Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

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

Protection And Care

Psalm 121:7-8

The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

I remember when our oldest was just a toddler. Her mother and I were shopping with her and we were having a great time. My wife was looking at the women’s clothing and I was looking in the men’s section. We each thought the other had our daughter. When we realized no one had her – we panicked. We were frantic and ran all over looking for our precious little one. We had security looking and barring the doors and all we could think of was our little girl being lost and taken by someone. She was outside our protection and care – for the moment – and we were scared-to-death!

Soon we heard over the loudspeaker – would the parents of a precious little redheaded girl come to the clothing counter. We were so relieved and there she was – sitting on the counter – holding court – never realizing the trauma her parents had just experienced. We praised God – thanked God for delivering our daughter back to us – and thanked the salespersons for their care. Needless to say – that never happened again – with her or her twin sisters who came along five years later. Continue reading

July 4, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Time Is Short

Ephesians 5:16

[make] the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

The older I get – the more I realize that our time on this earth is short. I’ve lived 63+ years and if I live to 84 like my father I have 21 years left. If I live as long as my mother – I have 26 more years (although her last 2-4 years were not pleasant). If I live as old as my paternal great-grandfather – I have 39 more years. Even that seems like a short time left on this earth. Our time is short.

We measure things in time. For instance – I will retire sometime between 2 and 9 years. My youngest daughters are 33 years younger than I am and in 3 years they will be half my age. School is out for the summer and in 2 months or so students will be headed back to class (sooner if they have summer school or play fall sports). Our time is short.

We’re to use each and every moment serving God. We never know when our last moment may be present. We never know how long we have left on earth – so use every moment to God’s glory. Our time is short. Continue reading

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Discussions On Social Media Can Be Destructive

Matthew 7:1

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

Of late – it seems to me – some people have allowed their emotions to inform their political views. Social Media has a lot to do with this because things that might have only been discussed in the home or with close friends can be discussed in the public arena. I’ve gotten caught up in it as well from time to time and once again find myself retreating from Social Media – because I do not want to cause division in the church or among my friends. Discussions on Social Media can be destructive and divisive. I tend to be more conservative than many of my local colleagues and even some of my friends. As tolerant as we might think we are – we seem to have trouble discussing things and being hospitable to those who have a different view.

In the last few weeks – even months – even years – our immigration policy has been debated ad nauseam – it seems – on Social Media. Some colleagues and friends seem to be in favor of open borders – some seem to be in favor of stricter border control. Some want to call folks who are in our country illegally – undocumented – others would simply say they are criminals who are here illegally and should be arrested and returned to their homelands. Some say we should enforce our laws – some say the laws are bad and should be ignored. Some say we should improve or correct the current laws – others say the laws are good – we simply need to enforce them. Continue reading

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

General Conference 2019 – Part 3

2 Timothy 3:16–17

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God  may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Scripture is the base of our understanding of God. It is often where those who differ in their understanding of God depart from one another. Scriptural authority is often the real issue when presenting issues surface. In the United Methodist Church today – the presenting issue is the nature of human sexuality. The real issue – can the Scriptures be believed and held as authoritative in our lives today.

For the next few days I will include articles written by some leaders in the United Methodist Church concerning the upcoming special General Conference of 2019 (#GC2019). Now that our Annual Conference is over – I want to make sure our readers are informed about the upcoming #GC2019. You can return and read the previous posts here and here.

Today I include an article written by Maxie Dunnam as he writes about the Way Forward and gives us insights into the upcoming General Conference 2019. His article is found on the Confessing Movement’s page which is located at The Confessing Movement within the United Methodist Church. You can read his article in it’s entirety here if you wish to respond to it directly. I include parts of his article below. You can respond on this blog page if you wish as well. Continue reading

June 7, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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