Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Deepening Our Walk with Jesus

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.

Life ChangeI greet you in the name of Jesus – my Lord – my Savior and my dear friend. I write to encourage you this morning in your walk with Jesus. During our sermon Sunday I encouraged us to work on our spiritual fitness. 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 you to NOT rely on your pastor(s) to have knowledge of the Word and a relationship with Jesus! I write to encourage you to regularly search the Word and to pray on every occasion. Your faith cannot be based on your parent’s faith – your grandparent’s faith – your pastor’s faith – 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.

Remember one of the sayings I use so much? Happiness is circumstantially driven – but Joy is spiritually derived. Continue reading

February 11, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And My Spirit Rejoices

Luke 1:47

…and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

Sunday we preached a message about keeping Christ in Christmas. It will be posted here soon – so take a listen. Sunday we talked about the joy that Jesus brought to the people. Luke 2:10–11 – 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Jesus’ arrival was to bring great joy to the people – and not only to His people but to all who would hear and follow Him. Jesus was the Messiah – the Anointed One – the Deliverer – the One who would break the bonds of oppression for His people. Never before or since has the birth of a baby been so anticipated or sought after. Jesus’ birth was to bring great and lasting joy. Continue reading

December 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Complete Joy

John 15:11

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

IMG_0435-0Dear readers – have you ever experience joy that you felt was complete? I’ve experienced joyful moments before – I imagine most of us have in our lifetime. But complete joy may be something that some have never experienced. We might experience moments of happiness – but joy is something spiritual.

There always seems to be something that deflates our joy or happiness. For instance – the Capitals won the President’s Trophy with the best record in the regular season this year – a lot of people were happy! But they were ousted from the playoffs and failed to win the Stanley Cup – deflated joy or happiness.

I’ve heard of couples that were filled with joy/happiness for their wedding and even during the honeymoon period only to have their joy/happiness tempered or deflated when the honeymoon was over and stuff began to happen. Continue reading

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Joy of the Lord is Better than Happiness

Acts 13:52

And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgA friend of mine once posted this on their Twitter account – It’s not about happy. It’s about joy.  It made me think of a saying of mine – Happiness is circumstantialy driven while joy is spiritually derived. Although happiness is a good thing – joy is lasting while happiness is fleeting. Joy is better than Happiness!

Today’s passage ends a section of the Book of Acts that describes the Gospel being taken to the whole of the region – including to the Gentiles.  The church began in Jewish circles – of course – since Jesus and the early disciples were Jewish.  And although many were moved to accept Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah – some had a hard time being open to the message that God was also available to all people – including the non-Jewish people. In the King James Version of the Bible the word for non-Jewish people is often pagan – the ungodly. Continue reading

July 18, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , | Leave a comment

Joy Is Better Than Happiness

Acts 13:52

And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

RevRayA friend of mine posted this on Twitter this morning – It’s not about happy. It’s about joy. #FindJoy.  It made me think of a saying of mine – Happiness is spiritually driven while joy is spiritually derived. Although happiness is a good thing – joy is lasting while happiness is fleeting. Joy is better than Happiness.

Today’s passage ends a section of the Book of Acts that describes the Gospel being taken to the whole of the region – including to the Gentiles.  The church began in Jewish circles – of course – since Jesus and the early disciples were Jewish.  And although many were moved to accept Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah – some had a hard time being open to the message that God was also available to all people – including the non-Jewish people. In the King James Version of the Bible the word for non-Jewish people is pagan – the ungodly.

Here are a few verses from just before today’s passage concluding with today’s verse. Acts 13:49-52 – 49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

June 4, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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