Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God Cleanses Our Sin

Zechariah 3:4

The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”

Growing up I can remember times when I got my clothes pretty dirty. We had sand pits in the backyard and my brother and I would play in them and get pretty dirty. We also had woods need our home and I would run through them. In the sand pits or in the woods – I would play soldier or cowboy – always carrying my air rifle.

Mom would say we were a sight and have us take off our clothes. She would wash them as we bathed ourselves and I remember seeing my favorite clothes (a Roy Roger’s cowboy shirt) hanging on the clothesline outside. Clothes always smelled so fresh when they were air-dried.

We would put them on and begin the whole process over again the next day. If I wasn’t playing cowboys (riding my stick horse around) I was playing soldier Combat! was a popular TV show when I was 7 and older). Continue reading

May 25, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Temptations Can Be Rebuked

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

What is it that tempts us? Is it something we eat? Is it something we wear? Is it something to take to the bank? Is it some feeling we receive from a sexual thought or behavior? Basically it is whatever fuels our desires and pleases our heart. The things that draw our heart tempt us. Satan is the great tempter and he is always working to steal our joy and our relationship with Jesus.

James – the brother of Jesus – wrote these words about temptation. James 1:13–18 – 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created. Continue reading

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Careful

Ephesians 5:15

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise…

I have five granddaughters. All five were over last night and one of the phrases I used a number of times – as they played out back with us on the patio was – be careful. They were running around – playing with each other – and at times they did not think about the consequences of their actions – after all – they are 4 – 4 – 2 – 2 – and the baby is 4 months. They are just excited to see each other and to build on their memory banks of fun.

Our patio has a drop off and rocks too. They will come close to the edge – aware and at times unaware of the danger. They will stand on the big rocks – boulders really – and be queen of the hill. Pop – the oldest family member present – knows the dangers and constantly reminds them to be careful – don’t fall. At times I would get up (other adults too) and walk them away from the edge of the patio or sit so that we could stop them – or at least try to – from falling.

We made it thru the evening without incident. We even got one granddaughter – previously scared of Pop’s lawnmower – to ride with him as he cut some of the yard. For most of the evening – she would stand on the edge of the patio and watch me cutting the backyard. She wanted to ride – like her older sister and cousin had the day before – but when she was placed on the mower – she panicked a little. It took several tries before she would stay on and once we started she was fine the whole time. As she was getting on the mower and off the mower (blades off of course) – Pop could be heard saying – be careful. Continue reading

May 9, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Thoughts On The UMC And Homosexuality

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

With the recent news about the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church – and the cases they are hearing this week and next – I’ve been asked for the church’s stance on the subject of homosexuality. This is a hot topic and not an easy answer.

I will start by saying the United Methodist Church strives to have open hearts – open minds – and open doors. This is not just a slogan but rather a desire to be open to all people – even in our sin – and trying to be a place where we can all find grace – forgiveness – and spiritual growth.

Having said that – the church is not a place to condemn or condone sin – that is above our pay grade so to speak. We can name what we believe is sin – but not condemn the person(s) caught up in it. We can love the person dealing with sin without condoning their sin(s). I know for some – that may sound like double talk. For me it isn’t. I can love a person without accepting or condoning their behavior/sin (as I hope people can do the same with me). I can minister to a person (and do all the time) caught in an area of sin – trying to help them (and me) see the sin in their (my) lives (life) and helping them (me) to see God’s redeeming grace in the midst of their (my) lives (life). We are to shine the light of grace on our sin so that we are convicted or compelled to confess and repent of it and move away from it. We are not to accept sin or condone it or live in it with no attempt to change. Continue reading

April 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

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