Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Forgiveness of Sins

Ephesians 1:7

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

Tuesday – in our co-ed study time (Tuesdays at 10:30am and 7:00pm) – we discussed Justifying Grace. Previously we had discussed Prevenient Grace. Some of us are amazed at the grace of God – working in us and through us – even before we responded to God. I know I am amazed every time we study God’s Grace and understand it a little better. God’s Grace is very powerful.

God has not only provided Grace for us through the death of Jesus Christ – God has also tugged at our heart – over and over again – to draw us into a relationship with Him. Not only has God provided Grace and a constant tug on our spirits – God has provided a way to become justified in God’s presence. We can become just-as-if-we-never-sinned. Continue reading

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May 3, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Open Arms Of Our Heavenly Father

Luke 15:20

So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

I miss my father – my earthly father. I really relied on him and trusted him and loved him. His absence from my life has left a huge hole that I just can’t seem to fill. I may never fill it. I imagine I feel a little like those who have lost relationship with their heavenly Father. Hell is described by some as eternity outside of the presence of God. Being outside the presence of my earthly father – I know I don’t like that feeling and so I know I wouldn’t like to spend eternity or anytime outside my heavenly Father’s presence.

When I first read today’s passage as a child – I couldn’t imagine doing what the younger son did to his dad. Luke 15:11–12 – 11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Most of us realize that we don’t get our inheritance – if there is any – until after our parents have passed. What the younger son was saying to his father was – you are dead to me so give me what I have coming to me now. My earthly father died nearly 6 years ago and my mom just over a year ago. I could never imagine telling my parents – you are dead to me so give me what I have coming to me now. That would destroy me – it hurts just thinking about it. Continue reading

April 30, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time Flies

Psalm 39:4

Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.

Time flies. I’ve had a few dreams of late – really sound sleep and the dreams come when I sleep soundly. Some of them have been about the past – about some of the good and not so good times in my life. The main point I’ve taken away from them is that time flies. We do not have very long on this sphere we call earth. We need to use every day to the best of our ability and try to take good care of our bodies so God can use us for His purposes while we are here.

Today’s passage tells us that life is fleeting. Our days are numbered and life is fleeting – here on earth. Life is short here – but eternal with God or without God. We must yield to God here in order to live eternally with Him in heaven. Continue reading

April 18, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Labor Is Not In Vain

1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

As I approach retirement years – I often reflect on my 40 plus years of ministry and my 63 years (so far) of life. I wonder if my years of ministry – my labor for the Lord – has been in vain or if it has had any lasting impact on those we have served with over the years. I also look at my three grown daughters – my two son-in-laws – and now my five granddaughters – and wonder if my legacy with the family will have any lasting impact on their lives – for the good of course. Am I the only one that thinks this way?

One thing I’ve tried (and often failed at) over the years – was to be consistent – to stand firm for what was right – for what was Biblical. I’ve sinned my share of sins – I’m not talking about being perfect or anywhere near it. What I mean is I’ve tried to set a bar or a standard where others could see what I believed – and maybe see my attempt to follow Jesus. I tried to not sway with the wind or the social norms (yet at times I sinned and fell short of that goal). None of us want our labor to be in vain. Continue reading

April 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Are Called To Reach The Lost

Luke 15:10

In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

My father concluded his active ministry as an evangelist. He preached in revivals all over the east coast and some in some other states like Ohio – West Virginia – Minnesota – and Indiana. He loved sharing the Gospel with folks. He loved when folks would open their hearts to Jesus and receive Him as their Lord and Savior. I love being a pastor of a local congregation – but the times I have preached revivals for other churches has given me a glimpse of what dad shared in those twilight years of his active ministry. I too love it when the lost come to know Jesus and receive his free gift of salvation.

Revivals seem to be a thing of the past. It seems that many pastors today don’t believe in hell or Satan and his demons. It stands to reason that the belief in hell and Satan would fade for those who don’t believe they are real. For eight years I served on our conference Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) and have served many terms on the District Committee of Ordained Ministry (DCOM) as well. I often ran into pastoral candidates who were Universalists – persons who simply believed that all persons went to heaven. There were times – during examinations – candidates (many who eventually were ordained) couldn’t clearly define salvation because they couldn’t explain what the alternative would be. Continue reading

April 10, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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