Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Do We Have Anxiety?

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

82015 RayWhat are we anxious about today in our lives?  Are we anxious about a child’s medical concerns or our own medical concerns?  Are we anxious about our job or our finances?  Are we anxious about the days as they unfold before us? Remember Jesus’ teachings on this subject – Matthew 6:34 – Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

From time to time we talk about dark places in our lives – and how life doesn’t always work out the way we planned.  We’ve talked about our hope not being based on temporal things but on the eternal (not the short part of the rope but the long end).  Our hopes are based on the eternal life found in Christ.  He didn’t remain in the grave but rose and He also ascended to the right hand of the Father. Continue reading

November 5, 2015 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Give Thanks – And Don’t Worry

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. NIV84

profileSuch catch phrase as what, me worry or don’t worry, be happy have graced our airways over the years.  The world knows all about worry and how many of us suffer with it.  On Thanksgiving Morning – while some of us are freezing ourselves on the Turkey Trot to support LARS – what are you worried about or what are you anxious about?

Another translation of this passage reads this way – Matthew 6:34 – “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ESV Worry and anxiousness are interchangeable it seems. Continue reading

November 28, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Battle Belongs to God

2 Chronicles 20:15c

For the battle is not yours, but God’s. NIV84

profileSome of us have a tendency to take everything personal and some of us try to tackle everything ourselves.  For instance – God tells us to give Him our burdens and we take them back.  Matthew 11:28-30 – 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” NIV84 What seems to happen all too often is we offer our burdens to God only to take them up again as we get off our knees.  We try to leave them at the altar rail only to pick them up again as we rise.

We’re reminded often in Scripture that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual foes.  Ephesians 6:12 – For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. NIV84  We cannot fight the fight against a spiritual foe with human means. Continue reading

October 9, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

God Restores Our Soul

Psalm 23:3, Matthew 11:29

He restores my soul

And you will find rest for your souls

RevRayRESTOne time I asked a group of people if any one present had life all figured out – and no one raised their hand.  I led a funeral where I confessed to not having full understanding and not having the answers to all of life’s questions (no one was surprised).  I shared with several families over the last month or so that life at times is difficult and hard.  I believe we all have rough and tough times in our lives.  We all need rest!  I know I do and I know of friends that need rest as well!

I like Psalm 23 – and how the Psalmist finds restoration for his soul in a relationship with God.  It is through our deepening relationship with Jesus – with God – that we can find rest.  Let’s read one of today’s passages in context.  Psalms 23:1-6 – 1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  The Psalmist – David – knows that it is his shepherd that restores his soul! Continue reading

April 30, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walking the Path Christ Walked

1 John 2:6

Whoever claims to live in him (Jesus) must walk as Jesus did.

RayBlogWhat path do we walk each day?  Do we even determine our path or is it determined for us?  What journey are we on these days?  I will go back to Friday’s devotional and remind us to be in the Word each and every day.  It is in the Word of God that we will find the path that Jesus walked and thus the path that we should walk.  John writes in his Epistle – 1 John 2:6 – Whoever claims to live in him (Jesus) must walk as Jesus did.

Last Friday we wrote about walking in the light of the Word of God.  In order to walk in darkness we need the light to shine on our path – the direction in which we walk.  But once the light is shining we need to know which path to take – because there is often more than one path to choose.  Godly discernment is so very important and we can find it through reading the Word of God.

I remember a foolish path I took as a young adult.  I had just purchased a Jeep Cherokee and thought – foolishly – that I could take it anywhere!  We were visiting a friend and I decided – in the night and in the deep snow.  I decided I would take my friend down a path behind his house to test out the 4-wheel drive.  We barreled down the path which was only marked by where the trees were not!  At the bottom my friend gave out a shout!  We had narrowly made it over a bridge I didn’t even know was there over a creek I had not seen!  The path we take can lead us in directions we are not sure of and can result in consequences we are not prepared to tackle!  (It is another story to tell you how we got up from the bottom of the path back to the house).

Jesus invites us to walk with Him on His path – He even says He will walk with us as we follow His path.  Matthew 11:28-30 – 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

As Jesus finished washing His disciples’ feet – as the time for the end of His earthly life nearing – Jesus told His disciples to follow His example.  John 13:15 – I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

Paul was such a follower of Christ that he called upon those who read his letters to follow Christ as he followed Christ.  1 Corinthians 11:1 – Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.  Paul also encourages others to be imitators of God through Christ’s example.  Ephesians 5:1-2 – 1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

For those who suffer for righteousness – following the example of Christ – Peter had these words.  1 Peter 2:20b-21 – 20b But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Today – even as in the day of the Apostles – the challenge is to walk with Jesus – following His steps – His path.  Allow the Word of God to not only shine in the darkness of the sinful world we live in but also to shine on the path that Jesus walked.  A good way to get into the Word each day is by reading a regular – scheduled – planned reading assignment.  You can find many at https://www.youversion.com/reading-plans.  Currently I am reading a yearly reading plan – Draw Near – 365 Guides to Greater Intimacy with God and a 21 day reading plan – Lead Like Jesus: 21 Days of Leadership.  Try one – you will find it very uplifting and it will shine the light of Christ in your heart and on your day.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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January 28, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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