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

Is It Called Spring Cleaning If We Do It In The Winter?

Romans 8:39

Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Life ChangeIs it called spring cleaning if you do it in the winter? Carolyn and I cleaned an attic recently. Is that spring cleaning? It made sense to do it while the weather was mild – and the attic wasn’t very hot or very cold. We threw out a lot of things. The attic we cleaned (we have three) – hadn’t been used for anything but a hide-a-way for our kids when they were young and storage of tax papers and old computers. Like my dad – I couldn’t bring myself to throw away anything that I might need some day. Well – after 15-20 years in the attic – I agreed I would never need those items again.

Is it called spring cleaning if you do it in the winter? I recently worked on my desk and home office. My son-in-law was showing the family pictures of his new home office (in his new home) – and I liked it – so I began to straighten my work space too. I haven’t finished – but the start of the project looks good. I threw away a lot of things that have cluttered my office for years and will do more. I’m getting rid of a lot of things. I’m going to purchase an inexpensive scanner (maybe) – so that I can scan a lot of papers that I may or may not ever need again. Better to have two electronic copies that take up very little space than drawers and cabinets full of papers I will never go through. And on a digital format – I might even be able to access them quicker than trying to find them if I do need them. I might find that some of the clutter I have hung onto over the year is actually keeping me from being more efficient in my work. My wife suggested a smaller more open space desk and office. A cleaner look that might keep me more focused on my task at hand. A thought to consider for sure. Continue reading

January 17, 2019 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Satan Is A Fallen Angel

2 Corinthians 11:14

And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

Life ChangeIn High School there were several High School teams we got up for above all the rest. They were our rivals so to speak. Severna Park and Arundel were those teams (I attended Annapolis High School). There was no South River and no Broadneck High Schools in those days and Southern rarely gave us a scare in football (basketball yes – but not football).

In High School – whole schools get up for that week’s opponent – that week’s enemy. School colors were/are all over the stadium – pep rallies and other events often precede contests with the number one foe. You don’t need to tell a High School student which schools are the arch rivals! They know it. They’ve heard about the rivalry well before they arrived at High School.

Unfortunately – many Christians aren’t aware that our number one enemy is Satan. This might be because some preachers – even some denominations – don’t believe in or articulate enough about the presence of this chief demon. Because we don’t acknowledge something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Today’s passage gives us some insight into the chief demon – Satan. Here it is in partial context.  2 Corinthians 11:12-15 – 12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. Continue reading

January 16, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Shows No Favorites

Acts 10:34

I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism

Life ChangeAs a father of three daughters – the oldest and the twins – I have learned to not show favorites – although two of them will say the oldest twin is the golden child. They are not accurate of course – in their assumptions. They are all my golden children – I love them with all my heart. All three have been a blessing – almost entirely! They are all my favorites.

As a grandfather of five granddaughters – one is six – one soon to be six – one is four – one soon to be four – and one is two – I have learned to not show favorites (I must confess that the three younger girls tend to hug Pop more often and for longer – so I am drawn to them of course). All five have Pop’s heart for sure. They are all my favorites. Continue reading

January 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Are God’s Servants

Ezra 5:11

We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth,

My aunt did extensive genealogy when she was with us. I have loads of her work. I found out that one of my ancestors was royalty from England for instance (you can bow later). I know if I searched her records enough I would also find a horse thief or some other scandalous fellow or gal. Most of us might be surprised – even shocked to find out who is in our family tree.

Knowing where we come from is important – or at least has some importance. One of my favorite counseling sayings is – we are a product of our environment. We are a product of the people and things around us as we grow. For example – most people grow up to like the same team our mom or dad liked or we drive the same brand of vehicle. Many of us are in the same denomination as our parents. This is not always the case – but I imagine most of us can find some things in our life that match our parents. If not – maybe we are completely the opposite because of our parents.

Continue reading

January 7, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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