Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Get a New Heart

Ezekiel 18:31a

Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.

Life ChangeOnce – when I was preaching a sermon series on forgiveness – during the first sermon in the series – someone ask – during the sermon – if I could preach of forgiving ourselves. I hope that I touched on that in that series. I think I will repeat that series sometime soon. Today’s passage from Ezekiel spoke to my heart about forgiveness. I want to share it today for our devotional thought.

We have said a number of times – in sermons and in teachings – that the heart is very important as we walk out our faith in Christ.  Christianity boils down to attitude is now a common phrase many of us know. The position and condition of our heart is very important – so I like the simplicity of today’s passage – Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Continue reading

April 1, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Shape Is Our Attitude In?

Philippians 2:5

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Life ChangeThis is one of my favorite passages. I have a number of them for sure. I’ve shared them a number of times. Some like hearing them – some might even be tired of hearing them.

Years ago – I took this verse and created a statement – a saying – that goes like this: Christianity Boils Down to Attitude. One of my former churches would finish this quote. Whenever I said Christianity boils down to they would respond with a strong – Attitude! Now – I know that Christianity is all about God’s grace – that it is all about Christ’s life – death – and resurrection – but – as we often mention in sermons and teachings – Christian maturity is all about the condition and position of one’s heart. Christian maturity is about doing – about walking out our faith – and this takes an attitude likened to the attitude of Jesus. What shape is our attitude in these days? Continue reading

February 12, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Not Stir Up Dissension

Proverbs 6:16, 19

The LORD hates… a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

Ray 2018One of my favorite sayings is Christianity boils down to attitude. I often follow that phrase with the following – Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart. Scripture tell us in Matthew 6:21 – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Attitude is everything says a little stone marker on my office desk. I believe that the heart – the attitude we have – is so very important. I celebrated the life of a friend who told his children that attitude meant everything in life.

Each time I pray for the men who gather to play basketball early in the morning at Riva Trace Baptist Church – I pray for an attitude check – that our attitudes would be a blessing and not a hinderance to our witness and our exercise. As Christians we are called to have the attitude of Christ in the scriptures. Philippians 2:5 – Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Continue reading

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time For An Attitude Check

Philippians 2:5

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

RayMcDTime for an attitude check. I will begin today’s post by confessing that I have not always had a good attitude. I battle with my attitude at times. Sometimes more than other times. I have – through time and life – become more aware of my attitude(s) and the attitude(s) of those around me. Some may have a natural tendency to see the negative first – rather than the positive. For instance – when someone arrives at home is it more natural for them to notice the lights on in rooms not being used – the TV running and no one watching – and the children’s bikes in the driveway – rather than notice that all the children are doing their homework – their partner is busy fixing dinner – and their pet meets them cheerfully at the door. Because this might be natural for some – doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to overcome this tendency. Our attitudes impact people around us – our family – our co-workers – folks at church – folks at the grocery store – etc. Time for an attitude check.

Time for an attitude check. Throughout my ministry and my personal life – I have seen the impact a negative attitude can have on people – on me. Snide remarks on Facebook – Twitter – in person – in an e-mail – on the phone – can scar people and damage our witness for Christ. Some people might think their spiritual gift is to complain – to be negative – to point out to those around them the things they are doing wrong – but that one is missing from the list of spiritual gifts the Bible gives us. Some seem to see the negative first like I said. Some see the glass half-empty. For those with these natural tendencies – the task at hand might be tougher. But all of us should hear today’s Scripture and examine our attitudes with the attitude of Christ. Time for an attitude check.  Continue reading

July 23, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fixing Our Eyes On Jesus

Hebrews 12:2

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I have been a pastor for 40 plus years and in the church my whole life (62 years and counting). I have developed a number of sayings over the years that – for me – help sum up our faith or help me understand it a little better. One of my favorites and the favorite of many is this – Christianity boils down to attitude. I developed this saying in my early ministry because I saw that the church (including me) often has an attitude issue – a heart issue. Too many times disagreements within the church came down to attitudes and personal desires rather than an earnest seeking of God’s will. We often have quarrels among us because of our feelings rather than a disagreement on God’s will.

With this understanding – a number of years ago I added the following to this favorite saying to make my intent more clear – Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart. Too many times personal desires and interests divide even the Body of Christ. I know of churches that were divided over the color of the curtains in the social hall or whether to have pew cushions or not. I’ve known churches that have been divided over whether to have an organ or a piano and most recently over whether to have a praise band or not in worship. I’ve known churches that were so inwardly focused at times – that real eternal issues never got discussed. Real heaven or hell issues could not be addressed in some churches – because the membership was too divided over trivial things – over things that do not promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Continue reading

July 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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