Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Drinking From The Fountain

John 4:13-14

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Not sure about you – but I’m thirsty all the time. I love me some liquid! I SHOULD drink more water but I like a little taste and I like me some carbonation – some bubbles! I love sweet tea but am allergic to regular tea – it makes my sinuses act up. I enjoy Diet Pepsi – but I’m told soda of any sort is not good for me. I’ve tried flavored water and even carbonated flavored water. I just can’t seem to find the right combination that will satisfy my taste buds and my thirst. I keep trying. What I do know is I like to drink!

In today’s passage – a woman came to a well – in the middle of the day (a totally different element of this story) – because she needed water. Jesus met her and in the midst of His conversation with her – knowing she needed more than the water she was after at the well – began to touch her more deeply. Here’s a little more of the story. Continue reading

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Do We Thirst For Each Day?

John 4:13-14

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

RayMcDI’m one of those people that just can’t seem to get enough to drink. As a youth I could put away several gallons of sweet tea a day – especially in the summer. I seem to have an unquenchable thirst. I need lots of fluids each day!

I don’t drink coffee – never have gained a taste for it. My current favorite drinks are diet Pepsi (which my wife is still trying to get me to drop) – diet Snapple half and half (tea & lemonade) – and Sparkling ICE (especially the Coconut Pineapple & Pink Grapefruit). I also use Kool-Aid water enhancer (Cherry is my favorite) because I need taste with my drinks. I like hot chocolate too. Straight water – although great for me – just doesn’t cut it. I need to taste something in my drink.

Bottom-line – I thirst and need lots of fluids each day. I would not do well in a region where there was little to drink. In today’s passage – I would have gone to the well several times a day to get enough water to quench my thirst. Continue reading

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deny Self and Draw Near to God

Luke 9:23

 Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

112015 Ray McDonaldDenying self is not easy. Taking away things you enjoy – for a variety of reasons – is not easy. I enjoy a good Diet Pepsi or ten – I love the carbonation and the taste. But I might be addicted so I need to deny myself! Some studies have also shown that they are not good for the body!  It will not be easy – but my last Diet Pepsi was Saturday at noon.

Denying self is not easy. Taking away things you enjoy – for a variety of reasons – is not easy. I’m cutting out desserts and as much sugar and flour as possible. I’m sure it will be hard at first – but in time – I will not miss it at all! And it will be better for my body for sure.

Denying self is not easy. Taking away things you enjoy – for a variety of reasons – is not easy. I like technology and I enjoy social media and some online games (like solitaire). But they can become time consuming and they can take valuable time from each and every day – time I could use to be more productive and to spend with God.  In a previous prayer/fast – I stopped playing Farmville – and have never played it again.

I plan to use the time I gain from cutting things out of my day to spend more time with Jesus! Here are some devotional materials for our 49-day Prayer/Fast. Continue reading

February 8, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keep Us Safe and Draw us Near to You!

Matthew 6:13 (The Message)

Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil

112015 Ray McDonaldToday is day 1 of our 49 day Prayer/Fast. It is also the 1st day of our Pre-Lenten Revival. Lent – a time of prayer and fasting – a time of self-denial – begins on Ash Wednesday – this Wednesday – February 10th. We’re starting the time of prayer and fasting today (or tonight if you wish – after the Super Bowl).

Today’s passage comes from The Message version of the Bible. It is the 13th verse of Matthew 6:7-13 – commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer. Here is today’s passage in partial context – from both the Message and from the NIV (New International Version).

Matthew 6:7–13 (The Message) – 7–13 “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this: Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best— as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes. Continue reading

February 7, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Call To Prayer And Fasting

Zechariah 7:4-5

4 Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: 5 “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?

112015 Ray McDonaldSo – here is a question for us today – as we prepare for our Pre-Lenten Revival time in February (the revival starts Sunday – February 7 – and is on Prayer).  Do we pray and fast – regularly?  I mean – is it an essential part of our spiritual walk as we strive to draw closer to God?  The answer to that question might go a long way in explaining if we are growing spiritually or not.

I would like to call the church to a time of prayer and fasting from the start of our revival through Lent (7 weeks – 49 days).  I know that is a long time – but it will be very rewarding – if we seek His face and desire His grace.

When we fast from something – we should spend extra time with God.  Spending extra time with God – will draw us closer to God.  Here is something important to understand. Read well!  When we fast from certain foods and expect something – like weight loss – is fasting for us or for God?  Losing weight is OK – but it shouldn’t be the reason we fast.  As we call for a time of prayer and fasting during Lent – what would we fast from and how would we spend our time? Continue reading

January 27, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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