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

Day 30 of Lent 2020

Joel 2:12

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

Ray 2020Today is day 30 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan (Sundays are not counted in the 40 days). We’re coming to the end of the reading plan as we head toward the cross. My prayer is that we will be drawn into a deeper relationship with Jesus during this Lenten season. This Lent – more than any other – will mark us. We will remember our spiritual and physical journey during this Lent. We will look back at this time of pandemic – of isolation – and we pray we will remember that it was God that carried us through.

I found this passage recently – and it was in line with today’s passage. Jeremiah 29:13 – You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Today’s passage is along the same line – as I wrote. We are called to return to God with all our heart.

Where is our heart today? Is our heart centered on God? Is it becoming more and more focused – during this isolation. Continue reading

March 31, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 29 of Lent 2020

John 16:8-11

8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

Ray 2020Today is day 29 of the 40 Days of Lent. We’re coming to the end of the reading plan as we head toward the cross. I hope you have enjoyed the reading plan. I know I have enjoyed it. Did you use yesterday to catch up if you were behind?

Yesterday – in the sermon – we talked about ways we can know Christ is in us – ways others can see Jesus in us. We talked about coming to Christ through confession of our sin – repentance and receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior. There were 10 ways. Can you remember any of them?

Today’s lesson talks about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit – the Counselor – will convict us of our sin and convict others of their disbelief. I know when the Spirit is working on my heart – and I know we all do! We should be open to the Holy Spirit’s movement in our lives. The Holy Spirit is God with us today. Continue reading

March 30, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 28 of Lent 2020

John 13:4-5

3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Ray 2020Today is day 28 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. We’re coming to the end of the reading plan as we head toward the cross. I hope you have enjoyed reading the plan as much as I have enjoyed it. Tomorrow is an off day and you can catch up if you need to do so.

Today’s reading is like one from a past reading – it focuses on the last supper – the Passover Feast that Jesus and His disciples shared before His arrest. I pulled out three verses that speak volumes to me. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. I’ve always been impressed with the fact that all things were under Jesus’ power and yet He humbled Himself to wash His disciples’ feet. Wow – what a model for a servant’s heart Jesus gave us. We should all follow His example. Continue reading

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 27 of Lent 2020

John 14:1

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

Ray 2020Today is day 27 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I pray that you are continuing to read the pan or can catch up with this reading plan. Sundays are off days during the reading plan and can be used for catchup. Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross of Calvary. Walk with me as we draw near to God.

I picked the first verse today – of the reading – to focus on during our time together. This is a section of Scripture that many pastors use at funerals. Jesus – speaking to His disciples – right before His departure form them – says – Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. These are meant to be words of encouragement – and we should receive them as such. If we believe in God and trust in God – we should also believe in and trust the words of Jesus! Something to think about today!

During this time of unrest – this time of pandemic – we need to rely on our faith and our Lord more than ever before. Trusting in God doesn’t mean taking risks with our health or life! More on that later. Continue reading

March 27, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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