I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has been praying for my grandfather, George McRae. At 4:05 Wednesday afternoon his suffering ended, and he went home to be with the Lord. He was a wonderful man who was indeed larger-than-life. One thing that stood out about my grandfather, was his faith in God. It was written all over his face, even in his final days. 
When we were with him on Saturday, I stood by his bed and read him a couple Psalms. As I read, he began to reach out toward something, like he could sense the Lord drawing Him home through His word. After we left, his Pastor visited and sang Amazing Grace to him. My aunt sent a video of him trying to sing along as if out of muscle memory from deep inside his frail and emptying frame. 
You must understand that my Granddaddy was not coherent during our visit. But his responses to scripture and song illustrate the renewing power of God’s word and grace; power that He wants to release in each of our lives. It starts the instant of our salvation when our sin is washed away. But in that same moment, God begins chiseling away that part us that draws us toward sin. It is God’s desire to see us leave that old sinful self at the cross and be transformed into His image.

  • Romans 6:11 – Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 

Remember that we can’t give sin a vote in how we conduct our lives any longer. We can’t run little errands associated with that old way of life because that old way of life leads to death!

  • Ezekiel 11:19-20 – “And I shall give theme one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them. And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God. But as for those whose hearts go after their detestable things and abominations, I shall bring their conduct down on their heads,” declares the Lord God.

These can be scary words, especially when we realize how easily and frequently we fail. But be encouraged! 
We are saved according to God’s mercy (Titus 3:5), and His mercies are new EVERY morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). This is not to say that we abuse the God’s grace by continuing to sin (Romans 6), but that we allow God to transform our character into His as we engage in relationship with Him (2 Corinthians 3:18). The process of pursuing God passionately, as fervently and zealously as He pursued us, will change us because it is through this process that we truly find God (Jeremiah 29:13).
If, at the end of our days, we can honestly say we’ve engaged in the above process we will have lived a good life and can state just as Paul (and my Granddaddy) did:

  • 2 Timothy 4:7-8 – I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

This week, we conclude our Same God New You series by discussing the new boldness that God wants to empower us with – boldness to go out and proclaim the truth of who He is to a lost and dying world. We will be continuing our Pray for 5 tradition, so please be in prayer for those in your life that need the Lord. The challenge is for you to commit to pray every day in 2018 that they come to know Him and be saved and transformed by Him. We return to our two service schedule this Sunday with Sunday School. I look forward to seeing each of you there.
In His Service,
John McRae