Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Offering Our Gifts to God

Matthew 5:23-24

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

Rays HaircutA historic view might help us understand how important this statement is from Jesus – how eye-opening it was for His hearers. In order to offer a sacrifice – an offering – most people traveled miles upon miles – often over several days. Some were lucky enough to live in Jerusalem and might have come more often – but most only traveled to the Temple a few times a year. After making the trip to the temple – they had to purchase a sacrifice if they hadn’t brought one with them on their long trip. They would have a calf – or a dove – or a lamb maybe or maybe their offering was money. They would probably wait most of the day in a long line to get the chance to offer their sacrifice/offering. It was hot – dry – and smelly with all of the animals in line – not counting the smell from the altar with all of the animals being sacrificed in the temple. They finally got to the altar area and were ready to give the priest their offering and it hits them – they have someone who has an issue with them – it may not even be their fault. This is where Jesus’ words hit – this is the circumstance as the people heard Jesus say: “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Continue reading

May 20, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 2 of Lent 2020

John 12:3

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Ray 2020Today is day 2 of Lent – 2020. The story today for me is about sacrifice – the sacrifice that Mary (not the Virgin Mary) was willing to make for Jesus. Mary (might have been the woman caught in adultery – obviously someone who has known Jesus and His grace) entered a dinner given in Jesus’ honor. She offered Him a gift – a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume – and poured it over His head. It was a lavish gift. It was a gift that showed great sacrifice on her part. The dry an arid area where Jesus lived played havoc on one’s skin and hair and this anointed was a great blessing to Jesus. Some also say it was an anointing of Him before His death.

The question I thought of today as I read this story was – what am I willing to sacrifice for Jesus? In a sermon not too long ago I asked the question – what does it cost us to follow Jesus? My hope is that as we read today’s Lenten passage we will ask what we are willing to give up – not just for Lent – but for Jesus? Continue reading

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advent – A Time to Anticipate

Ephesians 1:7

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

Life ChangeAs we enter Advent (yesterday) and head toward Christmas – I want to make sure we know how very important Christmas is for us. Today I want to celebrate what Christmas is all about – the coming of Christ – the One who sacrificed His life for us. Not so much that He came – so very important – but why He came. He didn’t come to be a baby in a manger – although the secular world would like us to focus on buying and selling at Christmas – or at the very least – the little helpless baby in a manger – Jesus came to be the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.  He came to die for our sins – to pay the debt of our sin – for our redemption. It was God’s plan from before creation.

We all need Jesus. We all need forgiveness from our sins. We have all sinned and all stand in need of redemption – Romans 3:23-24 – 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Continue reading

December 3, 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

Day 14 of Lent 2018

Mark 12:42

But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

Today is day 14 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan on www.youversion.com. I hope you are enjoying the 40 Day reading plan.  Keep up with the stories about Jesus’ life as He walked to the cross.

Today’s reading reminds us that it isn’t how much we give to the Lord’s work – but rather the heart with which we give it. The widow gave her all – the rich – they gave from their abundance. How do we give? Do we give our tithe and think we are doing so well – when a sacrificial gift might be 15 or 20%? Are we giving sacrificially to God or are we giving from our abundance? Let us search our heart today and be honest with ourselves. Do we give our all t Jesus or only from what we think we can spare? Continue reading

February 27, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

21-Day Prayer/Fast – Day 9

Romans 12:1-2

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.  2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

01032015 RayDay 9 is upon us dear readers – the time is flying by.  During our prayer/fast we have written and discussed presenting ourselves to God and making ourselves a sacrifice for Jesus.  We have asked questions – like what are we willing to do to please God?  What are we willing to sacrifice for God?

Today’s passage in the 21-Day Fast devotional reading plan can be found here.  The reading is the 12th chapter of Romans – which starts with the two verses above.  These are two of my favorite verses in the Bible (the list is long but these are on it).  They speak about offering God ourselves – our bodies – and even our souls!  All that we have and all that we are – for sure.  Are we willing to give God our all?

Share some of your thoughts in the comments section – bless others with your questions or responses and see what God will do with us.  Seek His face and desire His grace and offer your all to Jesus!

Continue reading

January 13, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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