Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 32 of Lent 2020

Philippians 3:10-11

10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Ray 2020Today is day 32 of the 40 Days of our Lenten reading plan (remember Sundays don’t count toward the 40 days of Lent). I hope you have stayed with us. I veered off of the online plan and am finishing the plan myself. Today’s passage is about digging deeper into our faith – our trust of Jesus. We should be using this isolation time to draw near to God and to develop our faith and our bodies.

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny yourself – to dig deeper into our walk with Jesus. Today we want to read what Paul had to say about getting to know Christ better. He was so into getting to know Jesus that he sought to suffer for Jesus and even die for Jesus. He wanted to experience all that knowing Jesus entailed. He wanted to know Jesus deeper than he already did. He was willing to give up all else in order to walk with Jesus. Continue reading

April 2, 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, 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 23 of Lent 2020

1 Corinthians 11:26

For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Ray 2020Today is Day 23 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I pray that we have all kept up with the reading each day. If not – try to catch up! Yesterday was a catch up day. I appreciate this walk to the cross. It is not hard or long – and will give us a good insight into the walk that Jesus made for us.

It may be some time before we worship together. I’m thinking – whatever Sunday that will be – we will celebrate Holy Communion. As we remember the Last Supper that Jesus had with His disciples – we will remember our connection with Christ and with each other. It will be a special time before the Lord and we hope that all will attend that first Sunday back (whenever that will be). Plans are being made to make this a unique service. (By the way – we are also making plans to celebrate Easter on the second Sunday back.)

Today’s passage is about that last supper and reminds us to treat it with respect. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. I can’t wait until we can share it together. I hope it is sooner rather than later. Continue reading

March 23, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 17 of Lent 2020

Matthew 25:13

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

Ray 2020Today is day 17 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan (remember – of the 40 days of Lent – Sundays do not count). I hope you are enjoying the 40 Day reading plan – I know I am. Keep up with the stories about Jesus’ life as He walked to the cross. Draw closer to Him and let us deepen our faith walk. Constantly ask yourself (as I ask myself) – how can I be more like Jesus. To use past slogans – WWJD – What Would Jesus Do?

Today’s reading ends with a verse like yesterday’s first passage. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” The hour is coming – but it will be a time only the Father knows. Our task is to share Jesus with as many people as we are able until that time comes. At First Church – we believe we are called to reach the whole family for Christ. How can we help each other to help the kingdom! What can we do to better serve Jesus and draw others to Him? How can we so live our life today – that God is glorified and others see Jesus in us? Continue reading

March 16, 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 5 of Lent 2020

Matthew 21:23

Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”

Ray 2020My prayer for us is that the old self will begin to fade as we walk toward the Cross of Christ this Lenten season – and that more and more we will look like Jesus. I also pray that our attitudes will be set on Christ and on no one or nothing else. During our walk to the cross this Lent – let us seek His face more clearly and desire His grace more dearly.

I hope you able to keep up with the readings – or at least used yesterday to catch up. Today’s reading has a number of points or directions – and I have chosen the first verse for focus on – when the chief priests and elders asked Jesus by what authority He spoke.

Isn’t it often like this? When someone doesn’t like what we say – rather than try to debate what we say – they try to discredit the messenger rather than the message. Maybe our spouse is making a good point and rather than stay on topic – we decide to question how loud they are speaking or the tone they are using – deflecting the discussion to something else. Maybe our child is trying to get a valid point across and instead of staying the course – we complain about how they are talking to us or ask who they think they are to say something like that to their parent! Continue reading

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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