Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Christmas Is Coming! But Don’t Worry!!

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. NIV84

Life ChangeOver the years we have heard loads of catch phrases. Phrases like what – me worry or don’t worry – be happy have graced our airways over the years. The world knows all about worry and how many of us suffer with it. What is it that we are spending time worrying about today? Are we worrying about the economy (it seems to be doing well with a little room for error)? Are we worried about the elections past or the ones to come yet (two years till the next one)? Are we worried about where our next meal with come (many of us could miss a meal or two and be OK)?

Another translation of this passage reads this way – Matthew 6:34 – “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ESV Apparently worry and anxiousness are akin – alike.

So what are we anxious about or worried about? Is it our health – let’s give it over to God. Is it our economics or lack thereof – let’s give it over to God. Is it a relationship – like our marriage or a friendship – let’s give it over to God. Is it the election – let’s give it over to God. Is it trouble in some way in our lives – let’s give it over to God. Are we anxious or worried about Christmas? As of yesterday – we have a whole month till it arrives – so let’s give it over to God. Continue reading

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November 26, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Peace of God

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Life ChangeAs I was doing my devotions I ran across this passage – Philippians 4:7 – And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  It made me stop and think.  It made me spend time in prayer for the church – the Body of Christ. For the local church I serve and the denomination my family has served for four generations in a row as an elder.

As I read this passage once again – I thought of the colleagues and others with whom I disagree – theologically. As we preach on the Thanksgiving and prepare to face Advent and then Christmas – at our local congregation – I would love a Word from God – a message of knowledge and of wisdom – that would be so clear on some of the issues we face and where we differ in our understanding – that there would be no room for disagreement. I pray the Holy Spirit pours out on the church during the upcoming weeks before the Special General Conference at the end of February next year. Continue reading

November 21, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Living at Peace in Days Like These

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

fullsizeoutput_ffeLiving at peace with each other in days like these is not easy. During this season of time – post mid-term elections – pre-new congress forming in January – pre-Special General Conference in the United Methodist Church (February 23-26) – pre-Thanksgiving – and pre-Christmas (did I miss anything) – we need to focus as much as possible on living at peace with one another – even everyone. I know – it is not easy to live at peace with people who are diametrically opposed to your ideology or theology – but it is what we are called to do as we walk out our faith. It is not always easy to live at peace with those we love and agree with either. We don’t need to agree with everyone – but as we disagree – we should not be disagreeable. Living at peace with others doesn’t mean we always have to agree for sure.

In today’s passage Paul writes – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. How do we read this? And if we read it that we should strive to live at peace with everyone – how well are we doing? If we’re as blue as it gets – even radically blue (far left) – with our politics – how well do we get along with someone who is as red as it gets – even radically red (far right)? Can we discuss our differences without becoming ugly? I know this doesn’t seem to happen on many social media pages I visit. It seems like the far left cannot even comprehend the far right – and vice versa – and they don’t play well together. Continue reading

November 20, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Guides Our Thoughts and Actions?

Galatians 5:25

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

fullsizeoutput_ffeWho guides our thoughts and actions each day? Do we rely on our own abilities or thinking? Do we follow other’s thinking or even consult a horoscope (please don’t say yes to a horoscope)? How do we determine things like – who we vote for in elections – how we vote in our congregations or denomination – whether to marry or not and to whom? Who do we turn to when discussing starting a family – what job to take – whether to relocate for work – when to retire – whether to buy or rent and in what community? All important decisions for sure. Do we rely on our skills – on our spouse – on our parents – on our friends – on the world around us?

Who guides our thoughts and actions each day? How do we decide what is right or wrong – what is beneficial or detrimental in our lives? Where do we turn to discern the path in life we should walk? If it hasn’t been God – if it has only been God for a few things – how’s that working for you? I know for me – the times I have made my own decision – it has been hit or miss – but when I have turned to God – God is batting 100%. Continue reading

November 13, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And So The Fast Begins

Luke 18:13

But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’

fullsizeoutput_ffeSo my fast begins today – as we walk through the last week of the mid-term elections. Part of my fast is to simply be encouraging rather than enter into the hateful and evil conversations that happen on social media. Everyone thinks they have the answer. Folks think their candidate or party of choice has all of the right answers. Some say the mid-terms are about how well the current POTUS is doing – yet history tells us that rarely does the party in the White House win the mid-terms. We’ll see what happens next week.

What I hope is that our nation will come together. Blue wave or red wave aside – why can’t we just love one another. There doesn’t seem to be any easy answer for sure. I clearly rebuke hate groups who support any candidate or party. I will stand up to support anyone against hate talk and abuse – even if I totally disagree with them. At times – this will be very clear and we can all stand opposed to it. At times – it may not be as clear and we may need it pointed out or to agree to disagree without being disagreeable. Continue reading

November 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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