Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Walk Like Jesus – Press On Toward the Goal!

Philippians 3:13-14

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

IMG_0301Last Sunday – during the sermon – I asked if anyone was perfect. If anyone was perfect they were asked to raise their hand. It was not a surprise to me that no one lifted a hand – not even one – because – on our own – we are nowhere near perfect. Our sin nature – although overcome by the spiritual nature we put on in Christ – still rears its ugly head from time to time in our lives. Even though we want to be obedient to God – we often fail. We do what we do not want to do and do not do what we want to do (so says Paul in Romans 7:15).

During the 21-Day Prayer/Fast – our imperfect nature – or should I say my imperfect nature – surfaced a number of times. I struggled at times with my food intake and at times with my social media fast. It was not easy – and yet I knew what I should be doing and what I should not be doing. The same can be said as I strive to lose more weight – I know what not to eat – yet at times I seem to yearn for just what I shouldn’t have for sure. I know I am alone in this area! Continue reading

January 27, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

42 Years Later Our Sin Continues!

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

01032015 RayI almost didn’t write anything this year because we were in the midst of our 21-Day Prayer/Fast.  Another reason – my wife often thinks I should stay away from controversial subjects.  I cannot – when it comes to the Bible and truth – even on subjects that are controversial.

I’ve written this article several times in the past.  It hits home I think.  The year was 1973 – the year I graduated from High School and a few months before I graduated – in the same year – the infamous Roe v. Wade decision came down.  I couldn’t let this month go by without raising our awareness of one of the worst sins of our nation in my humble opinion. Forty-two years ago – January 22nd – the Supreme Court of our nation passed a decision mandating abortion on demand, effectively overriding the abortion laws of all 50 states.  Soon after that several mainline denominations created the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) – an organization that proposed to represent the religious community and supported abortion (of course it didn’t and doesn’t represent all religious communities).

Although women with an unwanted pregnancy (there is no such thing as an unwanted child) are often in tragic circumstances – I cannot understand for the life of me why any church – especially a church that says they follow after Christ – would support the killing of unborn babies.  I could see churches trying to help prevent unwanted pregnancies.  I could see churches helping to pay for maternity care for those who could not afford it.  I could understand churches working with schools and communities to help with pregnancy prevention. But short of the mother’s life being in danger – life versus life – I cannot understand any church supporting abortion on demand – which current law allows and current health care even provides funds to carry out. Continue reading

January 26, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

21-Day Prayer/Fast – Day 21

Ezekiel 47:5

He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in — a river that no one could cross.

01032015 RayI know some will call me old – but one of my favorite praise/worship songs is sung by Steven Curtis Chapman – titled Dive.  It came out in the 90’s I think – so it isn’t considered contemporary anymore by some – but I love it!  You can find it by clicking the word Dive or by going to this link.

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As we finish our 21-Day Prayer/Fast today – I want to challenge us to dive in!  We might wonder – why are we being challenged to dive in now – why not on day one or even before the prayer/fast began?  I’m challenging us to dive in today because it is not about what we have done but what we will do that counts moving forward.  Of course I’m not talking about works righteousness – God’s grace covers our sins – but as witnesses to the world – how we live our lives says so much about the Jesus we proclaim. Continue reading

January 25, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , | Leave a comment

21-Day Prayer/Fast – Day 20

Zechariah 7:5

“Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?

01032015 RayTwo days left in our 21-Day Prayer/Fast – today and tomorrow (Sunday).  Here’s a great question – are we more interested today in ending the fast so we can go back to whatever we fasted from or continuing a deeper walk with Jesus?  Be honest!  Has our 21 days of praying and fasting altered our life?  Are we walking a closer walk with Jesus?  Are we forever changed?

The Scripture for today is Zechariah 7:1-14.  Today’s YouVersion reading plan has the following question – “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?  It is a question we need to ask ourselves today – did we fast and pray to be closer to Jesus or for some other reason? Continue reading

January 24, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , | Leave a comment

21-Day Prayer/Fast – Day 19

Psalm 84:10

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

01032015 RayBetter is One Day is one of my favorite contemporary worship songs (I know – it has been out for some time now).  In the YouTube link I provided the song is presented by Matt Redman and company.  It is a powerful reminder as we enter the last days of our 21-Day Prayer/Fast that being in the presence of God is better than anything else in all of creation.  NOTHING can compare with being in the presence of God! Continue reading

January 23, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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