Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God Will Carry Us Through

Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

Rays HaircutI sent some of our staff an email yesterday. I told them it looks like 2-3 weeks and we might be starting to come out of this quarantine. I urged them to turn up the heat – to work even harder to connect with people and get ready to be back at the church building. We can see the end of the tunnel starting to get closer and closer.

Have you made plans for the end of the quarantine? After visiting your children and grandchildren and filling up on hugs – what is your game plan for getting back to work? Getting back to some form of normalcy?

Are we dreaming of ways to make things better when we return to life before the quarantine? I’ve read a few articles – written by friends and by others. My hope is that we will NOT return to the same old same old. My hope and even prayer is – that we will have a new norm – that we will have learned a few things from this pandemic – this quarantine. Continue reading

April 28, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 38 of Lent 2020

Isaiah 42:1

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.”

Ray 2020Today is day 38 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you have stayed with us – this is the final week – Holy Week. Today’s passage is the Servant of the Lord. As we remember the last week of Jesus’ earthly life – we remember how many Old Testament passages He fulfilled as the Lord’s anointed and servant.

Do you feel the Holy Spirit? Do you feel like you have been anointed by the Holy Spirit? As a servant of God – what roll does the Holy Spirit play in your life? I for one realize I couldn’t do what I do without the power and presence of the Holy Spirit – God with us today!

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny self – to dig deeper into our walk with Jesus. Today we begin to look at some passages that will lead us to the cross and to the resurrection. Let us focus on Jesus this week – more than usual. Let us identify with the walk and the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us. Continue reading

April 9, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 42 of Lent 2018

Isaiah 49:1

Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.

Today is day 42 of the 47 Days of Lent reading plan (Sundays don’t count in the 40 days of Lent). I hope you have stayed with us – this is the final week – Holy Week. Today’s passage is another about the Servant of the Lord. This could be about Isaiah – it could be about Jesus – it might even be about us.

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny self – to dig deeper into our walk with Jesus. Today we begin to look at some passages that will lead us to the cross and to the resurrection. Let us focus on Jesus this week – more than usual. Let us identify with the walk and the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us. Jesus came to earth – voluntarily – to walk to the cross. Can we imagine how we would face our last week on earth? How we would face out death – when we had the power to avoid it? Continue reading

March 27, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas 2017

Isaiah 9:6-7

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Merry Christmas dear readers! Today’s Scripture is a very familiar one to most I’m sure. As the prophet Isaiah was writing – God gave him this prophetic word about Jesus’ birth – some 740 years beforehand. Isaiah 9:6-7 – 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

So what will fill our Christmas this year? Will there be lots of food – lots of gifts – given and received? Will there be lots of travel to visit with as many people as possible? Will it be a sad Christmas – without a family member for the first time? Will it be a happy Christmas – with a new family member for the first time? Will it be a time where we actually spend time praying for peace on earth and goodwill toward all? Will it be a time to celebrate the greatest gift ever given – for to us a child is born, to us a son is given? Continue reading

December 25, 2017 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , | Leave a comment

Strength for the Weary

Isaiah 40:29

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

profileOne of my daughters is really into working out and keeping her body in top shape.  She needs to do so for her job, but besides that she is into being very healthy.  She sticks to a strict diet and goes to the gym almost daily.  She is into cross-training now and loves it.  She has great control over her physical desires when it comes to her physical body.  I want that!

I have half-heartedly tried to lose weight for years now.  I blame my weight on three things – 1) the medication I take to combat Tourette Syndrome – 2) age/genetics – and 3) a lack of will power.  I can’t change number one (although I continue to pray for God to heal me).  Number two is an excuse because many people pushing 60 are in much better shape (and my daughter has half of my genetics and she is in top shape).  So the one I can really do something about is number three – my will power. Continue reading

October 31, 2013 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Personal, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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