Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Facing Hardships for Jesus

Hebrews 12:2

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Photo on 6-21-16 at 2.53 PMHave any of us endured hardship for a cause? Hardship is so hard to define – because it can mean different things to different people. For instance – in elementary school I remember declining an invite to play in a game of kickball because my best friend didn’t get picked. That was a hardship for a competitive person like me – even in elementary school! Others have mentioned not joining a club or a fraternity because a close friend failed to receive an invite.

I’ve heard of colleagues and friends who have turned down promotions and raises in order to remain where they felt God called them. I’ve known parents who have sacrificed for their children – going without in order that their children might have what they needed and at times what they wanted. Hardships come in many ways. Continue reading

June 23, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Hinders Our Walk of Faith?

Hebrews 12:1

…let us throw off everything that hinders

82015 RayThis is a common thought for me.  I have written many devotional thoughts around this passage.  It is a question I often ask – my readers – myself – and those in the church I serve.  What hinders our walk with Jesus? What hinders our walk of faith? What is it that keeps us from walking out the mission statement of our church – to bring – build – and send?

We really should search for the things that hinder us.  Whatever our goals might be – we should strive to remove the things that war against us.  We should identify and remove the things that hinder our walk with Jesus.

Swimmers these days – when competing – wear the least amount of clothes and the tightest fitting suits possible it seems.  They want nothing that will drag them down – even the slightest.  When races are won or lost by the fraction of a second – every advantage helps – and eliminating anything that hinders – might just be that edge.
Continue reading

September 10, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Hinders Our Walk?

 

Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

IMG_0301What is it that hinders our daily walk with Jesus? What is it that keeps us from living as a Disciple in all areas of our life? What keeps us from being a complete disciple in Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry and Evangelism?

My children use to play Wii and play target games. I tried to play once did OK but I didn’t know where all the targets were, all the secret things to shoot at, so my score wasn’t that high.  The children beat me because they knew what they were aiming at on each screen. Continue reading

August 19, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Great Crowd

Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

IMG_0301Have you ever been in a large crowd? I have some friends that won’t attend baseball games with me anymore because the Orioles draw too many people these days. I remember when it was like a ghost town at games at old Memorial Stadium. Some of my friends just don’t like to be in large crowds. I know some people who attend small attendance churches just because they don’t like to be in a large crowd. Some people just don’t like a lot of people around them.

I’m OK with crowds – but would rather be around a few good friends – even in a crowd. I’m not one for being alone – although I can handle it! The last few weeks – attendance has been down in our worship service(s) – because of the weather (I hope) – but I still felt the presence of God – for sure! Continue reading

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Hinders Our Faith?

Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgWhat hinders our daily walk with Jesus? What is it that keeps us from living as a Disciple in all areas of our lives? What keeps us from being a complete disciple in Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, and Evangelism? What hinders us from bringing people to Christ, building up our faith, and serving Jesus?

Years ago my children got involved in the Wii play station and they liked to play target games. I tried to play them and did OK but I didn’t know where all the targets were, all the secret things to shoot at, so my score wasn’t that high.

Knowing what to aim at or what hinders us from going forward in our walk – as a disciple – is important. God tells us through the author of Hebrews the following (today’s passage in partial context). Continue reading

October 13, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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