Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Favorite Passage of Scripture

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Do we all have a favorite scripture? One of the all-time favorite passages is today’s passage – John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Watch any golf tournament and you might just see a sign that says John 3:16.

A sign of whom we love or what we love is what we are willing to give up for them or it. For instance – I once asked my Tuesday morning Bible Study – who or what they loved. They responded with the normal list – children – pets – Jesus of course – and more. When asked what they would be willing to do for a pet with a major illness – some said – whatever it takes. Another said they would sell their house to help with the medical bills of a child.

We are willing to do whatever it takes for those we love or something we love. Some of us – for the sake of a few dollars – would camp out overnight at a store to assure that we were one of the first ones in the store the next day or overnight to get tickets to a movie or a concert. We’ll do some crazy things for something we love. Continue reading

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September 21, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Counting Sins

2 Corinthians 5:19

that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

I love the love chapter in the Bible – the one many read at weddings. Here is the portion of that chapter most often read. 1 Corinthians 13:4–8 – 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Part of that reading says – it (love) keeps no record of wrongs. I remind couples – when I use this passage that forgiveness must be a part of their marriage – because we all fail and we all make mistakes. There has never been the perfect marriage or the perfect marriage partner(s).

Today’s passage speaks about God not counting our sins against us. God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. Have we ever experienced that in life – apart from our relationship with Christ? If we have – we have been blessed to experience Christ-like love. Relationships can be repaired – no matter how damaged – if we can express Christ-like love to one another. Continue reading

September 13, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Witnessing Our Faith

1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Today I wanted to write about setting an witnessing our faith. Witnessing our faith is not about the words we say but the life we live. Actions often speak louder than words – you’ve heard that before – right?

Timothy was a young pastor – a product of Paul’s ministry. Paul was writing to him and those Timothy was leading to give him encouragement and teaching. Part of what Paul wrote we are using as our base passage in this morning’s devotional.

As Paul was telling Timothy to not let anyone look down on you because you are young – he also encouraged him to be a good witness. Think about these words for a moment this morning – set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. How do these words speak to us this morning? Continue reading

September 7, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christ-Like Humility

Philippians 2:3-4

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

I was talking to someone the other day – and the term narcissistic came up when referring to someone we both know. Narcissistic persons have an excessive or erotic interest in themselves and their physical appearance. Other terms used to describe a narcissistic person might be vain – self-loving – self-centered – self-admiring – self-absorbed – self-obsessed – conceited – egotistic – and more. These certainly aren’t the terms one would use to describe Jesus nor should they be terms that describe followers of Jesus.

According to today’s passage – followers of Christ should be humble. Humility can be defined as being modest or having a low view of one’s own importance. Humility in great people is so rare we often think highly of persons who have accomplished much but are very humble. Continue reading

August 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love One Another Like God Loves

1 John 4:11

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

We are called to love one another like God loves us. God loves us so much He sent His Son to die for our sins. He loved us with His all.

Much of life is made up of dos and don’ts as we walk out our faith. We try to define sin and what is acceptable or unacceptable in our lives – and in the lives of others. When we create standards – we seem to judge others by that standard.  I believe we often lose sight of the most important character trait of God when we end up looking at the dos and don’ts. We tend to forget about God’s love. It is God’s love that provides us with grace – with forgiveness. John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God’s love is so wonderful – such a blessing. God loves us in ways we can only slightly imagine. The Bible gives us glimpses of God’s love. For instance – husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church – His body. Ephesians 5:25-28 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing  her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Continue reading

August 25, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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