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

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 Us Clothe Ourselves With Christ

Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Dear readers – did you have any favorite clothes growing up? I apparently – according to old photos – had a favorite cowboy shirt and a red baseball hat. In my of my childhood pictures from a certain age – that was what I had on. I still have favorite clothes – enjoying the more casual look over anything dressy. When I was a teen I had a favorite hat that was always on my head it seems. I remember when I finally had to give it up – it was old – torn and smelled from years of sweating in it. I remember buying it with my own money at Ocean City one year. I know my girlfriends probably didn’t like it much – but it was a favorite!

As a pastor – I know there are proper times to wear certain clothes. For instance – I have a funeral this afternoon (this was written on Wednesday) and I have my collar and dress jacket to put on before I go. I will return to the office for meetings this evening and will put on my church shirt – a polo shirt with my name and the church’s name on it. I hardly ever wear a tie anymore – using the clergy collar shirt when I need to dress up. Continue reading

August 31, 2017 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love One Another Like God Loves

1 John 4:11

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

We are called to love one another like God loves us. God loves us so much He sent His Son to die for our sins. He loved us with His all.

Much of life is made up of dos and don’ts as we walk out our faith. We try to define sin and what is acceptable or unacceptable in our lives – and in the lives of others. When we create standards – we seem to judge others by that standard.  I believe we often lose sight of the most important character trait of God when we end up looking at the dos and don’ts. We tend to forget about God’s love. It is God’s love that provides us with grace – with forgiveness. John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God’s love is so wonderful – such a blessing. God loves us in ways we can only slightly imagine. The Bible gives us glimpses of God’s love. For instance – husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church – His body. Ephesians 5:25-28 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing  her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Continue reading

August 25, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Confess – Repent – Be Forgiven – Enjoy Grace

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

God’s grace is amazing as the song – Amazing Grace – records (isn’t that one of our favorite older hymns?). One of the best promises in the Bible – IMHO (in my humble opinion) – is this one about the forgiveness of sins. We are all sinners in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. Today’s passage speaks of God’s desire to forgive. 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. We are called to confess our sins and repent. If we do we are told we will be forgiven and if we are forgiven we will receive grace.

Most of us have experienced deals before – like if you do something – I will do something. As children I remember getting notes passed in school – with if you like me – I will like you. As adults we learn that if we work at a certain job and do a good job – the boss will pay us a certain paycheck. I’m sure we can all come up with if you I will life experiences. We have one in today’s passage when we’re told if we confess our sins – He will forgive our sins.

In my personal study time I have been focusing on my sin and God’s forgiveness. I’m studying confession and repentance. I will also look at what forgiveness looks like – being healed and made whole. Continue reading

July 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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