Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Forgive As God Forgives

Matthew 6:12

and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. NLT

Life ChangeIf you’re anything like me – sometimes the Bible says things that cause me to pause. Stuff like loving my enemies or turning the other cheek or if you deny me before men I will deny you before My Father in heaven or today’s passage – and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. In many translations the word debt is used or in the common Lord’s Prayer used by many – forgive us our trespasses. Many of us do not understand the meaning as clearly as using the word sin. We are actually asking God to forgive us our sins/debts/trespasses in the same manner in which we forgive others their sin/debt/trespasses against us. This is amazing to me. In the manner that I am gracious – in the way that I forgive – Lord – forgive me.

This seems so amazing to me because many of us – myself included – are not always that gracious. We hold grudges – we are vengeful – we are resentful – we have a hard time forgiving the past. Today I simply challenge us to search our hearts and find the areas where unforgiveness lives in us. I challenge us to be a more grace filled person – a person who is ever ready for new beginnings. Continue reading

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February 1, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Witness at Christmas Time

1 Peter 2:12

 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Life ChangeAs we approach Christmas – the world is headed in one direction (buy and sell and get stuff) while the Christians should be more focused on the birth of Christ and spreading love to those around us. Christians can get caught up in the secular buying and selling – in order to get gifts for folks or being able to afford them (working longer hours). We often need to refocus ourselves to spend more time teaching ourselves – our children – and our grands – what Christmas is all about for sure.

Living our lives in such a way – even during the hustle and bustle of Christmas – that others around us will see Jesus – is what we are called to do. Being able to put Jesus first is what Christians are called to do in life – and Christmas is no exception.

In today’s passage (and I always use NIV unless I say so) – we’re told the following: Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. That word pagans seems so harsh – but what it means is the ungodly. In Biblical days – one was either a follower of God (the One true God) or one was a pagan (a godless person). Continue reading

November 27, 2018 Posted by | Bring, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Sins Are Many

Psalm 40:12

For troubles surround me—too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage. NLT

Sunday in the message about forgiveness we talked about our sins and how God forgives our sin. Each of us has sin galore. Our sin has mounted up and it hems us in on all sides at times. Today’s passage – from the New Living Translation (NLT) says – For troubles surround me—too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage.

Our sins are so plentiful – and left alone – they would keep us from heaven and send us to hell. But – even though our sins are more than the hairs on our head – Jesus died on the cross to provide grace – forgiveness. Continue reading

May 7, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lord – Examine Our Hearts

Psalm 139:1

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.

Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart. This is one of my favorite sayings. I believe if our hearts are in the right place – centered on Christ and not on self – we will have the right attitude and will glorify Him. The right attitude is so important for Christians. We must have the attitude of Christ – the heart and mind of Jesus. Philippians 2:5 (NIV) – In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: (NLT) You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

One thing I’ve come to know about myself and other church people is this – we cannot fool God! God knows our hearts and our motives and our attitudes. God knows the things we say or think in private. God knows our motives for the actions we take. God searches our hearts and knows even our thoughts – you know – those things we think but have a filter to not say out loud (most times). Continue reading

October 5, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If You, Lord, Kept A Record Of Our Sins!

Psalm 130:3

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?

Do any of us keep records of things? For instance – I know couples that keep track of how often they argue. Others keep a record of how often they spend time together. Some must actually schedule time together because their schedules are so full and can be overwhelming. Some keep records of wrongs and bring them up to the other from time to time. Some keep a record of when the other partner did the dishes or watched the children or got their way in some area of disagreement.

Do any of us keep records of things? The baseball season is basically over for my team – they need to go 8-2 in order to finish at .500. But baseball is filled with record keeping. Records seem to be made to break. Homers are being hit this year at or near a record pace. Continue reading

September 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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