Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God Is Our Refuge and Strength

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Rays HaircutHere we go – yet another week dealing with this pandemic. I continue to urge us to encourage one another. We never know when a word of encouragement or even our presence online with someone in need will be a memory that will get them through some difficult times in the future as well as that moment.

We connect every weeknight at 7 pm on Zoom – and some of our folks make it every night. Would we rather be face-to-face – of course we would! Would we rather be able to hug our children and grands – of course we would! But – being present as we are able – is still so essential in our relationships.

Today – I found this Psalm very encouraging. The Psalmist reminds us that God is our refuge and strength – an ever-present help in times of trouble. So – what are you facing this week? Another week of being parent – provider – teacher and all-around help? Are you trying to juggle your work at home and at your workplace (even if that is also at home as well)? Is it harder than normal? Continue reading

April 20, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Shows His Strength When We Are Weak

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMKnowing where we are strong and where we are weak is very important. Knowing strengths and knowing our weakness is essential to understanding who we are in life. Have we ever taken the time to examine our strengths and weaknesses? Most of us probably know where we are strong but ignore our weaknesses.

I ask couples who come to be married to write down their areas of strength and weakness. I also ask them to do the same for their partner. Knowing our self and our partner is very important. Can we receive our life partner with all of their weaknesses? Or do we think we can change them? God can make changes in our lives and we can make changes in our lives – but rarely can another person make changes in someone else. Continue reading

September 17, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Encourage One Another!

Ephesians 3:16

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

In several places in the Bible we are urged to pray for and encourage one another. Encouragement is essential in this day and age I believe. I think we don’t do enough encouraging and supporting one another – even in church life. How can we be more encouraging? How can we help to lift one another up? The world is beating many of us down and in the Body of Christ – we are called to encourage one another.

I recently joined a group of men from the church I attend in a small group – supporting each other as we try to get into better shape. It has been a blessing to me already – one week in. To hear and read how these men support one another and lift each other up in prayer is in itself encouraging. I hope the others feel the same way.

Today – I’m simply calling us to encourage one another. I’m trying to do it more myself and I challenge others to do it as well. Today I will share a few encouraging passages that might help us encourage others. Take the time to read them and see what God might say to your heart. Continue reading

July 26, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , | Leave a comment

We Should Be Encouragers

1 Thessalonians 4:17-18

17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Therefore encourage one another. What is it that would encourage us dear readers? When we’re trying to lose weight or put it on – doesn’t it encourage us when people notice and say something? When we are trying to change our shape – exercising more or watching what we eat – it is nice when people notice. Try to notice others and not be so narcissistic – focused on self so much.

Therefore encourage one another. What is it that would encourage us dear readers? Yesterday I played in a golf tournament. I had one of my worst rounds in a long time. I think I was pressing – trying too hard just 12 weeks after rotator cuff surgery. My arm actually started to hurt near the end of the round. I was playing with a couple of friends and wanted to do well. Yet – it wasn’t about me playing well – it was about my friends and our guest having a good time. I began to take my focus off of my golf game and spent most of the day encouraging my partners. I told them how well they were playing (even if that was a stretch at times) and praised their good shots (like the awesome approach shot by one player followed by another player hitting an amazing and hard putt for an eagle). My task for the day was to make sure they had a good time and felt encouraged doing it.

Continue reading

May 25, 2018 Posted by | Build | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Speaking the Truth in Love

Ephesians 4:15

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Have we ever had a hard truth to tell someone – but rather than tell them the hard truth – we told them something else or didn’t tell them at all? Telling the truth is not always easy. Hearing the truth can hurt some people’s feelings. Some people can’t take the truth – they can’t handle the truth. Some people have a hard time accepting the truth. Sometimes our truth is not the real truth – so we need to be careful. At times our attitude can hamper or block the truth from being heard.

In today’s passage we are called to speak the truth in love. We should never have the attitude that we want to hurt others with the truth. The truth should always be shared in love. In sharing the truth with someone – it should be to help and uplift – not to hurt and diminish. Sharing the truth – as found in God’s Word – should always be for the benefit of the Body of Christ. Continue reading

October 2, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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