Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We Have An Advocate

1 John 2:1

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

One of my favorite shows – and I don’t watch a lot of TV other than sports – news – and some old shows – is Blue Bloods. Aside from the lead actor and one of my favorites – Tom Selleck as Frank Reagan – I appreciate the work that Bridget Moynahan does as Erin Reagan. I like police shows and courtroom shows (I grew up watching Raymond Burr on Perry Mason).

Court scenes are often very moving. The tension between the prosecution and the defense is often very subtle and at times very upfront. On a recent show Erin’s ex-husband was the defense while Erin represented the state – the prosecution. It was interesting watching the two lawyers and the judge interact. Continue reading

April 13, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Was Tempted But Was Without Sin

Hebrews 2:18

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

I love to discuss theology. I love to talk about doctrine and beliefs. Good thing – since that is my calling and career. I bet there aren’t too many who love these things.

One of the theological discussions I enjoy surrounds the thought of Jesus’ temptations. It is clear through Scripture that Jesus was temped. Today’s passage says – Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

That Jesus was tempted is not really in question. What seems to be in question is whether Jesus could or could not sin when tempted. Is a temptation a temptation if there is no possible way you could yield to the temptation and sin? That is a significant question.

Whether Jesus could sin or not is cloaked in His nature. Jesus’ nature as the second Adam – was different than our nature for sure. 1 Corinthians 15:45–49 – 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man. Continue reading

March 15, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Word Is Our Tool!

Psalm 119:11

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

RayMcDThe more we know the Word of God – the more useful a tool it will be for us in our spiritual journey.  We use to say – the more we use our Sword (our Bible) the more useful that tool becomes to us – so we encouraged people to bring their Bibles to church and to follow along.  Today we can read our Bible on our smart phones and even follow along on YouVersion.com and leave notes on the sermons.

Reading and storing up the Word of God in our heart/mind is so important.  Jesus resisted the Devil when he tempted Him by quoting the Word of God.  Jesus was such a student of the Word of God that He knew when Satan was using it wrongly! Matthew 4:1–11 – 1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Continue reading

February 24, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Is All About Grace

Ephesians 2:5

…it is by grace you have been saved.

RayMcDI love it when I win something. I’m all about competitions. For instance – I enjoy hearing someone say cover Ray when I’m playing basketball and lining up for a three-point shot. Or don’t leave Ray as the person on me leaves to help double team someone else. It means someone respects my ability (as meager as it may be).

I love it when I win something. I’m all about competitions. For instance – I love the challenges on my Fitbit – both the personal challenges and the group challenges. I love it when this old pastor can at times keep up with the younger pastors in a Fitbit pastors group.

I love it when I win something. I’m all about competitions. For instance – I love playing golf with a friend of mine – we are fairly equal in our abilities (we can both play a round in the 70’s or as high as the low 90’s from time to time). When I come out on top – it feels good – I know I have beaten a decent golfer. (I sure hope my torn rotor cuff heals quickly.) Continue reading

February 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Satan Is Real and Will Try To Defeat Us

Matthew 4:10

Jesus said to him, Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”

RayMcDIn another week we will begin a new sermon series titled New Believers. It will include a number of basic beliefs and doctrines of the church. It will be a good review of the basics for those of us more mature in the faith while it will be a basic lesson plan for new believers. Recently we had 31 people accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and I thought a basic plan was needed.

In the series we will cover such topics as Temptations Still Strike, Hypocrisy Impacts All, The World Embroils, False Claims – Prosperity, and The Whole Gospel. The series will begin on February 12th and run through March 12th. If you live in the area – join us! If not – listen online when the messages are uploaded to our website – www.fumcl.org.

Before we read today’s passage and begin the new sermon series – here is a truth we must all understand – Satan is real! Satan is our to steal our joy and our peace. If possible – Satan is out to steal our walk with Jesus. Today’s passage is from the story about Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness. Temptations are real and every day – even constant. We can find today’s story in Matthew chapter 4.  Here is a wider view of today’s passage. Continue reading

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

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