Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Seventy-Seven Times = Unlimited

Matthew 18:21-22

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amSunday – our sermon was on forgiveness – as part of the Apostles’ Creed sermon series. We talked about how hard it is to forgive. We talked about how our forgiveness is tied to how we forgive others. So – here’s a question for us. How many times have we forgiven someone for the same thing? Do we have a limit to our forgiveness? Does this saying work for us – fool me once – shame on you – shame me twice – shame on me? How many times will we forgive someone?

Peter asked Jesus – how many times should we forgive someone? Seven was a number often used in the Bible to represent completeness – and Peter would have been OK – I think – if Jesus had said seven times. I imagine Peter had come close to that number on several occasions with people he dealt with on a daily basis. Have we come close to forgiving someone seven times? Would that be considered a lot of times?

Jesus’ answer might have blown Peter away. In the NIV – the translation of the answer from Jesus is seventy-seven (77) times. In KJV – it is interpreted to read – Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. (490 times) Continue reading

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

God – Teach Us to Forgive

Matthew 18:21-22

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

June 2019In our Tuesday Bible Studies (10:30 am and 7 pm) – we just read about Stephen and his stoning. As he was dying at the hands of the Jews from the Sanhedrin – he cried out for God to forgive those who were killing him. Acts 7:60 – Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. This is very reminiscent of our Lord on the Cross of Calvary. Luke 23:32–34 – 32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

How many times have we forgiven someone for the same thing? Do we have a limit to our forgiveness? Does this saying work for us – fool me once – shame on you – shame me twice – shame on me? How many times will we forgive someone? And is there a limit to what we will forgive? Continue reading

July 31, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Vision, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Election Day 2016 And Our Diversity

Galatians 3:26-29

26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

RayMcDI have often been asked – at each church I have served – what I appreciate the most about the current church I am serving. One thing I appreciate about First UMC in Laurel is the diversity of our congregation.

When asked recently – I went on to explain what I meant by diversity. I told them of our wide range of ages at FUMCL – from a member who is 101 to youth and children. I mentioned our growing multi-ethnic flavor at FUMCL – with many hues of people. I mentioned our economic diversity as well – with some people on government assistance while others had well-paying jobs. The diversity I see at FUMCL reminds me of what I think heaven will be like – people of all races and nations – loving on Jesus.

As the elections approach – I see another diversity at FUMCL. As I read posts on social media from our members – I see our diversity around politics. There were a number of people I love and respect from our church expressing support for either candidate and for no candidate at all. (I believe Christians could vote for either candidate – God is not Democratic or Republican). Continue reading

October 24, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Vision, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Counselor – The Holy Spirit

 

John 14:26

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

RevRayWho is your counselor?  Who do you go to for advice?  Is there someone you go to in times of need to advise you?  Growing up – some of us turned to our parents – some of us to our older siblings and later some of us to our peer group.  We didn’t always get good sound advice in all of these situations – but at times maybe.  In school there were guidance counselors – at times they were good and at times not so good.  I’ve heard some of their counsel – and it isn’t always the best (I’m sure that depends on the counselor).  In the church people come to their pastor for advice at times and at times they go to professional counselors to be advised.  So – who is your counselor?  I hope you have one – I know I have several.

This term counselor is how Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit.  The Greek term used in today’s passage is Parákleetos – translated counselor by NIV but it can also be translated as comforter or advocate.  Any of the three sounds like the Holy Spirit is there to help us.  It makes me wonder why so many resist or turn away from the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

May 15, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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