Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 34 of Lent 2018

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.

Today is day 34 of the 40 Days of our Lenten reading plan. I hope you have stayed 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. Not only are we to deny ourselves of something – we are to replace that item with more of Jesus. For instance – if you are fasting from something – when you feel tempted to eat it or do it – we should spend time praying or digging into God’s Word. Continue reading

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

Soak In The Word of God

2 Kings 22:11

When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes.

When I was a child – I loved hearing my father preach or teach to Word of God. He was a pastor and when I was younger – anytime there was a service I was there! Dad had a way of making the Word of God come alive. He put God’s Word into words I could understand. He made God’s Word applicable for folks. I try to model his approach in my ministry. I try to soak in God’s Word as much as possible – and this stems from my childhood.

As I grew up – I was drawn not only to my dad’s approach with the Word of God but with other pastors who seemed to have a way of bringing the Word of God to life. The Bible became more real to me through these men of God as they preached and taught. I grew to enjoy digging into and soaking in the Word of God. Continue reading

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sound Doctrine and Truth

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

In this day and age – sound doctrine and truth are under attack – always has been – always will be. The Bible is under attack – and the attacks are not all coming from outside the church. There are whole denominations – pastors – and laity – calling themselves followers of Christ – who are putting aside sound doctrine and truth. There are those who want to redefine sin – creation – and human design. Some want to re-write the Bible or delete parts that don’t sit well with them.

This is not a battle between conservatives and liberals. It is not orthodox folks verses progressive folks. It is Biblical doctrines and truths verses heresy IMHO. God’s Word is not something we can pick and choose – something we can decide to like or dislike with our feeble minds. The Bible is the Word of God – no other definition is needed. The Bible is the sacred text inspired by God and guarded by the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

August 21, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hang Onto Our Faith

Colossians 1:23

…if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

If it ain’t broke – why fix it? I know most of us have heard that saying before. That isn’t perfect English – but – it is real. Most often we shouldn’t try to fix things that are working.

Change is not always good nor is it always bad. Change for change sake can be either good or bad. Many of us do not like change. Many of us have a hard time with change.

Technology buffs (the mirror is up) always want the latest greatest – even when what they have accomplishes what they are doing. Car buffs always want the newest model – even when their vehicle they have is working well. We can have a closet full of clothes – and every style imaginable – but when the new line comes out – we want to change. Our golf clubs play well – but someone convinces us that a new set will help our game (it is not the arrow but the Indian that misses the target – typically). My 2013 iMac is doing just fine thank you – I don’t need the newer model. Many of us need to resist change – because change is often just fluff – bells and whistles. Continue reading

August 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Motivates Us?

James 4:17
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

What motivates us? What is it that causes us to act – to think – the way we do? Motivation is something we all try to do for ourselves and for others. Coaches try to motivate their team. Bosses try to motivate their employees. Managers try to motivate those who work on their team at work. Spouses try to motivate each other to be better and parents try to motivate their children to be the best they can be. Drill sergeants try to motivate their recruits. what motivates us?

I thought the Bible would be a good place to look for what motivates us. The 4th Chapter of James is about heart and motivation. It ends with the verse of the day. I read the whole chapter and realized I couldn’t add anything today so let’s read it together. Continue reading

June 29, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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