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

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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

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

21-Day Prayer/Fast – Day 15

Psalm 51:1-2

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

01032015 RayHave mercy on me/us dear Lord as we enter our third and final week of the 21 Day Prayer/Fast.  As we embark on the end of this journey and prepare for the next – be ever before us – with us and behind us.  During Lent (and a little before) we will enter into a 40-Day time of reading through the entire New Testament.  Stay tuned for more information later.

I want to ask a question that I have asked a number of times during the prayer/fast – What have we learned through the 21-Day Prayer/Fast?  What has God revealed to us?  What is God saying to us – to our family – and to our church?

The Psalmist – reading from Psalm 51:1-19 – begins with today’s verses – Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  As we enter this final week of the 21-Day Prayer/Fast – I challenge us to ask God to examine our deepest thoughts – our deepest hurts – our deepest sins – our very soul. Continue reading

January 19, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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