God’s Grace Is Sufficient

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

We worship a God of grace and mercy as well as a God of justice and truth. Today’s passage is one of my favorites – reminding us that God’s grace is sufficient to cover our sins and when we are weak – God will make us strong through His strength which has no limits. God’s grace is sufficient – God’s grace is all we need.

Think with me today about areas in our faith walk or in our life in general where we find ourselves weak. Do we have trouble with a sailor’s mouth – or fighting old habits as we strive to clean up our language – in a desire to reflect better on the Lord we represent? God’s grace can forgive us – so let’s not beat ourselves up – and don’t let Satan do it either. What we need to do is confess when we fail/sin – strive to do better/turn away from the sin – sincerely – and God’s grace will cover our failure and sin.

Do we struggle with lust – thinking thoughts we know are not worthy of a child of God? Looking at pictures in magazines or on the internet we know we shouldn’t? Don’t allow Satan or ourselves to hammer our failures into our head and heart. Confess – repent – turn from our sin and seek God’s grace to cover our sin. I’m not excusing our sin nor am I trying to rationalize that God has already covered them – rather that our sins are forgiven when we go to God with them. If He forgives them – we should not carry them anymore! We should forgive ourselves and move on to maturity in Christ.

Finish at: https://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/2020/07/13/gods-grace-is-sufficient-2/

A Call to Holiness

Matthew 28:18–20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

These are uneasy times. The unrest is hitting all-time highs it seems. Today’s presenting scripture has been called the the Great Commission. It is often seen as the marching orders for the Christian church. We are called to go and make disciples of or for Jesus Christ (whichever makes the most sense to you – lol). We are called to do this in good times and in not so good times. It might even be more needed during tough times.

In the early years of the Methodist movement – making disciples – followers of Christ – seemed to be the main focus. Revivals and Camp Meetings were all the rage and altar calls were common place in Methodist worship – as pastors challenged parishioners to be transformed after the likeness of Christ. I typically have an altar call each week to challenge those in attendance to faith – or to a deeper faith – or simply to pray about something that has been a challenge for them. Does your pastor invite you to the altar to pray? If not – you might ask them why not.

Early Methodists were called to holiness – they were part of the holiness movement in the United States for instance. We were taught to study the Word of God (the Bible) and to strive to live our lives after what it taught. We were even encouraged to avoid some of the ills of our society. The way it was explained to me (as a third generation Methodist pastor) – Methodists were encouraged to abstain from alcohol – from playing cards – from dancing – even from playing pool. The reason – again as it was explained to me – was because these social activities were often associated with bars and night clubs – with gambling and behavior and places that were not appropriate for folks striving to follow after Christ. We were encouraged to avoid even the appearance of evil or sin (we actually called behavior contrary to God’s will – sin – some don’t like to even say that word).  We were encouraged to keep Sunday set aside for the Lord. In my home growing up – Sunday was a day for worship and Sunday School in the morning – a family lunch – a nap time – youth group – and worship in the evening. Sunday was a day set aside for being with God and with other Christians. How do you spend your Sunday?

The Shadow of Death

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

I seem to be doing more funerals as the years mount – and more of the deceased are friends and family. Not too long ago I celebrated four funerals in a five-day period. It is an honor to help families celebrate the life of a loved one. Most funerals I celebrate are from folks in our community – folks I have not had a previous chance to minister to or with – and I just try to bring them a measure of comfort for the short time I have with them. I usually talk with them on the phone and meet them on the day of the service. I often read the 23rd Psalm at the service.

I love today’s portion of the 23rd Psalm. One of the great hopes and blessings of our faith is that we do not have to fear death. I can usually tell people of faith versus people will little or no faith when I share at funerals. The way we face death is telling.

Read the rest of Ray’s blog at: https://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/2020/06/09/the-shadow-of-death-2/

Rebuke the Devil – He is Real

by raymcdonald

The devil is real and not a figment of someone’s imagination. Some churches and pastors try to suggest that the devil is not real – that the devil is merely a personification of evil as a whole. Not sure what Bible they read – if they read the Bible at all – but the Bible tells us over and over that the devil is real. Please do not fall prey to false teachers and false religions. Run as fast as you can from a pastor or church that doesn’t believe that the devil is real!

