Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Advent – A Time to Anticipate

Ephesians 1:7

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

Life ChangeAs we enter Advent (yesterday) and head toward Christmas – I want to make sure we know how very important Christmas is for us. Today I want to celebrate what Christmas is all about – the coming of Christ – the One who sacrificed His life for us. Not so much that He came – so very important – but why He came. He didn’t come to be a baby in a manger – although the secular world would like us to focus on buying and selling at Christmas – or at the very least – the little helpless baby in a manger – Jesus came to be the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.  He came to die for our sins – to pay the debt of our sin – for our redemption. It was God’s plan from before creation.

We all need Jesus. We all need forgiveness from our sins. We have all sinned and all stand in need of redemption – Romans 3:23-24 – 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Continue reading

December 3, 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

Day 14 of Lent 2018

Mark 12:42

But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

Today is day 14 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan on www.youversion.com. I hope you are enjoying the 40 Day reading plan.  Keep up with the stories about Jesus’ life as He walked to the cross.

Today’s reading reminds us that it isn’t how much we give to the Lord’s work – but rather the heart with which we give it. The widow gave her all – the rich – they gave from their abundance. How do we give? Do we give our tithe and think we are doing so well – when a sacrificial gift might be 15 or 20%? Are we giving sacrificially to God or are we giving from our abundance? Let us search our heart today and be honest with ourselves. Do we give our all t Jesus or only from what we think we can spare? Continue reading

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

21-Day Prayer/Fast – Day 9

Romans 12:1-2

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.  2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

01032015 RayDay 9 is upon us dear readers – the time is flying by.  During our prayer/fast we have written and discussed presenting ourselves to God and making ourselves a sacrifice for Jesus.  We have asked questions – like what are we willing to do to please God?  What are we willing to sacrifice for God?

Today’s passage in the 21-Day Fast devotional reading plan can be found here.  The reading is the 12th chapter of Romans – which starts with the two verses above.  These are two of my favorite verses in the Bible (the list is long but these are on it).  They speak about offering God ourselves – our bodies – and even our souls!  All that we have and all that we are – for sure.  Are we willing to give God our all?

Share some of your thoughts in the comments section – bless others with your questions or responses and see what God will do with us.  Seek His face and desire His grace and offer your all to Jesus!

Continue reading

January 13, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

21-Day Prayer/Fast – Day 2

1 Chronicles 21:26

David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.  He called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering.

01032015 RayIt is day 2 of our 21-day prayer/fast.  I hope your New Year has started well.  Have you made resolutions for the year?  Are they still unbroken – LOL?  We talked a little about resolutions on Sunday.  My prayer is that we will continue to seek His face – while desiring His grace.  Carolyn and I have cleaned the atrium (taking down our Christmas decorations) and I put a kneeler near one of the sliding doors so we could kneel to pray and look out into the woods behind our home.  I plan to spend a lot of time on that kneeler during these 21 days.  Make yourself a place to pray and spend time in God’s presence.  Create an altar area where you can worship God and offer yourself to Him.  Make a place to sacrifice self before the Almighty!

Today’s passage is about building an altar and sacrificing on that altar.  David was ordered by an angel to go and prepare an altar and to sacrifice to God upon it.  As David was following his directions he made a point of paying for the altar and the sacrifices.  David didn’t want to offer God something that was cheap or easy!  He wanted his offering to cost him something.  I love that Biblical truth!  1 Chronicles 21:24 – But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” Continue reading

January 6, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And Lent Begins

Luke 14:33

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

profileToday is the 1st day of Lent.  According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary – Lent is defined this way – a period of 40 days before Easter during which many Christians do not eat certain foods or do certain pleasurable activities as a way of remembering the suffering of Jesus Christ.  The 40 days does not count Sundays.

On Friday I wrote a devotional blog titled – Putting Christ First During Lent.  So here’s the question – Have we decided on something to give up during Lent so that we can remember the suffering of Christ?

Once we’ve decided what to give up – and I suggest it ought to be something we really like or something we would have a hard time giving up – we ought to think of something to give or do for Christ during Lent as well.  So how about some ideas on what to give up and some ideas about what to add or do for Christ during Lent? Continue reading

March 5, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: