Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

There’s Just Something About God’s Amazing Grace

Romans 3:23

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

God’s grace is amazing. I love the song Amazing Grace. I love the old hymns – and so do the folks in our church if the recent survey results are to be believed. Here are the lyrics from the first verse from that old familiar and fantastic hymn. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.

According to today’s passage – we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We all stand in the need of grace. Grace is all about what we do not merit – what we have not earned!

Paul writes in another Epistle about grace (the New Testament is filled with passages about grace). Ephesians 2:8-10 – 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Grace is so amazing! Continue reading

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August 2, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alive To God In Christ Jesus

Romans 6:11

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

I had a young person in my office recently. This young person was having a battle with an addiction and was asking for my recommendation on how to overcome the addiction. When they were in the midst of their addictive behavior – they would feel the Holy Spirit pricking their heart – yet they enjoyed the addiction – so they often pushed the Spirit aside. It was a real struggle – a struggle many of us have battled before and will battle in the future.

I know a person who has battled addiction for many decades. They have suffered much. Their family has suffered much as well. They seemingly had defeated the addiction for a long period of time only to have it rear its ugly head again. Addiction is never gone – it is always one day at a time. Our victory is only a needle – a bottle – a porn site away. Addiction can at times make us seem powerless to control ourselves. Continue reading

July 12, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Are All Sinners

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.’

RayMcDI’m getting burned out with this election stuff. Some thought things would settle down after the election – whether Clinton or Trump got elected. Clearly some of those who voted for Clinton are appalled that Trump won. I imagine some who voted for Trump would have been appalled if Clinton won. There are strong reasons to have concerns for a Trump presidency – as there would have been strong reasons to have concerns over a Clinton presidency. I have long said that I didn’t support either candidate – both had major flaws IMHO.

The bottom line – president elect Donald J. Trump has been duly elected as our 45th President. The task – as I see it – is to pray for him and those he surrounds himself with that they will lead our country well. Having said that – and I would have said the same thing had Hillary R. Clinton won – we – the citizens of America – need to watch and sound off when we believe any of our leaders are leading us in a destructive way. We need to peaceably protest and have our vote ready to correct anything we believe is wrong with those we have elected. Continue reading

November 15, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Jesus Light The Way

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMHave we ever walked in the darkness? I am one of those people who must have the light switches going in the correct direction (up in on – down is off). With that said – you know I have stumbled through a dark room so I wouldn’t get the light switches in the wrong position. Crazy – right?

Have we ever walked in the darkness? I’m so thankful my cell phone has a flashlight on it. I use it often (see above paragraph) while walking in darkness – inside and outside. I only have one switch in part of my basement and when the light is off and it is dark outside – I need the flashlight in order to walk through till I get to the switch (which is always up for on and down for off). Having a light to shine in the darkness is important for sure.

Have we ever walked in the darkness? Have we ever felt like we were lost – without focus – without a purpose? We can feel that way as an individual or a family or a church or even a country. Yesterday in worship at First UMC in Laurel I spoke a little about broken hearts. When we break up with a significant other – dating or in marriage – we often feel lost – walking in the darkness. Listen to the sermon for some suggestions on how to mend a broken heart (http://fumcl.org/sermons) (because it was VBS Sunday the sermon may not get uploaded until the middle of the week). Continue reading

July 25, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Wants Everyone to Repent

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

RevRayMcWe can talk about the wrath of God and we can talk about the grace of God. We are called to fear God and we are called to seek His grace. There is a balance required. That balance is shown to us in the following passage. Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Sin earns us death but if we love Jesus and give Him our lives – His grace will cover our sins.

Paul reminds us that we are all sinners – lost on our own account in Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We all deserve death – eternal separation from God – eternity without God. Yet Peter reminds us today that God’s desire is for all of us to come to repentance. Continue reading

July 5, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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