Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Temptations! God Can Help Us Overcome!

Matthew 4:11

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Life ChangeWhat is it that temps us these days? Between now and Thanksgiving – not a long time – I’d like to challenge us to spend time praying and fasting – seeking God’s help in avoiding and overcoming what temps us. Remember – yesterday we talked about how powerful prayer can be.

How about taking the time between now and Thanksgiving – to remove something that tempts – by lifting it to God in prayer – asking for help. I’m tempted by a number of things – some of which I will share with you today. For most of us – the things that tempt us are greater than we are alone or they wouldn’t really be temptations. For example – I cannot be tempted to eat liver. Now some people love liver – but I would need to be very hungry with no hope of any other food before I would succumb to eating liver. Ice cream (most any flavor) would tempt me. Pizza would tempt me. Snicker bars do tempt me. All-you-can-eat restaurants tempt me. Bargains and deals tempt me. Liver does not tempt me.

What is it that tempts you? Some people think they are above temptation. Some think they are so strong they can stand up – alone – against the devil and his temptations. I want to suggest that battling Satan alone – on our own – is not a battle we will often win. We’re told in Scripture that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 We are battling the spiritual realm and need Jesus in order to come out on top. What is it we can fast from that will allow us to be draw closer to Jesus during the next 10 days? Continue reading

November 18, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deny Self and Follow Christ

Matthew 26:35

Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

Life ChangeLent is almost over for 2019. We have a special Seder meal tomorrow night. I hope you signed up. Hope to see you there. We have our Good Friday service Friday at 7 pm. We will continue our walk toward the cross with John’s gospel. Lent – according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary – is defined as – a period of 40 days before Easter during which many Christians do not eat certain foods or do certain pleasurable activities as a way of remembering the suffering of Jesus Christ. 

Today’s passage is about Peter and the disciples saying they would not deny Christ – that they would actually die with Jesus if need be. Here is today’s passage in partial context. Matthew 26:30-39 – 30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same. 36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Continue reading

April 18, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Are We Feeding Our Spiritual Bodies?

John 6:35

Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

RayMcDSix guys from our church have joined together to lose weight. We support one another. We text and e-mail one another. We weigh in on Sunday mornings at church. It is working. As of our last weigh in the six of us have lost a combined 69 pounds. One brother has lost 17 pounds. Two others are in double digits. And reports from home scales indicate we will have a new combined total this Sunday – well into 70+ pounds.

We set goals of losing 5% of our body weight by Labor Day (we began on July 15th). We have additional goals of 8% by Thanksgiving and 10% by Christmas (for a man weighing 280 pounds that would be a 28 pound lose by Christmas). Two brothers have already met their 5% goals – and another is very close – they are working toward their 8% goal already with a couple of weeks to go on Labor Day. We may need to adjust the goals. Continue reading

August 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Satan’s Temptations – What Tempts Us?

Matthew 4:10

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ “

Temptations come and go – and at times they get the best of us. Think for a moment – what temps you? If you’re like me – over-weight – certain foods or food in general might tempt you. I have a hard time passing up pizza or ice cream to name some food. And a Snickers bar is hard for me to turn down as well. Hot apple pie with a scoop of ice cream – now I’m just making my mouth water. What tempts us? What does Satan use to tempt us?

Along with my food temptations (and food isn’t the only thing that tempts me) – I have a hard time turning down free or all-you-can-eat food. I try to avoid places that serve a buffet – and mixture of items that you can eat as much as you want. I remember eating an ice cream sundae meant to serve several people by myself because it was free if I ate it all (seminary days). Continue reading

April 26, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Have Food To Eat

John 4:32

But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

OK – how many diets have we tried? How many times have we tried to lose weight in our lifetime? If any of our readers have tried diets that worked – I would love for you to share them. Diets – crash diets – work if you stick to them – but when you cheat or go off the diet – unless you have changed your eating habits – the weight will return.

What are your favorite foods? What are your comfort foods? I enjoy ice cream. I enjoy pizza. I enjoy Snicker bars. I enjoy apple pie – with ice cream of course. I know – none of these will help me lose weight. I just thought I would share what I enjoyed – food wise.

I once read the following – eat to live – don’t live to eat. What that means is eat enough to stay alive – don’t stay alive in order to eat more. Continue reading

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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