Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

As Far As The East Is From The West

Psalm 103:12

…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

My wife and I have worked our whole adult lives staying out of debt. We have been married for 37.5 years and we have tried to never be in more debt than we could pay off (paying off credit cards when they came due each month). Of course – buying cars and a home mortgage have been exceptions to the general rule until most recently. We have always paid off all of our credit cards each month when they have been due (which was hard when we were younger – trying to establish a home and staying within our budget or means). It has produced fruit as both my wife and I have great credit ratings – never really felt like we deprived ourselves – and have a good start on the next season of our life (retirement). We had a plan and we stuck with it! We paid back all of our debt. If we couldn’t for a short season – we worked hard to do so – at times holding down two and three jobs at a time. Hard work and good financial planning have produced good fruit. I understand some have had a plan and have not been as blessed. We have been blessed – even as we have worked hard. Continue reading

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January 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keeping The Sabbath Holy

Deuteronomy 5:14

…but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.

Growing up stores were all closed on Sundays – the Christian Sabbath Day. People generally went to worship God in the morning – came home to eat a family meal – rested for the next week’s work load (dad called them siestas – a nap taken in the heat of the day) – had family time – ate supper together – went back to church for youth group followed by evening worship.

Today – many – even Christians – treat Sundays as any other day. Oh – some might come to worship on Sunday mornings – maybe evening Sunday School – but many treat the rest of the day as any other day. They shop – they go out for a meal – they cut their lawns – they wash their cars – they clean the house – and more. They buy and sell on the Sabbath – even in the church building. They go to work on the Sabbath as if it is any other day. Continue reading

May 24, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walk In Obedience

Deuteronomy 5:33

Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

RayMcDObedience – compliance with an order – request – or law – or submission to another’s authority. Do we remember growing up and having a parent or parents or guardian trying to get us to be obedient to their rules? I know I remember. I remember my dad giving me explicit instructions concerning several tasks over the years. I remember him telling me to follow his instructions and it would go well for me (meaning I would accomplish the task not get paid – lol).

Obedience – compliance with an order – request – or law – or submission to another’s authority. Do we remember rearing our children and trying to get them to obey our rules and regulations? Did we remember what it was like as a child to have our parent(s) giving us instructions? Did we learn anything – or change anything – or did we follow their example (and it could have been a good example)? Continue reading

September 6, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Commandments on Our Hearts

Deuteronomy 6:6

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.

112015 Ray McDonaldHow’s your Prayer/Fast going? I would love to read what God is telling you through your increased time in prayer. Leave a comment or two! Or direct message me.

My father-in-law just passed and my father just three-plus years ago. These two men have taught be so much – one for 58 years of my life and one for 36 years of my life (I’m not discounting the impact of my two mothers folks – just talking about my fathers in this devotional – partly because they have passed).

My fathers taught me much – about being a man – about being a Christian – about being a husband – about being a father. They both taught me about golf and my father taught me about being competitive. He played high school sports and was in the Navy. They both had a great work ethic and I hope that I have modeled well both of them. Continue reading

February 18, 2016 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cost of Following Jesus

Matthew 7:24-25

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

82015 RayHave you ever seen news reports about people caught in mudslides?  Some people – having built their homes on the side of hills – without firm foundations – can have their homes washed away in storms.  I’ve seen devastation like this for people who build their homes on sandbars in Florida or in the Mississippi Delta.  Storms rear up and at times – home are washed away.  I’m sure many of these home owners thought they had taken every precaution.

Many of us think we are taking every precaution in our faith journey.  We try to do good on every occasion – or at least often.  We try to attend worship – most Sundays – or at least more often than some.  We strive to walk by the Ten Commandments – when they don’t get in the way of our enjoyment of life.

The truth be told – some of us are playing at being Christians – we want the benefit of being a child of God – namely NO HELL – but we aren’t sold out for Jesus.  We’re sold out for the Ravens or the Steelers (or the Jets or Patriots or Redskins).  We’re sold out for our favorite baseball team.  We’re even sold out for work – home – family – hobbies – and more.  But being sold out for Jesus – well – let’s get serious.

Continue reading

November 10, 2015 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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