Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

You Have Heard Is Said…

Matthew 5:21

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago

You’ve heard it said… This past weekend I stirred up a little discussion between a colleague of mine in ministry and a young student of the Bible (not that the colleague isn’t). I posted a meme that said – God is not going to rewrite the Bible for your generation. Stop trying to change Scripture when it’s written to change you.

A discussion or debate or argument ensued. The colleague proposed that Jesus rewrote the Bible – and that we can – through God’s leading I assume – rewrite and/or re-interpret the Bible today – to meet our current circumstance. The young student of the Bible believed the Bible was whole and what Jesus did was draw the people who heard Him back to the original meaning – rather that what they had come to believe. He believed the Bible was inspired by God – and God’s Word for us today and always. (either can correct me if I have express your views wrongly.)

I believe one either believes that the Bible is the inspired Word of God or simply a good collection of books and letters that we can interpret as we see fit. Here’s what the Apostle Paul felt about the Old Testament or as some call it – the old covenant.

2 Timothy 3:16–17 – 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. I – personally believe that God meant this for the New Testament/Covenant as well – but that is my take. Continue reading

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giving Mercy

1 Peter 3:9

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amOne truth is that hurting people hurt others. If healing is to occur – we need for people to break the chain of hurting each other. In marriage counseling I often run into couples who are in a vicious cycle of tit for tat (equivalent retaliation) – he/she did this or said this and so I must say this back! Trying to give as much as we get is not healthy. The Old Testament tooth for tooth justice is not good for trying to heal relationships. Turning the other cheek is what will bring about healing.

Often – in marriage counseling – we have to come to ground zero – a place where we call time out and suggest a cleaning of the slate – forgetting/forgiving the past – because the past has so much baggage and distress – it is hard to move forward. I’m not suggesting the past isn’t important or shouldn’t be dealt with – eventually – but in order to move beyond the breaking point – a cleansing often has to occur. The camel’s back broke from the weight of one more piece of straw because there was so much straw already on its back. If – even temporarily – each straw can be dealt with one at a time rather than as part of the pile. When we get to the place where we have to try canceling the past – we usually give each partner some things to work on – like work on loving their partner and respecting their partner – even if they don’t merit it. Showing love and respect often allows for a space for healing. Continue reading

August 19, 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

Jesus Throws Us A Curve

1 Peter 3:9a

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.

Life ChangeIn the Old Testament – we’re told to repay strike for strike. Trying to remove evil from the society – Deuteronomy reads this way. Deuteronomy 19:16–21 – 16 If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse someone of a crime, 17 the two people involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the Lord before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time. 18 The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against a fellow Israelite, 19 then do to the false witness as that witness intended to do to the other party. You must purge the evil from among you. 20 The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you. 21 Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. The idea is – the punishment should fit the crime. Equal response to wrongs done to you or others.

In the Old Testament – our relationship with God was very vertical. Yes – we should compare ourselves with God (vertical) – rather than with each other (horizontal) – but – not everything is black and white – or eye for eye. In the New Testament – our relationship is defined by how we interact with others. Yes – there is still a need to walk the walk – but – walking the walk is not about following a set of rules so much as showing the love of Christ to others. Continue reading

April 10, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Repay Evil for Evil

1 Peter 3:9

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.

Life ChangeHatred and evil are running rampant in our nation these days. Satan is having a hay day it seems. The deep divide in our nation is getting wider and deeper.

We have seen a battle of late over our southern border. The President of the United States (the POTUS) laid out his plan to protect and secure our southern border last night. No sooner had he shared his plan – leaders of the opposing political party got on the airways to rebut what he had just said. There was a disconnect – it seemed to me. Their response didn’t really address the situation at the border. It merely said the POTUS had it wrong. It seems like we have gotten to the place where policies are right or wrong – depending on the person or political party expressing them. These same politicians from the left were toting exactly what the POTUS expressed a few short years ago when they were in power. This is not healthy for our nation and in my opinion is simply hatred. It is not in the best interest of our nation for the two main parties to simply oppose one another – instead of working together to compromise and work for our nation’s best interest.

Instead of simply standing still and throwing mud at each other – giving evil for evil so to speak – they should get together and solve the government shutdown and border security issue (something many on both sides voted for in the past).

One truth that I have always heard through the years is this – hurting people hurt others. If healing is to occur – we need for people to break the chain of hurting each other. In marriage counseling – I often run into couples who are in a vicious cycle of tit for tat (equivalent retaliation) – he/she did this or said this and so I must say or do this back! Trying to give as much as we get is not healthy! The Old Testament’s tooth for tooth justice is not good for trying to heal relationships. The New Testament call to turn the other cheek is what will allow for the space for healing. Continue reading

January 9, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And So The Fast Begins

Luke 18:13

But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’

fullsizeoutput_ffeSo my fast begins today – as we walk through the last week of the mid-term elections. Part of my fast is to simply be encouraging rather than enter into the hateful and evil conversations that happen on social media. Everyone thinks they have the answer. Folks think their candidate or party of choice has all of the right answers. Some say the mid-terms are about how well the current POTUS is doing – yet history tells us that rarely does the party in the White House win the mid-terms. We’ll see what happens next week.

What I hope is that our nation will come together. Blue wave or red wave aside – why can’t we just love one another. There doesn’t seem to be any easy answer for sure. I clearly rebuke hate groups who support any candidate or party. I will stand up to support anyone against hate talk and abuse – even if I totally disagree with them. At times – this will be very clear and we can all stand opposed to it. At times – it may not be as clear and we may need it pointed out or to agree to disagree without being disagreeable. Continue reading

November 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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