Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 1 of Lent 2018

Matthew 21:9-11

9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” 10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

For those who are don’t keep up with the Christian Calendar – today marks the start of Lent. Lent is the 40 days prior to Easter. It is normally a time of denying oneself of something – depriving oneself of a pleasure or a desire – as a way of connecting with Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness after His baptism. It is also a walk toward the cross – traditionally ending with Holy Week and Easter.

Today’s passage is part of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday. We will remember Palm Sunday on March 25th this year. Stay tuned for more details about Lent in the days to come. Continue reading

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February 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How’s Our Prayer Life?

Psalm 5:3

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

I ask this question often and I’ll continue to ask it – How’s our prayer life? I mean it! When do we spend time in prayer? How long do we spend in prayer? What do we mention in our prayers? How essential is our prayer life – to us?

The Psalmist writes: In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

If we don’t have a regular prayer time or devotion time – try what the Psalmist mentions and spend time in the morning – first thing. I know it is tough for some. For instance – if you are a single parent and you have children to get ready for school before you go to work – it might be tough finding even 5 minutes to sit before the Lord. If you rise at 4 or 5 am to go to work – turning over for that last 5 minutes – hitting snooze on your alarm can be the best few moments. But I believe if we made it a habit (not all habits are bad) to spend even just 5 minutes first thing in the morning before God we would shortly notice the difference in our day. Continue reading

January 22, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Schemes of the Devil

1 Peter 5:8-9

8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Yesterday – we preached on keeping the faith and spreading our faith. We also preached about the devil’s schemes. This morning I feel compelled (obligated, duty-bound) to call on all who will to pray for the church and for your pastors and leaders. Whichever church you may attend – please pray for your church family and leaders. According to Scripture we are to be awake and aware and ready: 1 Peter 5:8-98 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith,

The devil is out there and wants nothing more than to devour the Church! Part of standing firm is to stay in prayer together. Pray that the devil not be given even a foothold in our lives and in the church. As Scripture says; Ephesians 4:25-2825 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Continue reading

November 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How To Turn From Addictions

James 4:7

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Some of us have addictive personalities or makeups. Our constitution is not strong enough – at times – to withstand the attraction of what we desire. We can be manipulated by things or persons to do things we wouldn’t ordinarily do if it weren’t for that which we become addicted.

For some of us it is hard to resist things we desire. For some – alcohol or drugs become substances that can control our lives. We try to fight the attraction – but often we are too weak to stand opposed to our desires. We try to dry out – we try rehab – we try going cold turkey – and for some it works – but for many of us – it doesn’t. Drugs and alcohol can control our lives and even take our life.

For some of us it is hard to resist things we desire. For some – food is an addiction. I know we must eat to survive – but for some of us – we eat beyond survival. For some – we are addicted to food. There is an old saying – eat to live – don’t live to eat. Over eating can not only control our lives – it can even take our life Continue reading

September 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Devote Ourselves To Prayer

Colossians 4:2

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Sunday we began both worship services with prayer. The President of the United States (POTUS) called us to a time of prayer. That wasn’t the reason we prayed – but it was nice to hear our President call the nation to prayer. We need it.

We began the first service with a time of prayer for all impacted by hurricane Harvey. We prayed for peace around the world – naming the unrest in North Korea – and for the hearts and minds of world leaders – including our President. Later in the service – after hearing praise and prayer concerns we had a time of prayer for our relatives in need – for a college student heading back to Houston – for two members with medical issues and for others.

At our second service we began with a powerful prayer by one of our worship team and later – again after hearing praises and prayer concerns – we prayed for those impacted by Harvey and for world leaders – naming our President and the unrest in North Korea. We began our second prayer time by laying hands on a member who was present and in need of healing. Prayer is so powerful. Continue reading

September 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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