Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Righteousness Is Like Filthy Rags

Isaiah 64:6

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

It is that time of the year when house cleaning takes place. My wife was washing windows and I was cleaning screens – trying to get some airflow during the recent three days of warmth and sunshine (we had the screens out for the winter). I need to clean out the garage again. My wife likes a clean garage. Argue as I might that a garage is not meant to be clean – she won’t buy it. We have a friend – her name is Nancy – and her garage was always perfectly ordered. My father-in-law’s garage too (that is where Carolyn got the idea of a clean garage I guess – you know – where there are outlines on the wall for EVERYTHING!).

When I clean out my garage – I always come across dirty rags. I use them for cleaning up most anything and at times they are not thrown away quickly enough for sure. I found one recently that was soaking wet with oil – with dirt – with dust – etc. Whenever I pick up dirty – filthy rags – today’s passage comes to mind. Continue reading

Advertisements

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Search Our Hearts Dear Lord!

Psalm 139:23

Search me, God, and know my heart;

Who is it that knows you better than any other? That might be a curious question and the Sunday School answer would be Jesus for sure. But think about it for a moment. If you’re married – as I have been for nearly 38 years – your spouse might know you pretty well. If your children have any age on them – mine are 35 and nearly 30 (twins) – they might know you pretty well. If you worked in the same place for a few decades – your co-workers might know you pretty well too. Your parents – if they are still alive – might know you pretty well also.

Unless we are hermits – there are those in our life who know us pretty well. Well enough in some cases to guess how we will react to certain things – or even finish our sentences (isn’t that scary?). I perform a lot of funerals and often friends and family have some of the same stories about their loved one. They laugh and cry at the same memories. Yet – no one knows us like we know us and know one knows us like God knows us. We can hide so much from others – our deepest thoughts – yet we know them and God knows them. We can put on a show or a façade for many who see us – even on a regular basis – but we can hide from God. Continue reading

April 12, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Hope Is In Jesus – Not The Left Or The Right!

Mark 9:23

“Everything is possible for one who believes.”

This is not an easy truth to always count on or believe. My wife and I both counsel people – and are reminded of the pain and suffering folks are dealing with everyday. I’m aware of a few couples that are facing severe stress in their marriages – stress that would challenge even the best of marriages. I know of a few people who are facing life-altering situations – some facing multiple such situations. Yet Jesus says – everything is possible for one who believes.

I have seen with my own eyes the miracles of God. I know that the impossible can be possible. I don’t believe I know how or when or why – but I have seen the impossible. Today’s Biblical story is about the healing of a young man who was possessed by demons – evil spirits. The father was brought his son to Jesus but His disciples could not cast out the evil spirit. Read the story below and see why Jesus said – everything is possible for one who believes. Continue reading

April 11, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are We A People Of Justice or Anarchy?

Titus 2:7

In everything set them an example by doing what is good.

Ask my wife – or my children – or my friends – and they will all tell you I have a thing about fairness – about justice – about the rule of law. Oh – I’ve cheated and I’ve lied in my life and been unfair and unjust – but it almost destroys my insides when I do. All in all – I am typically a justice kind of guy that tries to follow the rules. As we raise our children for example – we try to help each of them (now adults) the same – even if one doesn’t need the help – we usually extend the support or help.

One thing that irks me is when rules or laws are not evenly applied – which is not justice. In my professional life – I have run into this a number of times for sure. I imagine many of us have as well. Recently – the following has come to my attention. A church – served by a colleague – has discussed and debated breaking away from the denomination because of some broken covenant issues on the part of some in our conference and denomination’s leadership. They have had internal discussions and may have even taken a vote of their members about leaving the denomination. When the Bishop’s office received word of their discussions – an official objection and sanction was issued saying this was not in accordance with the Book of Discipline (BOD) and would not be allowed as valid. Yet – recently – the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church (BWCUMC) broadcast a decision of theirs relating to their examination of candidates for ministry. Their vote – made public – was completely against what the BOD and what the Judicial Council of the UMC has ruled – and yet the Bishop’s office has publicly been silent (to my knowledge). If the BOOM decision is not ruled out of order by the Bishop’s office or at the Executive Clergy Session at Annual Conference – it would seem the rules only apply to one side of our disagreement and not to the other. This is not justice. Continue reading

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 6 of Lent 2018

Matthew 21:23

Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”

Day 6 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan on www.youversion.com. I hope you have been able to keep up or used yesterday to catch up. Today’s reading has a number of points or directions – and I have chosen the first verse – when the chief priests and elders asked Jesus by what authority He spoke.

Isn’t it often like this? When someone doesn’t like what we say – rather than try to debate what we say – they try to discredit the messenger rather than the message. Maybe our spouse is making a good point and rather than stay on topic – we decide to question how loud they are speaking or the tone they are using – deflecting the discussion to something else. Maybe our child is trying to get a valid point across and instead of staying the course – we complain about how they are talking to us or ask who they think they are to say something like that! Continue reading

February 19, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: