Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Prudent Hold Their Tongues

Proverbs 10:19

…the prudent hold their tongues.

fullsizeoutput_ffeHave you ever had something happen in your life – and you felt compelled to say something or write something about it – only to have your words come back to haunt you? I know it has happened to me a number of times. I know many of us want to respond to folks on social media as they exclaim their victories or losses from the mid-term elections. The sky is falling for some and for others – our team won! I have pledged to stay out of it – at least for November (maybe forever).

I don’t believe in jinxes – but I have tweeted during a game – when my team was up and on the way to a win – only to see them lose the game in the closing minutes. A number of times I have tweeted things that later I had to erase. At times my fingers type faster than my brain thinks. Some of my Facebook friends might say the same thing for themselves. I mean – have you seen some of the things folks have posted during this election season? There seems to be no filter for some folks. Continue reading

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November 8, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Then the Devil Left Him

Matthew 4:11

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

fullsizeoutput_ffeWhat is it that temps you? In November we are challenging our church members and other to a prayer/fast – a time to remove something that tempts us away from God. I’m tempted by a number of things – some of which I will share with you today. For most of us – the things that tempt us are greater than we are alone or they wouldn’t really be temptations. For example – I cannot be tempted to eat liver. Now some people love liver – but I would need to be very hungry with no hope of any other food before I would succumb to eating liver. Ice cream (most any flavor) would tempt me. Pizza would tempt me. All-you-can-eat restaurants tempt me. Bargains and deals tempt me. Liver does not tempt me.

What is it that temps you? Some people think they are above temptation. Some think they are so strong they can stand up – alone – against the devil and his temptations. I want to suggest that battling Satan alone – on our own – is not a battle we will win. We’re told in Scripture that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 We are battling the spiritual realm and need Jesus in order to come out on top. What is it we can fast from that will allow us to be draw closer to Jesus? Continue reading

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

I Will Cast My Anxious Moments on God!

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

fullsizeoutput_ffeI was reading this passage the other day – and even talked to some folks about anxiety recently. What are we anxious about in life? What is it that causes us to have trouble sleeping at night? What do we think about and can’t seem to stop thinking about – moment by moment?

As I reflect back on my life – I can think of numerous things that caused me anxious moments. I can remember being anxious when I went out for the High School football team and cuts were being posted – I made the team! I can remember being anxious when I asked my future bride to marry me and wondering if she would say yes or not – she said yes. I remember being anxious when my children were being born – the first because she was the first (she will be 36 soon) – the twins because they were twins. I can remember times when I was anxious about my job – about my health – about many things. And on this side of those anxious moments – I can testify that being anxious didn’t help the situations one little bit. As a matter of fact – being anxious made some of them more difficult and didn’t help my health any at all. Continue reading

October 31, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Halloween – Celebrate or Not?

Revelation 21:8

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

fullsizeoutput_ffeThe secular holiday called Halloween is coming. Even this week there are Trunk or Treat events going on. The church is trying to allow for creative juices to flow and fun to be had (along with candy) without succumbing to the world’s understanding of this holiday. I would like to debate the holiday called Halloween.

I understand All-Hallows Eve and its history – Ireland – Scotland – Wales – and other traditions. We will remember All-Saints Day in two Sundays by remembering those who had passed since last November.

I understand that most people simply see Halloween as a holiday to dress up and collect candy – so what is the fuss one might ask. Because we don’t understand the true nature of something – do we simply make own plans? Continue reading

October 26, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Questions, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Encourage Others!

Hebrews 10:25

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Photo on 10-16-18 at 6.18 PM

Let me begin by thanking God for my wife and oldest daughter. My wife for supporting me through 38 plus years and to my daughter – Shelly – for coaching me as I strive to become healthy again. I have lost 61 pounds so far and 35 of them have been lost the last three months under a new health plan that my daughter encouraged me to try. I will say more about this later. I am going to become a health coach – and it fits here – as we talk about encouraging others.

I think it is essential that we encourage one another. I’m sure I wouldn’t have lost all the weight I have – I’m sure I wouldn’t feel the healthiest I have felt in a decade – had it not be for others encouraging me. I also receive encouragement from the guys I play basketball with early in the morning. I know – often – they are merely putting up with me – often being the oldest guy out there. My shot isn’t what it use to be – occasionally I will get on a roll and hit a few threes but mostly they simply encourage me to get out there and exercise and play with them. I’m thankful.

I think it is essential that we encourage one another – not only physically but most assuredly – spiritually. The Bible tells us in today’s passage in Hebrews 10:25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  I think the day is fast approaching – Christ’s return is near – and we need to be in the daily business of encouraging one another. Let’s try and see how we are blessed.

It is so easy to be critical. Tearing down doesn’t build up the Body of Christ. We do not ignore that which needs attention or correction but we do so in love and as much as possible through encouragement. We can correct and even rebuke as Scripture says through love. But often we fail to praise and encourage. It is easy to see and report and have an opinion about what we dislike. How about what we see going well?

Continue reading

October 17, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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