Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Confidence

Ephesians 3:12

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

RayMcDI love playing a familiar golf course. Part of the reason I like playing a familiar golf course is the confidence I gain from knowing how the fairway slants or how the green slopes and where the flag is on the green.

My long-time favorite course was Twin Shields Golf Course in Dunkirk – Maryland. For instance – I knew (the course is no more) that on hole number 15 – a long par 4 – it was better to land on top of the hill on your drive unless you felt you could get to the bottom of the fairway past the hill. If you only made it part of the way down the hill – you would have a side hill approach shot of 150-165 yards or so and that would be a tough shot. Land on top of the hill and have a 180-200 yard shot from high and flat. Land on the fairway at the bottom of the hill and you had a 100-115 yard shot from flat ground.

Another favorite course is Valley View Golf Club just outside of Moorefield – West Virginia. We only play this course once or twice a year but my brother and I can talk you through each hole on the course. An interesting hole is hole number 4. It is a short par 5 – but a tricky par 5. Unless you can hit a straight drive some 230-250 yards you should hit a short iron 150-175 yards to a landing area. You typically cannot reach the green from here (unless you can get a shot of 165-175 up over trees very quickly). Continue reading

February 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Is All About Grace

Ephesians 2:5

…it is by grace you have been saved.

RayMcDI love it when I win something. I’m all about competitions. For instance – I enjoy hearing someone say cover Ray when I’m playing basketball and lining up for a three-point shot. Or don’t leave Ray as the person on me leaves to help double team someone else. It means someone respects my ability (as meager as it may be).

I love it when I win something. I’m all about competitions. For instance – I love the challenges on my Fitbit – both the personal challenges and the group challenges. I love it when this old pastor can at times keep up with the younger pastors in a Fitbit pastors group.

I love it when I win something. I’m all about competitions. For instance – I love playing golf with a friend of mine – we are fairly equal in our abilities (we can both play a round in the 70’s or as high as the low 90’s from time to time). When I come out on top – it feels good – I know I have beaten a decent golfer. (I sure hope my torn rotor cuff heals quickly.) Continue reading

February 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 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

Cast The First Stone

John 8:7

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

RayMcDSome folks are quick to judge others. Maybe we all are at times. It seems to be a lot easier to see the trouble in someone else’s life than to see the trouble in our own lives. Rationalization is a sin that impacts us all for sure. We rationalize our sins but condemn someone else’s sin very quickly. It is so much easier to condemn than to confess it seems.

Remember this passage? Matthew 7:1–3 – 1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” How true – a two-by-four on our eyes and we can still clearly see the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye or life. Continue reading

September 30, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carry Your Own Cross

Luke 14:27

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

RayMcDAs I get older – one of the things I’ve noticed about our society – is that there are more people than ever that seem to feel like someone owes them something or someone else is responsible for their behavior or choices. People do horrific things and blame others for their actions. People make unwise decisions and expect someone else to pay their bills or repair the damage their decisions have made. It seems like more people are on government programs – government subsidies – receiving money from the government (tax payers) – than ever before.

Thanks for letting me on my soapbox for a paragraph. I know the subject is more detailed than my simply observations – but that is how it looks to me. It seems like some people – even more people today than ever before – want something for nothing.

Some in the church even think this way. Salvation is free they say – and yes – the cost of salvation is free – having been paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him – John records this – John 1:29 – The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Paul – writing about salvation – about grace – wrote this – Ephesians 2:8 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. So we see that the penalty has been paid – the cost of our sins is covered – yet Paul says this grace comes through faith in Christ – the Hebrew people had to apply the blood of the lamb on their doorposts for death to pass them over – and today we are called to follow Christ – to be His disciples. Continue reading

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

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