Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

No Excuse – God is Real

Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Rays HaircutI’ve always appreciated this passage. It is one of those bottom-line type of passages. If all other means of reaching a person or a society have failed – God is still evident in the creation – there is no excuse for not seeing and understanding God’s presence and awesomeness.

Have you ever argued this point or had someone argue it with you? What if there are people who have never heard of God? How will God deal with them? The example given is usually a deserted island somewhere with people who haven’t seen or heard from the rest of the world in centuries. You could argue that all people came from Adam and Eve and so they had a faith in God as a root. You could argue that all people came from Noah and his family after the flood and had a root of faith. Somewhere along the way the ancestors of those who are on the deserted island made a break from faith in God and now generations later the descendants are living without faith in God. So – what happens to them? Continue reading

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

The Shadow of Death

Psalm 23:4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Rays HaircutI seem to be doing more funerals as the years mount – and more of the deceased are friends and family. Not too long ago I celebrated four funerals in a five-day period. It is an honor to help families celebrate the life of a loved one. Most funerals I celebrate are from folks in our community – folks I have not had a previous chance to minister to or with – and I just try to bring them a measure of comfort for the short time I have with them. I usually talk with them on the phone and meet them on the day of the service. I often read the 23rd Psalm at the service.

I love today’s portion of the 23rd Psalm. One of the great hopes and blessings of our faith is that we do not have to fear death. I can usually tell people of faith versus people will little or no faith when I share at funerals. The way we face death is telling. Continue reading

June 9, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hunger and Thirst

Matthew 5:6

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Rays HaircutI often talk – teach and preach about being ready for Christ’s return. One sermon I preached was titled That Day and Hour. In it we were that Christ will return for us. We also preached about being ready for His return. I mentioned that Christ would return in one of two ways for us – either He would be there for us when we drew our last breath or He would return to receive His church at the rapture. Are we ready?

We’ve mentioned a number of things we could do to be ready for Jesus’ return in previous teachings and sermons. Of course – number one on the list is receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Without Jesus – we would be hopelessly lost for eternity.

We’ve named a few other things we could do as well. We don’t need to give a list of all of the things we could do to be prepared for Christ’s return – but – we’ve mentioned a few things. Among those things we listed was today’s passage. Continue reading

May 19, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2020 Election Is Coming Near

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Rays HaircutIn November 2012 – I write most of the following post. In the middle of the current election year and the pandemic – I believe some of the things from the past can help us deal with the present.

Eight years after the 2012 election – we are still a divided nation and we still have issues that cause some anxiety and unease. Some of our concerns are political – some are emotional – some are faith based concerns – and some are health issues and maybe more. Here’s the old article with a few updates.

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The election is over (2012’s) and the results are mostly in by now. Your candidate either won or lost – your opinion was either in the majority or the minority on the questions on the ballot. You may agree or disagree that our nation is headed in the right or wrong direction. Many in the news and on Facebook have tried to project the future – with mixed projections. The market dropped dramatically yesterday and some speculate about the election’s impact on it – and where it is headed. Some make a living looking into the future and trying to gauge how today will impact tomorrow.

Several of us who are closing in on retirement – say in the next 10-20 years – naturally peek into the future to see what the climate will be as that day approaches. We look at things like the housing market – our debt – the Dow Jones – our savings – the cost of living – and on and on the list might go. Looking to the future is not a bad thing – it is actually a wise thing. Dave Ramsey has many suggestions about savings and retirement. Continue reading

May 6, 2020 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

Suffering for Our Faith for Jesus

1 Peter 4:12-13

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

img_0063-2Of course Peter was writing to a persecuted church – a church that was being arrested for their expression of faith – beaten – at times thrown to the lions – crucified in arenas for sport – forced to battle gladiators to the death. Peter was trying to assure them that their suffering would be for just a little while. Here is more of his writing.

1 Peter 4:1-13 – 1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do — living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. 7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.  12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. Continue reading

February 7, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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