Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Life Can Be Unfair – God Is Always With Us

2 Corinthians 4:8

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;

Life ChangeLife – at times – can be unfair. I’m not talking about a pitch being two balls off the plate and called a strike unfair. I’m talking about real life – being unfair. I know a number of persons who are going through some real life struggles. I know of a few marriages that most thought would last a lifetime – and they are falling apart. I know persons who have lived healthy lives – taken good care of their bodies – facing cancer and other life threatening medical issues. I’ve heard from pastors and parishioners that are perplexed by what they see even in the pews and pulpits of the church – the Body of Christ.

We see people ready to take sides – vehemently – on issues that abound. Our nation has yet to come to grips with the 2016 Presidential elections – and we’re into 2019. If you are against the POTUS – or for him – people on the other side will attack your views in a heartbeat. Racism is an ugly reality in our nation. Love for one another is not the center of our thinking as a nation or even as a church at times. Whatever side one might be on with the current issues facing the United Methodist Church – be careful where you express your views – because you might be bullied for sharing them. A few conservatives dared stand up for the POTUS recently at the Grammy Awards and they were belittled in social media and in person. Continue reading

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February 15, 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

My Annual Warning for Men/Husbands

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. The Message

Life ChangeValentine’s Day is just 7 days away. This is a warning devotional for men who might need the reminder. After 39+ years with my wife I write with some experience. What do we plan to do this year brothers? Traditionally this is a holiday where men are supposed to show their love and affection for the women in their lives. So men – what do we have planned? If nothing is planned yet – this is our warning to get something planned – ASAP. The following are some thoughts. If you are a wife reading this – you might want to print it for the man in your life!

In The Message version of the Bible – we read from Paul’s Epistle today’s passage: Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting.

Here’s a plan for February 14th – just a suggestion or two! Start by getting a nice card – it can be store-bought or homemade. If you have little ones – get a sitter for the evening of the 14th or a night you plan to celebrate this holiday. Make a reservation by this weekend or soon for a nice restaurant (McDonald’s will not cut it – doesn’t have to be the Chart House or Ruth Chris Steak House – but something nice). Buy something – it doesn’t need to be from Zales! You could buy some flowers – a small box of candies – a piece of jewelry – something! Bring it with you to the dinner – or have it delivered while you’re having dinner. The key here is that you get the sitter – you make the reservation – you go out of your way to purchase something for her. Most women aren’t so concerned with what you get them – rather they are impressed when you take the time to plan a nice evening with them – and you take the initiative to take care of all the details. Continue reading

February 8, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For The Time Will Come…

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.

Life ChangeHave you ever been warned about something that was pending – something that was going to happen in the future? I had a teacher who would often say – mark my word – and then tell us something that was going to happen – like – mark my word – this will be on the next test.

Maybe as a parent you have said something like this – or your parents did – mark my word – if you do that again – you will get punished. Maybe it was like this – if you don’t stop fighting – if you make me get out of my chair – if you don’t get up now – if you don’t eat all your food – than “whatever” was going to happen – mark my word.

Paul gives us warning in today’s passage – 2 Timothy 4:3 – For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. He could have added – mark my word. Continue reading

February 5, 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

Reaching the Lost for Jesus

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

Life ChangeWhen I read this passage recently – I thought of this passage – Matthew 9:12 – On hearing this, Jesus said, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

I believe at times the church forgets our vision or purpose. In my 40 plus years of ministry – my purpose has been to reach everyone for Christ. The implication – although subtle – is that those who know Christ are not my primary target in the church. Not that they are ignored – but if they know Jesus – part of my task is to build them up so they can reach other for Christ. If we know Jesus – we should want to be built up and be sent out to serve Christ. Our main or primary focus needs to be the lost – those who do not know Jesus. That should be the primary target group of any church IMHO.

Jesus instructed His disciples this way – as part of His final instructions to them. Matthew 28:19 – 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. Now – one could argue that becoming a disciple is more than being saved – but the indication when you talk about all the nations – or even Israel – is that they were unsaved (there weren’t too many Christians at the time of this statement!). Continue reading

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

Working As Unto The Lord!

Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Life ChangeOK – most everyone is back to work today. January 2nd and a Wednesday – and the work force in America – except the portion of the government shutdown because the President and Congress can’t agree – is back to work. Even if you are retired – you’re probably back to your normal routine today. Our office will open at 9 am after being shut down since December 20th. Of course – a number of the staff at church – including me – has worked since the 20th – but not at the office. I only put in about 60 hours Christmas week – so it was a light load.

So – think for a moment about the new year and your work. Are you a teacher? Do you work in an office? Do you work for the government? Are you in law enforcement or the military? Are you in sales? Are you in the medical field? Do you work for a non-profit? Wherever you work – do you work as unto the Lord or do you work for a paycheck (and only do what is required)? Continue reading

January 2, 2019 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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