Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Friends: We All Need Them

1 Corinthians 12:26

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

fullsizeoutput_ffeI’ve been spending some time lately reading (mostly online and on my iPad). I’ve read the following: The Bible – some books (like Nick Vujicic’s Unstoppable) – some sports news (as we are in the early stages of the NBA and College Basketball season) – and the Facebook entries of some of my friends. One thing I’ve noticed in many of these venues is the importance of family – connections – and teamwork. One of my Facebook friends puts pictures and posts up – almost hourly it seems – thanking God for their children – their spouse – and where they work. I believe that our family and close friends impact our lives – for the better or for the worst.

Family and other connections are so very important to our health and well-being. One only needs to read the stories of some who have gone astray to realize that many of them had a giant fail in their family connections. Nick Vujicic – born without arms or legs – praises his parents for showing him unconditional love and attention. He credits this support for much of his ability to struggle through the challenges of life he faced and become a motivational speaker and evangelist. Continue reading

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November 16, 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

Please – Don’t Worry About Tomorrow

Matthew 6:34

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

fullsizeoutput_ffeThe 2016 elections are over (even though some are still talking about it). The 2018 mid-term elections have almost concluded (the are still counting in Florida and in other places). Your candidate either won or lost – your opinion was either in the majority or the minority on the questions on the ballot. You may agree or disagree that our nation is headed in the right or wrong direction. Many in the news and on Facebook have tried to project the future – with mixed projections. The market dropped dramatically right after the 2016 elections and has been on a roll for two years – reaching heights never before reached. It has been bumpy the last month or quarter – but we are still higher than anyone could have imagined. Some have predicted – or tried to predict the elections impact on the market. Some make a living looking into the future and trying to gauge how the elections impact the market.

Several of us who are closing in on retirement – say in the next 10 years or so – naturally peek into the future to see what the climate will be as that day approaches. We look at things like the housing market – our debt – the Dow Jones – our savings – the cost of living – and on and on the list might go. Looking to the future is not a bad thing – it is actually a wise thing. Dave Ramsey has many suggestions about savings and retirement. Look up some of his ideas here. Continue reading

November 15, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Day Is Coming!

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

fullsizeoutput_ffeThanksgiving comes once a year – as does Christmas – and Easter. Yet we don’t have to limit our thankfulness to one day – do we? If your family is like mine – when we gather to give thanks over the bounty on Thanksgiving – we pause to give thanks for something specific – everyone at the table. It is a touching time – and watching our family age before our eyes – year after year – brings a nostalgic note too. Listening to what the girls have shared over the years and now what the grandchildren will share has been and is a blessing. We are always thankful for the way God touches our lives.

I’m the crier in the family. An example of my inability to hold back my tears can be seen in most any family gathering. I remember at a special birthday for my wife – as others were sharing – I tried to share my heart and the tears flowed. Tears will flow for most any reason from my eyes. With the holidays coming I will shed tears when I watch It’s a Wonderful Life for the 200th time – and even while watching Charlie Brown Christmas – tears will flow.

Thanksgiving is a family time for our family and we will gather once again – the Lord willing. Holidays are especially hard for me now that mom and dad have gone to be with Jesus. Dad loved Christmas so much – that holiday is especially difficult for me these days. Continue reading

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

Growing Spiritually

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.

fullsizeoutput_ffeI greet you in the name of Jesus – my Lord – my Savior – and my dear friend. I write to encourage you this day in your walk with Jesus. We’ve often encouraged the congregation (and myself with the mirror before me) – about building our spiritual lives (realizing our need for Jesus). We want to encourage those who would hear to take the time to build their spiritual lives and to develop a deeper walk with Jesus. We want to urge people to take advantage of the many opportunities to eat spiritual food and to grow stronger.

I write to encourage us to NOT rely on our pastor(s) to have knowledge of the Word and a relationship with Jesus! I write to encourage us to regularly search the Word and to pray on every occasion. Our faith cannot be based on our parent’s – our grandparent’s – our pastor’s – or anyone else’s faith. Each of us must develop our own walk with Jesus. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians that we are to always have joy and to test everything.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 – 16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil. Continue reading

November 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Day After The Elections

Matthew 6:34

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

fullsizeoutput_ffeThis is a reworked devotional thought from 2016 after the Presidential elections. Yesterday was the mid-term elections – and when this devotional was reworked – every vote had not been counted yet. It appears that the Dems will take the house. It appears the GOP will increase their hold on the Senate. It also appears that the GOP will pick up some important Governorships. We will see what all of that means.

Over 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 worries about the economy? Are we worried about the elections? Are we worried about where our next meal with come?

Another translation of this today’s 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. Continue reading

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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