Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 15 of Lent 2020

Matthew 24:29

“Immediately after the distress of those days ” ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ “

Ray 2020Today is day 15 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan (remember – of the 40 days of Lent – Sundays do not count). I hope you are enjoying the 40 Day reading plan – I know I am. Keep up with the stories about Jesus’ life as He walked to the cross. Draw closer to Him and let us deepen our faith walk. Constantly ask yourself (as I ask myself) – how can I be more like Jesus. To use past slogans – WWJD – What Would Jesus Do?

Today’s reading shares some insights into the last days. It caused me to remember when I posted on Facebook about Jupiter and Venus being lined up with the moon a few years ago. People will be looking for signs and people will make predictions about the end of time (we have lived through some end of time predictions in 2011 and at the turn of the century too – some new predictions will surely come). What we should really – IMHO – concentrate on – is our walk with Jesus. If our walk with Jesus is where it should be – than when Jesus comes won’t make a difference to us! Think about it. Live or die – if we are living for Jesus – our death will simply usher us into the presence of God. Continue reading

March 13, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Things Never Seem to Change

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

img_0063-2Reworked devotional from 2011. Things haven’t changed much in 9 years. Some things never seem to change. Heretical teaching will always lead a person or a church away from God.

The United Methodist Church has been through a lot during my lifetime.  I remember the sawdust camp meetings of my early years where the Bible was preached and lives were transformed for Christ. The authority of Scripture and the centrality of Christ were not questioned. Transformation took place because sound doctrine was taught and the transforming nature of Christ was preached.

During my lifetime I have also seen a  segment of the church’s leadership turn away from truth – turn away from the transforming love of Christ and His Word. During my lifetime I have heard the deceptive philosophy of some church leadership that has led our denomination into decline. During some of the darkest days of the United Methodist Church – when attendance and membership were falling at alarming rates – a group of Bishops led our denomination. Many of these bishops have retired since that time from active church leadership and I do not think it is by any surprise that our denomination is beginning to grow again in certain areas. I do not think it is by surprise that the majority of churches that are growing the fastest in our own conference are being led by pastors who believe in the transforming power of God – the centrality of Christ and the authority of the Bible. Continue reading

February 19, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Make My Joy Complete

Philippians 2:2

then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

img_0063-2I looked back at the months before the 2016 elections. I found something I wrote in March 2016. I will make some changes today – but the truths from 2016 are still truths today. Remember – both parties were trying to find a candidate in 2016.

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This will be a short devotional today – but it will have much to ponder. First – how’s your Prayer/Fast going (we were in Lent when I wrote this and we were doing a prayer fast)? I pray it is going well and that God is speaking to you.

Second – and lastly – the Presidential Elections of 2016 are not going well. I’m not talking about my candidate doing well or not. I’m talking about the way ALL of the candidates are acting – both parties. Childish would not be strong enough. Making fun of one another – the way they talk – their physical appearance – their gender – and more is not what we the voters want to see – IMHO. I know I would much rather hear a debate on the issues of the day – like the economy – national security – immigration – the Supreme Court – race relations – entitlement programs – the environment – and more.  I’d much rather hear their agenda moving forward than to listen to them cutting down their counterparts. Continue reading

January 31, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Massive Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

John 14:26

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

img_0063-2I have listened to a sermon by Reinhard Bonnke from a Jesus Culture event. Today’s Scripture came to mind – But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

I believe too many Christians – too many churches and too many denominations – shy away from the Holy Spirit these days. I believe that if we shy away from the Holy Spirit – we are shying away from God with us today. Jesus said – before He ascended to heaven – that the Father would send One in His name – the Counselor – the Holy Spirit – to teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Too many are shying away from the Holy Spirit and going through the motions – powerless to be the church – without Holy Spirit fire. Maybe this is why the United Methodist Church – many other denominations – and non-denominational churches – are failing these days. Too many preachers – too many boards of elders and lay leaders are trying to be the church without the Holy Spirit’s power. We cannot be the church without God with us today – the Holy Spirit. It is as clear as that! I pray that we will open our minds – souls and hearts to the Holy Spirit! Continue reading

January 17, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Let No Hate Enter Our Hearts

2 Timothy 4:2

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.

Ray 2019Paul – an Apostle – told a young pastor – Timothy – to preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2) Paul also wrote these words to Timothy – 2 Timothy 3:16–17 – 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God  may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Paul urges Timothy – and us – to adhere to God’s Word at all times. All parts of God’s Word should be adhered too. Even the parts that we don’t agree with – maybe even more so those parts. It is easy to follow what we agree with – but hard when we don’t.

I’m not a young pastor nor am I an Apostle – but the Word of God – as I read it – tells me to love one another – to not hate anyone. I see far too much hatred in the world – and at times – sadly – from folks claiming to be Christians. Just check out the anger expressed in the 2020 election season or the 2020 General Conference in May.

We’re told to hate sin – we’re told to love others. We’re told to love God more than anything or anyone. Matthew 10:37 – Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Continue reading

December 13, 2019 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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