Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

No Excuse – God is Real

Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Rays HaircutI’ve always appreciated this passage. It is one of those bottom-line type of passages. If all other means of reaching a person or a society have failed – God is still evident in the creation – there is no excuse for not seeing and understanding God’s presence and awesomeness.

Have you ever argued this point or had someone argue it with you? What if there are people who have never heard of God? How will God deal with them? The example given is usually a deserted island somewhere with people who haven’t seen or heard from the rest of the world in centuries. You could argue that all people came from Adam and Eve and so they had a faith in God as a root. You could argue that all people came from Noah and his family after the flood and had a root of faith. Somewhere along the way the ancestors of those who are on the deserted island made a break from faith in God and now generations later the descendants are living without faith in God. So – what happens to them? Continue reading

June 23, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Difference Between Wants and Needs

Philippians 4:12

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Rays HaircutWe live in a day and age – probably not unlike many other eras – when there are a number of folks that live hand-to-mouth. These persons live in many communities around us and in our own communities. Living hand-to-mouth means that a person uses every part of their income with no plan for the future. Everything they make they spend. They live hand-to-mouth.

Some people have had many opportunities – yet still live hand-to-mouth. Some have not had many opportunities and find themselves in the same situation. There are a number of people in our society that may not be able to make ends meet. For these our society tends to help (although many we help – IMHO – have made decisions in life to put themselves in this situation of need).

Part of what leaves many folks living hand-to-mouth is a lack of understanding or discipline when it comes to wants verses needs. Most people (and I have no statistics for this at this time but it is an educated opinion from 40+ years of ministry) live beyond their means because they have mixed up their needs and their wants. This happens at all income levels – from the very poor to the very rich. How many times have we read about professional athletes – who make more money in a 4-10 year career than many of us could make in several life-times – only to find themselves living hand-to-mouth in short order? I had an elderly person once tell me they couldn’t live on their social security check. I wanted to tell them that social security was never meant to be the sole income for a person in retirement. A person was supposed to save – to put money aside for retirement. They were not to spend all they made. They may have mixed up their needs and wants. Continue reading

May 26, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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