Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Forgiveness Is Not Easy

Luke 24:47

and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Life ChangeForgiveness is not easy. One of the hardest things to do is to ask someone for forgiveness. To confess that we have wronged someone is not easy. Even confession to God is not easy. Admitting we have sinned against God or done someone wrong is not an easy thing for most of us. It is hard to humble ourselves to ask for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not easy. Not only is it hard to ask for forgiveness – often because of pride – we have a hard time forgiving others – at times. Forgiveness takes a heart of love. Forgiveness takes an ability to look beyond our hurt and see the possibilities of redemption and healing. Forgiveness requires us to show a measure of mercy that some of us have a hard time expressing. Continue reading

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January 18, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Loved Us First!

1 John 4:19

 We love because he first loved us.

Life ChangeSunday’s message was about the love God has for us. We talked about our first love. We talked about the memories we have from our first love. We also talked about our forever love with our significant other.

We talked about smells and songs and places that reminded us of our first love. We also talked about the same with our forever loves. I remember mentioning that I had loads more memories of my forever love – 38 years and counting. I’m not dumb!

We also talked about the times we have hurt our love and our love has hurt us. We talked about forgiveness and holding grudges. We talked about how we needed – this Christmas – to make amends with those we were at odds with and two persons came up to me after worship and told me they were planning to do so this week! Praise the Lord! Continue reading

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Putting Satan and Guilt Behind Us

Philippians 3:13

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead

Photo on 10-9-18 at 2.15 PMA number of our members are dealing with the guilt of the past. Several have come to me to talk about it. This is one of the biggest issues many of us face – forgetting the past and straining toward the future. Some of us tend to live in the past and the past – most often – will only hold us down and hold us back. Forgiving ourselves is often the problem. Long after we have confessed our sin to God and repented (grieved and turned away from our sin) of them and God has offered grace and mercy we still tend to hang on to the guilt – at times. Anyone with me this morning?

Paul was focused on being holy – being perfect – striving after Jesus with all in his power. In striving for perfection – he couldn’t – he wouldn’t – allow himself to dwell on past sin – having confessed it and repented of it – he was focused on the task ahead.

Satan wants us to dwell on our past sins. Satan wants to steal the joy of forgiveness – mercy – and grace. Satan wants us to live in guilt and without the freedom that comes from forgiveness. Think about it! Is there where some of us dwell? Continue reading

October 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Shows His Strength When We Are Weak

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMKnowing where we are strong and where we are weak is very important. Knowing strengths and knowing our weakness is essential to understanding who we are in life. Have we ever taken the time to examine our strengths and weaknesses? Most of us probably know where we are strong but ignore our weaknesses.

I ask couples who come to be married to write down their areas of strength and weakness. I also ask them to do the same for their partner. Knowing our self and our partner is very important. Can we receive our life partner with all of their weaknesses? Or do we think we can change them? God can make changes in our lives and we can make changes in our lives – but rarely can another person make changes in someone else. Continue reading

September 17, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Everyone Welcome?

1 Corinthians 12:26

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Ray 2018At a Bible Study – not too long ago – the discussion on a Psalm went to community and small group connections. We talked about how important our connections as sisters and brothers in faith really are to our spiritual walk. Body ministry is very significant and not to be taken lightly. The church is a place for folks to connect and support one another. We should rejoice with those who rejoice and suffer with those who suffer.

Have you ever heard the phrase – the church is a hospital for sinners? In that statement – the church is trying to say that we are more than a building. The church is the people of God gathered – and we are a safe place for sinners. Why – because the Lord we serve offers forgiveness for sin and we ARE all sinners. I love the old bumper sticker I saw many years ago – it read: Not Perfect Just Forgiven.

Jesus told His disciples He came to live and die – to offer forgiveness to all who sought it. Luke 24:45-48 – 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. Continue reading

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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