Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Search Me – Oh God – And Know My Heart

Psalm 139:23

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

An actor was famous for saying – who loves you baby. Of course I’m talking about Telly Savalas when he played the lollypop loving lead role in the detective show Kojak (1973-1978). Knowing who loves you is important. I remember in grade school when girls sent notes to boys asking them if they liked them. We have a need to know who loves us – who likes us – how people feel about us.

A better question than who loves us or likes us is whom do we love or like? Some men have a hard time saying I love you to their wife or children. Knowing whom we love/like and being able to express it is important.

The word love – at times – flows too easily for some. Young men say it to young women in order to sway them to like them back or give them special attention. We might say we love someone – even saying we love Jesus – but as my mom would say – the proof is in the pudding or words are nice but actions speak louder than words.

Do we love God? Do we really love God more than anything or anyone? In scripture we are told to love God with all that we have and all that we are. Mark 12:30 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Continue reading

March 24, 2017 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

Husbands – We’re Called To Love Our Wives

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. NIV

Brothers – do you love your wives? Is loving your wife first and foremost in your mind? I posted something this week on Facebook – the day some women didn’t show up for work. Something I ponder. Why would my wife want to be equal with me? From where I sit that would be a demotion in status on her part! I don’t think of my wife as an equal – she is far above and beyond me – I treasure her.

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church — a love marked by giving, not getting. The Message

Too many people don’t get this far in the passage.  Most folks get stuck with the 22nd verse.

Ephesians 5:22 – Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Continue reading

March 10, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love Never Fails

1 Corinthians 13:7-8

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

This summer my wife and I will celebrate 37 years of marriage. How she has stayed with me this long is only a blessing from God for sure. Her love never seems to fail. There is a standard joke among the women in our family. With the passing of my mom – it came out at her funeral. We would often say – Nan loves her man. My mother loved my father something fierce. Nothing could come between her and her man! (I’m not saying they never had disagreements because they did).

Growing up I had such a good example of a mom and dad – a husband and wife. They had an endearing love that held them together – as the saying goes – through thick and thin. They are finally back together in heaven – without the old bodies that hindered their last years. Continue reading

March 9, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Real Love Never Fails

1 Corinthians 13:8a

Love never fails.

RayMcDIn the last few years of my ministry – maybe even most years of my ministry – I have preached on marriage. Marriage is used in the Bible several times to express the relationship we are to have with Christ. Today I want to touch on a Scripture that is a portion of what is often read at weddings. This phrase is a portion of 1 Corinthians 13:8. They are such powerful words – Love never fails. In what is commonly called the Love Chapter – often read at weddings as I wrote earlier – we get a glimpse of God’s love. Let’s read a broader section of this chapter. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a – 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8a Love never fails.

Our love – in marriage – and in our everyday life – should model God’s perfect love. Paul wrote this in the midst of a teaching about the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). He was writing about the awesome power of God’s gifting for the church. Before his teaching about the gifts he writes: 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 – 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. Continue reading

February 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Showing Love At A Time Like This

Romans 8:37

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

RayMcDSome of us – the older persons for sure – grew up in an era when men had a hard time showing their emotions.  Even in today’s society it is not unusual for some men to have a hard time saying I love you to their spouse – their children – family – or others. Some women have a hard time as well – but it seems to come more naturally for them. Expressing our feelings – our love and our emotions – shouldn’t be so hard.

Along the lines of some men having a hard time saying they love the ones they do love – it is not uncommon to hear at a funeral for a dad – he may not have said it very often if at all – but I knew my father loved me.

At funerals I often remind people to not wait to say I love you to those they love – because the opportunities might be short – and the end can come unexpectedly. A clergy friend of mine – four years my junior – died suddenly of a heart attack – here one moment and gone the next.  We all know of people who died suddenly – and maybe we had some regrets about not saying we loved them enough – if at all. Same thing for people holding grudges against those they love. It is often heard at funerals – the last time we spoke we had an argument – and then I find out that the argument was months – even years ago at times. Continue reading

February 1, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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