Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 19 of Lent 2020

Matthew 25:31-33

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Ray 2020Today is Day 19 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you are enjoying and keeping up with the 40 Day reading plan. I am appreciating them myself as we walk to the cross. They are a blessing to write and a blessing to re-read each day. Keep up and leave comments if you have any questions or thoughts.

Today’s reading is a very familiar one – the separation of the sheep and the goats at the end of time. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Every nation – every person – will be gathered – before the throne of God. God will divide them – like a shepherd divides sheep and goats. Here is a simple question – which are we? Are we disciples of Jesus Christ or not? Don’t pull punches and try to fool anyone. Sincerely answer the question! Do we truly follow Jesus – or are we merely playing the game? Continue reading

March 18, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Setting Us Free from Our Things

Psalm 146:7

He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free,

img_0063-2There was a time I heard this a lot – do we own our things or do our things own us? While growing up in America – in a lower middle class family – things were of some importance. My parents worked hard to provide for us some of the finer things of life. Christmas was a big deal because it was a time we got lots of new things. Yet ownership of things is a trap for some if not many. Do our things own us or do we own our things?

With the recent storms – hurricanes – earthquakes – and more – devastation has occurred in our Western Hemisphere. Haiti was a place where much damage of property and loss of life occurred. I spent a week on a mission trip there and know that most of the people of Haiti have very little. It wouldn’t take much to take away all that some families have worked a lifetime to collect. I know that much damage was caused in the USA as well but many families in America have insurance or savings or other support to fall back on (although I realize some families do not and may have lost everything). Again – I ask the question I mentioned earlier – do we own our things or do our things own us? Continue reading

February 14, 2020 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hospitality to Strangers

Hebrews 13:2

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

img_0063-2I can remember – as a child and even later as an adult – picking up hitchhikers. It was no big deal. People were broken down or simply did not have a ride and were walking until someone picked them up. Hospitality to strangers wasn’t something foreign to many – just a few short years ago.

I can remember – as a child and even later as an adult – stopping to help someone broken down on the side of the road. Many a times I helped persons change tires because they didn’t seem to know what they were doing. Hospitality to strangers wasn’t something foreign to many – just a few short years ago.

I can remember – as a child and even later as an adult – letting people into my home to use the phone or even a stranger for a meal. Hospitality to strangers wasn’t something foreign to many – just a few short years ago. Continue reading

January 6, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Serving God at the Winter Shelter

Galatians 5:13

Serve one another humbly in love

Ray 2019This Sunday will end our week this winter – serving the homeless communities men – with the Winter Shelter program. I’m always impressed by those who participate in this ministry. Many stay up all night and then go to work the next day. I know this is hard – regardless of your age – because I have been doing it one night each year that I have had the privilege to serve First Church. If the men are calm and sleeping – the hardest part of spending the night is staying up all night and then going to work the next day. From Wednesday at 6 am till Thursday morning at 9 am – the posting of this devotional – I got 3.5 hours of bed time (less in sleep time). I will crash tonight or maybe take a nap this afternoon. I know the two men who stayed last night along with me are tired. One went to work this morning and the other will go to work in the afternoon. Some people work more evenings than one. I’m not sure how they do it. We could certainly use more help this year and each year. We have the shelter for the men through Sunday morning.

Aside from the lack of sleep – the amazing part of the week is getting to know the men who visit the shelter. I usually take the time to sit and eat several dinners with the men – talking with them and getting to know them. Several of the men have jobs. We talked about their work. Several of the men were new to the shelter program this year. Several of the men from years past have found shelter elsewhere. Continue reading

December 19, 2019 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is Our Mission?

Luke 5:32

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amHave we ever been in need? Needed help with something in our lives? Needed help getting something moved at home – larger than we were able to move ourselves? Needed some help getting a job? Needed help getting into a certain school? Have we ever been in need? Hopefully someone came along and helped us in our need. If not – often that need went unfulfilled – unaccomplished.

Jesus came to help us in our need – our sin need. Jesus came to save the lost. Jesus came to pay the price of our sins – something we could never do alone. Jesus didn’t come for the righteous – the perfect (as if there are any). In Jesus’ day – some religious people thought they had it all together and that they didn’t need Jesus or anyone. I hope and pray none of us today have this self-image. I hope and pray that we all know we are sinners saved by grace. Continue reading

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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