What Must We Do to Be Saved?

Acts 16:31

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

RayBlogAs an Evangelical the question that often gets asked is what must we do to be saved?  Some may talk about good deeds and ways to earn their way to heaven – and they would be wrong.  Some may talk about doing nothing because we are chosen by God’s choice – and although they are closer to the truth than the first group – they too would be off some from the truth.  Today’s passage gives us a clue to the answer to the question that many ask.

Today’s passage falls within a very powerful story.  Here it is in a little larger context.  Acts 16:22-34 – 22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” 29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God — he and his whole family.

The answer to our question today is in this story.  He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

Here it is said in another way – this time by Jesus.  John 6:26-29 – 26 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Paul wrote the answer to today’s question another way in another Epistle.  Romans 10:9 – That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

The answer to our question than is to believe in Jesus – to accept that He is the One the Father sent – the Messiah – the Lord of Lord’s.  I need to say one last thing about this belief.  One of my favorite sayings about faith is as follows.  If I told you there was a bomb in the room and you believed me – it would cause you to take action.  Believing in Jesus will cause action – it will cause a response.  James – Jesus’ own brother wrote – James 1:22-25 – 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  James 2:14-17 – 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

To be saved – we must believe on Jesus – and that belief will cause a change within us.  2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  Please don’t get me wrong – we are saved by grace as Paul writes –  Ephesians 2:8-98 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.

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

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Questions, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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