Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Jesus Will Help Us From Losing Heart

2 Corinthians 4:16

Therefore we do not lose heart

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amHave you ever lost heart? There are a number of times I have lost heart. With injuries and age creeping up on me – my sport playing life has changed (I spend more time with golf these days). I love me some basketball – if you didn’t know that fact about me. With two rotator cuff surgeries in back to back springs (2017 & 2018) – I have not played a lot of basketball in the last three years or so. If you ask my wife or my friends – they would tell you I have contemplated leaving the game for good. My orthopedic doctor and my general practitioner even suggested it when I injured my shoulder playing basketball – which led to my last surgery – and the knee issues. I went back this past spring and enjoyed the full-court running (it might help me lose more weight) –  but I’ve given it up I think. For most of my life I have been a 3-point bomber. I would find an open spot and the ball would find me and I would bomb away – hitting a high percentage typically. But – after two shoulder surgeries – gaining some age – and not working out much for two years – my 3-point shot was weak this spring. I actually had to abandon the 3-point shot at first and shot and hit from inside the arc. I got my shooting touch back – but the knees barked! I will not lose heart – even if I have to give up basketball for good! Continue reading

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Pray For All People?

1 Timothy 2:1

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—

June 2019Do we pray for all people? Often in worship – over the years – I’ve asked people to pray for the President. What if the President at the time isn’t the one you voted for – does that hamper your ability to pray for them? It shouldn’t. We should pray for our leaders – whether we agree with them or not. We don’t have to like someone to pray for them – praying that their hearts would be touched by God and that they would lead the people according to what is best for the people – rather than for themselves or their political party.

Do we pray for all people? The political scene is dreary these days. At times we are called to pray against evil (as we might define it) and to pray for those who are responsible for that evil (as we see it). For instance – we might be conflicted with what is happening on our southern border (and has been happening for several administrations). We might think our borders should be secure and yet we might feel there are better ways to go about it (several administrations have tried several methods which apparently aren’t working yet). We can pray for those seeking asylum and their well-being while also praying for border security. We can pray for a better way for sure. Continue reading

June 14, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get a New Heart

Ezekiel 18:31a

Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.

Life ChangeOnce – when I was preaching a sermon series on forgiveness – during the first sermon in the series – someone ask – during the sermon – if I could preach of forgiving ourselves. I hope that I touched on that in that series. I think I will repeat that series sometime soon. Today’s passage from Ezekiel spoke to my heart about forgiveness. I want to share it today for our devotional thought.

We have said a number of times – in sermons and in teachings – that the heart is very important as we walk out our faith in Christ.  Christianity boils down to attitude is now a common phrase many of us know. The position and condition of our heart is very important – so I like the simplicity of today’s passage – Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Continue reading

April 1, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Golden Rule

Matthew 7:12

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

So – where or when did we learn to behave? For me it was a combination of home life – Sunday School – and my second grade teacher. I must admit it took a village to tame me and even then I’m not sure they got the job done. I have always had a little rebellious streak in me. There are a number of things I wish – in hind sight – I could go back and undo!

At home – in Sunday School – and in School (in my elementary school – Owensville Elementary – we said the Lord’s Prayer along with the Pledge of Allegiance before class began and said Grace before we ate lunch) – I learned The Golden Rule. It has been a standard for behavior – for our morals and values – even for non-religious folks – for as long as I can remember. We’ve all heard our Lord’s words – do unto others as you would have them do unto youeven if we didn’t know they were His words. Many of us were taught the Golden Rule growing up in Sunday School and/or at home. Do you remember it? Continue reading

July 31, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lord – Examine Our Hearts

Psalm 139:1

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.

Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart. This is one of my favorite sayings. I believe if our hearts are in the right place – centered on Christ and not on self – we will have the right attitude and will glorify Him. The right attitude is so important for Christians. We must have the attitude of Christ – the heart and mind of Jesus. Philippians 2:5 (NIV) – In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: (NLT) You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

One thing I’ve come to know about myself and other church people is this – we cannot fool God! God knows our hearts and our motives and our attitudes. God knows the things we say or think in private. God knows our motives for the actions we take. God searches our hearts and knows even our thoughts – you know – those things we think but have a filter to not say out loud (most times). Continue reading

October 5, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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