Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Worst Of Sinners

1 Timothy 1:16

But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

OK – let’s put on our thinking caps. Imagine with me for a moment. What is the worst thing we’ve ever done in our lives? That’s an ice breaker of a question when we get together with our friends for a party this weekend – lol. It might amaze us what some have done – if they are honest with us. They might be amazed at what we confess – if we are honest with them. We can even play it with our parents when we have passed the statute of limitations if there is such a time frame with parents. I heard of some telling their parents some of the things they did when they were younger – at times with a good result and at times not!

When we think of our sins – we often quantify them – from worst to those little things we hardly think are worth naming. Yet we are reminded that sin is sin and even the smallest sin separates us from God and needs forgiveness. Continue reading

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September 15, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Church Needs Revival

Jonah 3:5

The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

I’m a firm believer that our church and the body of Christ universal needs a revival.Revival is something we need – and I’m not talking about a series of services. We used to have two revivals a year at our local church – and at every church I ever served – but fewer and fewer people attend so this year we have not had even one and no one has noticed or mentioned it. We need to be revived in the church today – to have a time of reflection and of reviving the soul. We need a time to be called back to a more faithful walk with Jesus. Many of us are simply going through the motions of our faith it seems to me.

I have been attending revivals since before I could walk. As a pastor – I held revivals at all of the churches I have been called to serve. Many churches and many pastor no longer hold revivals. As I mentioned above – we aren’t having even one this year and I haven’t heard an outcry for them. We don’t need a revival service or series of services – but we do need to refocus on Jesus and get fired up – because believe me – the end of time is fast approaching (and that is not meant to be prophetic – rather I’m simply reading the signs). Continue reading

September 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Not Counting Sins

2 Corinthians 5:19

that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

I love the love chapter in the Bible – the one many read at weddings. Here is the portion of that chapter most often read. 1 Corinthians 13:4–8 – 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Part of that reading says – it (love) keeps no record of wrongs. I remind couples – when I use this passage that forgiveness must be a part of their marriage – because we all fail and we all make mistakes. There has never been the perfect marriage or the perfect marriage partner(s).

Today’s passage speaks about God not counting our sins against us. God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. Have we ever experienced that in life – apart from our relationship with Christ? If we have – we have been blessed to experience Christ-like love. Relationships can be repaired – no matter how damaged – if we can express Christ-like love to one another. Continue reading

September 13, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Let Our Words Encourage

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.

I know we all have heard the old saying – sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me. The intent was to toughen us up so to speak – so the words of others will not hurt us.

Unfortunately – words do hurt. The parent who says to the child who has brought home an amazing report card only to hear the parent say – if you would only bring this grade or that grade up. The parent or coach that is constantly belittling the player for the mistakes they make on the field or in life without ever praising the good the player or person does.

In this day and age – even in the church – we need to be reminded to be kind with our words. Our words should be an encouragement to others. We should say nothing unwholesome and nothing with a purpose of hurting another person. Continue reading

September 12, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Only Constant Is Change

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Life keeps changing! The only constant in life is change. A number of things in my own life have changed. I’ve been married longer than I wasn’t married (37 years this past summer verses 25 years not married). I celebrated 44 years since I graduated High School this past June. I saw a picture of me in High School the other day and I do not look the same today!

My children – my babies – are all grown. Two have children (my five granddaughters). My wife and daughters are such a blessing to me along with our granddaughters. I’ve been in ministry for 41 years. I’ve begun to think about retirement (although I hope to have a few more years left – maybe more!).

Life keeps changing! This summer the Nationals have played playoff bound baseball – the Orioles are trying to get in but it doesn’t seem to be a certainty for sure. The Redskins lost their season opening game while the Ravens won – shutting out the Bengals. The Wizards made the playoffs and so did the Capitals. That’s pretty good change for our area and Maryland is 2-0 after two convincing wins.

Continue reading

September 11, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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