According to Scripture – the devil tempted Jesus after His baptism.  Matthew 4:1-11 – 1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

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Conform Not

Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Have you tried to figure out the will of God in your life? Several people have presented themselves as seeking God’s will over the years. When I ask – has anyone here ever wondered or asked why they were here – many have no idea. Figuring out God’s will for our lives is of utmost importance I believe. Have you figured it out? Has God revealed it to you? Have we asked God to make it clear?

continue: https://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/2020/05/27/conform-not/

Anxiety and Depression

by raymcdonald

I know a number of people that battle anxiety and depression. I was reading this passage the other day – and even talked recently to some folks about their anxiety and depression. What are we anxious or depressed about in life? What is it that causes us to have trouble sleeping at night? What do we think about and can’t seem to stop thinking about – moment by moment? What decisions in our lives have caused us the most anxiety or depression?

As I reflect back on my life – I can think of numerous things that caused me anxious or depression moments. I can remember being anxious when I went out for the High School football team and cuts were being posted (I made the team each year by the way)! I can remember being anxious when I asked my future bride to marry me and wondering if she would say yes or no (she said yes – and we will celebrate 40 years of marriage this summer if we hang in there). I remember being anxious when my children were being born – the first because she was the first (she is 37 now) – the twins because they were twins (they are soon to be 32). I can remember times when I was anxious about my job – about my health – about many things. And on this side of those anxious moments – I can testify that being anxious didn’t help the situations one little bit. As a matter of fact – being anxious made some of them more difficult and didn’t help my health any at all.

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of numerous things that caused me anxious or depression moments. I can remember being anxious when I went out for the High School football team and cuts were being posted (I made the team each year by the way)! I can remember being anxious when I asked my future bride to marry me and wondering if she would say yes or no (she said yes – and we will celebrate 40 years of marriage this summer if we hang in there). I remember being anxious when my children were being born – the first because she was the first (she is 37 now) – the twins because they were twins (they are soon to be 32). I can remember times when I was anxious about my job – about my health – about many things. And on this side of those anxious moments – I can testify that being anxious didn’t help the situations one little bit. As a matter of fact – being anxious made some of them more difficult and didn’t help my health any at all.

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Carry Each Other’s Burdens Today!

https://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/carry-each-others-burdens-today/

Sound Doctrine Is Always Essential

1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,

Junk Food is not good for us! There – I said it! Junk food is simply that – junk – and I have been trying to stay away from it. Yet it usually tastes so good – or at least we think so. What is your favorite junk food? I love most anything with chocolate and peanuts or peanut butter. At Easter I am a sucker for peanut butter covered chocolate eggs. Junk food is usually sweet – or salty and flavored like barbecue potato chips. If you’re really lucky with your junk food you can get something that is sweet & salty!

But I digress. I’m also craving something sweet or salty – right now! Get behind me satan foods.

Junk food usually satisfies for the moment but not for the long-term. It usually has lots of empty calories and is not ultimately good for us. Why are we drawn to it – because it soothes for the moment – but it is not good for us? We are satisfied for the moment and yet – the long-term results is not good.?

Read the rest of Ray’s blog: https://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/2020/02/05/sound-doctrine-is-always-essential/

Family Is So Important

Ray Macdonald

1 Corinthians 12:26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

I’ve been spending some time lately reading (mostly online and on my iPad) and listening to some as well. I’ve read the following: The Bible – some books (like Nick Vujicic’s Unstoppable) – some sports news (as we are in the midst of the basketball season – the Super Bowl is upon us – and Spring training is just around the corner) – and the Facebook entries of some of my friends. One thing I’ve noticed in many of these venues is the importance of family – connections – and teamwork. One of my Facebook friends puts pictures and posts up – almost hourly it seems – thanking God for their children – their spouse – and where they work. I believe that our family and close friends impact our lives – for the better or for the worst.

The rest is at: https://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/2020/01/27/family-is-so-important/

Hide God’s Word In Your Hearts

Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

In a number of sermons I have mentioned that living for Jesus is enhanced – even made possible – through a deep knowledge of the Word of God. The more we know – the deeper we search the Word of God – the more useful a tool it will be for us in our spiritual journey. I once said – the more we use our Sword (our Bible) the more useful that tool becomes to us – so we encourage people to bring their Bibles to church and to follow along during the sermons. Today we can read our Bible on our smart phones and even follow along on www.Bible.com through our live events and leave notes on the sermons. There are so many tools available to us as we read the Bible.

Read the rest of Ray’s blog: https://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/2020/01/29/hide-gods-word-in-your-hearts/