Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Deepening Our Walk with Jesus

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.

Life ChangeI greet you in the name of Jesus – my Lord – my Savior and my dear friend. I write to encourage you this morning in your walk with Jesus. During our sermon Sunday I encouraged us to work on our spiritual fitness. We want to encourage those who would hear to take the time to build their spiritual lives and to develop a deeper walk with Jesus. We want to urge people to take advantage of the many opportunities to eat spiritual food and to grow stronger.

I write to encourage you to NOT rely on your pastor(s) to have knowledge of the Word and a relationship with Jesus! I write to encourage you to regularly search the Word and to pray on every occasion. Your faith cannot be based on your parent’s faith – your grandparent’s faith – your pastor’s faith – or anyone else’s faith. Each of us must develop our own walk with Jesus. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians that we are to always have joy and to test everything.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 – 16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.

Remember one of the sayings I use so much? Happiness is circumstantially driven – but Joy is spiritually derived. Continue reading

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February 11, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Growing Spiritually

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.

fullsizeoutput_ffeI greet you in the name of Jesus – my Lord – my Savior – and my dear friend. I write to encourage you this day in your walk with Jesus. We’ve often encouraged the congregation (and myself with the mirror before me) – about building our spiritual lives (realizing our need for Jesus). We want to encourage those who would hear to take the time to build their spiritual lives and to develop a deeper walk with Jesus. We want to urge people to take advantage of the many opportunities to eat spiritual food and to grow stronger.

I write to encourage us to NOT rely on our pastor(s) to have knowledge of the Word and a relationship with Jesus! I write to encourage us to regularly search the Word and to pray on every occasion. Our faith cannot be based on our parent’s – our grandparent’s – our pastor’s – or anyone else’s faith. Each of us must develop our own walk with Jesus. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians that we are to always have joy and to test everything.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 – 16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil. Continue reading

November 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, 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

Being Content

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 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMHave we ever been content? At times being content might take away from 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.

With one church I served – we 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.

I remember working on a coal miner’s shack that a family had made their home. The outside boards had big gaps between them and the Tennessee winter winds and cold made it very hard. They had a pot belly wood stove in the middle of this shack and the ceiling above it was black from how hot they had to keep the fire to offset the winter cold. In this home we put in insulation and drywall and tried to help them stay warmer in the winter. It was a small help – yet they were very appreciative of our efforts. Continue reading

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Our Light Shine Before Others

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

112015 Ray McDonaldAs a pastor’s son – a PK (pastor’s kid) – I always had to be on guard around people. Some were looking for ways to get the pastor’s kid to make mistakes so they could run it in the pastor’s face (or so it seemed). I remember once – in a bowling league – someone treated our team to a round of sodas (we all have marks in a certain frame). I was keeping score and so they brought my soda to me at the scorer’s table. As I raised the cup to my mouth – something didn’t smell right so I put it back down. Later the person who bought the drinks asked me why I wasn’t drinking mine – which made me weary. Later – on a food run – I noticed a small empty vodka bottle near where this person sat. I believe this person was trying to get the PK to drink (I was under age at the time). We must all be no guard – it seems – at all times. Our witness can be damaged in a twinkle of an eye.

I remembering when I was a young adult – going into a bar/restaurant in downtown Annapolis with some of my friends. They went in for a drink – I went in to be with my friends. I hung with them – trying to show them one didn’t need to drink to have a good time. A few times I had to drive them home. I tried to let my light shine – so that Christ could be seen (not always of course – I had my issues). Continue reading

May 3, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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