Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Who Is Your Super Hero?

Psalm 42:8

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amI mentioned this before and I mention again – here. I grew up reading comic books. I had many first editions and full series. I enjoyed the ones that were mild mannered people in day-to-day life but when trouble arose – they would become super heroes. One of my favorites was mild mannered Clark Kent becoming Superman. I wouldn’t miss an episode and even today try to catch the old TV show when I can. I enjoyed reading Superman comic books and watching the TV show (1952-1958) (I probably remember the reruns more than the original airings since I was born in 1955 – but maybe some lasting memories from those early years). By the way – my brother was a fan of Batman!

I must admit – I don’t watch much TV these days – other than some really old shows (like The Adventures of Superman and The Andy Griffith Show) – sports and the news (you can guess which news program I watch the most). Some of the shows I tape and try to watch are the ones about super heroes. I like the supernatural! Continue reading

October 16, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mercy to All

1 Timothy 1:16

But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amMercy is not something that many of us offer very easily. Many of us are more into what is fair. Mercy is not fair.

I love this passage from Paul – it shows his heart – a heart of humility and of reality. He firmly believed that he was a sinner saved by grace. If Paul – one of the patriarchs of our faith – thinks of himself as a sinner – saved by grace – ought not we all?

Paul believed that the sins of his past – made him unworthy to be of service to God – yet was thankful that God showed him grace – and called him to His service. He is what he wrote:

1 Timothy 1:12-16 – 12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

I can identify with Paul. I too have sin in my past that makes me feel less than worthy to be saved – let alone to be called to serve God. My sin is grievous to me. Yet by God’s grace – I have been forgiven – and not only forgiven – but called – and not only called – but used for God’s purposes. It amazes me – it humbles me – it causes me to desire to do all that God will allow me to accomplish for His glory.

What about you? Mercy – Grace – God’s love – are offered to all who would receive it. Like Paul – won’t you receive the free gift of God’s grace today – and be amazed with him that God could use you?

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

August 20, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can I Pay Your Mortgage?

Romans 3:24

…and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Life ChangeAs a pastor – I’ve often tried to come up with ways to get people to come to worship or to fellowship with believers. Early in my ministry I tried to get church leaders to place a sign outside the church that read – Men’s Tuesday Night – BYOB. Of course they wouldn’t do it. Some thought the BYOB meant bring your own bottle but I meant it to mean bring your own Bible to our Tuesday night men’s Bible study. I was hoping some might come for the wrong meaning and find good fellowship if they came. I thought it was worth a try! No one took me up on the suggestion. What do you think?

As a pastor – I’ve often tried to come up with ways to get people to come to worship or to fellowship with believers. Another example from my early years in ministry was the time I encouraged everyone who could drive to drive to church one Sunday morning (no carpooling). My hope was for people to see the parking lot full and wonder – what’s going on at that church – maybe we ought to visit and find out. That only went over so-so. But it wasn’t long before the parking lot was actually full – for real! Again – I’d try just about anything to get people to Jesus. Continue reading

March 20, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 9

John 1:14

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

christmas-2

During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

One of the main sources of my joy at this time of the year is hearing and singing the old familiar Christmas carols that I have been singing for more than 60 years. This music makes the birth of Jesus real for me. I also love the annual Christmas cantatas which have been inspired by God to remind us of the story and of God’s love. Another source of my joy, not only during the Christmas season but all year long, is the comfort of being with my church family, especially in the groups in which I am active, the choir, the United Methodist Women, and my Sunday School class. We share our joys and sorrows, our problems and solutions, our ailments and recoveries, our triumphs and our defeats and frustrations, and we pray for each other. I look forward to the Christmas Eve service, when the hectic preparations for the next day are completed and a sense of peace comes over me as I give my full attention to the miracle of the birth of Jesus.

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Denomination, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Great Love

1 John 3:1

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

112015 Ray McDonaldI have four fantastic grandchildren. I mentioned them a couple of days ago in my devotional thought and I have mentioned them before. All four of my grandchildren live out-of-state. Two live in New Jersey and two live in California. Let me tell you – FaceTime is one of the best inventions ever. Also free long distance on our cells to talk to our daughters and sons in far off places! It has made the distance seem less.

Two of my grandchildren are visiting with us this weekend. It is amazing how fast they grow. It hasn’t been that long since they visited last – but they are doing more and growing. At times I wish I were retired so I could visit with them more and spend more time with them when they visit – but that is another story all together.

The reason I mention them again today is the title and base Scripture of today’s devotional. I find myself feeling a great love for them. They are blood of our blood – children of our children – and we love them with a great love. I cannot explain how I feel when I see them or when I get to hold them and cuddle with them. I feel warm inside and cherish being with them. It is an amazing love for sure. Continue reading

March 5, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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