Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Prayer/Fast Is Coming to a Close

Luke 5:16

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Life ChangeSo – how’s your prayer/fast going for the month of November? Were you able to find more time to spend time with Jesus? Did your prayer life improve? Did you find new places to pray? Did you dig deeper into your relationship with Jesus? Were you able to put some bad habits in the rearview mirror of your life? How’s your devotional life? Did you listen to new podcasts or teachings?

Two days left – today and tomorrow – and the November prayer/fast will be completed. I hope I wasn’t on the journey alone. I hope some folks have experienced the blessings that come from a prayer/fast. Some of the items I fasted from have been easy. For instance – cutting out certain foods and striving to stay faithful to my eating plan – my health journey – has been a blessing. I’ve cut certain food items out of my diet all together and I feel great. I hope I can keep them out moving forward. By-the-way – I’m down another 5 pounds for the month! Continue reading

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November 29, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Day Is Coming!

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

fullsizeoutput_ffeThanksgiving comes once a year – as does Christmas – and Easter. Yet we don’t have to limit our thankfulness to one day – do we? If your family is like mine – when we gather to give thanks over the bounty on Thanksgiving – we pause to give thanks for something specific – everyone at the table. It is a touching time – and watching our family age before our eyes – year after year – brings a nostalgic note too. Listening to what the girls have shared over the years and now what the grandchildren will share has been and is a blessing. We are always thankful for the way God touches our lives.

I’m the crier in the family. An example of my inability to hold back my tears can be seen in most any family gathering. I remember at a special birthday for my wife – as others were sharing – I tried to share my heart and the tears flowed. Tears will flow for most any reason from my eyes. With the holidays coming I will shed tears when I watch It’s a Wonderful Life for the 200th time – and even while watching Charlie Brown Christmas – tears will flow.

Thanksgiving is a family time for our family and we will gather once again – the Lord willing. Holidays are especially hard for me now that mom and dad have gone to be with Jesus. Dad loved Christmas so much – that holiday is especially difficult for me these days. Continue reading

November 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Are We Weak? Let’s Seek God’s Help!

Romans 8:26

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

fullsizeoutput_ffeYesterday I began my month-long prayer/fast. Am I alone or has someone joined me? I want company!!

Two things so far in my fast department. First – I am fasting from negativity on social media. During a heated mid-term election’s last week – this is not easy. Even after the election – it will not be easy. I’m sure all of my preferred candidates will not get elected – and someone will post something negative. Second – I am fasting from any food not on my health plan. Being on a health journey is not easy to begin with – but holding fast to the plan is even harder. I’m trying to coach and encourage others – so I MUST walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Yes – I have lost 37 pounds in less than 4 months – but how much healthier might I be if I had walked the walk 100%? We’ll see what November brings. Pray for me please! Continue reading

November 2, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Plan for the Prayer/Fast

Isaiah 40:29

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

fullsizeoutput_ffeMy daughters are all trying to be healthy. I’m proud of them in so many ways – but their desire to be healthy is one of the reasons for sure. One of my daughters is really into working out and keeping her body in top shape. She needs to do so for her job – but besides that she is into being healthy. She sticks to a strict diet and goes to the gym almost daily. She is into cross-training now and loves it. She has great control over her physical desires when it comes to her physical body. I want that! Another daughter has just lost 40 pounds and is really starting to look like she did a decade or more ago. She recently fit into her wedding gown for a surprise to her husband. My third daughter stays in shape chasing after 3 children – soon to be 4. They all make me proud in so many ways. I want to be like them in some ways!

Like many of us – I have tried to lose weight for years now – even decades. I have always blamed my weight on three things (do they sound familiar?) – 1) medication I take to combat Tourette Syndrome – 2) age and genetics (I’m big boned) – and 3) a lack of will power. I can’t change number one (although I continue to pray for God to heal me). Number two is an excuse – because many people over 60 are in much better shape (and my daughters have half of my genetics and they are improving their health all the time). I’m not sure I can do much about my will power either – I either have it or I don’t. So there doesn’t seem to be any good reason! At least none that hold water. Continue reading

October 30, 2018 Posted by | Build, 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

Seeking Wisdom During Our Prayer/Fast

James 1:5

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

fullsizeoutput_ffeWisdom is something we should all seek after – shouldn’t we? Godly wisdom is something that God wants to give to us – generously – according to today’s passage. Why wouldn’t we seek after it? Why would we think we could survive on our own wisdom? Remember the last time we did…?

Godly wisdom is something we should seek after for sure. It is something I will be seeking after during our November Prayer/Fast. Wisdom to discern God’s will in my life would be amazing – but I will take whatever type of wisdom God wishes to share with me. As we seek God – I pray that we will also seek God’s will and wisdom in our lives. Continue reading

October 23, 2018 Posted by | Build, 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

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