Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 26 of Lent 2020

Matthew 26:33

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

Ray 2020Today is day 26 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you are enjoying the readings like I am. Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross of Calvary. As we walk with Jesus we hope to be drawn closer to Him. During this time of isolation as we try to flatten the curve of the coronavirus – building our faith – deepening our walk with Jesus – might be the best way to use our extra time at home.

Today’s reading reminds me that we can have good intents but not good results. We can intend to do the right thing and end up not doing the right thing. Peter intended to stay faithful – intended to be true – but we all know that he denied Jesus when Jesus was arrested. The other disciples intended the same – but they failed as well. The Good News is that Jesus is in the grace business and searches our hearts much more than our good or failed actions. Something to think about today!

We recently had a discussion online about faith. We admitted – we are not perfect – even as we walk by faith and strive to live our lives according to God’s design. We are so blessed that God is grace-filled. Forgiveness – if we confess and repent – is such a blessing! Continue reading

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 25 of Lent 2020

Luke 22:24

Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.

Ray 2020Today is day 25 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope everyone is keeping up with the reading plan. Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross of Calvary. Walking this walk with each of you has been amazing. I’m sorry today’s devotional is a little late. My computer was updating and it took longer than I expected.

Today’s reading is on target – even for today. The disciples didn’t have their hearts in the right place – at all times. Do we? They wanted to know which of them was considered to be greatest. At times we get into disputes in the church – power struggles one might call them. We shouldn’t – we should all have our hearts set on serving the Lord. Yet at times we battle over who is in charge (Jesus is – right?).

(Side note: I heard that Prince Charles has the coronavirus. I’m praying for him and for the Queen. My wife and I have been watching “The Crown” and have gotten to appreciate the Queen. I pray for all who have the coronavirus and for the rest of us too.) Continue reading

March 25, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 24 of Lent 2020

John 13:34

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Ray 2020Today is day 24 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope we have all kept up with the reading plan. If not – please catch up by reading the days you might have missed. Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross of Calvary. Stay current with the reading plan.

Today’s reading is again about the Last Supper. It has a lot in it. Make sure you read the whole reading below.  The verse I picked to reflect upon is near the end of the reading for the day – verse 34. Jesus said – A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. We are called to love others – one another – as Christ loved us. The example of His love was just foretold as He talked about His betrayal and death. Jesus’ love is even for those who would turn against Him – if they repent and return to Him. He even loved us – Scripture says – before we loved Him.

Something to think about today. How well do we love one another? How about the neighbor who plays their music late into the night – loudly (or early in the morning)? How about the undocumented or illegal person down the street? What about the person whose sexual preference doesn’t match yours? What about the person who votes for a candidate you can’t stand? What about the person who has hurt you or your family? What about the dictator of a country who seems bent on causing war? How about the person or government behind the coronavirus pandemic? What about the x-spouse who has caused you nothing but pain? Yes – we are to love even these. We are not called to ignore sin or pain. We are called to love one another – like Christ loves us! Continue reading

March 24, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 20 of Lent 2020

John 12:46

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

Ray 2020Today is day 20 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you are keeping up with the reading plan – I’m keeping up – even with my surgery and my birthday thrown in there! Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross. It is made more vital this year by our country’s dealing with the coronavirus. We might even be locked out of meeting in our Sanctuary for Easter this year. Keep everyone in your prayers.

Today’s reading has lots in it and I hope you take the time to read it all. The verse I picked to reflect upon is near the end of the reading for the day – verse 46. Jesus came into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me (Him) should stay in darkness. As Christ’s ambassadors – we are called to reflect that light into the darkness of the world. We are called to let our light so shine before men and women – boys and girls – that they will see Jesus in us – through us – and in spite of us. I hope we can think about that as we go through our day!

Where are we letting the light of Christ shine? How are we witnessing our faith? During these dark days – as we fight the coronavirus – there will be lots of opportunities to tell others about our hope! Continue reading

March 19, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 18 of Lent 2020

Matthew 25:14

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.”

Ray 2020Today is Day 18 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you are enjoying the 40 Day reading plan. I know I am. Keep up with the stories about Jesus’ life as we walk to the cross. Don’t slack and fall behind.

A previous day’s reading ended with Matthew 25:13 – “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” We start today’s lesson with verse 14 – “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.” We must keep watch (13) and we must be faithful to the One who left us – only to return for us.

At First Church we believe that one of the ways we can be faithful while we await Christ’s return is to reach the whole family – everyone – for Christ. How can we help our church family to help the kingdom? During this quarantine period – when everyone is keeping their social distance – how can we still reach out to one another? One way is to call on one another. Another way is to connect through the online worship (Sundays) or online Bible Studies (tonight). See details in an email sent out to the congregation. If you didn’t receive it – message me and I will send it again. Continue reading

March 17, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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