Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Schemes of the Devil

1 Peter 5:8-9

8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Yesterday – we preached on keeping the faith and spreading our faith. We also preached about the devil’s schemes. This morning I feel compelled (obligated, duty-bound) to call on all who will to pray for the church and for your pastors and leaders. Whichever church you may attend – please pray for your church family and leaders. According to Scripture we are to be awake and aware and ready: 1 Peter 5:8-98 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith,

The devil is out there and wants nothing more than to devour the Church! Part of standing firm is to stay in prayer together. Pray that the devil not be given even a foothold in our lives and in the church. As Scripture says; Ephesians 4:25-2825 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Continue reading

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November 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Let Our Words Encourage

Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

I know we all have heard the old saying – sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me. The intent was to toughen us up so to speak – so the words of others will not hurt us.

Unfortunately – words do hurt. The parent who says to the child who has brought home an amazing report card only to hear the parent say – if you would only bring this grade or that grade up. The parent or coach that is constantly belittling the player for the mistakes they make on the field or in life without ever praising the good the player or person does.

In this day and age – even in the church – we need to be reminded to be kind with our words. Our words should be an encouragement to others. We should say nothing unwholesome and nothing with a purpose of hurting another person. Continue reading

September 12, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love One Another Like God Loves

1 John 4:11

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

We are called to love one another like God loves us. God loves us so much He sent His Son to die for our sins. He loved us with His all.

Much of life is made up of dos and don’ts as we walk out our faith. We try to define sin and what is acceptable or unacceptable in our lives – and in the lives of others. When we create standards – we seem to judge others by that standard.  I believe we often lose sight of the most important character trait of God when we end up looking at the dos and don’ts. We tend to forget about God’s love. It is God’s love that provides us with grace – with forgiveness. John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God’s love is so wonderful – such a blessing. God loves us in ways we can only slightly imagine. The Bible gives us glimpses of God’s love. For instance – husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church – His body. Ephesians 5:25-28 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing  her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Continue reading

August 25, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Can Do Nothing On Our Own

John 5:19

Jesus gave them this answer: Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

I like working alone – I don’t like working alone. I spend loads of hours behind a keyboard – but most often I don’t like to work alone. I love teamwork – or even simply having my wife outside working with me in the yard (or just watching me). I like cutting the grass alone – while lost in my thoughts or listening to a podcast or music – but I also like to talk to others while working – it makes the time and task go by quicker.

Most of us have had help becoming the people we are today. Some of us have been blessed to have supportive parents. Some of us have had a supportive spouse. Some of us have been given opportunities that helped us along the way. Very few of us – if any of us – have achieved our position in life alone. Continue reading

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

Never Will I Leave You

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Do we have any life-long friends? It is unusual to have friends from childhood till death. I have a few friends from my school days – but not many. Most of us grew up and went on with our lives. Because I attended three elementary schools – two junior high schools – and one high school – I haven’t been able to keep in touch with many from my younger days. Facebook has helped some.

My daughters are in the position that most pastors’ children do not experience. They started and finished grade school – middle school – and high school – with the same set of friends. Because we stayed in one church for 24 years – they grew up in the same school system and even today – grown and with families – they have some of the same friends for their school days.

Other than family – most of us don’t have friends from our childhood. For some of us – our 35-55-75 year marriage is the longest running friendship we have known. Some will never know that either – with many marriages not making it that long. Continue reading

April 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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