Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Seeking God’s Will

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

112015 Ray McDonaldThis coming Sunday – at First UMC in Laurel – we will try to determine How We Can Discern God’s Will in An Ever-Changing World.  During our spiritual journey – our spiritual walk – have we ever wondered what God’s will is for our lives?  I mean – how many times have we sought out God’s will for our life?  Passages like Romans 12:2 speak about seeking God’s will for our lives.

Romans 12:2 – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The more we form our lives around the things of God (rather than the things of the world) – the more clearly we will be able to see God’s will for our lives.  Sunday we will look at one possible way – maybe the only Biblical way – to seek God’s will for our lives. Continue reading

January 7, 2016 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How’s Our Prayer Life

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

IMG_0301It is a common subject on this blog page to ask about our prayer life. I truly believe that a person’s prayer life reveals a lot about their walk with God.  Like in a good marriage – the way we talk to and the frequency of our conversations with our spouse is a good indicator of the health of the marriage. A person’s prayer life is also very revealing about the relationship they have with God. I believe we can draw a parallel between our prayer life and our relationship with God.  As our prayer life goes – so goes our relationship with God.  What do you think?  Do you agree or disagree?

Jesus – yes – God the Son – spent a great deal of time conversing with God the Father through prayer – and they were tight!  Here are a few Scriptures that give us a glimpse of Jesus at prayer. Continue reading

March 18, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walking With Jesus

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

profileRevival is coming on Sunday.  I tweeted the following yesterday –

Revival starts Sun. 3/2 & runs thru Wed. 3/5. Sun. morn. times 8:15 & 11 am. Evening services at 7 pm. @FUMC_Laurel http://t.co/mGipxWRhta

Revival is a time to revive the soul – to stir up the faithful – and to draw others to faithfulness in Christ.  Today’s passage comes to mind when I think about how we are to walk out our faith.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  Let’s take a look at some of the things we should be doing to walk out our faith as we break down this passage. Continue reading

February 27, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seeking God’s Will for Our Lives

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

During your spiritual journey – have you ever wondered what God’s will is for your life?  I mean – how many times have you sought out God’s will for your life?  Passages like Romans 12:2 speak about seeking God’s will for our lives.

Romans 12:2 – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The more we form our lives around the things of God (rather than the world) – the more clearly we will be able to see God’s will for our lives.

Paul suggests that part of God’s will for us is to worship Him.  Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Can you remember a time when coming to worship or spending time before God in prayer or reading the Bible were not on your list of favorite things to do?  The Bible says that they are part of what we were created to do.  That must be why I feel so complete when I spend time before God – being joyful – praying – and giving thanks.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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April 6, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor | , | Leave a comment

Giving Thanks in All Circumstances

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

We looked at this passage yesterday in regards to prayer. Today I want to look briefly at giving thanks in all circumstances.  In the NIV it says give thanks in all circumstances, which is a world of difference to me from giving thanks for all circumstances. Let me give us an example to consider.

A couple I know and love dearly in the last few years had a child born to them.  This child had certain health issues and still to this day deals with those health issues as do my friends.  In talking to them over the years, I have never heard them say they were thankful for their child being born with health issues.  They have talked about being thankful for their child, and even that his health concerns are not worse.  They have talked about being thankful in the midst of raising their child, even with the health issues.  They have talked about the joy their child brings them.  But, I have never heard them thank God for the circumstances of their child’s issues.

Looking back, they may see things that their child’s health issues have taught them.  Things they might never had learned without these challenges.  But again, that is part of giving thanks in the circumstance and not for the circumstance.

What challenging circumstances have come your way in life?  Have you met them with anger and bitterness or have you given thanks to God even in the midst of the circumstance?  Has your prayer life been one of praise, even when circumstances didn’t line up with praise?

One of my favorite sayings is this – Happiness is circumstantially driven, while Joy is spiritually derived.  If our life is based on everything lining up and bringing us happiness all the time, we will live a miserable life at times.  But if our joy is in the Lord, we can give thanks in all circumstances!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

October 26, 2010 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Theology | | Leave a comment

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