Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Become Like Little Children

Matthew 18:3

And he said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

My wife and I have five grandchildren. They remind us of when we had little children. Children have a way of trusting – at least until we prove untrustworthy. They will do most anything you ask of them – or at least try it – as long as they feel you are there to catch them or help them or look after them.

I remember my oldest daughter Shelly – when she was two or so. We had gone camping and the campground we were at had a jungle gym type apparatus. She was on the top level and I urged her to jump to daddy. She came to the edge of the platform – her feet were above my head – and jumped into her daddy’s arms. I caught her of course. A year later – we went to the same place and tried the same process. This time she came to the edge and said – but dad I might fall and hurt myself. In a short year – she went from totally trusting her dad to catch her to adding some doubt (by the way – she eventually jumped after some coaching). Continue reading

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January 30, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy New Year – 2018

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Happy New Year! I’m reworking a past New Year’s Day devotional. I hope that your day – your New Year – got off to a great start. Steve Furtick once tweeted – The way your day starts doesn’t have to be the way your day finishes. We can always make improvements as the day goes along. We can always make improvements as the year unfolds.

This morning I was playing some basketball with some friends. I hit a couple of 3’s and made some nice passes – but didn’t have an exceptional day. But I stuck with it and had a good morning workout – even if I didn’t play very well. Our new years may not always produce the best days – but if we stick to it – stick to our goals – in the end – we might just have a good year.

Typically – on New Year’s Day – some friends and I play golf – 5 degree weather was just a little too cold for me. Continue reading

January 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Age Is Just A Number

Joshua 14:10-11

10 So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.

A friend of mine turns 59 today. I told him to enjoy this last year of being young. We played basketball together today! Another family friend turned 84 today and I told her age is just a number and she rocks 84. In a couple of months I will turn 63 – that seemed so old when I was younger but now it seems so young.

Joshua was 85 and still ready and available for God to use! I want to be available for God to use until I draw my last breath. I guess I am at the age when some retire. My brother retired in his mid 50’s. I’m thinking about it – but – even if and when I retire – I still want to be active and available to God. Continue reading

December 18, 2017 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can God Renew My Strength?

Isaiah 40:31

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

OK – I’m almost 63 and I have to admit that I don’t have the strength I had in my younger years. I mean – in years gone by I was able to dunk a basketball – now I have a hard time touching the net. I was able to finger roll at the rim and now a finger roll has to have a big shove to reach the rim (and I don’t leave the ground very far either these days). My legs have a hard time getting this old and overweight body up and down the court so I’ve had to watch my knees. As a matter of fact – with a torn meniscus in my left knee – I may need to give up on the idea of playing full-out – full-court basketball. My doctor even encouraged me to give it up all together a few years ago! I went to play recently only to see 20 plus young men on the court and so I decided to go the gym and workout instead! So I ask the question I have asked before – can God help me dunk again?

I walked 18 holes once this past summer (I typically use a cart these days). That is good exercise – but on the last few holes I could feel the burn in my legs and I got winded a few times going up hill. My strength is not what I wish it would be or what it once was for sure. My hope is that I can walk the golf course twice a week this coming spring and summer and go to the gym as well during the week to get in better shape – to regain some of my strength. Maybe I’ll ask this question. Can God help me scratch some strokes off my game or help me hit longer drives again? Continue reading

December 15, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Think Before We Speak

Psalm 141:3

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.

I remember one time playing basketball – and missing every shot – or so it seemed. I mentioned that someone must have put a lid on the rim. Of course no one had – but the idea of a lid on the rim – keeping the ball from going thru the basket is something that a number of players has claimed when they go cold shooting.

Have you ever heard the phrase – put your brain in gear before putting your mouth in motion? Too many of us shoot from the hip so to speak. Too many of us speak before we think – and then wish we could capture our words and take them back. Has that ever happened to you? I know it has happened to me – far more times than I wish to remember. Continue reading

November 9, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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