Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

My Memory – God’s Grace

Psalm 103:11-12

as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

My memory is not the best. For instance – I forgot to put out today’s devotional. Before I hear a rousing chorus of amens from the peanut gallery about my memory – let me explain. I’m not sure if it is age – my Tourette Syndrome – my A.D.D. – a male thing – early Alzheimer’s disease or dementia – or simply who I am. I can leave my office and walk to Cathy’s desk and forget why I was going there. I can even at times get into my car and forget where I was headed. It’s my issue – among others – but today it reminded me of God’s grace.

You might ask how I got from my short term memory loss to God’s grace? Well – I’m going to tell you. Continue reading

May 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Stand In The Need Of Grace

Isaiah 64:6

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

When my arm heals – one of the first things I need to do is clean my garage. My wife likes a clean garage. I’ve written this before so not one should be surprised. Argue as I might that a garage is not meant to be clean – she won’t buy it. We have a friend – her name is Nancy – and her garage was always perfectly ordered. My father-in-law’s garage too (that is where Carolyn got the idea of a clean garage I guess – you know – where there are outlines on the wall for EVERYTHING!).

When I clean out my garage – one thing I always come across is some dirty rags. I use old rags for cleaning up most anything and at times they are not thrown away quickly enough for sure. I found one recently that was soaking wet with oil – with dirt – with dust – etc. Whenever I pick up dirty – filthy rags – today’s passage comes to mind.

I am convinced that some of us believe that our sins are not as bad as our neighbor’s sin(s). Some might think that because they go to church – because they may give support to the ministry of the church (time, talent, money, prayers) – they are not as bad as others and not in need of grace like others. When I talk or preach or teach about sin – I always have a mirror in front of my face because I know my sin and I stand in the need of grace! Continue reading

May 8, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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