Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Giving Mercy

1 Peter 3:9

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amOne truth is that hurting people hurt others. If healing is to occur – we need for people to break the chain of hurting each other. In marriage counseling I often run into couples who are in a vicious cycle of tit for tat (equivalent retaliation) – he/she did this or said this and so I must say this back! Trying to give as much as we get is not healthy. The Old Testament tooth for tooth justice is not good for trying to heal relationships. Turning the other cheek is what will bring about healing.

Often – in marriage counseling – we have to come to ground zero – a place where we call time out and suggest a cleaning of the slate – forgetting/forgiving the past – because the past has so much baggage and distress – it is hard to move forward. I’m not suggesting the past isn’t important or shouldn’t be dealt with – eventually – but in order to move beyond the breaking point – a cleansing often has to occur. The camel’s back broke from the weight of one more piece of straw because there was so much straw already on its back. If – even temporarily – each straw can be dealt with one at a time rather than as part of the pile. When we get to the place where we have to try canceling the past – we usually give each partner some things to work on – like work on loving their partner and respecting their partner – even if they don’t merit it. Showing love and respect often allows for a space for healing. Continue reading

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August 19, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God – Teach Us to Forgive

Matthew 18:21-22

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

June 2019In our Tuesday Bible Studies (10:30 am and 7 pm) – we just read about Stephen and his stoning. As he was dying at the hands of the Jews from the Sanhedrin – he cried out for God to forgive those who were killing him. Acts 7:60 – Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. This is very reminiscent of our Lord on the Cross of Calvary. Luke 23:32–34 – 32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

How many times have we forgiven someone for the same thing? Do we have a limit to our forgiveness? Does this saying work for us – fool me once – shame on you – shame me twice – shame on me? How many times will we forgive someone? And is there a limit to what we will forgive? Continue reading

July 31, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Vision, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If We Confess Our Sins…

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

June 2019Confession is key to forgiveness. Saying we are sorry for what we have done is important – but – remember – confession is more than merely saying words. True confession involves repentance that requires three things – confession – grieving – and turning from sin.

I’ve often said that we sin in specifics so we ought to confess in specifics. If we lost our temper – we should confess that we have lost our temper – and not just something as simple as – Lord – forgive me for all of my sins.

Naming our sins actually helps us with the grieving process. If we remember our sins – and remind ourselves what it is that we did wrong – it might bring back memories that we wish to avoid in the future. For example – if we hurt our child by saying something – simply asking for God to forgive our sins is a cop out. Remembering the look on our child’s face brings back the hurt they felt and that we felt when we sinned. Going to the child and apologizing – in specifics – will also help us remember and grieve our sin. Continue reading

July 8, 2019 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy 4th of July – 2019

2 Chronicles 7:14

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

June 2019On this 4th of July – I will use this very familiar passage from 2 Chronicles to remind us that God wishes to turn every nation around – if it will confess and repent and turn to Him. I believe that God would transform any nation that turned its collective hearts toward Him. Lord knows that America needs to humble themselves and turn their hearts to Jesus. The world is running as fast as it can away from God and America seems to be following the rest of the world. As a mater-of-fact – it seems the church is also fleeing God and following after the world and Satan.

In today’s passage – God was speaking to Solomon and Israel – but I think the message shared is equally compelling for all nations. God will bless and will heal our lands if we return to His commands – to His teachings. Continue reading

July 4, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Forgiveness Is a Wonderful Thing!

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Life ChangeForgiveness is a wonderful thing! I love to play golf – golf just doesn’t always love me. In golf – some players take mulligans (sort of like a do over). It is not something you’re supposed to assume – it is something your playing partner might offer. Normally – when there wasn’t time to warm up – someone might say – mulligans on the first tee – which means you can take a second tee shot if your first one is a bad shot – a duffer. Of course – when you take a mulligan – you have to play it – even if your mulligan shot is worse than your original shot! Golf is complicated when you add mulligans – lol.

Forgiveness is a wonderful thing! Do overs in life can be a help too – like when you have said or done something you shouldn’t have and want to make amends. Saying you are sorry often helps – but making corrections to what you said or did goes beyond simply words. Oh how I wish I had some do overs in life.

Forgiveness is a wonderful thing! I did a reading plan recently on forgiveness. I urge our readers to get into a regular habit of reading the Word of God. Like I said Sunday in the sermon – knowing what we believe is important – but knowing our source is also important. Knowing why we believe what we believe and where we learned it is important. Continue reading

May 13, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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