Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

If My People

2 Chronicles 7:14

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

RayMcDI spent part of yesterday listening to the confirmation hearings for Senator Jeff Sessions. He is the President-elect’s candidate to be our next Attorney General. He fielded questions from all over the room. There were protestors inside and outside of the room and building where the hearings were taking place. I even saw on Facebook some of my colleagues who were protesting at the hearings.

You could tell by the questions which persons were for Senator Sessions and which were not. The hearings will be long and at times boring. The political scene in America is very adversarial these days. Maybe it has always been that way. I recently watched a historical piece on TV – it was during the days when the person running for the President of the United States that got the most votes made President and the next highest total became the Vice President. It was soon changed because it became evident that the parties couldn’t work well together. Continue reading

January 11, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rend Your Hearts

Joel 2:13

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

RayMcDI hope our readers don’t get tired of posts about the heart. I think that the heart (not the blood pumping organ but the inner being) is the central element in our Christian walk. One of my favorite sayings – which I created some 35 plus years ago – goes like this – Christianity boils down to attitude. A about 25 years ago I added the following – Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart.

The condition and position of one’s heart is vital. One can go through all of the Christian-like actions and not feel it in the heart. One can rend their garments and bow and tithe and attend to the regular ordinances of the faith – but if they do not feel it in their heart – their actions are empty.

Today’s passage reminds us that it isn’t the outward things God is after but the inner heart. If God has the inner heart – the actions will follow. Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Joel 2:12–14 – 12 “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” 13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. 14 Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God. Continue reading

October 19, 2016 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy 4th of July

2 Chronicles 7:14

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

RevRayMcOn this 4th of July I will use this very familiar passage from 2 Chronicles to remind us that God wishes to turn every nation around – if it will confess and repent and turn to Him. I believe that God would transform any nation that turned its collective hearts toward Him.

In today’s passage God was speaking to Solomon and Israel – but I think the message shared is equally compelling for all nations. God will bless and will heal our lands if we return to His commands. Continue reading

July 4, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Repent And Turn To God

Acts 3:19

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

112015 Ray McDonaldWorship yesterday was amazing at FUMCL. We spoke about prayer in the message and drawing closer to Christ through our prayer life. It is through our prayer life – our conversations with God – that we confess and repent of our sins. We must present to God where we have fallen short and repent from those sins.

Repentance is a combination of grieving our sins – turning away from our sins – and turning toward God. We’re conditioned as children – some of us – to say we are sorry when we do something wrong. Unfortunately for some – we’re not taught anything more than to say the words – I’m sorry. We can become conditioned to say I’m sorry – yet not actually feel sorrow (anyone with me on this?). I remember as a child being told to say I’m sorry – even when I wasn’t. Tell your brother you’re sorry or I’ll turn off the TV sounds like something I remember. It wasn’t that I was sorry when I said I’m sorry – it was so I could continue to watch TV.

True repentance is more than saying I’m sorry. True repentance is more than mere words. True repentance includes a change in our mindset – a change in our behavior – a change in our heart. Too many times people are only sorry when they get caught – sorry that they got caught – rather than sorry for what they did or said. Continue reading

April 25, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Seek God’s Face

Jeremiah 29:13

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

82015 RayDo we spend much time seeking God’s face – seeking to be in God’s presence?  I sure hope so.  The Bible has many passages about seeking the Lord – about being in God’s presence – and about the blessings of doing so.  Here are just a few.

Jeremiah 29:13 – You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Isaiah 55:6 – Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

Psalms 27:8 – My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”  Your face, Lord, I will seek.

If we spend time before the Lord – seeking His face – do we give God time to open His heart to us – or do we spend most of the time telling God what is on our mind?  Many people who do daily devotions get into such a routine that they take little time to listen for God’s voice.  They lift some prayers – read some of the Bible – and run off to their busy day.  I read on Twitter recently – a leading pastor say – that prayer is a supposed to be conversation and that conversation was a two-way process.  Do we give God time to speak to us?

Continue reading

September 24, 2015 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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