If you’re God’s child,

If you’re God’s child, you are blessed with the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit. The question is, are you listening?

It is possible to be a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, saved by his blood, and still have a hard heart. So the warning of Hebrews 3:12–13 is much needed by all of us: “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

It is tempting to not listen to the protective promptings of the Holy Spirit because you think you have a more accurate view of yourself than you ever really have. Since sin is deceitful and since sin still remains in us all, there are places in our lives where we are deceived into thinking that we’re better off spiritually than we actually are.

It is tempting to resist the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit because few of us actually believe that we need the sight-giving ministry of others in our lives. Because we do not believe this, we have not opened ourselves up to the gospel community that is one of the primary tools of conviction that the Holy Spirit employs.

It is tempting to harden your heart against the ministry conviction of the Holy Spirit by arguing for your righteousness when a sin, weakness, or failure is revealed.

It is tempting to refuse to listen to the convicting voice of the Spirit by comparing yourself to other believers and arguing that you are surely more righteous than they are.

It is tempting to resist the personal insight-giving ministry of the Holy Spirit by confusing biblical literacy and theological knowledge with the evidence of a transformed and God-pleasing life.

It is tempting to run from the Spirit’s restoring and protective work by rewriting your history, swindling yourself into believing that your wrongs are not so wrong after all.

It is tempting to resist the Spirit’s loving work of conviction by confusing ministry skill, experience, and success with personal spiritual maturity.

It is tempting to resist the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit when he uses an instrument who you think is unqualified or less mature than you.

But be comforted. You serve a dissatisfied Redeemer who will not turn from his work of grace even when you fail to esteem it and work to resist it. With patient grace, once more he calls you to listen. Do you?

Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional

The Fruit of the Spirit Are Ingredients of Happiness

What’s our greatest source of joy? Paul pointed to the Holy Spirit: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Commenting on chara, the Greek Word usually rendered “joy” in this passage, the United Bible Societies’ translation handbook advises, “In some languages joy is essentially equivalent to ‘causes people to be very happy.’ In order to indicate that this joy is not merely some passing experience, one may say ‘to be truly happy within their hearts.’ In some languages joy is expressed idiomatically as ‘to be warm within one’s heart,’ or ‘to dance within one’s heart.’”


Acts 2:44

All the believers were together and had everything in common.

I can’t wait to get back to some fashion of normal life. I remember attending the graduation ceremony for my then two five-year-old granddaughters a few years back. We saw picture after picture on the big screen of children sharing and having a great time. Children from all walks of life – from various communities – and from diverse races. Children don’t care about our differences as much as their parents do and society seems to. Children just care if someone is nice and plays nice. I wish we adults could learn something from our children.

Most children learn early in life to share – especially if they have siblings. When they are very young – sharing is something they learn or should learn. It may not come naturally to us all – but thru time and training – most of us learn to share. We take turns in games – we learn to share our crayons and other materials. I know my daughters taught this to our grandchildren – even sharing with their cousins after they learned to share with their siblings. Now – they wouldn’t think of letting a classmate go without if they had something and could share. Sharing has become part of their life lessons and they live it well – most times.

Read more: https://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/2020/08/27/generosity/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=email_subscription

Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil

As we pray the Lord’s Prayer we might wonder why God would lead us into temptation in the first place. This traditional wording for the Lord’s Prayer is rather unfortunate. When I rode my motorcycle here today I might have prayed “Lord, may I not be enticed by this beautiful weather to keep motorcycling instead of getting to work.” Or I might have prayed “Lord, may I not fall off.” Those are two very different prayers and both those ideas work for the Greek word for temptation. Most Bible scholars think the latter is in view, the idea of being tested, of facing trials and great difficulties.

As with the most of the Lord’s Prayer, we want to remember these requests are in the plural. It is not “Do not lead me, personally into testing, deliver me from evil,” but “do not lead us, as a people, into testing, deliver us from evil.” The people standing by Jesus as he taught may have had in mind the entire nation of God’s people. They could have considered the very real possibility of another national tragedy as the kind of testing they were praying to avoid.

God’s old covenant people were used to national tragedies. The Assyrians took out the Northern tribes some time before the Babylonians took the people of Judah into exile. These times of great trial, tribulation and testing happened because of the sin of God’s people. Now God’s covenant people were back in the promised land, as promised, but the Romans were also in the land as an occupying army. There was a very real danger of being led into a great and terrible time of testing again. In this context, the prayer might be understood “forgive us rather than lead us into tribulation by driving us into exile again, deliver us from the evil Romans.”

Read the rest: https://clarkedixon.wordpress.com/2020/08/24/lead-us-not-into-temptation-but-deliver-us-from-evil/

Why Pray?

