Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

National Security vs. Christian Faith

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

If any of us watch golf at all – you are well aware that at many golf tournaments – someone will probably have a sign behind the golfers (where the cameras catch it) that reads John 3:16. This passage hit home with me recently as I watched the national and international scene unfold around us. I understand nationalism and I think I understand our need to protect our boarders and our people from terrorists and other threats. I listen to the debates about building a wall – denying certain people entrance into the USA – and the need to keep track of people as they enter our nation. It can be very confusing at times and very mind blowing. The times – they are a changing. Things aren’t the same as years gone by when people crossed borders with no thought.

As Christians who are from a certain nation – we are often caught dealing with our national interests and our Christian global interests. Christ died for the whole world (although all will not accept His free gift of salvation). Christ died for the people we are trying to keep out of our nation – even the criminal elements. It is a hard place at times. It is tough taking a stand because there are arguments on both sides of most discussions. Continue reading

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

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

RayMcDThanksgiving comes once a year – as does Christmas – Easter – Pentecost – etc. Yet we don’t have to limit our thankfulness to one day – do we? If your family is like mine – when we gather to give thanks over the bounty on Thanksgiving – we pause to give thanks for something specific – everyone at the table. It is a touching time – and watching our family age before our eyes – year after year – brings a nostalgic note too. Listening to what the girls (and soon the grandchildren) are thankful for always touches my heart.

I’m the crier in the family. An example was when I totally lost it at my wife’s 50th birthday party some years ago. I’m not sure why – other than we were honoring her for the awesome woman of God she has always been. Tears will flow for most any reason from my eyes. With the holidays coming I will shed tears when I watch It’s a Wonderful Life for the 200th time – and even while watching Charlie Brown Christmas – tears will flow. Continue reading

November 24, 2016 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Does God Require Of Us?

Deuteronomy 10:12

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

RayMcDSalvation is a free gift – according to what I read in the Bible anyway. Here is a passage that shares this truth with us. Salvation is free – it is not something we can earn.

Ephesians 2:8–9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

While salvation is free and there is nothing we can do to earn it – there is a required response to our salvation.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Galatians 6:15 – Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.

Romans 6:22 – But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. Continue reading

October 21, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Labor in the Lord

1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

IMG_0301Have you ever wrestled with an idea – wrestled with a theology? The church – the Body of Christ – has wrestled with several things over the years. One of those theological areas that people wrestle is between works and grace.

On one hand we have passages about grace. Grace is unmerited favor. Grace is a free gift from God to His people. Grace is available to all – all who turn their hearts toward Jesus – confess their sins and receive His Lordship. What follows are a few scriptures about grace.

Ephesians 2:8–9 – 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Continue reading

February 5, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Greatest Gift this Christmas

Ephesians 2:8-9

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. ESV

profileI hope that through the Holidays – Christmas and New Years – you got the gifts you wanted.  I ended up getting a Maryland Jacket – a fleece pullover – a sweater vest – a picture of one of my grandchildren for my office – a Ravens sweatshirt/tee shirt combo and two very nice pictures of our granddaughters for our home.  I’ve probably forgotten something – but not on purpose.

What did you get?  What did you give?  Hopefully you remembered – during all of the giving and getting – that Jesus is the reason for the season. Continue reading

January 2, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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