Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Essentials in Life

John 7:16–17

16 Jesus answered, My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMRecently at a Bible Study I asked those in attendance – What are your essentials of faith? How would you answer that question? Do we base our faith on any essentials? Do we have any irrefutable truths you bank on in your walk with Jesus? Are there any absolutes for you?

What are the essentials of your faith – the essential doctrines? With so many denominations around and non-denominational churches too to attend – is doctrine an important part of your choice or not? If you are United Methodist – what is the reason? If you are Roman Catholic – why? If you attend a non-denominational church – is the church’s doctrine the reason? Why do we attend the church we attend? Is doctrine a part of that decision? Continue reading

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September 21, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Settling Our Differences

Philippians 4:2 (NLT)

Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement.

RayMcDWhen my brother and I – or my sister and I – or my brother and sister would have a disagreement – even an argument – my parents would remind us that we were siblings and that we should get along. The argument might have been over what TV show to watch (we had one TV in the whole house). The argument might have been over who’s turn it was to ride our loan bike (me and my sister before we got our own – see here). Whatever it was about – it wasn’t worth siblings being upset with one another for sure. We would settle our disagreements and move on.

Carolyn and I would remind our daughters the same thing. We would often tell them – that no matter how hard it might be at times to get along – your sisters (we had three daughters) – would always be there for you. Often – they would be your best friend(s) in life. They had some doozies at times – but they patched things up and carried on – loving each other. They settled their disagreements and moved on with life. Continue reading

August 31, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Forgiveness Requires Our Confession

Psalm 32:5

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Not too long ago I wrote a blog post about forgiveness. I wrote about grace of late as well. I love the topic so much I thought I would write about it again today. There is something about God’s grace – God’s forgiveness – that blesses me and others. Confession is required for forgiveness and I’m praying about a sermon series on Confession and Repentance in the coming months.

One Sunday not too long ago we preached on forgiveness in marriage (check out the sermon notes in the link provided). Every successful marriage requires forgiveness – because there are no perfect marriages – no perfect spouses. We WILL make mistakes. We WILL mess up (I just messed up this morning)! We need forgiveness and we need to forgive. Confession and repentance are required for us to receive forgiveness – even in our marriages.

The Bible uses marriage – between a husband and wife – as an example of our marriage with Christ (we are the bride of Christ). Here is one passage where Paul writes about the church – believers – being promised to Christ as His bride. 2 Corinthians 11:1–4 – 1 I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! 2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. Continue reading

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

Marriage – What Does God’s Word Say?

Genesis 2:18

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

What are your views on marriage? In this day and age when people are living together before or without marriage; divorcing at an increasing rate; when debates rage concerning who may get married (same sex partners); what are your views on marriage? It is important to know where you stand on issues of importance like marriage – the cornerstone of our society. We need marriage as a foundation of our culture. The family is our main stronghold.

A great place to start the discussion on marriage would be the Word of God – the Bible.

Genesis 2:18The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Continue reading

May 11, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Rest Of Our Lives

Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. I wonder – have we ever heard that before now? We cannot change anything about yesterday or the days – weeks – months – or years in the past. We might be able to make restitution for something that happened in the past. We might be able to correct something done in the past. We might be able to improve on something in the past. We might even be able to build upon something done in the past. But the past is just that – the past.

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Recently my wife and I had a conversation about what we’d like to do in the year and years ahead of us. We both have some hobbies we’d like to develop. We both have family that would require travel to visit. We both have ministries we would like to invest in and visit. The list continues. We cannot change what we have done – but we can focus on what we would like to do in the future. Continue reading

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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