Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Forgiveness Is Not Easy

Luke 24:47

and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Life ChangeForgiveness is not easy. One of the hardest things to do is to ask someone for forgiveness. To confess that we have wronged someone is not easy. Even confession to God is not easy. Admitting we have sinned against God or done someone wrong is not an easy thing for most of us. It is hard to humble ourselves to ask for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not easy. Not only is it hard to ask for forgiveness – often because of pride – we have a hard time forgiving others – at times. Forgiveness takes a heart of love. Forgiveness takes an ability to look beyond our hurt and see the possibilities of redemption and healing. Forgiveness requires us to show a measure of mercy that some of us have a hard time expressing. Continue reading

Advertisements

January 18, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is It Called Spring Cleaning If We Do It In The Winter?

Romans 8:39

Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Life ChangeIs it called spring cleaning if you do it in the winter? Carolyn and I cleaned an attic recently. Is that spring cleaning? It made sense to do it while the weather was mild – and the attic wasn’t very hot or very cold. We threw out a lot of things. The attic we cleaned (we have three) – hadn’t been used for anything but a hide-a-way for our kids when they were young and storage of tax papers and old computers. Like my dad – I couldn’t bring myself to throw away anything that I might need some day. Well – after 15-20 years in the attic – I agreed I would never need those items again.

Is it called spring cleaning if you do it in the winter? I recently worked on my desk and home office. My son-in-law was showing the family pictures of his new home office (in his new home) – and I liked it – so I began to straighten my work space too. I haven’t finished – but the start of the project looks good. I threw away a lot of things that have cluttered my office for years and will do more. I’m getting rid of a lot of things. I’m going to purchase an inexpensive scanner (maybe) – so that I can scan a lot of papers that I may or may not ever need again. Better to have two electronic copies that take up very little space than drawers and cabinets full of papers I will never go through. And on a digital format – I might even be able to access them quicker than trying to find them if I do need them. I might find that some of the clutter I have hung onto over the year is actually keeping me from being more efficient in my work. My wife suggested a smaller more open space desk and office. A cleaner look that might keep me more focused on my task at hand. A thought to consider for sure. Continue reading

January 17, 2019 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Satan Is A Fallen Angel

2 Corinthians 11:14

And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

Life ChangeIn High School there were several High School teams we got up for above all the rest. They were our rivals so to speak. Severna Park and Arundel were those teams (I attended Annapolis High School). There was no South River and no Broadneck High Schools in those days and Southern rarely gave us a scare in football (basketball yes – but not football).

In High School – whole schools get up for that week’s opponent – that week’s enemy. School colors were/are all over the stadium – pep rallies and other events often precede contests with the number one foe. You don’t need to tell a High School student which schools are the arch rivals! They know it. They’ve heard about the rivalry well before they arrived at High School.

Unfortunately – many Christians aren’t aware that our number one enemy is Satan. This might be because some preachers – even some denominations – don’t believe in or articulate enough about the presence of this chief demon. Because we don’t acknowledge something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Today’s passage gives us some insight into the chief demon – Satan. Here it is in partial context.  2 Corinthians 11:12-15 – 12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. Continue reading

January 16, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Shows No Favorites

Acts 10:34

I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism

Life ChangeAs a father of three daughters – the oldest and the twins – I have learned to not show favorites – although two of them will say the oldest twin is the golden child. They are not accurate of course – in their assumptions. They are all my golden children – I love them with all my heart. All three have been a blessing – almost entirely! They are all my favorites.

As a grandfather of five granddaughters – one is six – one soon to be six – one is four – one soon to be four – and one is two – I have learned to not show favorites (I must confess that the three younger girls tend to hug Pop more often and for longer – so I am drawn to them of course). All five have Pop’s heart for sure. They are all my favorites. Continue reading

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

Reaching the Lost for Jesus

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

Life ChangeWhen I read this passage recently – I thought of this passage – Matthew 9:12 – On hearing this, Jesus said, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

I believe at times the church forgets our vision or purpose. In my 40 plus years of ministry – my purpose has been to reach everyone for Christ. The implication – although subtle – is that those who know Christ are not my primary target in the church. Not that they are ignored – but if they know Jesus – part of my task is to build them up so they can reach other for Christ. If we know Jesus – we should want to be built up and be sent out to serve Christ. Our main or primary focus needs to be the lost – those who do not know Jesus. That should be the primary target group of any church IMHO.

Jesus instructed His disciples this way – as part of His final instructions to them. Matthew 28:19 – Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Now – one could argue that becoming a disciple is more than being saved – but the indication when you talk about all the nations – or even Israel – is that they were unsaved (there weren’t too many Christians at the time of this statement!). Continue reading

January 11, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: