Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Have We Ever Been Content?

Philippians 4:11

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

img_0063-2Think about this question for a moment. Have we ever been content? Have you ever had enough? Have you ever been satisfied? When is enough – enough? How much do we need? Are we storing up more than we need? Most of us live well beyond our needs – yet it is our wants that keep us from being contented.

Have we ever been content? At times – being content might take away our drive – our desire – to accomplish more. But the contentment that Paul is writing about in today’s passage has to do with things – learning to be content with the things we have or don’t have.

One church I served went to Appalachia each summer. We sent teams to ASP (Appalachia Service Project). We learned just how much we had and how much we take for granted. It really helped us (me) think about things in a different way. We had way more than almost everyone we served – and yet they were happy and often content. Have we ever been content? Continue reading

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Smile Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

Psalm 9:1

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

Ray 2019We celebrated my friend’s life yesterday. Norma was a pastor’s dream. She was musical – she was administrative – she was friendly – she was hospitable – she was sensitive – she had a deep faith – she had a great work ethic – and she did it all with a smile.

Norma didn’t just smile when things were going well. Norma smiled all the time. I can’t remember too many times when I didn’t see a smile on her face. Battling cancer – there was a smile. Having personal issues – there was a smile. Facing surgery or treatment – there was a smile. Getting chemo – there was a smile. Breaking her wrist and coming back to work way too early – there was a smile.

What are we facing this Christmas? We have families where both parents are out of work. We have several friends fighting addictions. We have several friends facing their first Christmas without a life partner – a child – a parent or a close friend. We have some who are facing their first empty nest Christmas as well. Some have little or no family at this time of the year. Others have abusive family members. Continue reading

December 23, 2019 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love God With All Our Heart

Matthew 22:37-38

37 Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

Life ChangeI thought of this passage the other day. I heard a pastor once ask – the question isn’t the one we typically hear – how much of the Holy Spirit do we have? The question should be – how much of you have we allowed the Holy Spirit to have? He also reminded us that the Holy Spirit comes to transform us – to change us – to make us holy.

As I think about today’s passage I begin to think – how committed are we to God? We talk about being saved – but are we only after someone to save us from Hell? Isn’t Jesus also our Lord – our Master? If the Holy Spirit dwells in us through this salvation – what difference are we allowing Him to make in us – in our lives?

I know some Christians who have made radical changes in their lives. Some have stopped smoking when they came to Christ. Some have cleaned up their language – no longer sounding like sailors. Some have turned from drug and/or alcohol addictions. Some have turned from pornography. Some have turned from same-sex relations or extra-marital relations. Some have made radical changes in their lives because of Christ in their lives – because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Continue reading

November 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Temptation – We Must Resist

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Life ChangeWhat is it that temps us? Not too long ago I wrote about How to Turn From Addictions. Today we want to write about temptations. Maybe our temptations haven’t gotten to the point where they are addictions – but – they still might be an area of concern for us.

What is it that temps us? Temptations can lead to sin – which can lead to a separation between God and us. Matthew 26:41 – Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. We strive to follow God’s commands – but the flesh is weak. We get tempted – and we yield to our weaknesses.

What is it that temps us? Temptations come from Satan – they do not come from God. Temptations can also drag us away from God. James 1:13–14 – 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Continue reading

March 28, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Content – Is It Possible?

Philippians 4:11

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMThink about this question for a moment. Have you ever been content? Have you ever had enough? Have you ever been satisfied? When is enough – enough? How much do we need? Are we storing up more than we need?

Have we ever been content? At times – being content might take away our drive – our desire – to accomplish more. But the contentment that Paul is writing about in today’s passage has to do with things – learning to be content with the things we have or don’t have.

One church I served went to Appalachia each summer. We sent teams to ASP (Appalachia Service Project). We learned just how much we had and how much we take for granted. It really helped us think about things in a different way. We had way more than almost everyone we served – and yet they were happy and often content. Continue reading

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

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