Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

At Times – Life Is About The Mercy Rule

Psalm 30:10

Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.

Mercy is something that is rare. Most of us – operating in our human nature – tend to want fairness – or even revenge – but mercy is rare. When I was umpiring baseball – we had a mercy rule in recreational league play. If a team was up by 10 runs after a certain inning of play – they had won the game – we didn’t have to play any longer. This mercy rule kept the team that was being beaten from being beaten by even more – and maybe destroy all of their confidence for future games.

What would a mercy rule look in real life? In golf it might be called a mulligan. We like do-overs in our world – a chance to improve on a mistake or a failure. Yet – often – we are reluctant to give mercy to others. It is hard to offer mercy – maybe because we feel little mercy has been shown us.

I’ve often written on this blog about how salvation is through grace. We all deserve hell – yet because of God’s great mercy – He gave us a free gift – salvation – through the shed blood of Jesus – if we place our trust and life in His hands. Ephesians 2:8 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— Continue reading

July 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do Not Love The World

1 John 2:15

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

It’s summer and there are many summer activities. My Facebook page is exploding with people on vacations for example. Some of them are at the beach – some in the mountains – some at the lake – some playing golf – some are spending time with the family in staycations. Others are enjoying being poolside or eating crabs or swimming in the river or creek near their home. Others are boating or going to a baseball game or barbecuing in the backyard.

Most people look forward to the summer – the children are off school – vacations are usually taken – trips to see family or special places. Summers make us feel like getting out and doing things. Some of us actually love doing yard work and spending time in gardens and outdoors.

What is your favorite hobby? Where do you like to spend your spare time? If you had a week or two in the summer – what would you do with it? What is it that you love in life? What is it in this world you love? Continue reading

June 26, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

United In Christ

Romans 12:5-6

5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

On a baseball team – there are different abilities or gifts. Some are really fast and can run down fly balls with the best of them – and they play the outfield. Some are very quick and have great hands and they might end up playing the infield where the ball comes at them at a high rate of speed off the bat. Still others can pitch the ball with accuracy and maybe even with a high rate of speed. Still others have a knack for hitting the ball a long way or at a high average. Still others can play multiple positions and become valuable as utility players. In other words – although there is a common goal – to win games – the gifting of the players on the team vary.

In many marriages – the husband and wife complement each other. One might be good with finances while the other spouse is good at keeping the yard looking nice. One might be good at keeping the house looking tiptop while the other might be good at mechanical things. One spouse might be good at solving problems that arise while the other spouse might be good at implementing a plan. I could go on and on. It isn’t always this way in a marriage. Sometimes both spouses are good at the same thing. Sometimes neither is good at something. In a healthy marriage there is a mutual sharing of gifting and time. Even when one is not the best at something – they still chip in and help. Continue reading

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rejoicing At Christmas Time

Romans 5:3-5

3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.


As Christmas comes – rejoicing is something we should practice. Rejoicing at Christmas Time is very important – because it is a season for rejoicing.

The scriptures are filled with passages about rejoicing. I sense a need to remind us – our congregation and our readers – of the need to rejoice in the Lord. At times life can pile up on us and we need to release and rejoice. We need to rejoice in all seasons of life. God is good – all the time – and all the time – God is good!

Has the unexpected ever happened in your life? I bet the answer is yes. The unexpected – by definition – would be when something happens when we least expect it. Like a baseball pitcher who can throw a curve ball in a fastball count – catching the batter off guard (sorry but I can’t wait for baseball season).

We try to be prepared for every contingency in life – but some times we are caught off guard. I just celebrated the life of a seemingly healthy 47 year-old who suddenly died. It caught his family completely by surprise.

Continue reading

December 21, 2016 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Merciful

Luke 6:36

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

RayMcDWhen I was younger – and I officiated baseball games – in some of the leagues where I worked there was something called a mercy rule. Sometimes it was called a slaughter rule. Either way it went like this – if a team ever got ahead of another team by 10-15 runs – (depending on the league) – the game was called to show mercy to the team being beaten so badly. In some leagues it didn’t matter how many innings had been played and I remember the mercy rule being applied in the bottom of the first inning. Mercy – defined on an online dictionary is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

In the Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical TheologyMercy is a concept integral to an understanding of God’s dealings with humankind. In English translations of the Bible, it comes to expression in phrases such as “to be merciful, ” “to have mercy on, ” or “to show mercy toward.” The corresponding term, “merciful, ” describes a quality of God and one that God requires of his people. The noun denotes compassion and love, not just feelings or emotions, as expressed in tangible ways. Continue reading

October 12, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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