Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

All Temptations Can Be Rebuked

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

What is it that tempts us? Is it something we eat? Is it something we wear? Is it something to take to the bank? Is it some feeling we receive from a sexual thought or behavior? Basically it is whatever fuels our desires and pleases our heart. The things that draw our heart tempt us. Satan is the great tempter and he is always working to steal our joy and our relationship with Jesus.

James – the brother of Jesus – wrote these words about temptation. James 1:13–18 – 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created. Continue reading

May 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holy Ground

Exodus 3:5

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

Think for a moment about the places in your life that you consider holy ground. Maybe it is the halls of your high school. Maybe it is the place where you met your spouse. For pastors it might be that first appointment or that appointment where everything seemed to jell in your ministry. What place do you consider holy ground?

Think for a moment about the places in your life that you consider holy ground. For some of us it might be our yard or our gardens. For some it might be our homes. For some it might be that first date or the birth of your first child. What place do you consider holy ground?

Think for a moment about the places in your life that you consider holy ground. Maybe it was the place you met someone famous? Maybe it was the place in time you go back to for your happy place (I still listen to music from the 60’s and 70’s more often than other music). Continue reading

May 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Word Of God Endures Forever

Isaiah 40:8

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.

I’ve spent a number of years trying to grow a yard – 20 years to be exact. I remember when my yard was a dust bowl. I remember cutting the weeds and grass – that was scattered around the yard – and working up a small storm cloud of dust.

Eventually I began to grow some grass. After years of aerating and seeding – the yard is starting to take shape. Keeping the weeds down has been a task. I finally went to a yard service to fertilize and treat for weeds. The cost of the service is just slightly more than I would pay for the materials myself and then I would have to put them down – and I can call them back to retreat if the weeds don’t die!!

A bought a new lawnmower this year and I’m cutting the grass twice a week at 4 inches. The grass is growing well and filling in like never before. And the new lawnmower is cutting to clean and mulching too. Continue reading

May 16, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Will Be With You Wherever You Go

Joshua 1:9

…the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Today’s passage is something we all want to hear – the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Yet – we may not understand the requirement for such a passage. This passage is from the installation of Joshua as the leader of Israel.

Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Joshua 1:1–9 – 1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Continue reading

May 12, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nevertheless, I Have This Against You

Revelation 2:20

Nevertheless, I have this against you:

Pastors are called to serve God (as are we all). Yet – most pastors also serve a congregation of between 20 and 1,000 or more people.

After 40 plus years of serving God and congregations and countless years of training and several degrees – I still don’t always hit the nail on the head in everything I do. I admit that I make mistakes or miss things from time to time. I have even asked the SPRC committee and even the entire congregation to help me see where I fall short in serving the congregation as pastor. I would like to take the space of this article to share some insights as how best to go about that process. How to best critique your pastor (or anyone).

Critiquing people is an art. The old adage that you can get more flies with honey than vinegar is very true. The way we critique a person or an event is almost as important as what we have to say in our critique. If the person/group being critiqued won’t receive the information because of how it is offered – then it hasn’t done any good. Continue reading

May 11, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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