Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Love God With All Our Heart

Matthew 22:37-38

37 Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

Life ChangeI thought of this passage the other day. I heard a pastor once ask – the question isn’t the one we typically hear – how much of the Holy Spirit do we have? The question should be – how much of you have we allowed the Holy Spirit to have? He also reminded us that the Holy Spirit comes to transform us – to change us – to make us holy.

As I think about today’s passage I begin to think – how committed are we to God? We talk about being saved – but are we only after someone to save us from Hell? Isn’t Jesus also our Lord – our Master? If the Holy Spirit dwells in us through this salvation – what difference are we allowing Him to make in us – in our lives?

I know some Christians who have made radical changes in their lives. Some have stopped smoking when they came to Christ. Some have cleaned up their language – no longer sounding like sailors. Some have turned from drug and/or alcohol addictions. Some have turned from pornography. Some have turned from same-sex relations or extra-marital relations. Some have made radical changes in their lives because of Christ in their lives – because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Continue reading

November 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sin and God’s Perfect Design

Life ChangeThis is not a typical devotional thought. Today, I have been caught up in a theological discussion on Facebook (not the best place for such things but it is a tool to use to reach folks one might not be able to reach otherwise). I’m caught off guard – some – by those who differ with my understanding of God. The following – without names – is part of the discussion. I would welcome your thoughts and understanding on the issue at hand – namely – can we say we were born a certain way by God’s design or has sin caused a deviation or atypical altering of God’s perfect plan for us? I will identify my comments and will not post all  comments here. You can read all on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ramonmcdonald).

This theological understanding is deep in a thread. If you are not following the thread, you may not have seen it. It was my theological explanation for why we see deviations from God‘s perfect design of humanity, even of the world. I would be interested in your theological take?

(I wrote) I believe that all deviations from God’s perfect design are a result of our brokenness from God (sin). That brokenness can be personal sin, the sin of others, or our collective sin (humanity). God did not, as I understand it, create these deviations. Now God can use them, even to His glory, but let’s not say God made me or designed me with these deviations from His perfect design. Somewhere along the line, brokenness (sin) has caused the deviations we see. Sin or brokenness is the ultimate issue we face. In the case of birth defects, somewhere our genetic makeup has changed. For instance, a person’s use of drugs or alcohol could cause genetic change for their descendants (personal sin). This same change in genetics could’ve been caused several generations back and passed on unknowingly (the sin of others). This same change in genetics could be caused by environmental change (think ozone destruction or the chemicals in our food or water)(sin of humanity). This is not meant to place blame, it is an attempt to explain deviations from God’s perfect design in creation. Continue reading

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

Life Can Be Unfair – God Is Always With Us

2 Corinthians 4:8

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;

Life ChangeLife – at times – can be unfair. I’m not talking about a pitch being two balls off the plate and called a strike unfair. I’m talking about real life – being unfair. I know a number of persons who are going through some real life struggles. I know of a few marriages that most thought would last a lifetime – and they are falling apart. I know persons who have lived healthy lives – taken good care of their bodies – facing cancer and other life threatening medical issues. I’ve heard from pastors and parishioners that are perplexed by what they see even in the pews and pulpits of the church – the Body of Christ.

We see people ready to take sides – vehemently – on issues that abound. Our nation has yet to come to grips with the 2016 Presidential elections – and we’re into 2019. If you are against the POTUS – or for him – people on the other side will attack your views in a heartbeat. Racism is an ugly reality in our nation. Love for one another is not the center of our thinking as a nation or even as a church at times. Whatever side one might be on with the current issues facing the United Methodist Church – be careful where you express your views – because you might be bullied for sharing them. A few conservatives dared stand up for the POTUS recently at the Grammy Awards and they were belittled in social media and in person. Continue reading

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hatred Has No Place at Christmas (or any time)

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.

Life ChangePaul – 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.

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 anyone. I see far too much hatred in the world – and at times – sadly – from folks claiming to be Christians.

We’re told to hate sin – we’re told to love others. 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

December 7, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, 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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