Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Devil Is Real – But Defeated

1 John 3:8

He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

Life ChangeThe devil is real and not a figment of someone’s imagination. Some churches try to suggest that the devil is not real – that he/it is merely a personification of evil as a whole. Not sure what Bible they read – if they read the Bible at all – but the Bible tells us over and over that the devil is real. Please do not fall prey to false teachers and false religions. Run as fast as you can from a pastor or church that doesn’t believe that the devil is real!

According to Scripture – the devil tempted Jesus after His baptism.  Matthew 4:1-11 – 1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Continue reading

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May 16, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Have You Ever Been Tired?

Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Life ChangeHave you ever been tired? I mean really tired. Like after running a few miles or playing a game of full-court basketball or walking a few miles or expending all of your energy in some physical exercise. Maybe we’re not in as good a shape as we used to be. Maybe it doesn’t take much to tire us out these days. I remember how we used to take honey or oranges just before a wrestling match to give us quick energy. Those three minutes on the mat were very draining – even when we were in top shape. We just might need a renewed measure of energy or rest – at times.

Have you ever been tired? I mean really tired. Like staying up all night to cram for a test the next day. Like spending an all-nighter watching your sick children or being sick yourself. Like pulling an all-nighter at work to make sure a project finishes or catching up for someone else. At times we just need a renewed measure of energy or rest. Continue reading

May 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Searching for the Lost

Luke 15:6

‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’

Life ChangeI know I’m weird – at least weirder than most people (no shouts of amen please). When I lose something – it is very hard for me to stop looking for it. I’ve searched for hours at times. I’ve been known to get up in the middle of the night – to look for something that I had misplaced. I woke just this past week to look for my wedding ring. I realized – in my sleep – that it wasn’t on my finger. Don’t ask how – but yes – I did.

Some know that I had lost my wedding band for a whole year. I rationalized in my mind that my grandchildren had dropped it in the trash can (by mistake) when I left it on my desk at home during my second shoulder surgery. I searched a good two months before I settled in my mind that it was gone. I thought it was long gone – and then a year later – almost to the day – I found it in an old pair of pajama bottoms I must have had on while recovering from the surgery (my wife says the meds must have had me loopy for me to not remember putting it in there). The joy at finding my ring was audible for all in the house. I was so excited – my wife wasn’t sure what had happened. Continue reading

May 14, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Small Fellowship Groups

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Life ChangeA men’s ministry I was blessed to work with in years gone by used a very similar passage as their base Scripture – Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. They believed that part of the benefit of being in fellowship together was the way they could enhance each other’s walk with Christ. They called themselves Iron to Iron. They met monthly for a meeting. Many of them were in the same weekly Bible Study and Sunday School class. We had 25-30 men in a weekly Bible Study and over 80 adults in one class for Sunday School. It was a time of great spiritual growth. A number of the men took road trips together to Promise Keeper events. One such event was Stand in the Gap in Washington – DC – on October 4, 1997. I was there and reports are – so were nearly 3 million men. It was a life experience I will never forget.

I mentioned recently – to our current Bible Studies – that part of the reason we spend the first portion of our studies talking about praises and prayer concerns is to get to know one another better. Small group ministries are very important. I would imagine that upwards of 50% of a typical congregation only attend worship each week with the church family. If folks only spend an hour plus with one another a week – with the pastor – with the family of God – at their local place of worship – they will not know each other well. Spending time in a small group where one could ask questions – where others can interject their thoughts – always opens up dialogue. Continue reading

May 10, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Love Is The Key

Deuteronomy 6:5

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.

Life ChangeLove is a core value in the Christian faith. Showing love to one another is a significant characteristic of our Christian walk – or at least it is supposed to be. I believe that love seems to be missing from our society these days and also from many who claim to follow Christ. Some folks who claim to be Christians – like some politicians today – tend to take sides on issues and show anything but love to those who disagree. Like some – we tend to forget that even when we disagree – we should show love. We should be able to disagree without being disagreeable.

I created a song for my grandchildren. I sing it with them whenever they’re here or at times on FaceTime. It goes like this – I love Pop, Pop loves me, and that’s the way it’s going to be! (Repeat until we get tired of singing it.) If I have written it before (and I know I have) – I just love being a Pop. I love my grand-children – five now with another on the way soon from South Korea! I love showing them how much I love them – by giving them my focus when they are around. I didn’t always do that with my children. I want to be a better Pop than I was a Dad.

In Christ we are called to love others – even as we love ourselves. Jesus was asked what were the greatest commandments – and part of His response is to love our neighbors – those around us – even as we love ourselves. Matthew 22:39 – And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Continue reading

May 9, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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