Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 31 of Lent 2020

Matthew 6:16

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

Ray 2020Today is day 31 of the 40 Days of our Lenten reading plan. Remember – Sundays are not counted in the 40 days. I hope you have stayed current with us. I veered off of the online plan and am finishing the plan myself. Today’s passage is about fasting.

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny yourself – to dig deeper into your walk with Jesus. Fasting is one way to do this. Fasting is denying yourself of something. You can fast from food or a certain type of food. You can fast from technology (a youth pastor I worked with did this one Lent) – or you can fast from social media (right now that might be tough with the pandemic restrictions).

Not only are we to deny ourselves of something – we are to replace that item with more of Jesus. For instance – if we are fasting from something – when we feel tempted to eat it or do it – we should spend time praying or digging into God’s Word. Continue reading

April 1, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

November Prayer/Fast Is Coming Soon

Zechariah 7:4-5

Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: “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?

fullsizeoutput_ffeSo – here is a question for us today – as we prepare for our November Prayer/Fast. 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 believe that prayer and fasting are essential spiritual disciplines.

I am calling the church to a time of prayer and fasting from November 1st thru the end of the month. I know that is a long time – but it will be very rewarding – if we seek His face and desire His grace. Let’s use the month of November to deny ourselves of something – and focus more on Jesus.

When we fast from something – we should spend extra time with God. Spending extra time with God – will draw us closer to Him. 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 November – what would we fast from and how would we spend our time? It should be to draw closer to God. Continue reading

October 22, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 34 of Lent 2018

Matthew 6:16

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

Today is day 34 of the 40 Days of our Lenten reading plan. I hope you have stayed with us. I veered off of the online plan and am finishing the plan myself. Today’s passage is about fasting.

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny yourself – to dig deeper into your walk with Jesus. Fasting is one way to do this. Fasting is denying yourself of something. You can fast from food or a certain type of food. You can fast from technology (a youth pastor I worked with did this one Lent) – or you can fast from social media. Not only are we to deny ourselves of something – we are to replace that item with more of Jesus. For instance – if you are fasting from something – when you feel tempted to eat it or do it – we should spend time praying or digging into God’s Word. Continue reading

March 19, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving God – Loving Others

Luke 18:25

Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

112015 Ray McDonaldLet us think for a moment today of difficult things in our lives – cue the Mission Impossible music.  We wrote once about loving our enemies – about hatred and love.  Loving our enemies has to rank up there as a tough thing to accomplish.  For some of us getting properly and getting enough exercise seems to be difficult.  For some getting to work on time or to church on time seems difficult.  Getting along with the in-laws or our spouse seems hard for some.

Can we think of a few things that we find difficult?  How about getting good grades?  How about waiting till marriage to be intimate with our fiancé or with our dates?  How about going a day without something we love – like fasting from something we have on a regular basis.  What about making ends meet when our income has been reduced or removed?  What about trying to make sense out of this world?

When I was younger – I use to think that the passage for today meant that rich people couldn’t get into heaven – because my grandma sewed and I knew we could never get a camel through the eye of a needle.  I often had a hard time getting thread through the eye of the needle. Continue reading

March 18, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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