Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 19 of Lent 2020

Matthew 25:31-33

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Ray 2020Today is Day 19 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you are enjoying and keeping up with the 40 Day reading plan. I am appreciating them myself as we walk to the cross. They are a blessing to write and a blessing to re-read each day. Keep up and leave comments if you have any questions or thoughts.

Today’s reading is a very familiar one – the separation of the sheep and the goats at the end of time. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Every nation – every person – will be gathered – before the throne of God. God will divide them – like a shepherd divides sheep and goats. Here is a simple question – which are we? Are we disciples of Jesus Christ or not? Don’t pull punches and try to fool anyone. Sincerely answer the question! Do we truly follow Jesus – or are we merely playing the game? Continue reading

March 18, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Missions, 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

Day 10 of Lent 2020

Matthew 22:34-35

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:

Ray 2020Today is day 10 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you are enjoying the reading plan as it walks us through some of the events in Jesus’ life as He walked to the cross. Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross. As we walk it – our hope is that God will draw us closer to Him and into His light.

Today’s reading – much like yesterday’s reading – reminds us that the Sadducees – the Pharisees – and others were constantly trying to trick and trap Jesus. They were trying to trick and trap Jesus because they could not deal with the way the people followed Him. Jesus threatened their power structure. To what extent do we feel threatened by Jesus? I mean – what would it take for us to fully follow Jesus? Are we still trying to rationalize our version of Christianity? May God bless us as we walk with Jesus to the Cross of Calvary! Continue reading

March 7, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 4 of Lent 2020

Mark 11:23

“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

Ray 2020Day 4 of the Lenten reading is a remarkable (did you see what I did there) passage. It holds a number of curiosities for me. I only have time today to deal with the above verse. There is the cursing of the fig tree – the overturning of the tables of the money changers in the temple – the declaration that the house of the Lord was a place of prayer not a ten of robbers – the withered tree – and today’s verse – “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

I’m sure I could spend a week in this section of Scripture and still not fully unpack it. What the final statement says is that if we believe and not doubt – mountains will be moved to the sea. Now that is a powerful statement.

We need the power of God in our lives today dear readers. We need the power of God to heal our country – our denomination – our world. We need to seek His face and desire His grace – daily! Continue reading

February 29, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 2 of Lent 2020

John 12:3

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Ray 2020Today is day 2 of Lent – 2020. The story today for me is about sacrifice – the sacrifice that Mary (not the Virgin Mary) was willing to make for Jesus. Mary (might have been the woman caught in adultery – obviously someone who has known Jesus and His grace) entered a dinner given in Jesus’ honor. She offered Him a gift – a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume – and poured it over His head. It was a lavish gift. It was a gift that showed great sacrifice on her part. The dry an arid area where Jesus lived played havoc on one’s skin and hair and this anointed was a great blessing to Jesus. Some also say it was an anointing of Him before His death.

The question I thought of today as I read this story was – what am I willing to sacrifice for Jesus? In a sermon not too long ago I asked the question – what does it cost us to follow Jesus? My hope is that as we read today’s Lenten passage we will ask what we are willing to give up – not just for Lent – but for Jesus? Continue reading

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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