Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Confess – Repent – Be Forgiven – Enjoy Grace

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.

God’s grace is amazing as the song – Amazing Grace – records (isn’t that one of our favorite older hymns?). One of the best promises in the Bible – IMHO (in my humble opinion) – is this one about the forgiveness of sins. We are all sinners in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. Today’s passage speaks of God’s desire to forgive. 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. We are called to confess our sins and repent. If we do we are told we will be forgiven and if we are forgiven we will receive grace.

Most of us have experienced deals before – like if you do something – I will do something. As children I remember getting notes passed in school – with if you like me – I will like you. As adults we learn that if we work at a certain job and do a good job – the boss will pay us a certain paycheck. I’m sure we can all come up with if you I will life experiences. We have one in today’s passage when we’re told if we confess our sins – He will forgive our sins.

In my personal study time I have been focusing on my sin and God’s forgiveness. I’m studying confession and repentance. I will also look at what forgiveness looks like – being healed and made whole. Continue reading

July 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are We A New Creation?

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Today’s passage should be very familiar to us. If you have heard me preach or teach for any length of time – you have heard this passage used. I wonder if we give it much thought.

It may be painful – but try to remember if we can – if we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior – what it felt like before we made the decision to follow Him. I made the decision as a youth – but I can remember the feeling after I made the decision more than the feeling beforehand. I mean – I grew up in the church – and although a sinner – not a really bad person. I did think I was a Christian beforehand – thinking that because I went to church I was a Christian. But soon after giving my heart to Jesus – I knew what it was like to be a new creation. I felt like flying – I felt free – I felt relieved and blessed.

I have talked to some who received Christ later in life and they have similar reports – but with a deeper memory of their life prior to Jesus. Some walked in drugs or alcohol. Some lived lives of crime. Some didn’t grow up in the church. Can we remember? What is our story? Continue reading

June 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

%d bloggers like this: