Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Sins Are Blotted Out

Isaiah 1:18

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

We haven’t had much snow this winter. I for one – really like snow – and not just a little bit. If it is going to be cold (which it has been this winter) and snow (which it has done very little this winter) – I say let the snow come down! I loved the years when we had storms of 12 – 24 – or more inches in one storm. Enough to slow down the area and allow for some home time. I also would like to see some significant snow this winter so I can really get some use out of my new snow blade for my lawn tractor (a John Deere of course – nothing runs like a Deere). I would also like to use my 4-wheel drive some!

One thing I really like about snow – its ability to cover up (blot out) whatever is in the yard. It covers all of the sticks and leaves and if there is any trash – it covers that up too. There are few things better – to me – than getting up early in the morning after a snow – before anyone has walked on it. The whole yard is so peaceful and beautiful – everything covered with a layer of snow. I have a couple of pictures of our home in the snow – and everything is so nice. Continue reading

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February 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christ Came To Save Sinners

1 Timothy 1:15

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.

It won’t be long and March Madness with be upon us. I’m not certain my favorite college team – the Maryland Terps – will be in it this year. They have not played very well of late.

The competitive juices begin flow in almost everyone during March Madness. Even if a person doesn’t like or follow sports in general – they often get excited in the office place (and on Facebook) for their alma mater (go Terps!).

I wonder – have we ever had a competitive spirit about following Christ? I mean – have we ever thought of giving our very best effort – spending a day or a lifetime – seeking His face and desiring His grace? Have we ever gone out of our way to connect with others around our faith? With numerous Lenten season events happening at First UMC in Laurel – it would be a great opportunity to invite someone to join us. Continue reading

February 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If You, Lord, Kept A Record Of Our Sins!

Psalm 130:3

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?

Do any of us keep records of things? For instance – I know couples that keep track of how often they argue. Others keep a record of how often they spend time together. Some must actually schedule time together because their schedules are so full and can be overwhelming. Some keep records of wrongs and bring them up to the other from time to time. Some keep a record of when the other partner did the dishes or watched the children or got their way in some area of disagreement.

Do any of us keep records of things? The baseball season is basically over for my team – they need to go 8-2 in order to finish at .500. But baseball is filled with record keeping. Records seem to be made to break. Homers are being hit this year at or near a record pace. Continue reading

September 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

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