Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

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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

The Church Needs Revival

Jonah 3:5

The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

I’m a firm believer that our church and the body of Christ universal needs a revival.Revival is something we need – and I’m not talking about a series of services. We used to have two revivals a year at our local church – and at every church I ever served – but fewer and fewer people attend so this year we have not had even one and no one has noticed or mentioned it. We need to be revived in the church today – to have a time of reflection and of reviving the soul. We need a time to be called back to a more faithful walk with Jesus. Many of us are simply going through the motions of our faith it seems to me.

I have been attending revivals since before I could walk. As a pastor – I held revivals at all of the churches I have been called to serve. Many churches and many pastor no longer hold revivals. As I mentioned above – we aren’t having even one this year and I haven’t heard an outcry for them. We don’t need a revival service or series of services – but we do need to refocus on Jesus and get fired up – because believe me – the end of time is fast approaching (and that is not meant to be prophetic – rather I’m simply reading the signs). Continue reading

September 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

August 4 – Baseball Season – 2 Months Left

1 Corinthians 9:24

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

OK – lots of posts on this blog are about significant theological issues. We have written about the United Methodist Church’s policies and doctrines. We have talk about church drama and operation. We have written about grace – peace – assurance – salvation – sin – Jesus – conviction – repentance – and more.

Today I want to focus just a few thoughts on this baseball season. As today’s passage suggests – athletes will strive to achieve the victory in their sport. In order to do so – they must practice – workout – and strive every day for their goal.

Recently I met two coaches from the Orioles and had a chance to talk with them about this season. The team will not give up and they have most recently (not counting last night because this was written before the game) won 5 straight and gotten within 3 games of the playoffs and 5 games from the division lead. Continue reading

August 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Confess – Repent – Be Forgiven – Enjoy Grace

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

God’s grace is amazing as the song – Amazing Grace – records (isn’t that one of our favorite older hymns?). One of the best promises in the Bible – IMHO (in my humble opinion) – is this one about the forgiveness of sins. We are all sinners in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. Today’s passage speaks of God’s desire to forgive. 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. We are called to confess our sins and repent. If we do we are told we will be forgiven and if we are forgiven we will receive grace.

Most of us have experienced deals before – like if you do something – I will do something. As children I remember getting notes passed in school – with if you like me – I will like you. As adults we learn that if we work at a certain job and do a good job – the boss will pay us a certain paycheck. I’m sure we can all come up with if you I will life experiences. We have one in today’s passage when we’re told if we confess our sins – He will forgive our sins.

In my personal study time I have been focusing on my sin and God’s forgiveness. I’m studying confession and repentance. I will also look at what forgiveness looks like – being healed and made whole. Continue reading

July 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Streamline Our Lives

1 Peter 2:1

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

I’m the type of person who likes change in my work environment. I would change my office at home and at work every year or two – to give me a different look and feel. This has become harder in our current home and in my current office because of a mounted TV at work and the windows in my home office (along with the internet hookup). Because I can’t change my desk position much anymore – I’m making a plan to streamline my office at home (giving away some books and such since most everything is online now). I have a nice sound system that needs to find a good home because I listen to music at home on my computer and at work on my Smart TV. The hope is that a more streamlined office will give me more flexibility and less of a confined feeling.

Carolyn and I want to streamline our home now as well – not wanting to leave (in 30 years or so) that task to our children when we’re gone or unable to do it. Like many – we have things stored in the house that we haven’t used for 20 years or more and we should give them away or recycle them. Less stuff will give us a streamlined feel to our home. It will make it easier for the children eventually too. Continue reading

July 6, 2017 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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