Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

My Plan for the Prayer/Fast

Isaiah 40:29

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

fullsizeoutput_ffeMy daughters are all trying to be healthy. I’m proud of them in so many ways – but their desire to be healthy is one of the reasons for sure. One of my daughters is really into working out and keeping her body in top shape. She needs to do so for her job – but besides that she is into being healthy. She sticks to a strict diet and goes to the gym almost daily. She is into cross-training now and loves it. She has great control over her physical desires when it comes to her physical body. I want that! Another daughter has just lost 40 pounds and is really starting to look like she did a decade or more ago. She recently fit into her wedding gown for a surprise to her husband. My third daughter stays in shape chasing after 3 children – soon to be 4. They all make me proud in so many ways. I want to be like them in some ways!

Like many of us – I have tried to lose weight for years now – even decades. I have always blamed my weight on three things (do they sound familiar?) – 1) medication I take to combat Tourette Syndrome – 2) age and genetics (I’m big boned) – and 3) a lack of will power. I can’t change number one (although I continue to pray for God to heal me). Number two is an excuse – because many people over 60 are in much better shape (and my daughters have half of my genetics and they are improving their health all the time). I’m not sure I can do much about my will power either – I either have it or I don’t. So there doesn’t seem to be any good reason! At least none that hold water. Continue reading

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October 30, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Rapture: Is It Near?

Matthew 24:36

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

fullsizeoutput_ffeI first posted this devotional thought on May 21st – 2011. According to fundamentalist Harold Camping – that was the day he predicted for the Rapture. The Rapture is a belief that the saints of Christ – true believers – will be raised before the end of time arrives. A key passage some use in their teaching about the Rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. I agree with this train of thought – Christ will return – Christ will receive His church (true believers) and the end times will unfold. I just wasn’t sold on Harold Camping’s prediction in 2011 nor of anyone’s ability to predict the date today. It will come like a thief on the night according to Jesus (see Scripture reference below).

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 – 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Continue reading

October 24, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Perseverance Leads to Lacking Nothing!

James 1:4

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

fullsizeoutput_ffeI’m sitting here – in my church office – trying to find my focus! I’m praying and reading the Bible – I’m listening to some Contemporary Christian music – feeding my spirit (after a lunch of salad – grilled chicken and water to feed the body).

As I was reading in the Bible I opened to a favorite book – the Book of James – Christ’s brother’s book. I came across that famous passage at the beginning of that book.

James 1:2-4 – 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Continue reading

October 19, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tenderness and Compassion

Galatians 5:22-26

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

fullsizeoutput_ffeIn a recent Bible study – the discussion centered – for a short time – on the Holy Spirit. There were some questions raised that made me think some teaching and some sermons on the Holy Spirit were in order. This is just a short response to that study. I came across this passage about the fruits of the Spirit and thought I would spend some time with it this morning.

What do you think of when you hear the words kindness and goodness?  A few verses before the Gifts of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5 – we read the following words. Galatians 5:6 – For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

When I think of kindness and goodness – I think of the heart of Christ. It is often contrary to my heart. I am not – by nature – a mercy person. I can express mercy – but only because of the grace of God – it isn’t from my natural fabric. The heart of God – the heart of Christ is seen best – for me – in the following passage. Continue reading

October 18, 2018 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

Do We Need a Nap?

Psalm 121:1-2

I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Photo on 10-9-18 at 2.15 PMThe Major League Baseball playoffs are in full swing. Only one series to go before the World Series. What team are you rooting for to win it all? I’m rooting for the Houston Astros and the LA Dodgers to meet in the World Series and for the Astros to win it all.

I wish it was the Orioles playing for the World Series – but they qualified for the number 1 draft choice in next year’s amateur draft. I am an O’s fan and always will be – even during hard years. I suffered through 14 straight losing seasons several seasons ago. We’re tired – already – of this losing skid and want changes. We hope the changes that are coming will help us win again. But this is not real life! It is a game!

Where do you go when you are tired and exhausted in real life? When you need rest – where do you turn? I’ve had a busy week. Besides working over 60 plus hours – I’ve played basketball – a round of golf – and I’ve walked several miles each day. I’ve only gotten about 5-6 hours of sleep each night and according to my new watch – that sleep hasn’t always been sound. I could use a nap! Taking a nap seemed like a punishment as a child. As an adult it is something I look forward to taking! Who agrees with me? 😇💤 Continue reading

October 12, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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