Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Then the Devil Left Him

Matthew 4:11

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

fullsizeoutput_ffeWhat is it that temps you? In November we are challenging our church members and other to a prayer/fast – a time to remove something that tempts us away from God. I’m tempted by a number of things – some of which I will share with you today. For most of us – the things that tempt us are greater than we are alone or they wouldn’t really be temptations. For example – I cannot be tempted to eat liver. Now some people love liver – but I would need to be very hungry with no hope of any other food before I would succumb to eating liver. Ice cream (most any flavor) would tempt me. Pizza would tempt me. All-you-can-eat restaurants tempt me. Bargains and deals tempt me. Liver does not tempt me.

What is it that temps you? Some people think they are above temptation. Some think they are so strong they can stand up – alone – against the devil and his temptations. I want to suggest that battling Satan alone – on our own – is not a battle we will win. We’re told in Scripture that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 We are battling the spiritual realm and need Jesus in order to come out on top. What is it we can fast from that will allow us to be draw closer to Jesus? Continue reading

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November 5, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Are Called to Pray for One Another

James 5:13-16

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Ray 2018From time-to-time – I feel compelled (obligated – duty-bound) to call us to pray for our church – for our pastor – for our leaders – for one another – not only in our local church – but also – to pray for our denomination. According to Scripture: 1 Peter 5:8-98 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith. The devil is out there and wants nothing more than to devour the church – the people of God! Part of standing firm is to stay in prayer together. How’s your prayer life?

We should pray that the devil not be given even a foothold in our lives and in the church. Scripture says; Ephesians 4:25-2825 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Continue reading

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Battle Is Not Ours Alone!

2 Chronicles 20:15c

For the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Some of us have a tendency to take everything personal and some of us try to tackle everything ourselves. For instance – God tells us to give Him our burdens and we take them back. Matthew 11:28-30 – 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” What seems to happen all too often is we offer our burdens to God only to take them up again as we get off our knees. We try to leave them at the altar rail only to pick them up again as we rise. This happens to me far too often. Does it happen to you as well?

We’re reminded often in Scripture that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual foes. Ephesians 6:12 – For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. We cannot fight the fight against a spiritual foe with human means. We must have spiritual power to battle the powers of darkness. Continue reading

July 6, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Is The Battle Against?

Ephesians 6:12

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

When I was in High School – we battled several area High Schools for dominance in sports and in academics. We had battles with their bands and music departments too. Annapolis High was one of the best at most sports and in music. We battled Severna Park and Arundel High for 1st place in many areas of school life. The battles were real and we played or performed for keeps.

Who do we battle today? Do we battle folks at work? Do we battle against folks who root for another sports team than us? Do we battle with our spouse? Do we battle with members of our own church? Do we battle with our pastor? Who do we battle? And why? Continue reading

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Rock – My Refuge

Psalm 94:22

But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.

profileWere you the biggest kid in school? Were you the most popular? Were you stunning in High School – and socially exceptional? If not – you fall into the mix with the rest of us. I wasn’t the biggest – I wasn’t the fastest – I wasn’t the cutest – I wasn’t the most popular or the most likely to… anything. I was just one of the crowd growing up. Most of us fall into this category.

In High School I was often on the outside looking in – never really in the in crowd. I played a little basketball in High School and a little football – playing for Annapolis High School. I was in the band at AHS – spending time with the concert band – the marching band – the orchestra – and the jazz band. I played trumpet well enough to rise to 1st Trumpet but there were often others ahead of me. I was active in my church and church youth group – but my position there was that of the pastor’s kid (PK) more so than anything else as I remember it. Continue reading

April 11, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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