Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

I May Not Always Be Right – But I’m Never Wrong

Ephesians 4:3

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Life ChangeI may not always be right – but I’m never wrong. I saw somewhere that this attitude is attributed to Garfield the Cat.

Some think this way in their own theological processes. Whether Calvinist – Wesleyan – Arminian – or whatever – none of us has a lock on understanding God completely. Debates over theological positions have occurred since Adam and Eve I guess – as the serpent tried to persuade Eve to eat the fruit – because “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5 Of course we know the serpent to be wrong and even lined up with Satan – if not Satan himself – in the form of a serpent. It is not always that easy.

At times it is not as clear as the Genesis story. There are passages that – when taken in context – can support a number of views in what I will call minor beliefs or non-essential things. Things like the amount of water used at baptism – the form used at baptism – or even the age one is baptized are not salvation questions – important of course – but not essential to one’s salvation. Continue reading

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June 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, 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

Satan Is Real – Rebuke The Devil!

1 Peter 5:8

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Life ChangeI’m shocked by the number of pastors who do not believe in the devil – Satan. Some simply do not believe in an entity known as Satan – the devil – or Lucifer – a fallen angel. As many times as the Bible tells us about Satan – it is hard to believe some do not believe. I would label these as false teachers – and we should rebuke them as we rebuke Satan.

In today’s passage – Peter reminds us that the devil – our enemy – prowls around like a wild beast – looking for an opportunity to devour us – to destroy us. 1 Peter 5:8 – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Are we to somehow believe that Peter didn’t realize that the devil is not real? Do we believe that Peter was simply using a metaphor when he wrote about the devil?

Maybe Jesus didn’t understand when John quotes Him – as He was speaking with Jewish persons who didn’t agree with His teachings. John 8:42–44 –42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Continue reading

April 8, 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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!

Mark 10:28

Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

Life ChangeWhat does it cost us to follow Jesus? Jesus once said – Matthew 16:24–26 – 24 Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

What does it cost us to follow Jesus? Have you ever thought about this question? Tuesday night we talked about the resurrection and how many Christians in America have a different view of the resurrection – of eternity – than Christians from other countries. In America – many Christians have so much that they don’t keep laser focused on heaven – on eternity. Instead – many Christians in America are living with so much – eternity takes a back seat in their thinking. They assume it is there – but instead of focusing on it – as some Christians from 3rd world countries do – they focus on the here and now – their wealth and life. So – where does Christ’s words above come into play? Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Continue reading

March 7, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is Limiting Us Today?

Matthew 14:17

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

Life ChangeWhat is limiting us today? What is keeping us from achieving our dreams and aspirations? What is it that is standing in our way? As we reach for the stars – what keeps us grounded rather than allowing us to fly? A favorite saying of mine goes like this – if we aim at nothing – we are bound to hit it.

What is limiting us today? What is keeping us from achieving our dreams and aspirations? What is it that is standing in our way? As I near retirement age (I just turned 64) – I keep telling my wife – my life-partner – I won’t retire until I know what I’m retiring to. I don’t want to retire from active full-time ministry until I know what God has for me in the next chapter of life. I have some dreams and aspirations – and I’m waiting to see what God has in store for me.

What is limiting us today? What is keeping us from achieving our dreams and aspirations? What is it that is standing in our way? How many new year’s resolutions have we made over the years? We’re into the 3rd month of 2019. Are we still holding to our resolutions for 2019? If not – what has limited us? What has blocked us from achieving the things we imagined for this year? Continue reading

March 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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