Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Focus on God – Live Out Our Faith

2 Corinthians 4:18

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Life ChangeI love this passage. It so speaks to focusing on the eternal rather than the temporal. Focusing on the things of God and the promises of God rather than on what we can see with our eyes – understand with our minds – or hold in our hands. Unfortunately – many of us often focus on what we can see rather than what has been promised.

An example of this is Abraham and Sarah. They were promised by God that they would have many descendants – but late in life they couldn’t see the promise fulfilled so they took things into their own hands. Sarah gave Abraham her maidservant Hagar to bear him children because she was barren (Genesis 16). Of course God wasn’t late in fulfilling His promise – God gave Abraham and Sarah a child – Isaac – and he did become the father of a great nation – the Hebrews. Hagar’s son did as well. His name was Ishmael – and he became the father of Muslims. Continue reading

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March 25, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m So Confused

Matthew 16:25

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Life ChangeI remember when I was much younger – during the 60’s – a time when young people would leave home – and travel across the county – to find themselves. Some ended up living in communes – some went to massive outdoor concerts – some experimented with drugs – and free (no commitment) relationships – some did all of the above and more. Each generation seems to search for their niche in life – for their identity – finding themselves. The world is ever-changing – some – like the greatest generation as they are called – grew up during wartime and grew up quickly with great responsibilities. Some have so much given to them – it seems – that some feel entitled to life and it’s blessings – with little responsibility. Some have ideals that seem out of this world to others – like the socialism some are suggesting for our nation these days.

Have you found yourself (were you even looking)? Do you know your purpose in life? Do you know God’s plan for you and your life? I was talking to a young man the other day. He was so confused. He seemed lost. He had tried on several occasions to take his own life. He had experienced such pain in his life – he couldn’t see what reason there was to continue to live. He had given up on God and on ever finding meaning in his life. I must confess – I’m a bit confused these days – politically and religiously. I’m wondering – is the end near? Is Christ’s return coming very soon? Continue reading

March 14, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mending a Broken Heart

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (ESV)

Life ChangeI wonder how many of our readers have ever experienced a broken heart? Am I alone? I’m also a hopeless romantic (that is the term I choose to use and I’m sticking with it). As much as I love my wife and wouldn’t trade her for the world – I remember relationships from the past. Smells and songs trigger memories for me. I remember the first girl I ever kissed (I was 9 and we were moving from our church and she was 10 and I kissed her on our last Sunday). She was my first girlfriend – so to speak (it is written in my baby book LOL). I remember the perfume my next girlfriend used (Heaven Scent) and it brings back memories when I smell it.

As I grew older – songs began to play a part of my memories. Stevie Wonder’s You Are The Sunshine Of My Life has fond memories as does Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together. Color My World by Chicago was also a favorite – it was the first song I ever danced to (with someone special).

Let’s Stay Together was a song that brings back not only fond memories but sad memories as well. It was still popular (came out in 1972) – a few years before one of my relationship breakups. As an emotional person – it would bring tears to my eyes remembering that relationship after it was over. Even today I occasionally remember relationships past. I’m listening to some music from the Vietnam era as I type out this devotional and each song brings back memories of my youth. Continue reading

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Goals and Aspirations

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Life ChangeWe have five – soon to be six – grandchildren. There are a lot of things we wish for them as they grow up. For one – we hope they develop goals in life. We hope that we can help them reach some of their goals. Maybe through some of our hard work we can share some wisdom with them about their goals and aspirations.

Our children – their parents – have goals – even dreams and aspirations for our grandchildren – their children. One of the goals we have for our grandchildren is for them to succeed at whatever they attempt. We also want them to know Jesus and to be happy. Their parents and grandparents hope to give them all the tools they will need to meet their goals and aspirations.

Unfortunately – as most of us know – some of our goals – dreams and aspirations tend to not come to fulfillment. It may be that some of our dreams are unrealistic. For instance – dreaming of being a professional athlete might be pushing the odds. Even if we have the genetics to be a professional athlete – one internet source said that there are only 4 million professional athletes in the world (all sports) and that this number is 1.3% of the world’s total population. Yet many of us will press toward this dream or goal – trying as we might to succeed. Continue reading

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Rapture: Is It Near?

Matthew 24:36

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

fullsizeoutput_ffeI first posted this devotional thought on May 21st – 2011. According to fundamentalist Harold Camping – that was the day he predicted for the Rapture. The Rapture is a belief that the saints of Christ – true believers – will be raised before the end of time arrives. A key passage some use in their teaching about the Rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. I agree with this train of thought – Christ will return – Christ will receive His church (true believers) and the end times will unfold. I just wasn’t sold on Harold Camping’s prediction in 2011 nor of anyone’s ability to predict the date today. It will come like a thief on the night according to Jesus (see Scripture reference below).

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 – 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Continue reading

October 24, 2018 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

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