Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Confidence

Hebrews 4:16

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

RevRayMcI try to not be political in my sermons or my writings. Yet today we’re talking about confidence. The two presidential candidate front-runners seem very confident. One wants to make America great again and the other wants to continue the current administration’s programs. They are both very confident that their approach is the right approach.

The voters are caught choosing between a person who wishes to shake up a rigged system (in his words) and a person who wishes to keep the ball rolling – building on the current administration (her words). Both seem confident that their way is the right way. Only time will tell I guess. Continue reading

July 6, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Boldness and Confidence

Hebrews 4:16

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgI remember a former bishop of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church calling the church to have a holy boldness. We should do church with a holy boldness about us – with a true desire to reach the lost and to equip the saints.

What are you bold about? I’m pretty bold about my favorite teams – sharing with all who will listen and even some who won’t. The Orioles for example are 60-46 – the 3rd best record in MLB I believe and up by 2.5 games in their division as the end of July approaches today. They’re looking for a sweep of the Angels tonight.

What are you bold about? Some on Facebook or Twitter or Google+ are pretty bold about their relationships and what is happening in their lives. Sometimes I’m pretty surprised by what I read – what people are willing to make public. Is there no filter these days? Do some people think before they type? Continue reading

July 31, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Condemnation!

Romans 8:1-2

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

profileWhen I was younger – one of the things I was really good at was looking at two pictures of the same item with small or slight differences and finding the differences. I also could find the items that didn’t belong in a picture. Highlight Magazine was one of my favorites as a kid. I hated getting to the doctor’s office and find that someone ahead of me had circled or colored the items that didn’t belong in the picture (I usually found some that they didn’t – lol).

Raising children is not an easy task. Too often we can easily fall into the trap of being a disciplinarian – always (and I mean always) seeing the wrong in our children way before we see the good. We can fall into this trap with our spouse and with those we work with as well. It is good that we can see what is wrong with this picture – but we need to see the good as well. Continue reading

April 30, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Approaching God with Confidence

Hebrews 4:16

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

I remember meeting Eddie Murray – a future Hall of Fame player – one rainy day in Baltimore.  I believe I have shared this story in a sermon but it fits here very well I think.  Carolyn and I were going to games once-a-week or so in those early days of our marriage and we had gone up to the stadium for a game – even though it was raining and could be called off.  We pulled up to the park only to hear that the game had been postponed because of the rain.

As we sat in the car deciding what to do with our evening I saw Eddie Murray coming out of the stadium and headed for his vehicle (I assumed).  In the drizzle that was falling I ran out to say hi and shake his hand – I was very nervous to go up to him.  He stopped – greeted me – and shook my hand.  I asked him for his autograph and he said sure.  I had nothing to write with or on so I ran back to my car to get something – anything – to get Eddie Murray’s autograph.  The amazing thing is that Mr. Murray stood there in the drizzle – with his very expensive leather jacket on – and waited for me to return.  It was a highlight for me – I would imagine he only remembers it if it ruined his jacket – lol.

I thought of this story as I read today’s Scripture passage – Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  I wasn’t confident approaching Mr. Murray.  I wasn’t confident asking him for his autograph.  I wasn’t confident that he would stand around waiting in the rain for me to get back with something to write on – just ask Carolyn – I was in panic mode trying to find something in the car.  And Eddie Murray – just a ball player – albeit a Hall of Famer to be – caused all of this excitement!

The author of Hebrews writes that we can approach the throne of grace – the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings – with confidence.  And because we can approach the throne of God with confidence – we can also ask in confidence and receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  That is such Good News!  It is an amazing part of God’s love for us – that God would welcome us into His presence!

When we come to Jesus – we are given a new spirit – a spirit of confidence in the presence of the Most High!  It is beyond my understanding – because I was less than confident in the presence of a mere man – albeit a famous man.  I’m told I can have confidence in the presence of God the Father because of Jesus!  That is amazing.  Here is another passage that shares this same truth.

Romans 8:15-17 – 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba,  Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Today – you might meet someone famous – and you might get excited – unless like my friend Michael you meet famous people all the time in your job.  We should still get excited when we approach God in prayer – I still do nearly 45 years after giving my heart to Him – but we can go in confidence – in the assurance that we will be received.  I think that is amazing!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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February 24, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , | 1 Comment

   

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