Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Love Is The Key

Deuteronomy 6:5

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.

Life ChangeLove is a core value in the Christian faith. Showing love to one another is a significant characteristic of our Christian walk – or at least it is supposed to be. I believe that love seems to be missing from our society these days and also from many who claim to follow Christ. Some folks who claim to be Christians – like some politicians today – tend to take sides on issues and show anything but love to those who disagree. Like some – we tend to forget that even when we disagree – we should show love. We should be able to disagree without being disagreeable.

I created a song for my grandchildren. I sing it with them whenever they’re here or at times on FaceTime. It goes like this – I love Pop, Pop loves me, and that’s the way it’s going to be! (Repeat until we get tired of singing it.) If I have written it before (and I know I have) – I just love being a Pop. I love my grand-children – five now with another on the way soon from South Korea! I love showing them how much I love them – by giving them my focus when they are around. I didn’t always do that with my children. I want to be a better Pop than I was a Dad.

In Christ we are called to love others – even as we love ourselves. Jesus was asked what were the greatest commandments – and part of His response is to love our neighbors – those around us – even as we love ourselves. Matthew 22:39 – And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

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May 9, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trusting in the Lord

John 16:33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Life ChangeHave any of us ever wished we could tell the future? Are any of us the type of person who would like to know what is coming next? I mean – if we could know the day and time of something in our life – would we appreciate that knowledge or would it freak us out? I’m not sure for me – whether I would want to know or not.

What if we could know when we were going to die? What if we could know what will happen next week in our life? What if we had an idea about how we would be treated because of whom we followed on social media?

Dear Christian readers – listen to God when God says – the world will hate us because we follow Him. Jesus tried to warn His disciples – His followers – about what was coming – about the hate that we would face in the world we live in today. In the midst of some of His warnings – we find today’s passage – I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. Continue reading

March 13, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sound Doctrine Doesn’t Change with the Culture

Hebrews 13:9

Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings (doctrines).   It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them.

Life ChangeA number of people have debated Biblical truth over the years. Sound doctrine – even settled doctrine for 2000 plus years – is being debated by some well-intentioned individuals. People are trying to equate God’s love with some sense of an overwhelming acceptance of sin or even describing sinful acts as acceptable to God. The signs of the end are all around us dear readers. I read in today’s passage that sound doctrine is put up against ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them. We must feast on sound doctrine – rather than on what sounds good with today’s culture.

The example I want to use to help us get the point today is the obesity of our society. Far too often our children – and adults – are fed foods that are empty of value but full of calories. Junk foods –satisfy the mind and stomach – but do not add proper nutrition. These foods are filled with sugar – calories – and chemicals – that are not good for the body. The term junk food refers to items that may taste good – but have little – if any nutritional value. They are high in calories and often loaded with fat. Soft drinks – chips – cookies – candy bars – and much of the food from fast-food stops fit this category.

Our society has a hard time with our weight – because we fill ourselves with way too much feel good junk food. I believe we have the same problem with our theology. Way too often we turn our itching ears to false truths because they sound good. We’re warned about this position by God as Paul write in his second letter to Timothy. Continue reading

March 11, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Prayer/Fast Is Coming to a Close

Luke 5:16

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Life ChangeSo – how’s your prayer/fast going for the month of November? Were you able to find more time to spend time with Jesus? Did your prayer life improve? Did you find new places to pray? Did you dig deeper into your relationship with Jesus? Were you able to put some bad habits in the rearview mirror of your life? How’s your devotional life? Did you listen to new podcasts or teachings?

Two days left – today and tomorrow – and the November prayer/fast will be completed. I hope I wasn’t on the journey alone. I hope some folks have experienced the blessings that come from a prayer/fast. Some of the items I fasted from have been easy. For instance – cutting out certain foods and striving to stay faithful to my eating plan – my health journey – has been a blessing. I’ve cut certain food items out of my diet all together and I feel great. I hope I can keep them out moving forward. By-the-way – I’m down another 5 pounds for the month! Continue reading

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Living at Peace in Days Like These

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

fullsizeoutput_ffeLiving at peace with each other in days like these is not easy. During this season of time – post mid-term elections – pre-new congress forming in January – pre-Special General Conference in the United Methodist Church (February 23-26) – pre-Thanksgiving – and pre-Christmas (did I miss anything) – we need to focus as much as possible on living at peace with one another – even everyone. I know – it is not easy to live at peace with people who are diametrically opposed to your ideology or theology – but it is what we are called to do as we walk out our faith. It is not always easy to live at peace with those we love and agree with either. We don’t need to agree with everyone – but as we disagree – we should not be disagreeable. Living at peace with others doesn’t mean we always have to agree for sure.

In today’s passage Paul writes – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. How do we read this? And if we read it that we should strive to live at peace with everyone – how well are we doing? If we’re as blue as it gets – even radically blue (far left) – with our politics – how well do we get along with someone who is as red as it gets – even radically red (far right)? Can we discuss our differences without becoming ugly? I know this doesn’t seem to happen on many social media pages I visit. It seems like the far left cannot even comprehend the far right – and vice versa – and they don’t play well together. Continue reading

November 20, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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