Attitude Check Trinity!

Philippians 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

This is one of my favorite passages. I have a number of them for sure. Years ago I took this verse and created a favorite saying. Many of our readers have heard this saying numerous times and could quote it with me. It goes like this – Christianity Boils Down to Attitude. Years after coming up with this saying – I added the following – Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart. Now – I know full well that Christianity is all about God’s grace – that it is all about Christ’s life – death and resurrection. But – as we mentioned many times in teachings and in sermons – Christian maturity is all about the condition and position of the heart. Christian maturity is about doing – about walking out our faith – and this takes an attitude likened to the attitude of Jesus.

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Encouraging Others

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

We must encourage one another. Encouragement is very important. There are many persons in the families of our church and community who have known very little encouragement in their lives. They have been raised in families where discouragement was the focus – with very little – if any – encouragement. Families where more fuss was made over a grade of B in one class rather than the grades of A in all of the other classes. Families where the small mistake was made to be larger than the overall good job done. Encouragement is so important to the development of a child and also for the rest of us too.

Discouragement in the church is also a tool that the devil uses. Someone does a tremendous job with a program and the first thing someone says is something that didn’t go right. Worship was awesome and a person points out the one thing that didn’t go well – first. I’ve been part of very dynamic worship and the first thing some negative people will say is – We went too long or I didn’t like the music choices.

It isn’t that we shouldn’t try to improve one another – we’re actually called to do that in Scripture. What I’m questioning is the attitude and timing of things. Read Revelation where Christ instructs John to write to the seven churches. In those passages Christ always affirms where He can affirm – encourages – before He gives corrective instruction.

In today’s section of Scripture – Paul is trying to give good advice to the church – some departing words of encouragement. It is worth reading again my friends – and we should take these words to heart. Here is today’s passage in partial context.

1 Thessalonians 5:4-24 – 4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 12 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. 16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil. 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

We are to have a positive – forward looking faith – building one another up in the faith rather than tearing one another down. We are to have the same attitude that Christ had – and I can’t imagine Christ being discouraging to a believer – someone striving to follow His teachings.

Philippians 2:5 – Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who do you know that needs encouragement today? How about giving them some! Tell them you love them. Give them a heart or thumbs up on social media. Try to help others have a good day! Be an encourager today and every day and see how God is blessed.

Trinity is in a season when our members need to be encouraged. We all have much to change and repent of – but – we also do so much well and we need to spend some time building one another up. Join me as we enter a season of encouragement.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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May Our Words Please God

Ephesians 6:19

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,

I was going to wait until Wednesday to write Thursday’s devotional thought – but – decided I would play it safe and write it before my heart surgery on Tuesday. I know I am in good hands (God’s and my surgeon’s) – and that plenty of prayers have been lifted for me. Yet – you never know how these things will go. I plan to be home Wednesday morning and feeling great by Thursday or Friday – but – I decided to write today anyway.

As I finish 45 years of ministry – the last 8 years at First Church of Laurel – and being year 46 at Trinity in Annapolis – this has always been a prayer of mine – that whatever I speak or preach – may be words that God gives me. Another verse that fits here is this one – Psalm 19:14 – May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

I’ve always said – don’t believe a word I say because I say it – but – examine every word against the Word of God (the Bible). If what I say lines up with the Bible – you can believe it because the Bible says so – not because I say so. As a pastor – as a Christian – my desire is to never speak mere words from my mind. My desire is to always present God’s Word when I speak – write or preach.

Please forgive me when I have not done so. I’m asking those at Trinity – Smithville – Eastport – Delmont – Mt. Zion – Mt. Oak – First and now Trinity again to forgive me when I have sinned and not been faithful to God’s Word. Trinity – as I come to serve you – please hold me to the Word of God. Please have mercy when I fail and in love – hold me accountable.

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When I Grow Up!

Ephesians 4:13

until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

A phrase I often use – goes like this – when I grow up. For instance – when a friend hits a nice drive or approach shot in golf – I might say – when I grow up – I hope I can hit shots like that. When someone hits a shot in basketball – like my friend Gary often does – an amazing one that is very hard – I might pull out my phrase – when I grow up – I want to be able to do that. I have a hard time growing facial hair – TMI right. When my brother or nephew grow a beard – I pull out my phrase – when I grow up – maybe I’ll be able to grow facial hair too.

Do you have dreams or thoughts about when you grow up? What is that old jingle – I’m a Toys r Us kid and I don’t want to grow up – or something like that. I hope I never fully grow up (in some ways). I always want there to be something more to accomplish and to move toward (even to hope for in the future).

What are your dreams or plans for when you grow up? Some of our younger friends are dreaming about their careers – their marriages – their children – their homes – etc. Some of us might be dreaming about retirement and enjoying our senior years (when we grow up). Maybe we’re hoping to make ends meet – when we grow up. What are your dreams or plans for when you grow up?


Read therest of Ray’s blog:

My Faith Is Not a Wish

by raymcdonald

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Have you ever wished for something? Maybe a new red bike for Christmas. Maybe a new Barbie doll. Maybe a G.I. Joe action figure. How about a Mattel Thingmaker or Creepy Crawlers set (pretty dangerous toys […]

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The Holy Spirit – God with Us

John 14:26

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

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Victory in Jesus!

1 Corinthians 15:57

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

One of my favorite hymns is Victory in Jesus. Here are some of the lyrics from that old favorite hymn.

I heard an old, old story, how a saviour came from glory, how he gave His life on Calvary, to save someone like me. I heard about His groaning, of His precious blood’s atoning, then I repented of my sin and won the victory.

Oh, victory in Jesus, my saviour forever, He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood. He loved me ere I knew Him, and all my love is due Him. He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.

I heard about His healing, of His cleansing pow’r revealing, how He made the lame to walk again, and caused the blind to see. And then I cried “dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit” and somehow Jesus came and brought to me the victory.

Oh, victory in Jesus, my saviour forever, He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood. He loved me ere I knew Him, and all my love is due Him. He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.

Today’s passage says this same truth. 1 Corinthians 15:57 – But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s look at it in partial context. It is a section of Scripture where God through Paul is describing our life to come. It is used a funerals to give us assurance of our eternity if we walk with Jesus.

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Restore Our Joy

Psalm 51:12

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

I preached once on being rescued – restoring the joy of our salvation. I mentioned 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 (from drowning as the waves took my young body for a tumble). 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?

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Loving God More

Luke 14:26 If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. NLT

This is a hard passage to understand. In the NIV it reads this way: Luke 14:26 – If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. Either reading is tough.

I have a wife and three daughters and I never imagined I could love anyone more than these four – that was until my six grandchildren came along. I have a seventh due soon and my love will multiple again. I have a game I play with one granddaughter. I tell her I love her. She tells me she loves me. I say I love her more. She says she loves me 100 times more. I say I love her 1000 times more. And we keep going until she says something like – I love infinity times more and I say – you win. We hug and laugh.

We’re a tight family – and we miss our parents greatly. Family is very important to us. Yet here is the Bible – even the words of Jesus Himself – telling us that our love for family needs to be so much less than our love for Him – that it is almost like we hate them in comparison.

Maybe this is what the church is missing these days. The church seems to put self and even family above Christ at times. If the family has something to do – ball games – picnics – late Saturday nights – etc. – at times we will put our public worship of God on the back burner. I mean – I’m not even dealing with where we put our daily devotions and our prayer life when it comes to sporting events – the news – our favorite TV shows – etc.

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Loving God More Than Anything

by raymcdonald

Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. I remember when I was a little fellow – living in the country – walking up and down […]

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