Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

I Simply Want To Praise The Lord!

Psalm 103:2

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits

RayMcDThis morning I simply want to praise the Lord! I’ve faced a number of rough days in my life – some recently. I’m sure many of our readers have as well. Some of the members in the church I serve are facing rough times right now! Life is often rough and often doesn’t line up like we would want it to. Some of our troubles are caused by our sin and some by the sin of others. However they arrive – we all face tough times in our lives. This morning I simply want to praise the Lord!

Today’s passage says – praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Instead of focusing on the issues of life – and there are many – the passage reminds us to focus on the benefits of our Lord. I want to break down the first twelve verses of this Psalm today – repeating it in a paraphrase type fashion. Continue reading

December 5, 2016 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let The Holy Spirit Transform Us

Matthew 22:37-38

37 Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

RayMcDI thought of this passage the other day. I heard a pastor once ask – the question isn’t the one we typically hear – how much of the Holy Spirit do we have? The question should be – how much of you have we allowed the Holy Spirit to have? He also reminded us that the Holy Spirit comes to transform us – to change us – to make us holy.

As I think about today’s passage I begin to think – how committed are we to God? We talk about being saved – but are we only after someone to save us from Hell? Isn’t Jesus also our Lord – our Master? If the Holy Spirit dwells in us through this salvation – what difference are we allowing Him to make in us – in our lives?

I know some Christians who have made radical changes in their lives. Some have stopped smoking when they came to Christ. Some have cleaned up their language – no longer sounding like sailors. Some have turned from drug addictions. Some have turned from pornography. Some have turned from same-sex relations or extra-marital relations. Some have made radical changes in their lives because of Christ in their lives – because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Continue reading

November 21, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keeping Our Eyes On The Lord

Psalm 16:8

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

RevRayMcWhen I was growing up – learning to play baseball – I was told many times – hitting or catching – to keep my eyes on the ball. Watch the ball all the way to the glove or to the bat! Keep your eyes on the ball was a common phrase. In many sports – keeping your eye on the ball or the goal is important.

When I was growing up – setting goals for my life – I was often told to – keep my eye on the goal. When it took me five years to get through four years of college (working my way through school – paying my way as I went – working several jobs) – I was reminded by my dad to keep my eyes on the goal of graduating.

When I was growing up – I often had to look down the road at goals I had set – to keep focused. I imagine I am not alone. I imagine that many of us set goals and aimed at them in life. Continue reading

June 30, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Fear of the Lord!

Matthew 10:28

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

IMG_0435-0In this day an age – we often hear about politicians who have special interest groups supporting them. These special interest groups often try to put pressure on the candidates to vote certain ways or to take a stand on issues the way they would support. Some candidates fear their power and fear not getting their money!

One candidate for President this year – for the most part – has financed his own campaign – according to reports. It is what endears him to some voters – believing that he will vote the way he feels is right – not as special interest groups or supporters suggest. If a candidate is beholding to someone or some interest group – that can put real pressure on them as they serve.

In our society – often small – even tiny – segments of our culture can put pressure on politicians to get laws and decisions passed that support them and their interests. We see this all the time. We see this in church life as well at times. Continue reading

May 31, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BFFs

Hebrews 13:5

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

112015 Ray McDonaldDo any of us have longtime friends?  Friends we have had like for forever it seems? On Facebook – some folks call long time friends BFFs – Best Friends Forever.  They have even started ranking BBFs by calling them BFF1 or BFF2 (I kid you not).

My children were blessed more than most pastor’s children – because we were at one church for such a long time (24 years).  They were able to start school (pre-school) and end High School with some of the same friends throughout.  It was amazing for them.  Some of their friends have been there for them for all that time – even as they finished college – married – and started families.  We have had their friends in and out of our home for so long we feel like they are part of our family. Continue reading

November 23, 2015 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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