Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

Our Righteousness Is Like Filthy Rags

Isaiah 64:6

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

It is that time of the year when house cleaning takes place. My wife was washing windows and I was cleaning screens – trying to get some airflow during the recent three days of warmth and sunshine (we had the screens out for the winter). I need to clean out the garage again. My wife likes a clean garage. Argue as I might that a garage is not meant to be clean – she won’t buy it. We have a friend – her name is Nancy – and her garage was always perfectly ordered. My father-in-law’s garage too (that is where Carolyn got the idea of a clean garage I guess – you know – where there are outlines on the wall for EVERYTHING!).

When I clean out my garage – I always come across dirty rags. I use them for cleaning up most anything and at times they are not thrown away quickly enough for sure. I found one recently that was soaking wet with oil – with dirt – with dust – etc. Whenever I pick up dirty – filthy rags – today’s passage comes to mind. Continue reading

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

God, Have Mercy On Me, A Sinner

Luke 18:13

‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

It seems so easy for some – maybe even for most – to point out the sins or wrongs performed by others. Little children learn to tattle on their siblings to mom and dad at a young age. It is easy to point a finger at someone else and report their mistakes.

I remember being told as a child that when I point a finger at someone – I have three fingers pointing back at me. I also remember this passage of Scripture. Matthew 7:3–5 – 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

In the news these days are report after report from media sources of perceived wrongs of the current administration while at the same time reports are being made that previous administrations did the very same things. Wrong is wrong – whether someone else did it before us or not – just saying. But when we have a penchant toward picking out the mistakes of others before correcting our own mistakes – we leave ourselves open for ridicule and judgment. Continue reading

May 30, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vertical Vision Is Better Than Horizontal Vision

Luke 9:41

Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.”

profileI heard a pastor say once that an evangelist was preaching at the church where he served and as he was preaching – and getting to some of the finer points of his message – a little old lady from the front row started turning around – looking at different folks.  He assumed that she thought she knew who the evangelist was talking about – rather than listening to see if he might be talking about her.

Someone recently told me that they sit in the back of the church so that others will not be able to stare at them from behind.   It seems that we either think others are looking at us or we’re looking at them! Horizontal vision is not very good.  Lol

I’ve often talked about horizontal vision – where we compare ourselves – our righteousness and unrighteousness – with those around us.  Compared to someone – some other sinner – we think we don’t look so bad.  At least that is what we convince ourselves. Continue reading

February 20, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Design for Marriage

Genesis 2:24

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. ESV

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You had to know that we wouldn’t get too far into 2014 before we once again addressed God’s design for marriage.  I will suggest later in this post that the real debate is not over the worlds’ view of marriage verses God’s but rather the view of Biblical Authority.

From the very first book in the Bible we see a truth that has been debated in our society and shamefully in our churches as well.  The question for the church is not what does society say about marriage?  The question for the church should be what does God say about marriage?

Throughout the Bible – God’s inspired – inerrant – infallible word – God’s design is clear.  God’s design is for one woman and one man to unite and become one.  Even when some of God’s people got it wrong in the Bible and took multiple wives – God called them back to His design. Continue reading

January 3, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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