Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Search Our Hearts Dear Lord!

Psalm 139:23

Search me, God, and know my heart;

Who is it that knows you better than any other? That might be a curious question and the Sunday School answer would be Jesus for sure. But think about it for a moment. If you’re married – as I have been for nearly 38 years – your spouse might know you pretty well. If your children have any age on them – mine are 35 and nearly 30 (twins) – they might know you pretty well. If you worked in the same place for a few decades – your co-workers might know you pretty well too. Your parents – if they are still alive – might know you pretty well also.

Unless we are hermits – there are those in our life who know us pretty well. Well enough in some cases to guess how we will react to certain things – or even finish our sentences (isn’t that scary?). I perform a lot of funerals and often friends and family have some of the same stories about their loved one. They laugh and cry at the same memories. Yet – no one knows us like we know us and know one knows us like God knows us. We can hide so much from others – our deepest thoughts – yet we know them and God knows them. We can put on a show or a façade for many who see us – even on a regular basis – but we can hide from God. Continue reading

April 12, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Search My Heart – Test Me – Know Me

Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

IMG_0301This week (this Sunday actually) – my wife and I will celebrate 35 years of marriage (I’ve been married 10 years longer than I was single before getting married – wow). Occasionally she thinks she knows me. At times – she makes statements that are so off base – about me – that I have to laugh. I think she tries to analyze me – she is a professional at it. At times – she is right on point (she really does know me pretty well – at times).

Is there someone in your life that you know well? Is there someone that knows you well? Who knows you better than any other? Of course an answer might be – I know me better than any other. Another answer might be my spouse or a close friend knows me better than any other! But of course – the Sunday School answer is that God knows me better than anyone else – even better than I know myself. Continue reading

July 28, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , | Leave a comment

Walk Like Jesus – Press On Toward the Goal!

Philippians 3:13-14

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

IMG_0301Last Sunday – during the sermon – I asked if anyone was perfect. If anyone was perfect they were asked to raise their hand. It was not a surprise to me that no one lifted a hand – not even one – because – on our own – we are nowhere near perfect. Our sin nature – although overcome by the spiritual nature we put on in Christ – still rears its ugly head from time to time in our lives. Even though we want to be obedient to God – we often fail. We do what we do not want to do and do not do what we want to do (so says Paul in Romans 7:15).

During the 21-Day Prayer/Fast – our imperfect nature – or should I say my imperfect nature – surfaced a number of times. I struggled at times with my food intake and at times with my social media fast. It was not easy – and yet I knew what I should be doing and what I should not be doing. The same can be said as I strive to lose more weight – I know what not to eat – yet at times I seem to yearn for just what I shouldn’t have for sure. I know I am alone in this area! Continue reading

January 27, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Search Me Dear Lord!

Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgThe Psalmist – David – knew what it meant to follow God.  In many of his Psalms he wrote with the knowledge of his trade – that of being a shepherd.  The sheep of the flock follow after the shepherd because the shepherd provides for them – Psalm 23:1 – The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

This Psalm came to mind.  I try to think on it many mornings.  Recently I was looking at Ephesians 2:11-22.  In that section and in the verses before it Paul is trying to share the relationship the Gentile believers have in Christ.  He has spent the first two chapters giving them encouragement in this relationship – teaching them that this relationship is a gift from God for them.  This was amazing news to them – since Jewish leaders for generations had informed them that they were second-class (if that) citizens.  The desired result is a heart of gratitude to Christ that would result in a changed life – a life given over to Jesus. Continue reading

July 2, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , | Leave a comment

Search Me and Know Me Lord!

Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

The Psalmist – David – knew what it meant to follow God.  In many of his Psalms he wrote with the knowledge of his trade – that of being a shepherd.  The sheep of the flock follow after the shepherd because the shepherd provides for them – Psalm 23:1 – The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

This Psalm came to mind this morning as I awoke early.  I try to think on it most mornings.  Last night in our Ephesians Study at Mt. Oak we covered Ephesians 2:11-22.  In that section and in the verses before it Paul is trying to share the relationship the Gentile believers have in Christ.  He has spent the first two chapters giving them encouragement in this relationship – teaching them that this relationship is a gift from God for them.  This was amazing news to them – since they had been told by the Jewish leaders for generations that they were second class (if that) citizens.  The desired result is a heart of gratitude to Christ that would result in a changed life – a life given over to Jesus.

As Paul continues in Ephesians – he will begin to challenge the believers to holy living – as a response to this free gift they have been given by Christ.  It is in this light that today’s passage comes to mind this morning.  It is an awesome prayer we should pray often.  Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Just think how praying this prayer in the morning might impact your day.  What if everyone at Mt. Oak or in your local church prayed this prayer each morning?  What if the Body of Christ in every corner of the world would pray this prayer each morning?  How do you imagine it would impact you and other believers and the non-believers in your life as they saw a changed life in you?

Try praying it just now – that God would search your inner most thoughts and being and show you where sin lives and lead you to overcome it in Christ.  I believe this prayer – prayed with a sincere heart – will result in a deeper walk with Jesus and a more sanctified vessel – where Jesus will be seen more clearly!  After all – isn’t that what we are to strive for in the faith – becoming a vessel where others will see Jesus!

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

Tweet this Blog Post

Please continue to pray for General Conference 2012 which is coming to a close this week in Tampa, Florida.  Watch live streaming on the following link: http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.8033183/k.8586/General_Conference_2012_Live.htm.

May 3, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: