Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Sin and God’s Perfect Design

Life ChangeThis is not a typical devotional thought. Today, I have been caught up in a theological discussion on Facebook (not the best place for such things but it is a tool to use to reach folks one might not be able to reach otherwise). I’m caught off guard – some – by those who differ with my understanding of God. The following – without names – is part of the discussion. I would welcome your thoughts and understanding on the issue at hand – namely – can we say we were born a certain way by God’s design or has sin caused a deviation or atypical altering of God’s perfect plan for us? I will identify my comments and will not post all  comments here. You can read all on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ramonmcdonald).

This theological understanding is deep in a thread. If you are not following the thread, you may not have seen it. It was my theological explanation for why we see deviations from God‘s perfect design of humanity, even of the world. I would be interested in your theological take?

(I wrote) I believe that all deviations from God’s perfect design are a result of our brokenness from God (sin). That brokenness can be personal sin, the sin of others, or our collective sin (humanity). God did not, as I understand it, create these deviations. Now God can use them, even to His glory, but let’s not say God made me or designed me with these deviations from His perfect design. Somewhere along the line, brokenness (sin) has caused the deviations we see. Sin or brokenness is the ultimate issue we face. In the case of birth defects, somewhere our genetic makeup has changed. For instance, a person’s use of drugs or alcohol could cause genetic change for their descendants (personal sin). This same change in genetics could’ve been caused several generations back and passed on unknowingly (the sin of others). This same change in genetics could be caused by environmental change (think ozone destruction or the chemicals in our food or water)(sin of humanity). This is not meant to place blame, it is an attempt to explain deviations from God’s perfect design in creation. Continue reading

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March 1, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Holiness Still Our Call?

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.”

Today’s passage is called 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). 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 remember revivals and camp meetings and altar calls and still use them today.

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 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. Continue reading

February 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Do We Struggle The Most In Our Lives?

Romans 7:18

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Where do we struggle the most in our lives? Have you ever felt one way and yet ended up going another way? Silly question – right? We are all human and most know the right thing to do but have succumbed to the wrong way. We often know the right way – and yet yield to the wrong way. We fight temptations and evil – but at times we fail in our struggle. I know I have more times than I wish to remember. And I keep trying to find a way to be faithful to what I know to be right.

Where do we struggle the most in our lives? For some it is with what we put into our bodies. That could mean drugs – or alcohol – or it could mean overeating. Anything we do to excess and can be harmful to us. We know certain things are wrong and harmful – yet some of us continue to abuse our bodies with what we put into them. We try diets – we try to be sober – we try to walk the steps – but – at times – we succumb to what is harmful for us. Again – I have a mirror up as I type this devotional seeing myself! Continue reading

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Is It That We Struggle Most?

Romans 7:18

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Have you ever felt one way and yet ended up going another way? Silly question I guess – since we are all human and most know the right thing to do but have succumbed to the wrong way in our lives. We often know the right way – and yet yield to the wrong way. We fight temptations and evil – but at times we fail in our struggle. We fall short and sin.

Where is it that we struggle the most? For some it is what we put into our bodies that tempt us. That could mean drugs or alcohol or it could mean overeating – all are harmful to us – and we know it – yet some of us continue to abuse our bodies with what we put into them. We try diets – we try to be sober – we try to walk the steps – but – at times – we succumb to what is harmful for us. Continue reading

May 10, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Turn From Addictions

James 4:7

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Some of us have addictive personalities or makeups. Our constitution is not strong enough – at times – to withstand the attraction of what we desire. We can be manipulated by things or persons to do things we wouldn’t ordinarily do if it weren’t for that which we become addicted.

For some of us it is hard to resist things we desire. For some – alcohol or drugs become substances that can control our lives. We try to fight the attraction – but often we are too weak to stand opposed to our desires. We try to dry out – we try rehab – we try going cold turkey – and for some it works – but for many of us – it doesn’t. Drugs and alcohol can control our lives and even take our life.

For some of us it is hard to resist things we desire. For some – food is an addiction. I know we must eat to survive – but for some of us – we eat beyond survival. For some – we are addicted to food. There is an old saying – eat to live – don’t live to eat. Over eating can not only control our lives – it can even take our life Continue reading

September 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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