Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God’s Word – The Truth

2 Peter 1:16-21 (The Message)

16-21 We weren’t, you know, just wishing on a star when we laid the facts out before you regarding the powerful return of our Master, Jesus Christ. We were there for the preview! We saw it with our own eyes: Jesus resplendent with light from God the Father as the voice of Majestic Glory spoke: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of all my delight.” We were there on the holy mountain with him. We heard the voice out of heaven with our very own ears. We couldn’t be more sure of what we saw and heard—God’s glory, God’s voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You’ll do well to keep focusing on it. It’s the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts. The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word.

Life ChangeIn this day and age – when most everything is challenged and nothing – it seems – is taken without question – I want to examine the question – Is the Bible God’s Word? If the Bible IS God’s Word – it needs to be authoritative in our lives – would you agree? If the Bible is authoritative in our lives – then the Bible is the base of our understanding as we sculpt and form doctrine. I believe that our theology reflects our view of the Bible. If we believe the Bible to be the Word of God – we will weigh it heavily in our understanding of God. If we see it as a good book – a nice read or guide – but humanly created – we will not. On one hand the Bible is authoritative – on the other it is no more authoritative than our personal experience – community history – or our reasoning/thinking.

I love the way The Message puts the last part of today’s passage.  The main thing to keep in mind here is that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of private opinion. And why? Because it’s not something concocted in the human heart. Prophecy resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to speak God’s Word. Continue reading

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March 29, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orthodoxy Is Not Bad, It May Just Be Correct!

Colossians 1:23

…if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Life Change

Today’s devotional thought was mainly written years ago.  I have made some minor changes – but – it seems – things don’t change much – because it is still speaks about a truth today.

If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it? I know most of us have heard that saying before. That isn’t perfect English – but – it is real. Most often we shouldn’t try to fix things that are working.

Change is not always good nor is it always bad. Change for change sake can be either good or bad. Many of us do not like change. Many of us have a hard time with change.

Technology buffs (the mirror is up) always want the latest greatest – even when what they have accomplishes what they are doing. Car buffs always want the newest model – even when the vehicle they have is working well. We can have a closet full of clothes – and every style imaginable – but when the new line comes out – we want to change. Our golf clubs play well – but someone convinces us that a new set will help our game (it is not the arrow but the Indian that misses the target – typically). My 2013 iMac is doing just fine thank you – I don’t need the newer model. Many of us need to resist change – because change is often just fluff – bells and whistles. Continue reading

February 25, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Attitudes of the Heart

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Life ChangeI have been writing and preaching about attitudes lately – referring to an old saying of mine – Christianity Boils Down to Attitudethe condition and position of the heart. Today’s passage reminds us what impacts the attitudes of the heart. Namely the Word of God! Reading and understanding the Bible is essential as we mature in Christ. It is the key element in our training as Christians.

We have had a number of people put their faith and trust in Jesus lately at First Church (Praise the Lord). Something exciting is happening at First Church. Recently we have seen an increase in young adults coming to First Church. We’ve seen people accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Giving their hearts to Jesus. The best advice I can give them and others is to begin to read the Bible and join a Bible study where they can search together with others the truths of God. We’ve been calling people of late to train up in the Lord. Continue reading

February 13, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Consistency Is Important!

1 Peter 1:25

“…but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

Life ChangeConsistency is important to most of us. Two plus two better equal four every time or our whole number system is thrown up in the air. Consistency is important.

Inconsistencies usually drive most of us crazy. The person who says one thing and yet does another is an example of inconsistency that drives most of us crazy. Remember when your friends tried to change the rules mid game as a child – like when you were playing whiffle ball – batted left-handed – began to hit homers over the right field fence and they called homers over that fence an automatic double or even an out (my cousin pulled that one on me)?

What about in your line of work – what if the formula for concrete kept changing? What if the codes kept changing – not once-in-awhile but every day? Consistency is something we all try for in life. It is a good feeling for most of us to come home to basically the same-old-same-old. I know that might sound boring to some of our readers – and some variance at times is good – but most of all – we love consistency. Continue reading

February 7, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Holiness Still Our Call?

Matthew 28:18–20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Today’s passage is called the Great Commission. It is often seen as the marching orders for the Christian church. We are called to go and make disciples of or for Jesus Christ (whichever makes the most sense to you – lol). In the early years of the Methodist movement – making disciples – followers of Christ – seemed to be the main focus. Revivals and Camp Meetings were all the rage and altar calls were common place in Methodist worship – as pastors challenged parishioners to be transformed after the likeness of Christ. I remember revivals and camp meetings and altar calls and still use them today.

Early Methodists were called to holiness – they were part of the holiness movement in the United States for instance. We were taught to study the Word of God (the Bible) and to strive to live our lives after what it taught. We were even encouraged to avoid some of the ills of our society. The way it was explained to me (as a third generation Methodist pastor) – Methodists were encouraged to abstain from alcohol – from playing cards – from dancing – even from playing pool. The reason – again as it was explained to me – was because these social activities were often associated with bars and night clubs – with gambling and behavior and places that were not appropriate for folks striving to follow after Christ. We were encouraged to avoid even the appearance of evil or sin. We were encouraged to keep Sunday set aside for the Lord. In my home growing up – Sunday was a day for worship and Sunday School in the morning – a family lunch – a nap time – youth group – and worship in the evening. Sunday was a day set aside for being with God and with other Christians. Continue reading

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

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