Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God Cleanses Our Sin

Zechariah 3:4

The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”

Growing up I can remember times when I got my clothes pretty dirty. We had sand pits in the backyard and my brother and I would play in them and get pretty dirty. We also had woods need our home and I would run through them. In the sand pits or in the woods – I would play soldier or cowboy – always carrying my air rifle.

Mom would say we were a sight and have us take off our clothes. She would wash them as we bathed ourselves and I remember seeing my favorite clothes (a Roy Roger’s cowboy shirt) hanging on the clothesline outside. Clothes always smelled so fresh when they were air-dried.

We would put them on and begin the whole process over again the next day. If I wasn’t playing cowboys (riding my stick horse around) I was playing soldier Combat! was a popular TV show when I was 7 and older). Continue reading

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

My Memory – God’s Grace

Psalm 103:11-12

as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

My memory is not the best. For instance – I forgot to put out today’s devotional. Before I hear a rousing chorus of amens from the peanut gallery about my memory – let me explain. I’m not sure if it is age – my Tourette Syndrome – my A.D.D. – a male thing – early Alzheimer’s disease or dementia – or simply who I am. I can leave my office and walk to Cathy’s desk and forget why I was going there. I can even at times get into my car and forget where I was headed. It’s my issue – among others – but today it reminded me of God’s grace.

You might ask how I got from my short term memory loss to God’s grace? Well – I’m going to tell you. Continue reading

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

Father – Forgive Them

Luke 23:34

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Forgiving people is not easy. We have all sinned. We have all hurt people. The old saying – hurt people – hurt people is so true. When we hurt or when others hurt us – forgiveness is not easy. We tend to hold grudges. We tend to seek revenge for the hurt. We tend to get angry and at time we close down when we are hurt. At times we even strike out at others when we are hurt – even to those closest to us – even when they had nothing to do with the hurt we feel.

What are some hurts we have experienced? My heart goes out to those who have experienced the death of a child – at the hands of someone – be it an accident or intended. I feel for those who have lost children or other loved ones in drive by shootings in some of our urban areas. The chemical attack by Assad on his people brought many images into our living rooms. Such pain in my heart watching babies gasping for a breath. I’ve talked to persons who have had hurt from abusive parents – from ugly divorces – from false accusations. These and other images and experiences beg the question – can we really forgive those who do evil in our world? Continue reading

April 12, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Simply Want To Praise The Lord!

Psalm 103:2

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits

RayMcDThis morning I simply want to praise the Lord! I’ve faced a number of rough days in my life – some recently. I’m sure many of our readers have as well. Some of the members in the church I serve are facing rough times right now! Life is often rough and often doesn’t line up like we would want it to. Some of our troubles are caused by our sin and some by the sin of others. However they arrive – we all face tough times in our lives. This morning I simply want to praise the Lord!

Today’s passage says – praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Instead of focusing on the issues of life – and there are many – the passage reminds us to focus on the benefits of our Lord. I want to break down the first twelve verses of this Psalm today – repeating it in a paraphrase type fashion. Continue reading

December 5, 2016 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Refresher Concerning Our Salvation

Psalm 51:12
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

RayMcDCan we remember the moment we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior – the moment of our salvation? Some of us experienced a sudden conversion. Some of us experienced a more subtle conversion – where God works on us for a period of time and we finally yield to His Spirit’s tugging. However we come to Christ there must be a change and that change – the moment of our salvation – brings a great deal of joy.

I remember a man who was caught in all sorts of sin in his life. He came to the church almost out of desperation – trying to find something that would give him a reason to live. When the moment of his salvation came – months after he arrived at the church (God loved him into His arms) there was a dramatic shift in his behavior. Sin no longer had a strangle hold on his life – oh he still fell from time to time but sin didn’t rule their life any longer. He would stand before the church – often – and celebrate the new found freedom that he had found in Christ. He had a new purpose in his life. He was free from sin and had great joy. Continue reading

October 20, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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