Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

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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

Can God Help Me Dunk Again?

Isaiah 40:31

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

RevRayOK – I’m 58 and I have to admit that I don’t have the strength I had in my younger years.  I mean – in years gone by I was able to dunk a basketball – now I have a hard time touching the net.  I was able to finger roll at the rim and now a finger roll has to have a big shove to reach the rim (and I don’t leave the ground very far either these days – lol).  My legs have a hard time getting this old and overweight body up and down the court so I’ve limited myself to half-court basketball (even when others are playing full court).  As a matter of fact – with a torn meniscus in my left knee – I’ve given up basketball until my knee heals or I drop some significant weight (neither is going to happen overnight it seems).  My doctor even encouraged me to give it up all together!  So I ask the question – can God help me dunk again?

Continue reading

March 20, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Lenten Thought, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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