Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Growing Spiritually

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.

fullsizeoutput_ffeI greet you in the name of Jesus – my Lord – my Savior – and my dear friend. I write to encourage you this day in your walk with Jesus. We’ve often encouraged the congregation (and myself with the mirror before me) – about building our spiritual lives (realizing our need for Jesus). We want to encourage those who would hear to take the time to build their spiritual lives and to develop a deeper walk with Jesus. We want to urge people to take advantage of the many opportunities to eat spiritual food and to grow stronger.

I write to encourage us to NOT rely on our pastor(s) to have knowledge of the Word and a relationship with Jesus! I write to encourage us to regularly search the Word and to pray on every occasion. Our faith cannot be based on our parent’s – our grandparent’s – our pastor’s – or anyone else’s faith. Each of us must develop our own walk with Jesus. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians that we are to always have joy and to test everything.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 – 16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil. Continue reading

November 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Joy of the Lord

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

RayMcDHappiness is circumstantially driven – while Joy is spiritually derived. This is one of my favorite sayings. I believe I created it some 35 plus years ago. When I did a Google search for these words – the first and only post that matches is this devotional thought I posted online last year. I’ve used that phrase for 3-4 decades.

The meaning of the phrase is that things or circumstances make us Happy – but Joy comes from our relationship with Jesus. Happiness is temporary – while Joy is lasting – even eternal. Continue reading

August 24, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Is All About Relationships

1 Peter 3:9

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

It is all about relationships! The older I get – the more years I have been in ministry (42 full years this summer) – the more life I live – the more I am convinced it is all about relationships.

It is all about relationships! Our relationship with Jesus is not about the dos and don’ts. It is not about how often we attend worship. It is not about what we give to the church. It is not about how often we sin or how little we sin. All of these are measurable things for sure and Christians will strive to lessen sin in their lives. Christians will attend worship – as often as possible – to be in the fellowship of other believers and to praise God (and worship is not just done in the Sanctuary on Sundays). Christians are called to tithe and give even more to the poor and the needy.

It is all about relationships! Our relationship with Jesus is just that – it is about our relationship. Our prayer life is our lifeline – our communication with God. Our devotional life is the foundation of our relationship with Jesus. How much time we spend – and the quality of that time is so important. Continue reading

July 27, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Changes Your Countenance?

Exodus 34:29
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.

82015 RayWhat brings a smile to your face? Of course the first answer I would give these days is spending time with my grandchildren (and children) (see my granddaughter Scarlett on the Radio Flyer). Another answer might be a long winning streak by the Baltimore Ravens or Washington Redskins (even a win would be great).  Still another might be time spent with my wife (we IMG_0416have the children and grandchildren in our home this weekend (minus a couple of husbands).  I could get very pastoral here and say a smile comes across my face when a person receives Christ – when the light comes on for them in their personal relationship with Jesus. Other things bring a smile to my face as well (like when my friend makes a good shot in golf and gets excited about it). When we see someone with a smile on their face we usually think something just happened and we tend to be curious.

How about when people notice you have lost weight?  Better yet – when they say something encouraging to you (if losing weight was what you were after) (my daughter from New Jersey greeted me last night with a hug and she said – getting skinny dad – as she wrapped her arms around me? What about someone saying something about your new hairdo or your new dress (or suit)? How about the smell of your favorite food – or freshly baked bread (go Mark) – or bacon frying (that one always brings a smile to my face)? Continue reading

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Build, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How’s Your Prayer Life?

Psalm 27:4

One thing I ask from the Lord…

profileHow’s your prayer life? Do you do the normal now I lay me down to sleep and thank you for this food along with some short prayers at church? Does that sum up your prayer life? I sure hope not.

How’s your prayer life? Have you ever invested time into your prayer life? Do you journal your prayer life? Are you on a first-name basis with God in your prayer life? Do you believe God hears your prayers? How do you pray? What is your practice?

I know – a lot of questions – how about some answers! Prayer is an essential part of our walk with Jesus. Building a deep prayer life is essential to building a deep relationship with Jesus. Continue reading

May 6, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , | Leave a comment

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