Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 26 of Lent 2020

Matthew 26:33

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

Ray 2020Today is day 26 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you are enjoying the readings like I am. Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross of Calvary. As we walk with Jesus we hope to be drawn closer to Him. During this time of isolation as we try to flatten the curve of the coronavirus – building our faith – deepening our walk with Jesus – might be the best way to use our extra time at home.

Today’s reading reminds me that we can have good intents but not good results. We can intend to do the right thing and end up not doing the right thing. Peter intended to stay faithful – intended to be true – but we all know that he denied Jesus when Jesus was arrested. The other disciples intended the same – but they failed as well. The Good News is that Jesus is in the grace business and searches our hearts much more than our good or failed actions. Something to think about today!

We recently had a discussion online about faith. We admitted – we are not perfect – even as we walk by faith and strive to live our lives according to God’s design. We are so blessed that God is grace-filled. Forgiveness – if we confess and repent – is such a blessing! Continue reading

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 24 of Lent 2020

John 13:34

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Ray 2020Today is day 24 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope we have all kept up with the reading plan. If not – please catch up by reading the days you might have missed. Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross of Calvary. Stay current with the reading plan.

Today’s reading is again about the Last Supper. It has a lot in it. Make sure you read the whole reading below.  The verse I picked to reflect upon is near the end of the reading for the day – verse 34. Jesus said – A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. We are called to love others – one another – as Christ loved us. The example of His love was just foretold as He talked about His betrayal and death. Jesus’ love is even for those who would turn against Him – if they repent and return to Him. He even loved us – Scripture says – before we loved Him.

Something to think about today. How well do we love one another? How about the neighbor who plays their music late into the night – loudly (or early in the morning)? How about the undocumented or illegal person down the street? What about the person whose sexual preference doesn’t match yours? What about the person who votes for a candidate you can’t stand? What about the person who has hurt you or your family? What about the dictator of a country who seems bent on causing war? How about the person or government behind the coronavirus pandemic? What about the x-spouse who has caused you nothing but pain? Yes – we are to love even these. We are not called to ignore sin or pain. We are called to love one another – like Christ loves us! Continue reading

March 24, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy 4th of July – 2019

2 Chronicles 7:14

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

June 2019On this 4th of July – I will use this very familiar passage from 2 Chronicles to remind us that God wishes to turn every nation around – if it will confess and repent and turn to Him. I believe that God would transform any nation that turned its collective hearts toward Him. Lord knows that America needs to humble themselves and turn their hearts to Jesus. The world is running as fast as it can away from God and America seems to be following the rest of the world. As a mater-of-fact – it seems the church is also fleeing God and following after the world and Satan.

In today’s passage – God was speaking to Solomon and Israel – but I think the message shared is equally compelling for all nations. God will bless and will heal our lands if we return to His commands – to His teachings. Continue reading

July 4, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Get a New Heart

Ezekiel 18:31a

Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.

Life ChangeOnce – when I was preaching a sermon series on forgiveness – during the first sermon in the series – someone ask – during the sermon – if I could preach of forgiving ourselves. I hope that I touched on that in that series. I think I will repeat that series sometime soon. Today’s passage from Ezekiel spoke to my heart about forgiveness. I want to share it today for our devotional thought.

We have said a number of times – in sermons and in teachings – that the heart is very important as we walk out our faith in Christ.  Christianity boils down to attitude is now a common phrase many of us know. The position and condition of our heart is very important – so I like the simplicity of today’s passage – Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Continue reading

April 1, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advent Starts on Sunday

Matthew 3:1-2

3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Life ChangeAdvent starts on Sunday – just a few days away. As we approach Christmas – we are reminded – often – I hope – that Christmas is all about Jesus coming into the world. Christmas is not about buying and selling things. It is about the greatest gift ever given – Jesus Christ – the babe in the manger that grew to be the man who was the Lamb of God that died on the cross to pay for our sins.

Advent starts on Sunday – just a few days away. What are you hoping for this year? Peace on earth is always a good wish. Maybe peace between the political parties of our nation? Maybe peace on the southern border of our nation? Maybe that people would get it and love their neighbors?

Advent starts on Sunday – just a few days away. What will we do leading up to Christmas this year? Will we anticipate the coming of Christ into our lives – once again? In Tuesdays Bible study we talked about the difference between people who claim to be a Christian and those who have had a born-again experience. I don’t mean that unless you have had a radical change in your life you aren’t a Christian. Many Christians have grown up in faith and feel that they always believed. But – even those people need a point in time – a time when they accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior – and not just a faith they learned from their parents. Being born-again means being saved. Being saved is not something that you can gain through osmosis – it is a personal decision to follow Jesus. Continue reading

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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