Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Some Of Us Face Hard Times

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Have you ever had a hard day? A hard week? A hard month? A hard year? Maybe even some of us have had a hard life? Things can pile on top of us at times and we can feel the weight of the world upon us.

Some of us have faced hard times – and we were instrumental in them. Maybe the hard time we face is with our health – and maybe we caused it by overeating or smoking or drinking too much or doing drugs. Maybe the hard time we face is with relationships – and maybe our bad habits or personality or idiosyncrasies have played a part in our broken relationships including marriages – friendships – and even family relations.

Some of us have faced hard times – and we had nothing to do with it. Maybe the hard time we face is because of someone drinking and driving – or someone committing a crime like rape or arson or murder. Maybe the hard time we face is because of the choices of others. Maybe the hard times are from the lies of others about us. Maybe the hard times we face are from issues in the home or at work caused by someone else. Maybe the hard time we face is caused by circumstances beyond our control. Continue reading

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August 2, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, 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

Where Is It That We Struggle Most?

Romans 7:18

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Have you ever felt one way and yet ended up going another way? Silly question I guess – since we are all human and most know the right thing to do but have succumbed to the wrong way in our lives. We often know the right way – and yet yield to the wrong way. We fight temptations and evil – but at times we fail in our struggle. We fall short and sin.

Where is it that we struggle the most? For some it is what we put into our bodies that tempt us. That could mean drugs or alcohol or it could mean overeating – all are harmful to us – and we know it – yet some of us continue to abuse our bodies with what we put into them. We try diets – we try to be sober – we try to walk the steps – but – at times – we succumb to what is harmful for us. Continue reading

May 10, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Year Unfolds Before Us

Matthew 18:2-4

2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

We are in the early days of a New Year – thew New Year is unfolding before us. Some stayed up on New Year’s Eve to watch it arrive. Some had friends over to enjoy the change of years. Some may have headed to New York City and other places to join larger groups of people to celebrate the coming of a New Year. Some – like me – went to sleep as if nothing will be different or change with the changing calendar. Change is the key word. Some hope that a New Year will be better than the year just completed. Facebook is filled with people hoping for a better 2018. Some hope we can get a fresh start and make changes in our lives. If we change nothing and still expect a different result – well – you know what they say about that saying.

Have we ever read and wondered what Jesus meant by these words from Matthew’s gospel? When Jesus says – I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. What is it about a little child that is so significant? Continue reading

January 5, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy New Year – 2018

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Happy New Year! I’m reworking a past New Year’s Day devotional. I hope that your day – your New Year – got off to a great start. Steve Furtick once tweeted – The way your day starts doesn’t have to be the way your day finishes. We can always make improvements as the day goes along. We can always make improvements as the year unfolds.

This morning I was playing some basketball with some friends. I hit a couple of 3’s and made some nice passes – but didn’t have an exceptional day. But I stuck with it and had a good morning workout – even if I didn’t play very well. Our new years may not always produce the best days – but if we stick to it – stick to our goals – in the end – we might just have a good year.

Typically – on New Year’s Day – some friends and I play golf – 5 degree weather was just a little too cold for me. Continue reading

January 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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