Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

As Far As The East Is From The West

Psalm 103:12

…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

My wife and I have worked our whole adult lives staying out of debt. We have been married for 37.5 years and we have tried to never be in more debt than we could pay off (paying off credit cards when they came due each month). Of course – buying cars and a home mortgage have been exceptions to the general rule until most recently. We have always paid off all of our credit cards each month when they have been due (which was hard when we were younger – trying to establish a home and staying within our budget or means). It has produced fruit as both my wife and I have great credit ratings – never really felt like we deprived ourselves – and have a good start on the next season of our life (retirement). We had a plan and we stuck with it! We paid back all of our debt. If we couldn’t for a short season – we worked hard to do so – at times holding down two and three jobs at a time. Hard work and good financial planning have produced good fruit. I understand some have had a plan and have not been as blessed. We have been blessed – even as we have worked hard. Continue reading

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January 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Do We Pray?

Matthew 14:23

After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone,

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMI remember when I was a teenager (or preteen maybe) – the church we attended (Seat Pleasant UMC) had a month-long prayer vigil. I signed up for a certain time every afternoon. I remember going to the chapel of our church where the prayer room was set up and spending thirty minutes every afternoon reading my Bible and praying. At first it was difficult – but as the month unfolded before me – it became easier and easier and when someone came to relieve me – I often stayed a few extra minutes to finish what I was reading or what I was on my heart as I prayed. It started for me a regular prayer time.

Where do we pray? This is not a trick question. I know we can pray wherever or whenever. It has been my experience that if we have a time or place to go – we can develop a habit that will bear much fruit. I know some people who start their morning at the kitchen table or during nice weather on their porch or patio soaking in the presence of God and spending time in devotion and prayer. Do we have a time and place? In years gone by – one of my favorite places was in a deer stand – way too early to shoot – and spending that time in God’s presence – praying and listening. Continue reading

July 14, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apart From Jesus We Can Do Nothing!

John 15:5

I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

RayBlogMy father used to plant a garden every summer – or should I say my brother, my dad and I would plant a garden every summer.  I learned early on the truth of the scripture we led off with this morning.  Take a tomato plant for instance.  If you took a tomato off the vine before it was ripe – it would not continue to grow – it would eventually wither and die.  (I realize that if you take a fully grown tomato off the vine while it is green and put it in the sun it will ripen.  I’m talking about a tomato that is not fully grown.)  If you took an ear of corn off the stalk before it was fully formed – it would not fill out the ear with corn – instead it would get brown and wither and die.  Vegetables grow and flourish through the vine that connects them to the earth – to water – minerals and nourishment.  If they are removed from the vine – the source of their nourishment – before they are fully grown – they will not produce the vegetable you desire when you plant the seed.

Continue reading

February 26, 2013 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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