Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 4 of Lent 2018

Mark 11:23

“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

Day 4 of the Lenten reading is a remarkable (did you see what I did there) passage. It holds a number of curiosities for me. I only have time today to deal with the above verse. There is the cursing of the fig tree – the overturning of the tables of the money changers in the temple – the declaration that the house of the Lord was a place of prayer not a ten of robbers – the withered tree – and today’s verse – “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

I could spend a week in this section of Scripture and still not fully unpack it – I’m sure. What the final statement says – that if we believe and not doubt mountains will be moved to the sea is powerful. Continue reading

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February 17, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 2 of Lent 2018

John 12:3

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Today is day 2 of Lent – 2018. The story today for me is about sacrifice – the sacrifice that Mary (not the Virgin Mary) was willing to make for Jesus. Mary (might have been the woman caught in adultery – obviously someone who have known Jesus and His grace) entered a dinner given in Jesus’ honor. She offered Him a gift – a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; and poured it over His head. It was a lavish gift. It was a gift that showed great sacrifice on her part.

The question I thought of today as I read this story was – what am I willing to sacrifice for Jesus? In a sermon not too long ago I asked the question – what does it cost us to follow Jesus? My hope is that as we read today’s Lenten passage we will ask what we are willing to give up – not just for Lent – but for Jesus? Continue reading

February 15, 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

Loving Our Enemies

Matthew 5:44

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

The family was over on Sunday – at least most of it. It was a neat time. I was in my glory holding first one grandchild and then another. At one time I had three of them sitting with me (on me) watching a movie on the TV (a Troll movie). It was such a blessing.

Loving on your grandchildren is so easy. As a matter of fact – loving on anyone who loves you back is easy. I really enjoying cuddling with the grands and I enjoy showing love to my daughters and to my wife. I often don’t have trouble showing love to others as well – with hugs and kind words. What gets hard is showing love to those I know do not love me.

Are there folks in our lives that we might consider enemies? When I think of the word enemies – I often think of the Germans in WWII or Communists who threaten our way of life or ISIS who threatens world peace with terrorism. Enemies seem to be the worst of the worst. They are mean and contrary to all that is sacred or holy (or so it seems). Continue reading

February 13, 2018 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love Deeply

1 Peter 4:8

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

The 1st year anniversary of my mother’s passing was just a couple of days ago. It was a sad day for me – I shed more than a few tears. Mom always showered her children with love. She loved her children deeply – but she loved her man – my father – even more so. She gave of herself in every way so that we would feel cared for and loved. At times I would even say she suffered for us.

In a few months I will remember my father’s passing 6 years ago. Dad loved mom and his children deeply. He worked several jobs – at a time – to provide for his family. He worked hard to show his deep love for his family. At times I would even say he suffered for us.

This summer my wife and I will celebrate 38 years of marriage – if she stays with me till August (LOL). We’re already talking about what we will do to celebrate our 40th. My wife loves her children and her husband deeply. We also love our grandchildren deeply. At times we suffer for them all. Continue reading

February 8, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lent Is Coming Soon!

Matthew 26:35

Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

Lent is coming soon. It begins on Wednesday – February 14th – Ash Wednesday. That morning we will be making the sign of the cross on the foreheads of those who come into our parking lot from 6-7 am (with ashes). We will also offer a blessing. This is a great way – throughout your day to witness your faith to others. Last year there were over 30 people who came by. Join us on your way to work. If you come after 7 am – come into the office – I will be there!

Lent – according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is defined as – a period of 40 days before Easter during which many Christians do not eat certain foods or do certain pleasurable activities as a way of remembering the suffering of Jesus Christ.

Today’s passage is about Peter and the disciples saying they would not deny Christ – that they would actually die with Jesus if need be. Here is today’s passage in partial context. Matthew 26:30-39 – 30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same. 36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Continue reading

February 7, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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