Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

A Great Gift

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

So – what are you getting me for Christmas – LOL? What great gift have you picked out for me? Ask me and I will give you some great ideas.

So what are you getting your children? What are you getting your spouse or special someone? What is on your wish list? Have you shared your wish list with anyone?

I saw on Amazon that vintage Hot Wheels are making a comeback. LEGOs are still a hot item. Robots seem to be selling well. Other electronics like pads for children – the latest cell phone or pad – and virtual viewers are selling well. Clothes are always a welcome gift. Cash or gift cards are always in style (although some call them lazy gifts – I love them). Continue reading

December 12, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Carry Your Own Cross

Luke 14:27

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

RayMcDAs I get older – one of the things I’ve noticed about our society – is that there are more people than ever that seem to feel like someone owes them something or someone else is responsible for their behavior or choices. People do horrific things and blame others for their actions. People make unwise decisions and expect someone else to pay their bills or repair the damage their decisions have made. It seems like more people are on government programs – government subsidies – receiving money from the government (tax payers) – than ever before.

Thanks for letting me on my soapbox for a paragraph. I know the subject is more detailed than my simply observations – but that is how it looks to me. It seems like some people – even more people today than ever before – want something for nothing.

Some in the church even think this way. Salvation is free they say – and yes – the cost of salvation is free – having been paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him – John records this – John 1:29 – The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Paul – writing about salvation – about grace – wrote this – 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. So we see that the penalty has been paid – the cost of our sins is covered – yet Paul says this grace comes through faith in Christ – the Hebrew people had to apply the blood of the lamb on their doorposts for death to pass them over – and today we are called to follow Christ – to be His disciples. Continue reading

September 21, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

He Must Become Greater!

John 3:30

He must become greater; I must become less.

82015 RayPractice doesn’t make perfect – perfect practice makes perfect. That was something my High School football coach use to say. It wasn’t going through the motions in practice that would make us a better football team – but rather it was doing things right – over and over again – that would make us better. Through perfect practice we would soon be able to do the right things without even thinking about it. It would become natural.

Salvation is a free gift from God – for those who receive what Jesus did on the Cross of Calvary – who received Jesus as Lord and Savior. 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—.

Once we have salvation – we are called to walk out our faith in such a way that God is glorified. Matthew 5:16 – In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. We are to let our light – the light of Christ in us – shine so that others see Jesus and give Him glory. Continue reading

October 26, 2015 Posted by | Build, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What The Church Needs Today Is More Of God’s Grace

Romans 5:8

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

IMG_0301I’m going to start today with the bottom line – we are all sinners saved by grace. You can stop reading now and you have the jest of this blog post. Here are three Scriptures that make today’s point. They are familiar passages and often quoted.

Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

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.

God’s grace was shown to all of us through Jesus Christ. Every one of us deserves hell – yet God’s free gift of salvation gives those who turn to His saving grace – eternal life. Continue reading

June 12, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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