Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Advent Attitude Check

Philippians 2:5

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Life ChangeAdvent is in the second week and Christmas is only 16 days away – counting today and Christmas Day. Are you excited yet? What do you do to prepare for the Christmas season? A niece of mine and her married family always bake dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies that their family (and extended family) baked together. It is a family tradition for her husband’s family. They certainly look good and if I could taste them – I imagine they taste good too. I will try to resist cookies this Christmas season – LOL.

What do you do to prepare for Christmas? What do you do in this time of waiting and anticipating (Advent)? Were you active on Cyber Monday shopping online? Now they call the whole time – throughout the week – Cyber Week – so if we missed the one day – we were able to catch up throughout the week (maybe even the whole month). Have any of us hit the Malls yet? Have we baked some cookies? Have we planned our parties and the ones we will attend? Have we picked out that perfect gift for our loved ones? Continue reading

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December 10, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hatred Has No Place at Christmas (or any time)

2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.

Life ChangePaul – an Apostle – told a young pastor – Timothy – to preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2) Paul also wrote these words to Timothy – 2 Timothy 3:16–17 – 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God  may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

I’m not a young pastor nor am I an Apostle – but the Word of God – as I read it – tells me to love one another – not hate anyone. I see far too much hatred in the world – and at times – sadly – from folks claiming to be Christians.

We’re told to hate sin – we’re told to love others. We’re told to love God more than anything or anyone. Matthew 10:37 – Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Continue reading

December 7, 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

So – What Do You Treasure?

Luke 12:34

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Life ChangeAdvent is here and Christmas is coming – just in case you haven’t been to any of the retail stores of late. I went today (Wednesday) to drop off a computer to have a new hard drive put in – rather than buy a new one. I know the speed of the new hard drive will make me think I have a new computer (it worked on my laptop). I wasn’t at the Mall – yet where I went – I found a crowd. I know the Mall is crowded too – and I will stay away as much as I can. I purchase most of my stuff online these days (who would have thought this nearly 64 year old would take to the Internet so well?).

Some stores had Christmas stuff up during the summer months (really – I saw it) – some had Christmas stuff up before Thanksgiving – all have Christmas stuff now! We are singing Advent songs and even some Christmas songs in worship this Sunday (I know – liturgically they are not supposed to be sung yet – but – I love them so – as do our folks).

So what is on your list for Christmas? Would you like the latest new iPhone or the all new iPad Pro? Is there some piece of clothing you’re hoping for this year? How about the latest video game? We use to get loads of clothes for Christmas – at times we got them early so we could wear them before Christmas – like a winter coat if it got cold early. I remember marking things in the Sears Christmas catalog for my parents when it came out. I guess I’m dating myself with that remark. Continue reading

December 6, 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

Immeasurably More – God’s Love

Ephesians 3:20

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

Life ChangeImmeasurably more! That is what the society wants us to want – more and more and more – every year! The Christmas shopping has become a contact sport on Black Fridays. Christmas sales start well before Thanksgiving to draw folks to the stores to purchase immeasurably more! Perfectly good products are jettisoned in order to buy the newest model (I’m updating the hard drives on my computers rather than buying new ones – they will speed up while being more economical than replacing them).

Scripture tells us that if we want immeasurably more – the only way to receive what really matters – is to seek after Jesus and the love that He shares with us. Read with me if you will: Ephesians 3:14-21 – 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Continue reading

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Bring, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maranatha! Come Lord, Come!

Luke 2:9

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

Life ChangeDo you have any idea why we celebrate Advent – or don’t? Advent is more than the period of time that begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas and runs through Christmas Eve. It is more than merely a time of awaiting the coming of the baby Jesus in the manger. In the fourth century when they began to celebrate Advent – it was also a time of remembering and waiting on the Lord’s return.

Have you ever heard the term Maranatha? It is an Aramaic term that literally means – Come Lord, Come – and was often used to invite our Lord’s return. I have used it for years on this blog page and in my e-mails (at times). Continue reading

December 4, 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

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