Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Wage of Sin is Death

James 1:13-15

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

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We have all heard or read the following passage many times I bet – Romans 6:23a – For the wages of sin is death. We earn death when we sin. Our sin earns the wage of death. That smacks me hard – because I have been working since I was very young – cutting grass – officiating sports – working as a Soda Jerk (no puns) – etc. – earning a wage. Apparently – I have been working since before I can remember – to earn death – through my sin! I was born with a sin nature and that nature has been working overtime – and the wage for my sin – is death. To read it as James puts it – sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Today’s main passage is James 1:13-15 and ends with the following – then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

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July 8, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life – Death – and Life After Death

John 14:1-3

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

20B2484D-93F3-4834-A657-15E51ED76F9ADo you think about life after death much? I made a comment recently that we tend to think more about our mortality – our own death – after our parents have passed – because – all things being equal – there is no more buffer – we are the oldest generation. A member said that really made them think. I think about it. All four of our parents have now passed. We are the next generation. My in-laws lived to 89 & 86. My parents lived to 84 and 89. As their generation passes – I know I will think more about my mortality even more. There are a few from their generation still with us – but directly – we are the next generation.

I think about my mortality as it is – with my job. I face life and death situations often with members and friends – being a pastor. I also get my blood checked and a physical annually and at times the numbers (weight and blood work numbers) – are not that good. I’m thinking about my mortality even more today (and taking more seriously my need to improve my health). Continue reading

June 25, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Shadow of Death

Psalm 23:4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Rays HaircutI seem to be doing more funerals as the years mount – and more of the deceased are friends and family. Not too long ago I celebrated four funerals in a five-day period. It is an honor to help families celebrate the life of a loved one. Most funerals I celebrate are from folks in our community – folks I have not had a previous chance to minister to or with – and I just try to bring them a measure of comfort for the short time I have with them. I usually talk with them on the phone and meet them on the day of the service. I often read the 23rd Psalm at the service.

I love today’s portion of the 23rd Psalm. One of the great hopes and blessings of our faith is that we do not have to fear death. I can usually tell people of faith versus people will little or no faith when I share at funerals. The way we face death is telling. Continue reading

June 9, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Those With Us Are More Than Those Against Us

2 Kings 6:16

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

Rays HaircutHere we are – in the midst of a pandemic that threatens the entire world. Many haven’t been to work in nearly two months. Many states are rebelling against the closures. The medical professionals say we should open slowly in some areas and not at all – yet – in other areas. Some governors have opened their states – and some are holding off. The questions remain – if we stay closed much longer – will there be anything to come back to – Or – if we open too early – will we spike the pandemic again? What a terrible situation we are facing.

Here we are – in the midst of a pandemic that threatens our health and our livelihood. If we live through it – which most of us will – will we lose everything waiting to be safe? When is the threat of illness – even death – worth going back to work? We all take risks everyday traveling the roads and dealing with other ills. What a terrible situation we are facing.

Today’s passage is from a story in the Bible – where a man of God and his servant were surrounding on all sides by the enemy. Death seemed imminent. Let’s read the story to get a better idea what they were facing. Continue reading

April 27, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Is Our Relationship With The Holy Spirit?

John 16:13

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.

Life ChangeAs we enter the fall and winter holiday seasons – I really miss my dad. I often went to dad with spiritual and personal issues in my life. I would also talk to him about church life and share my concerns and my joys. He was a good sounding board – a man of faith and a man of love. He guided me through many troubling waters and helped me avoid so many as well. The holidays are not the same without him.

Is there someone in your life that fits this bill? Is there someone who we turn to in times of need and times of joy? A number of my friends are fellow clergy and we often have people coming to us for guidance on issues in life.

My children come to me from time to time – but not nearly as often as I would like – seeking guidance. I miss my dad greatly – because he was a source of strength for me. Do you have someone you go to? Continue reading

November 5, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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