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

Following God’s Voice

Isaiah 30:21

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMI’ve mentioned several times before that as a child – I tried to follow in my father’s footsteps. I could ALWAYS trust that dad would not lead me wrong. He was a man of God and if I followed his example – I knew I would be walking after God – seeking His face and desiring His grace. Of course – he told me on several occasions that I should follow Christ – not him. That was because he was a humble man for sure.

Have you ever wondered about the path God has for your life? Did you or are you praying for God’s guidance as you walk thru life – seeking His face and desiring His grace? I encourage people to pray over all decisions. I especially urge them to pray about the big ones such as – who to date – what school or training to seek – what career to pursue – whether to marry or who to marry – whether to purchase or rent a home or a vehicle – whether to have children and how many – where to worship – etc. If we don’t include God in our decisions – why would we go to Him for help after we make mistakes? Go to God before decisions are made and I bet – if we are listening to His voice – we might just make fewer mistakes. Think about it – doesn’t that make sense? Continue reading

September 26, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Christmas Eve 2017 Is Coming!

John 1:14 – KJV

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Well – here we are – the week of Christmas. I hope that everyone has made their plans to celebrate Christmas with family and/or with friends. I hope you also plan to share some of Christmas Eve with your church family. At First Church we are planning our Christmas Eve services in detail this week. We’d love to hear back from you about the services we are offering and how they meet or don’t meet your needs and the needs of your family. This feedback will help us as we plan services for next year. Please share next week after the services.

On Christmas Eve – December 24th for those who might not remember – lol – we will offer 4 services (this year Christmas Eve is on a Sunday). The same sermon will be preached at the first three services (our regular Sunday services) with a different sermon preached at the 8 pm service. All except the 5 pm service will be held in the Sanctuary. Continue reading

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

My Annual Christmas Music Post

Psalm 100:1–2 (KJV)

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: Come before his presence with singing.

RayMcDThis is my annual post about Christmas music. Are you enjoying some Christmas music this time of the year? Maybe some Christian Christmas songs as compared to some secular Christmas songs? I’m listening to Pandora Radio as I type – a channel called Pentatonix (Holiday). I also listen to Frank Sinatra (Holiday). On my XM radio in the car I listen to Channel 18 (Holiday Traditions) and Channel 58 (Country Christmas). On the regular radio I listen to FM 97.1 because they are playing Christmas music 24 x 7. They all play a mixture of secular and Christian Christmas songs.

With Christmas coming – I was curious – are you listening to any favorite channels? If so – how about sharing them with our readers. What are your favorite Christmas Carols? Name your top five if you would. It might be interesting to read what others appreciate.

Not in any particular order – but I would name these hymns as my favorite.
—- The First Noel
—- O Holy Night
—- Away in a Manger
—- Silent Night
—- O Little Town of Bethlehem Continue reading

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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