Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 30 of Lent 2020

Joel 2:12

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

Ray 2020Today is day 30 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan (Sundays are not counted in the 40 days). We’re coming to the end of the reading plan as we head toward the cross. My prayer is that we will be drawn into a deeper relationship with Jesus during this Lenten season. This Lent – more than any other – will mark us. We will remember our spiritual and physical journey during this Lent. We will look back at this time of pandemic – of isolation – and we pray we will remember that it was God that carried us through.

I found this passage recently – and it was in line with today’s passage. Jeremiah 29:13 – You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Today’s passage is along the same line – as I wrote. We are called to return to God with all our heart.

Where is our heart today? Is our heart centered on God? Is it becoming more and more focused – during this isolation. Continue reading

March 31, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

We Need A Mulligan For Sin

Ephesians 1:7

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amCan any reader remember doing anything we were sorry for later? Yes – I really did ask that question! Can any of us remember anything that we wish we hadn’t done? Anything we wish we could take back? Anything that we knew was a mistake the minute we did it or said it?

In golf – when someone hits a bad shot – mostly on tee-shots – they might ask their playing partners for a mulligan – some might just say they are taking a mulligan – a do over. In life – there are few places where do overs are. Most often we have to sleep in the bed we’ve madedeal with the cards that we selected.

I’m sure that Russell Wilson would like a mulligan on his last throw in Super Bowl LXLIX against the New England Patriots in 2015. Do you remember the interception in the end zone? I would also imagine that Pete Carroll would like a mulligan on the play call – just saying! I know some Seahawk fans wish they could call for a mulligan for sure. Continue reading

September 27, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obedience – Listen and Do

Deuteronomy 5:33

Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

Life ChangeObedience – compliance with an order – request – or law – or submission to another’s authority. Do we remember growing up and having a parent or parents or guardian trying to get us to be obedient to their rules? I know I remember. I remember my dad giving me explicit instructions concerning several tasks over the years. I remember him telling me to follow his instructions and it would go well for me (meaning I would accomplish the task not get paid – lol – or punished).

Obedience – compliance with an order – request – or law – or submission to another’s authority. Do we remember rearing our children and trying to get them to obey our rules and regulations? Did we remember what it was like as a child to have our parent(s) giving us instructions? Did we learn anything – or change anything – or did we follow their example (and it could have been a good example)? Continue reading

March 5, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And So The Fast Begins

Luke 18:13

But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’

fullsizeoutput_ffeSo my fast begins today – as we walk through the last week of the mid-term elections. Part of my fast is to simply be encouraging rather than enter into the hateful and evil conversations that happen on social media. Everyone thinks they have the answer. Folks think their candidate or party of choice has all of the right answers. Some say the mid-terms are about how well the current POTUS is doing – yet history tells us that rarely does the party in the White House win the mid-terms. We’ll see what happens next week.

What I hope is that our nation will come together. Blue wave or red wave aside – why can’t we just love one another. There doesn’t seem to be any easy answer for sure. I clearly rebuke hate groups who support any candidate or party. I will stand up to support anyone against hate talk and abuse – even if I totally disagree with them. At times – this will be very clear and we can all stand opposed to it. At times – it may not be as clear and we may need it pointed out or to agree to disagree without being disagreeable. Continue reading

November 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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