Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

A Sincere Heart

Hebrews 10:22

…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

112015 Ray McDonaldA lot of what God has been showing me during our prayer/fast has been about the heart. There has been nothing new from God – simply a reaffirming word that our hearts need to be pure and set on Jesus. All too often – I feel – we speak one thing with our words and walk something different with our hearts and actions – even in the church. We do not always represent Jesus well – now do we?

There are hurting people in this world folks. A woman came to the office Wednesday afternoon. She had a sad story and I sat and listened. She had previously been removed from the women’s shelter for her behavior. Even when trying to help – there are limits to what we – the untrained – can do. She is definitely a hurting person and I tried to sympathize with her plight and condition. It wasn’t easy for me – a pastor – with what I knew about her – to completely be in the moment!

I found myself battling my heart during the conversation. I knew of the previous removal from the shelter and I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt and listen intently. Her story made little sense to me – yet I tried to stay in the moment and listen. It wasn’t easy. Continue reading

March 11, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Looks at the Heart

1 Samuel 16:7c

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

112015 Ray McDonaldHow’s your prayer/fast going?  I’ve gotten some private messages – but would love to see some comments in the comment section.  What is God revealing to you?

Today’s passage is found in the midst of God’s rejection of Saul as King.  He was the people’s favorite because of his stature and his skill in battle.  But as Samuel and God discuss this subject – Samuel saw another that seemed to fit his view of what a king should look like in Eliab – an older brother of David.  David – of course – at his tender age – didn’t look anything like a king – but God knew his heart.  In the midst of this we read these verses: 1 Samuel 16:6-7 – 6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Continue reading

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus First!

Colossians 1:17

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 

112015 Ray McDonaldSo – how’s your Prayer/Fast going? I would love to read some comments on how your fast is going and how God is speaking to you through your prayer time. My fast is so-so at this point. I am still deciding what else to fast from since I changed my mind about Social Media for ministry purposes. My prayer life is growing each day.

Being more intentional about putting Jesus first in our lives is so very important. Times like our Prayer/Fast help to draw us to this truth. The more we remove the secular things from our lives – the more we add spiritual things to our lives – the closer we get to Jesus – and putting Him first. Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Here is today’s passage in partial context. Colossians 1:15-20 – 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Continue reading

February 12, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

21-Day Prayer/Fast – Day 9

Romans 12:1-2

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.  2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

01032015 RayDay 9 is upon us dear readers – the time is flying by.  During our prayer/fast we have written and discussed presenting ourselves to God and making ourselves a sacrifice for Jesus.  We have asked questions – like what are we willing to do to please God?  What are we willing to sacrifice for God?

Today’s passage in the 21-Day Fast devotional reading plan can be found here.  The reading is the 12th chapter of Romans – which starts with the two verses above.  These are two of my favorite verses in the Bible (the list is long but these are on it).  They speak about offering God ourselves – our bodies – and even our souls!  All that we have and all that we are – for sure.  Are we willing to give God our all?

Share some of your thoughts in the comments section – bless others with your questions or responses and see what God will do with us.  Seek His face and desire His grace and offer your all to Jesus!

Continue reading

January 13, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

November Fast – Week Three

Matthew 4:1-2

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

profileOK – this fasting stuff is starting to get on my nerves.  Not the spending more time with Jesus part (loving that part) – but the fasting from stuff part.  The first week I fasted from snacks and candies.  As the week progressed I slipped once with some potato chips at a church luncheon (put them on my plate without even thinking about it – ugh).  The second week I added fast foods to my list while trying to continue with the snacks and candies fast.  At another church dinner (do you see a pattern here) I had a dessert and someone said something to me.  I mean – desserts are not snacks or candies right – but they thought I said I was fasting from sweets (which I did not say).  When you broadcast your fast there are eyes everywhere!! Continue reading

November 15, 2013 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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