Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Following Christ’s Example

Luke 2:52

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Many of us are familiar with the story of Jesus at twelve – as He was amazing the teachers in the temple courts with questions and answers. Joseph and Mary couldn’t find Jesus among the relatives in the caravan – so they headed back to Jerusalem to find Him. Luke 2:46–47 – 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.

Recently in a Bible study we talked about the divinity and humanity of Jesus. Depending on how you understand that dynamic will reveal where you fall in our ability to follow Christ’s example. For instance – if you believe He was fully divine and only appeared as human – you would have a hard time believing you could follow God’s example. If you believe that He was human on earth and didn’t access His divine power – you would have an easier task of seeing Jesus as an example for us to follow. Continue reading

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October 6, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

He Himself Suffered

Hebrews 2:18

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

Growing up – I always appreciated working for a boss who started at the bottom – one who suffered along with the common man so to speak. If he or she didn’t start at the bottom – it was appreciated when they would roll up their sleeves and helps those of us on the bottom of the employee list.

I work for a young man now at a local golf course that embodies this approach. He may or may not have started at the bottom long ago – but after he was hired as the director of golf for the private club where I work – he has always been willing to serve others and help whenever needed doing whatever is needed. It really makes me appreciate him all the more!

I worked as a teen and in my early 20’s for another man who first managed the company where I worked and later owned the company – and yet he would join in the most basic of tasks if needed. He would go on jobs with us and would model for us how leaders were supposed to lead. I appreciate this man and he was in my wedding! Continue reading

August 16, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, 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

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

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