Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Come Lord, Come! Maranatha

Luke 2:9

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

Ray 2019Do you have any idea why we celebrate Advent – or don’t celebrate Advent? Advent is more than the period of time that begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas and runs through Christmas Eve. It is more than merely a time of awaiting the coming of the baby Jesus in the manger. It is more than a time to light the candles in the Advent reef or log. In the fourth century – when they began to celebrate Advent – it was also a time of remembering and waiting on the Lord’s return. Yes – waiting on the return of Jesus – for His church. A time of anticipation of Christ’s return.

Have you ever heard the term Maranatha? It is an Aramaic term that literally means – Come Lord, Come – and was often used to invite our Lord’s return. I have used it for years on this blog page and in my e-mails (at times). I also use it in my prayers and in sermons.

Not only is the Glory of God seen when Jesus is being born – when the glory of the Lord shone around them – but the Glory of God will shine when Jesus returns. Describing Christ’s departure from earth – Luke records these words:

Continue reading

December 3, 2019 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 21 of Lent 2018

Matthew 25:31-33

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Today is Day 21 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan on www.youversion.com. I hope you are enjoying and keeping up with the 40 Day reading plan. I am appreciating them myself as we walk to the cross. They are a blessing to write and a blessing to re-read each day.

Today’s reading is a very familiar one – the separation of the sheep and the goats at the end of time. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Every nation – every person – will be gathered – before the throne of God. God will divide them – like a shepherd divides sheep and goats. Here is a simple question – which are we? Are we a disciple of Christ or not? Don’t pull punches and try to fool anyone. Sincerely answer the question! Continue reading

March 6, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leaders Are Called To Serve

Mark 10:45

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Today’s thought is a quick reminder for all of us who feel a calling to lead. If we are called to lead – we are called to serve. Leaders in the church – be it pastors – Bible study leaders – Sunday School teachers – church officers – office staff – church staff – and more – are called to be servant ministers rather than dictators.

If we are followers of Christ – it should be more about whom we serve than the position we hold. Some people work hard for title or position – rather than to serve. Some people can’t wait to be called teacher – pastor – reverend – church leader – when it shouldn’t matter what we are called – we should all be serving Jesus and others. Continue reading

August 9, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are We Ashamed of Jesus?

Luke 9:26

If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

profileI need to confess – and I don’t feel good doing it – but there was a time in my life when I had a friend I didn’t want to be seen with at school.  I was ashamed of him in a way.  You see – he wasn’t part of the groups I hung with at school.  He wasn’t a jock.  He wasn’t cool.  He wasn’t in any of the organizations I was in at school.  But he did attend my church and we were friends.  I am ashamed today to remember how I treated him or rather how I avoided him at school.  It only happened for a few months – and God convicted me – but none-the-less – I did it.

At times that is the way we treat God.  We are friends at church – but at work or even around our friends we tend to avoid Him – at least some of us do.  We like being friends or thinking we are friends with Jesus – because there are such benefits we think – like heaven.  But are we trying friends with Jesus?  And if we are not – who are we fooling anyway? Continue reading

October 15, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Denying Self

Luke 9:23

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

profileI have a few too many pounds on this body of mine.  It is hard – it seems – to deny myself the things I like – food wise – and I like most foods.  Denying self is not easy.  I’d like to use the excuse that I’m a big fellow by nature – but I wasn’t while younger for sure (and I have the pictures to prove it).  I must have an issue with eating too much and not exercising enough.  Denying self is not easy for me – when it comes to food.

Denying self is not easy for some of us if not all of us when it comes to sin.  We like pleasing ourselves it seems.  We would like to say we are willing to deny self and follow Christ but we often fail to do so.  We fail to follow through and end up indulging self rather than denying self. Continue reading

August 22, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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