Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The One in Authority is God’s Servant

Romans 13:4

For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

Ray 2018Before I pen the first words in this devotional thought – I imagine there will be those who agree with me and those who disagree with me. I have friends who will debate this passage with me and argue that the current circumstance doesn’t fit into this passage. I’ve love to hear their take on this section of the Bible.

Let’s take a look at the world where Paul lived for a moment. In the early church – Christians were being persecuted by their own people – in many cases – as Orthodox Jews saw them as heretics (Paul/Saul was among them early on). Not only were they being persecuted by the Jews – who put their Lord to death – they were being persecuted by Rome. Rome was an oppressive power at the time Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome. Christians were being crucified in arenas – put before wild animals and gladiators as well. It was the worst of times some might say.

Paul writes these words to those Christians under such a terrible burden and oppression. Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Romans 13:1–7 – 1Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Continue reading

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September 7, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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

God’s Love Endures Forever

Psalm 136:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.

RayMcDWe often debate what is good in our lives. For instance – if you asked me a year ago what was good – I might say – lemon meringue pie – or peanut butter moose track ice cream. These days I can’t have either and have had to turn them down (I’m trying to lose some weight for a variety of reason). Some might say – my marriage is good – or my children are good – or my favorite team is good.

School is getting ready to start back up and maybe you think your school’s football team is good or their soccer team or volleyball team. You might think your entire school is good. It might be your school’s band that you think is good. Some of us might even say our school is good. What or who do you think is good?

The ultimate good – according to Scripture and the personal experience from many of us – is the love of God. All things we consider good are temporal – they do not last. But the love of God endures forever. Continue reading

August 28, 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

Some Of Us Face Hard Times

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Have you ever had a hard day? A hard week? A hard month? A hard year? Maybe even some of us have had a hard life? Things can pile on top of us at times and we can feel the weight of the world upon us.

Some of us have faced hard times – and we were instrumental in them. Maybe the hard time we face is with our health – and maybe we caused it by overeating or smoking or drinking too much or doing drugs. Maybe the hard time we face is with relationships – and maybe our bad habits or personality or idiosyncrasies have played a part in our broken relationships including marriages – friendships – and even family relations.

Some of us have faced hard times – and we had nothing to do with it. Maybe the hard time we face is because of someone drinking and driving – or someone committing a crime like rape or arson or murder. Maybe the hard time we face is because of the choices of others. Maybe the hard times are from the lies of others about us. Maybe the hard times we face are from issues in the home or at work caused by someone else. Maybe the hard time we face is caused by circumstances beyond our control. Continue reading

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

We’re Called To Love One Another – Not Hate

2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.

Paul – an Apostle – told a young pastor – Timothy – to preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2) Paul also wrote these words to Timothy – 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. God’s Word is to be obeyed. God’s Word is clear on many topics. God’s Word directs us in many ways in our lives.

I’m not a young pastor nor am I an Apostle – but the Word of God – as I read it – tells me to love one another – not hate on anyone. I see far too much hatred in the world – and at times – sadly – from folks claiming to be Christians. Showing others love is a commandment of God’s Word for God’s people.

We’re told to hate sin – we’re told to love one another. We’re told to love God more than anything or anyone. Matthew 10:37 – Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Continue reading

July 25, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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