Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Can God Renew My Strength?

Isaiah 40:31

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

OK – I’m almost 63 and I have to admit that I don’t have the strength I had in my younger years. I mean – in years gone by I was able to dunk a basketball – now I have a hard time touching the net. I was able to finger roll at the rim and now a finger roll has to have a big shove to reach the rim (and I don’t leave the ground very far either these days). My legs have a hard time getting this old and overweight body up and down the court so I’ve had to watch my knees. As a matter of fact – with a torn meniscus in my left knee – I may need to give up on the idea of playing full-out – full-court basketball. My doctor even encouraged me to give it up all together a few years ago! I went to play recently only to see 20 plus young men on the court and so I decided to go the gym and workout instead! So I ask the question I have asked before – can God help me dunk again?

I walked 18 holes once this past summer (I typically use a cart these days). That is good exercise – but on the last few holes I could feel the burn in my legs and I got winded a few times going up hill. My strength is not what I wish it would be or what it once was for sure. My hope is that I can walk the golf course twice a week this coming spring and summer and go to the gym as well during the week to get in better shape – to regain some of my strength. Maybe I’ll ask this question. Can God help me scratch some strokes off my game or help me hit longer drives again? Continue reading

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December 15, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Schemes of the Devil

1 Peter 5:8-9

8 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, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Yesterday – we preached on keeping the faith and spreading our faith. We also preached about the devil’s schemes. This morning I feel compelled (obligated, duty-bound) to call on all who will to pray for the church and for your pastors and leaders. Whichever church you may attend – please pray for your church family and leaders. According to Scripture we are to be awake and aware and ready: 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! Part of standing firm is to stay in prayer together. Pray that the devil not be given even a foothold in our lives and in the church. As 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

November 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Think Before We Speak

Psalm 141:3

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.

I remember one time playing basketball – and missing every shot – or so it seemed. I mentioned that someone must have put a lid on the rim. Of course no one had – but the idea of a lid on the rim – keeping the ball from going thru the basket is something that a number of players has claimed when they go cold shooting.

Have you ever heard the phrase – put your brain in gear before putting your mouth in motion? Too many of us shoot from the hip so to speak. Too many of us speak before we think – and then wish we could capture our words and take them back. Has that ever happened to you? I know it has happened to me – far more times than I wish to remember. Continue reading

November 9, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Amazed!

Mark 4:41

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

I’ve been amazed a few times in my life. The first time was when I realized that Jesus loved me enough to die for me and to cover my sins. That just amazed me because I’m not worthy of such love.

Another time had to do with amazing love as well. It was when my wife said she would marry me. I was so amazed that a woman of her qualities would marry a man like me and – after 37 years – still stayed married to me.

Another time I was amazed was when my three daughters were born. To watch them come into the world and know that Carolyn and I had just given birth to three amazing girls – now that was amazing.

Another time I was amazed in my life was when Eddie Murray stood out in the rain in his expensive leather jacket to sign an autograph for me at old Memorial Stadium (after a game was canceled because of the rain). Continue reading

November 2, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Saint’s Day 2017

Psalm 116:15

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

Early this morning I was watching the news. The news is very rarely good. Today they were reliving the terror attack in New York yesterday. When will we protect our boarders and keep such radicals out of our country? I know that is not an easy subject – but we need to do something to keep our shores safe – if that is possible in this day and age. I don’t mean to be political – but something needs to be done!

Later today I will help to celebrate the life of a lifetime friend – Doris. She was a special lady for sure. One I fondly remember from my days as a child and later as a pastor – serving the church where she attended. I have many memories of Doris. Most of them are good! I will share some of them today at her service of celebration. I especially remember how she loved her Jesus!

All Saint’s Day of late – always reminds me – of my dear departed father and now my mother. They loved Jesus with all their hearts. They knew and experienced God and they now rest in peace with Jesus. I have confidence in this fact – it is part of my faith – part of my walk with Jesus. Do we know Jesus? Is Jesus our personal Lord and Savior? Do we have a personal relationship with Jesus? All of these are good questions. What are our answers? Continue reading

November 1, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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