Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Alive To God In Christ Jesus

Romans 6:11

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

I had a young person in my office recently. This young person was having a battle with an addiction and was asking for my recommendation on how to overcome the addiction. When they were in the midst of their addictive behavior – they would feel the Holy Spirit pricking their heart – yet they enjoyed the addiction – so they often pushed the Spirit aside. It was a real struggle – a struggle many of us have battled before and will battle in the future.

I know a person who has battled addiction for many decades. They have suffered much. Their family has suffered much as well. They seemingly had defeated the addiction for a long period of time only to have it rear its ugly head again. Addiction is never gone – it is always one day at a time. Our victory is only a needle – a bottle – a porn site away. Addiction can at times make us seem powerless to control ourselves. Continue reading

July 12, 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

Giving the Impossible to God

1 Samuel 17:37

“The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”

Here’s a silly question. Have we had any giant issues to tackle in our life? I know folks who battle addictions to drugs – alcohol – food – and more. I know folks who are in troubled relationships. I know folks with medical issues that are either life threatening or serious enough that they require surgery or medical treatment. I know folks that have been in abusive relationships. I know folks that have mental and emotional concerns. I know folks who couldn’t balance life without medication. I know folks who have thought about or attempted suicide (and some who succeeded).

Do we have any giants in our life? Are there issues that seem too large to tackle or even face? Are there situations that seem overwhelming? The sad thing is that we could all say yes to most of these questions. Life – for most of us – is not easy and without pitfalls. We battle many giants throughout our lives. We need hope in our lives that can help us through! Continue reading

March 13, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Is It We Struggle The Most?

Romans 7:18

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMHave you ever felt one way and yet ended up going another way? Silly question I guess – since we are all human and most know the right thing to do but have succumbed to the wrong way. We often know the right way – and yet yield to the wrong way. We fight temptations and evil – but at times we fail in our struggle.

Where is it that we struggle the most? For some it is what we put into our bodies. That could mean drugs and it could mean overeating – both are harmful to us – and we know it – yet some of us continue to abuse our bodies with what we put into them. We try diets – we try to be sober – we try to walk the steps – but – at times – we succumb to what is harmful for us.

Where is it that we struggle the most? For some it is their behavior. Some of us have trouble with interpersonal relationships. Some have tempers – some use foul language – some have faithfulness issues – some are gossips – and more. We probably know we should do better – and may even desire to do better – but the flesh is weak it seems. Continue reading

August 5, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Have You Ever Been Down?

Ephesians 3:20

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMDear readers – have you ever been down? Being down doesn’t mean you are depressed – but it does mean that some things are not going your way. It can lead to depression if not headed off for sure.

If you’re a sports fan – maybe you get down when your favorite team loses. If you work outside the home – maybe you get down when you have a hard day with work or those you work with or serve. If you work from home – maybe the children have had a bad day and that gets you down or some other issue has arisen.

Have you ever been down? As a pastor I try to help people when they are down. I have worked with addicts who are battling for sobriety – and at times that can get us down. I have worked with folks in broken relationships – and we all know that can get us down. I have worked with fellow pastors who have had trouble in their places of service – and I know what that feels like and believe me – it can get you down. Continue reading

August 4, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Troubles Will Come Our Way

Psalm 71:20

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMTrouble – we all have trouble in our lives – at least from time to time. Troubles will come our way. Some folks come to my office with trouble in their marriage. We try to pray together and talk through the troubles. We try to identify the trouble and root out the issues. At times – marriages are healed.

Trouble – we all have trouble in our lives – at least from time to time. Troubles will come our way. Some folks come to my office with financial troubles. Some have lost their jobs – or cannot seem to find a job. Some have troubles keeping up with the bills in their lives. We pray together – we talk together – we try to help people back on their feet.

Trouble – we all have trouble in our lives – at least from time to time. Troubles will come our way. Some folks come into my office with troubles with their children. Not the typical parent/child troubles that most all of us have faced – but troubles with drugs – alcohol – crime – abuse. We pray together and we talk together and together we try to help these folks through their troubles. Continue reading

July 13, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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