Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Who Guides Our Thoughts and Actions Each Day?

Galatians 5:25

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amWho guides our thoughts and actions each day? Do we rely on our own abilities or thinking? Do we follow other’s thinking or even consult a horoscope (please don’t say yes to a horoscope)? How do we determine things like – who we vote for in elections – how we vote in our congregations or denomination – whether to marry or not and to whom? Who do we turn to when discussing starting a family – what job to take – whether to relocate for work – when to retire – whether to buy or rent and in what community? All important decisions for sure. Do we rely on our skills – on our spouse – on our parents – on our friends – on the world around us – on some online teacher?

Who guides our thoughts and actions each day? How do we decide what is right or wrong – what is beneficial or detrimental in our lives? Where do we turn to discern the path in life we should walk? If it hasn’t been God – if it has only been God for a few things – how’s that working for you? I know for me – the times I have made my own decision – it has been hit or miss – but when I have turned to God – God is batting 100%. Continue reading

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October 8, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Time Is Short

Ephesians 5:16

[make] the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

The older I get – the more I realize that our time on this earth is short. I’ve lived 63+ years and if I live to 84 like my father I have 21 years left. If I live as long as my mother – I have 26 more years (although her last 2-4 years were not pleasant). If I live as old as my paternal great-grandfather – I have 39 more years. Even that seems like a short time left on this earth. Our time is short.

We measure things in time. For instance – I will retire sometime between 2 and 9 years. My youngest daughters are 33 years younger than I am and in 3 years they will be half my age. School is out for the summer and in 2 months or so students will be headed back to class (sooner if they have summer school or play fall sports). Our time is short.

We’re to use each and every moment serving God. We never know when our last moment may be present. We never know how long we have left on earth – so use every moment to God’s glory. Our time is short. Continue reading

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Conversation

Colossians 4:6

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

We all need to read and hear this passage today – especially the first part – let our conversation be always full of grace. Our conversations are probably not always up-lifting. They are probably – at times – not positive and helpful.

We have probably all heard this one – if you can’t say something good about someone – say nothing at all. Many of us – if not all of us – need to spend more time and effort when it comes to our conversations. We need to take care that what comes forth from out mouth is a blessing and not a curse.

There are a number of passages about our talk – about the way we present ourselves through our conversations. Here are a couple of them.

Matthew 12:36–37 – 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. Continue reading

August 8, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Confession, Repentance, God’s Grace!

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

IMG_0301If we took a look at the above passage – we would probably all find a sin we could hang our hat on at some point in our life’s journey.  If not – I imagine we could think of one or two we could add to the list.  There are two things I wish to point out in this passage – and neither thing has to do with the list of sins mentioned (IMHO this is not a total list of sins by any stretch of the imagination – we can add our own sins to the list if that will help us).

The first thing I wish to point out – is the opening verse of this passage.  Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?  It calls the wicked – the ones who will not inherit the kingdom of God – persons who remain in their sin.  We cannot consider ourselves to be Christians – i.e. saved – if we live in sin (those that follow in the next verse and any others).

That doesn’t suggest that we will not be saved unless we are sinless.  We are called to confess (admit before God) our sins and strive – by God’s grace – to live outside of our sins.  To use a couple of the sins listed we might consider that a person who steals (a thief) who doesn’t confess their sin and strive to turn away (repent) from that sin will have no inheritance in the kingdom.  A person who worships idols (not just statues my friends but money – jobs – possessions – etc.) and doesn’t confess and repent of this sin runs the risk – according to this Scripture – of having no place in heaven.  A person who is immoral in sexual behavior like a promiscuous person who has many partners and sees nothing wrong with this behavior should be concerned about their eternity.  A heterosexual couple living as husband and wife without being married should be concerned.  A same-sex couple living together in a marriage relationship – legal or not – should be concerned.  A list of sins that one might live in without confession and repentance could be inserted here.  All who live in sin – without confession and repentance – should have concern for their eternity. Continue reading

June 24, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

So You Say I Am Not Self-Made?

1 Corinthians 6:19b-20a

You are not your own; you were bought at a price.

RayBlogI’m my own person – a self-made person!  No one helped me – I pulled myself up by my own boot straps!  Have you ever heard those phrases?  Have you ever used them yourself?  The problem is that some actually believe these statements.  Some actually believe that they are islands standing alone in this world with no one to thank for where they are today. Today I am writing to Christians.  Today I am writing to those who believe they have placed their trust in Jesus.  Although the world may think they are self-made – we know or should know that we are nothing without Jesus – who has bought and paid for our lives with His blood.  Our bodies – our lives should be considered temples for the Most High.

Let’s take a look at today’s passage in partial context.  It comes from a section where God using Paul is teaching Christians about sin – and how we belong to Jesus and not to our sinful natures.  It tells us how we are to use our lives – our bodies – God’s temple – for Christ because we were bought and paid for by His blood. 1 Corinthians 6:9-20 – 9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 12 “Everything is permissible for me”-but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”-but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”-but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”   17 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Continue reading

February 19, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Lenten Thought, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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