John 14:13-14

13 Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so the glory of the Father may be seen in the Son. 14 Yes, if you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

Have you ever wondered why we pray if God already knows everything? What do our prayers accomplish?

First, communicating with God connects His Spirit and ours. A relationship can’t survive if the two parties don’t speak with each other.

Second, God communicates His will to His children through prayer. If we’re seeking to please Him, then we will pray with an open heart and mind. In turn, the Lord impresses upon us the desire to ask Him for those things He wants to bring into our life.

Third, communing with God gives us the opportunity to participate in His kingdom on earth. As we learn to trust Him for answers, He gives us greater tasks in prayer. The Lord will burden our heart to pray for the salvation of a friend, people suffering from a natural disaster, or the state of our nation. When we see an answer, whether it’s big or small, we will know He blessed us by including us in the process.

God calls on His children to pray, because He wants us involved in His work. What a privilege for us to freely go before our Father and know that He is interested in what we have to say. In fact, He is pleased when we ask Him to meet our needs or the needs of someone else. And if we are praying according to His will, He answers every time.


From an unknown devotional – sent to me.

A powerful reminder

Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:43–45 NIV)

True greatness is now measured in terms of being a servant rather than owning the estate. Being first is no longer calculated by how many slaves we own but rather by how many people we serve. You have changed the value and price tags for everything.


A Lesson on Prayer from a Depressed Charles Spurgeon

Any time I’ve asked a group of church-goers how they feel about their prayer life, the answer is always that it could be better. In fact, I don’t believe even once I’ve heard someone say they’re content in it. Part of the reason for this is simply bound up in the reality that as Don Whitney says, “…when we pray, we tend to say the same old things about the same old things. And when you’ve said the same old things about the same old things about a thousand times, how do you feel about saying them again? Bored!” This really is a tremendous insight that cuts to the heart of much of the issue people face with prayer. Rote repetition is their prayer life—is it any wonder that in the midst of prayer their minds wander to something else, almost as if it is begging for something more engaging. Prayer should be engaging. Yet often it is anything but and we know it, and because we know we are to do it to be faithful, we limp through it out of sheer guilt.

If this describes you and your prayer life, I would earnestly recommend purchasing Don Whitney’s book and putting it into practice. Instead of tasking the reader with multiple steps to a better prayer life, Whitney advocates a simple approach: you pray using scripture as your source, namely, the psalms. The reason being we can avoid vain repetition in our prayers, use inspired text that covers a wide range of emotions, doctrines, and troubles, and initiate the conversation of prayer with God freely. The goal is that our prayers are informed by the Word of God. In essence, we are speaking God’s own words back to Him, and the result is that we not only have biblically saturated prayer, but we know these will be prayers God honors and is honored by. Another great resource that I’d recommend is D.A. Carson’s book, which has a similar proposal utilizing the apostle Paul’s prayers.

Read more of this blog: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/chorusinthechaos/lesson-prayer-depressed-charles-spurgeon/

Ephesians 4:29

Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Read blog: https://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/2020/08/21/unwholesome-talk/

Sanctification: Glorification

Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

The Golden Chain of Salvation…  A series of steps in the process of salvation, necessarily ending in the believer being glorified.  Paul writes “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…”[i]  Following on this, Paul continues with a description of what happens when God predestines.  The one that is predestined is called, justified, and finally glorified.  The status of “being glorified” is equated to conformity to the image of his Son.

What then is “sanctification”?  The Golden Chain of salvation found in Romans 8:29-30 does not present all the steps of God’s redemptive work.  Reformed theologians have filled out the chain using the term “Ordo Salutis” (The order of salvation).[ii]  The Westminster Shorter Catechism answers the question as follows:

Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God , and are enable more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.[iii]

The image of God is defined in scripture as True Knowledge, True Righteousness, and True Holiness.[iv]

True Knowledge

True knowledge is knowledge that corresponds to the mind of God.  One obvious source of true knowledge is the scriptures as given to us in the Old and New Testaments.  The pursuit of science can potentially yield “true” knowledge.[v]  When we study something under the microscope, we are looking into the mind of God, for its design came from the mind of God in creation.  To the extent that what we know is “actually” what God has established, we have “true” knowledge.  Our knowledge however is never “exhaustive”, we will never know what we study completely as only God can know in this fashion.  He is infinite, we are finite.  He is omniscient and holds original knowledge.  We know derivatively.  He is creator, we are the created.

The rest is at: https://www.reformation21.org/blog/sanctification-glorification

We Must Encourage One Another!

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Read the blog: https://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/2020/08/17/we-must-encourage-one-another/