Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Essentials in Life

John 7:16–17

16 Jesus answered, My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMRecently at a Bible Study I asked those in attendance – What are your essentials of faith? How would you answer that question? Do we base our faith on any essentials? Do we have any irrefutable truths you bank on in your walk with Jesus? Are there any absolutes for you?

What are the essentials of your faith – the essential doctrines? With so many denominations around and non-denominational churches too to attend – is doctrine an important part of your choice or not? If you are United Methodist – what is the reason? If you are Roman Catholic – why? If you attend a non-denominational church – is the church’s doctrine the reason? Why do we attend the church we attend? Is doctrine a part of that decision? Continue reading

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

What is Holy Ground for You?

Exodus 3:5

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMWhat is holy ground for you? I’ve got a friend who is trying – in his lifetime – to visit all of the Major League ballparks. The endeavor takes him and his son all over the country each summer as they strive to visit all of the parks. It is sort of a holy grail type journey – walking on holy ground – as it were.

What is holy ground for you? Speaking of going to ballparks – I remember the first time I attended a MLB game. Visiting that ballpark – old Griffith Stadium – in DC – as a child with my dad to watch the Washington Senators was exciting. Seeing Frank Howard up close for the first time was eye-opening – because he was so huge! I remember seeing the painted seats in the outfield where Frank’s homers landed. It was hallowed ground if not holy ground. Continue reading

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Bring, 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

Is Everyone Welcome?

1 Corinthians 12:26

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Ray 2018At a Bible Study – not too long ago – the discussion on a Psalm went to community and small group connections. We talked about how important our connections as sisters and brothers in faith really are to our spiritual walk. Body ministry is very significant and not to be taken lightly. The church is a place for folks to connect and support one another. We should rejoice with those who rejoice and suffer with those who suffer.

Have you ever heard the phrase – the church is a hospital for sinners? In that statement – the church is trying to say that we are more than a building. The church is the people of God gathered – and we are a safe place for sinners. Why – because the Lord we serve offers forgiveness for sin and we ARE all sinners. I love the old bumper sticker I saw many years ago – it read: Not Perfect Just Forgiven.

Jesus told His disciples He came to live and die – to offer forgiveness to all who sought it. Luke 24:45-48 – 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. Continue reading

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Thing I Ask

Psalm 27:4

One thing I ask from the Lord…

Ray 2018If you could ask for one thing of God – what would it be? World peace would be a popular request I believe. Some might ask for wealth – or health – or a loved one to return to life. Some might ask for a life partner or for children. What would you ask for if you could ask for one thing of God?

Let me ask another question. How’s your prayer life? Prayer is how we speak with God. How’s your prayer life?

When we pray – do you do the normal now I lay me down to sleep and thank you for this food along with some short prayers at church? Does that sum up your prayer life? I sure hope not. How do you approach God? How’s your prayer life? Would you like to improve your prayer life? Continue reading

September 13, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Questions, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Are Called to Pray for One Another

James 5:13-16

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Ray 2018From time-to-time – I feel compelled (obligated – duty-bound) to call us to pray for our church – for our pastor – for our leaders – for one another – not only in our local church – but also – to pray for our denomination. According to Scripture: 1 Peter 5:8-98 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith. The devil is out there and wants nothing more than to devour the church – the people of God! Part of standing firm is to stay in prayer together. How’s your prayer life?

We should pray that the devil not be given even a foothold in our lives and in the church. Scripture says; Ephesians 4:25-2825 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Continue reading

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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