Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Attitude Needs Improvement

Hebrews 3:13

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

fullsizeoutput_ffeIn yesterday’s sermon – we discussed attitudes – a little. I really believe that our attitudes are a major stumbling block for ourselves and for others – as we seek after Jesus. Our walk with Jesus is all about where our heart is dear readers. Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart.

Attitude also impacts church growth – the growing of the Body of Christ. How welcoming are we to visitors in the church? How open are we to enabling others to join our groups and ministries? Are we in cliques? Do we have a quick tongue?  Do we tend to gossip? Do we encourage others in their walk with Jesus? Are we humble in our walk with Jesus? Do we have a servant’s heart? Do we see our salvation as a gift that we want to share with as many people as possible? Do we encourage others as they seek after Jesus? We could go on and on – right? Continue reading

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

Please – Don’t Worry About Tomorrow

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

fullsizeoutput_ffeThe 2016 elections are over (even though some are still talking about it). The 2018 mid-term elections have almost concluded (the are still counting in Florida and in other places). Your candidate either won or lost – your opinion was either in the majority or the minority on the questions on the ballot. You may agree or disagree that our nation is headed in the right or wrong direction. Many in the news and on Facebook have tried to project the future – with mixed projections. The market dropped dramatically right after the 2016 elections and has been on a roll for two years – reaching heights never before reached. It has been bumpy the last month or quarter – but we are still higher than anyone could have imagined. Some have predicted – or tried to predict the elections impact on the market. Some make a living looking into the future and trying to gauge how the elections impact the market.

Several of us who are closing in on retirement – say in the next 10 years or so – naturally peek into the future to see what the climate will be as that day approaches. We look at things like the housing market – our debt – the Dow Jones – our savings – the cost of living – and on and on the list might go. Looking to the future is not a bad thing – it is actually a wise thing. Dave Ramsey has many suggestions about savings and retirement. Look up some of his ideas here. Continue reading

November 15, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Day Is Coming!

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

fullsizeoutput_ffeThanksgiving comes once a year – as does Christmas – and Easter. Yet we don’t have to limit our thankfulness to one day – do we? If your family is like mine – when we gather to give thanks over the bounty on Thanksgiving – we pause to give thanks for something specific – everyone at the table. It is a touching time – and watching our family age before our eyes – year after year – brings a nostalgic note too. Listening to what the girls have shared over the years and now what the grandchildren will share has been and is a blessing. We are always thankful for the way God touches our lives.

I’m the crier in the family. An example of my inability to hold back my tears can be seen in most any family gathering. I remember at a special birthday for my wife – as others were sharing – I tried to share my heart and the tears flowed. Tears will flow for most any reason from my eyes. With the holidays coming I will shed tears when I watch It’s a Wonderful Life for the 200th time – and even while watching Charlie Brown Christmas – tears will flow.

Thanksgiving is a family time for our family and we will gather once again – the Lord willing. Holidays are especially hard for me now that mom and dad have gone to be with Jesus. Dad loved Christmas so much – that holiday is especially difficult for me these days. Continue reading

November 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Guides Our Thoughts and Actions?

Galatians 5:25

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

fullsizeoutput_ffeWho guides our thoughts and actions each day? Do we rely on our own abilities or thinking? Do we follow other’s thinking or even consult a horoscope (please don’t say yes to a horoscope)? How do we determine things like – who we vote for in elections – how we vote in our congregations or denomination – whether to marry or not and to whom? Who do we turn to when discussing starting a family – what job to take – whether to relocate for work – when to retire – whether to buy or rent and in what community? All important decisions for sure. Do we rely on our skills – on our spouse – on our parents – on our friends – on the world around us?

Who guides our thoughts and actions each day? How do we decide what is right or wrong – what is beneficial or detrimental in our lives? Where do we turn to discern the path in life we should walk? If it hasn’t been God – if it has only been God for a few things – how’s that working for you? I know for me – the times I have made my own decision – it has been hit or miss – but when I have turned to God – God is batting 100%. Continue reading

November 13, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Growing Spiritually

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.

fullsizeoutput_ffeI greet you in the name of Jesus – my Lord – my Savior – and my dear friend. I write to encourage you this day in your walk with Jesus. We’ve often encouraged the congregation (and myself with the mirror before me) – about building our spiritual lives (realizing our need for Jesus). We want to encourage those who would hear to take the time to build their spiritual lives and to develop a deeper walk with Jesus. We want to urge people to take advantage of the many opportunities to eat spiritual food and to grow stronger.

I write to encourage us to NOT rely on our pastor(s) to have knowledge of the Word and a relationship with Jesus! I write to encourage us to regularly search the Word and to pray on every occasion. Our faith cannot be based on our parent’s – our grandparent’s – our pastor’s – or anyone else’s faith. Each of us must develop our own walk with Jesus. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians that we are to always have joy and to test everything.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 – 16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil. Continue reading

November 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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