Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Temptations! God Can Help Us Overcome!

Matthew 4:11

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Life ChangeWhat is it that temps us these days? Between now and Thanksgiving – not a long time – I’d like to challenge us to spend time praying and fasting – seeking God’s help in avoiding and overcoming what temps us. Remember – yesterday we talked about how powerful prayer can be.

How about taking the time between now and Thanksgiving – to remove something that tempts – by lifting it to God in prayer – asking for help. I’m tempted by a number of things – some of which I will share with you today. For most of us – the things that tempt us are greater than we are alone or they wouldn’t really be temptations. For example – I cannot be tempted to eat liver. Now some people love liver – but I would need to be very hungry with no hope of any other food before I would succumb to eating liver. Ice cream (most any flavor) would tempt me. Pizza would tempt me. Snicker bars do tempt me. All-you-can-eat restaurants tempt me. Bargains and deals tempt me. Liver does not tempt me.

What is it that tempts you? Some people think they are above temptation. Some think they are so strong they can stand up – alone – against the devil and his temptations. I want to suggest that battling Satan alone – on our own – is not a battle we will often win. We’re told in Scripture that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 We are battling the spiritual realm and need Jesus in order to come out on top. What is it we can fast from that will allow us to be draw closer to Jesus during the next 10 days? Continue reading

November 18, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Satan Is Real – Rebuke The Devil!

1 Peter 5:8

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Life ChangeI’m shocked by the number of pastors who do not believe in the devil – Satan. Some simply do not believe in an entity known as Satan – the devil – or Lucifer – a fallen angel. As many times as the Bible tells us about Satan – it is hard to believe some do not believe. I would label these as false teachers – and we should rebuke them as we rebuke Satan.

In today’s passage – Peter reminds us that the devil – our enemy – prowls around like a wild beast – looking for an opportunity to devour us – to destroy us. 1 Peter 5:8 – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Are we to somehow believe that Peter didn’t realize that the devil is not real? Do we believe that Peter was simply using a metaphor when he wrote about the devil?

Maybe Jesus didn’t understand when John quotes Him – as He was speaking with Jewish persons who didn’t agree with His teachings. John 8:42–44 –42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Continue reading

April 8, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Then the Devil Left Him

Matthew 4:11

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

fullsizeoutput_ffeWhat is it that temps you? In November we are challenging our church members and other to a prayer/fast – a time to remove something that tempts us away from God. I’m tempted by a number of things – some of which I will share with you today. For most of us – the things that tempt us are greater than we are alone or they wouldn’t really be temptations. For example – I cannot be tempted to eat liver. Now some people love liver – but I would need to be very hungry with no hope of any other food before I would succumb to eating liver. Ice cream (most any flavor) would tempt me. Pizza would tempt me. All-you-can-eat restaurants tempt me. Bargains and deals tempt me. Liver does not tempt me.

What is it that temps you? Some people think they are above temptation. Some think they are so strong they can stand up – alone – against the devil and his temptations. I want to suggest that battling Satan alone – on our own – is not a battle we will win. We’re told in Scripture that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 We are battling the spiritual realm and need Jesus in order to come out on top. What is it we can fast from that will allow us to be draw closer to Jesus? Continue reading

November 5, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Does The Supernatural

Jonah 1:17

Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMThe Bible is filled with stories that skeptics have a hard time believing. There’s the one about feeding 5,000 men (not counting the women and children in one report) with a two fish and five loaves with 12 baskets leftover after all had eaten their fill. There’s the one about a small boy slaying a giant of a man with a slingshot and a stone. There’s the one about a man thrown into a den with hungry lions all-night and surviving. There’s the one about the man dead for several days and being summoned from his tomb by Jesus. I could go on and on.

Just so we are on the same page – Jesus believed in these stories – because He speaks of them as He is quoted in the Gospels. Jesus is quoted as speaking about the Great Flood and Noah and He is quoted as speaking about today’s passage – and miracle. There’s that word – miracle. A miracle is something thought impossible – like the Miracle Mets of 1969 when they played my beloved Baltimore Orioles in the World Series and won in five games. Some believed the ’69 Orioles to be one of the finest teams to ever play the game! Continue reading

September 24, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Northing Can Separate Us From God

Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

RayMcDNothing – and I mean nothing – can separate us from God. I love the blessed assurance of this passage. Paul was convinced that NOTHING could come between him and the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. I love having that sweet blessed assurance.  At times it may be all we have to cling to in our lives.

Storms will come in our lives – this is a fact.  As the East Coast braces other storms that may follow the most recent one – some changes will happen. Like life has changed for those in West Virginia – in Ellicott City – in New Jersey – and in other places. If the change is merely working from home (because power at work is out) or maybe the children are home from school – there will be some changes in our lives because of the storms that come. Some will face major changes like our first responders – who may be asked to go out into the storm in life threatening situations. Whatever the change – we will all be impacted by the storms that come our way.

As part of my calling as a pastor I have been talking with people over the last few months with some major life situations facing them.  Some are battling cancer – some have marriages on the rocks – some have children who are making extreme decisions – some are still battling events from the past in their lives – some are battling addictions – while others are faced with economic struggles in these times. I’m sure I could continue with the list – and still not hit every storm that we all are facing – outside the weather. Some are even facing demonic attacks – I believe that Satan and his demons are busy at work – trying to steal our joy in Christ – I know this firsthand – and others do as well. Continue reading

September 7, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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