Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Have We Learned To Be Content?

Philippians 4:11

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

Life ChangeThink about this question for a moment. Have we ever been content? Have we ever had enough? Have we ever been satisfied? When is enough – enough? How much do we need? Are we storing up more than we need?

Have we ever been content? At times – being content might take away our drive – our desire – to accomplish more. But the contentment that Paul is writing about in today’s passage has to do with things – learning to be content with the things we have or don’t have.

One church I served went to Appalachia each summer. A friend – 92 – who just died this week – went for many of those years. We sent teams to ASP (Appalachia Service Project) each summer. We learned just how much we had and how much we take for granted. It really helped us think about things in a different way. We had way more than almost everyone we served – and yet they were happy and often content.

I remember working on a coal miner’s shack in the mountains of Tennessee. That family had made their home out of this old minor’s shack. The outside boards had big gaps between them and the Tennessee winter winds and cold made it very hard to keep the shack warm. They had a pot belly wood stove in the middle of this shack and the ceiling above it was black from how hot they had to keep the fire to offset the winter cold. In this home we studded out the walls, installed insulation and put drywall up. Our efforts were to help them stay warmer in the winter. It was a small help – yet they were very appreciative of our efforts. I know they were warmer that following winter. Continue reading

October 29, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Have You Ever Waited For Someone?

Philippians 3:20

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amHave you ever waited for someone? I remember – when I was a child – going on home visits with my parents. Dad was – of course – a pastor – and he and mom would go visiting from time-to-time and take me along (my sister too I guess). They would talk way into the night – or so it seemed. I remember – some through memory and some through stories and pictures – waiting for them to be ready to leave. Often – I would curl up somewhere and go to sleep. They told me I fell asleep under a coffee table – in a chest with blankets – and in other places as well. I guess I would tire of waiting for them and took it upon myself to know it was time for me to go to sleep. Do you like waiting for people?

Have you ever waited for someone? I remember – when I was first married – going shopping with my bride. She would go into a section of the store and I would find a seat nearby and wait. She might come out and say – do you like this – or – how do I look in this? I learned fast the correct answer (you’ll need to come for counseling – young men – to learn that answer). Soon – I learned to wait in the car where I could take a nap. I loved taking naps! Do you like waiting for people? Continue reading

October 18, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Is The Very Word of God

Luke 11:28

Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amOur denomination has a number of issues. One of the issues we seem to have is a different understanding of the Bible. For me – it is very clear – the Bible is the inspired – inerrant – infallible Word of God.

For some – the Bible is a good book where God’s Word can be found. Those who believe this way also think new revelation – new experiences – can supersede the Bible. The Mormons – for instance – believe the Book of Mormon supersedes the Bible. Others believe that the Holy Spirit is giving new revelation that supersedes the written Word. Of course – I do not agree with these understandings. I believe that the Holy Spirit will help us understand the written Word of God and that no revelation from the Holy Spirit will conflict with the written Word of God. The Holy Spirit will remind us of the teachings of Jesus and continue to teach us – but not in a new revelation that is contrary to the written Word. John records Jesus putting it this way – John 14:26 – But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Continue reading

October 7, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Turn To Jesus Daily

Ephesians 3:20

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amDear readers – have you ever been down? Being down doesn’t mean you are depressed – but it does mean that some things are not going your way. It can lead to depression if not headed off for sure.

If you’re a sports fan – maybe you get down when your favorite team loses (like a Redskin fan this year or the Raven fans the last two weeks). If you work outside the home – maybe you get down when you have a hard day with work or those you work with or serve. If you work from home – maybe the children have had a bad day and that gets you down or some other issue has arisen.

Have you ever been down? As a pastor I try to help people when they are down. I have worked with addicts who are battling for sobriety – and at times that can get us down. I have worked with folks in broken relationships – and we all know that can get us down. I have worked with fellow pastors who have had trouble in their places of service – and I know what that feels like and believe me – it can get you down. I know that I have had times of near depression or maybe even depression – while working on my own issues or helping others work on their issues. Continue reading

September 30, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Do Not Walk Alone!

2 Timothy 4:17

But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amHave you ever been in a tough place because of your faith? A place where the enemy was out to get you? A place where those around you were beating on you – seemingly from all angles? A place where there seemed to be no way to safety? I would imagine we have all faced such times. We recently talked about witnessing our faith in our Bible studies and when we do so in an unsaved world – we will come under attack. Remember the words from yesterday’s devotion and from our Lord – John 15:18 – If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

When I think of being attacked for my faith I think of the stories in the Bible of Daniel and of Shadrach – Meshach and Abednego. Daniel was thrown into a Lion’s den – a den filled with very hungry lions! The three boys were thrown into a fiery furnace – so hot that the heat killed those taking them to the furnace. Each time it was because they were being faithful to God and wouldn’t disobey Him. Each time God delivered them – or as Paul writes – stood at my side and gave me strength. Continue reading

September 12, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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