Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The One in Authority is God’s Servant

Romans 13:4

For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

Ray 2018Before I pen the first words in this devotional thought – I imagine there will be those who agree with me and those who disagree with me. I have friends who will debate this passage with me and argue that the current circumstance doesn’t fit into this passage. I’ve love to hear their take on this section of the Bible.

Let’s take a look at the world where Paul lived for a moment. In the early church – Christians were being persecuted by their own people – in many cases – as Orthodox Jews saw them as heretics (Paul/Saul was among them early on). Not only were they being persecuted by the Jews – who put their Lord to death – they were being persecuted by Rome. Rome was an oppressive power at the time Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome. Christians were being crucified in arenas – put before wild animals and gladiators as well. It was the worst of times some might say.

Paul writes these words to those Christians under such a terrible burden and oppression. Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Romans 13:1–7 – 1Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Continue reading

Advertisements

September 7, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Joy of the Lord

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

RayMcDHappiness is circumstantially driven – while Joy is spiritually derived. This is one of my favorite sayings. I believe I created it some 35 plus years ago. When I did a Google search for these words – the first and only post that matches is this devotional thought I posted online last year. I’ve used that phrase for 3-4 decades.

The meaning of the phrase is that things or circumstances make us Happy – but Joy comes from our relationship with Jesus. Happiness is temporary – while Joy is lasting – even eternal. Continue reading

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Showing Others God’s Grace

Luke 19:5

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.

It is hard – at times – to show grace. We talked about showing grace yesterday in the message. There are people in our lives that we would have a hard time showing grace to I think. Do we have a hard time showing grace – showing love – to the Zacchaeus types in our lives? The first few verses of Luke 19 tells us some about him.

Luke 19:1-4 – 1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

Zacchaeus wasn’t JUST a tax collector – but a chief tax collector. In Jesus’ day – Rome had some heavy taxes. And they hired Jewish people to collect the taxes from their own people. Most tax collectors were ruthless (they had Roman soldiers to help them collect) and corrupt. If they were asked to get $500 (for example) from each person – they could actually ask for more – and keep what Rome did not demand. That was how they became wealthy – through their corruption. Well – a Chief tax collector would be the one who told the other tax collectors what Rome needed (and they always put more into the figure for their cut). So – if Rome needed $500 a person (again – an example only) – the Chief tax collector might tell those under them that Rome needed $600 and keep the $100 for themselves. The regular crooks – I mean tax collectors – would then ask for $650 and keep the $50 themselves. You can easily see why the Jews quickly came to hate the Tax Collectors – not only because of Rome’s taxes – but because of their corruption – their sin. Continue reading

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 43 of Lent 2018

Matthew 26:14

Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests

Today is day 43 of the 47 Days of Lent reading plan (Sundays don’t count in the 40 days of Lent). I hope you have stayed with us – this is the final week – Holy Week. Today’s passage is about Judas and how he planned to spy on Jesus. Whether he was simply used by Satan – or was evil himself – or was simply trying to force Jesus’ hand to overtake Rome – he waited for an opportunity.

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny self – to dig deeper into our walk with Jesus. Today we continue to look at some passages that will lead us to the cross and to the resurrection. Let us focus on Jesus this week – more than usual. Let us identify with the walk and the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us. Jesus came to earth – voluntarily – to walk to the cross. I cannot imagine how Judas could have turned Jesus over to the chief priests. Continue reading

March 28, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Word of Encouragement This Morning!

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

RayMcDWe must be careful when we pull verses out of context and try to make too much out of them. I pray I don’t do that – simply using the words of Scripture to encourage and give us something to think about as we go on our way each day. Here is a word that encourages me and I pray it does you as well. We all need encouragement from time to time – don’t we?

Paul is coming to the close of his letter (Epistle) to the Christians in Rome and he is trying to give them encouragement after giving them much instruction. Encouragement can be so helpful. When a team is going bad – like the Orioles – encouragement can lift them to play better. When a person is fighting depression – encouragement can help them fight through the down time and see the light at the end of the tunnel. When a student is having a hard time focusing on material for a test – encouragement might be of help.  When someone is trying to accomplish a significant task – encouragement can help.  Who are we encouraging today? Who’s walk in Christ are we trying to encourage? Who is encouraging us today? Continue reading

August 22, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: