Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Temptations! God Can Help Us Overcome!

Matthew 4:11

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Life ChangeWhat is it that temps us these days? Between now and Thanksgiving – not a long time – I’d like to challenge us to spend time praying and fasting – seeking God’s help in avoiding and overcoming what temps us. Remember – yesterday we talked about how powerful prayer can be.

How about taking the time between now and Thanksgiving – to remove something that tempts – by lifting it to God in prayer – asking for help. I’m tempted by a number of things – some of which I will share with you today. For most of us – the things that tempt us are greater than we are alone or they wouldn’t really be temptations. For example – I cannot be tempted to eat liver. Now some people love liver – but I would need to be very hungry with no hope of any other food before I would succumb to eating liver. Ice cream (most any flavor) would tempt me. Pizza would tempt me. Snicker bars do tempt me. All-you-can-eat restaurants tempt me. Bargains and deals tempt me. Liver does not tempt me.

What is it that tempts you? Some people think they are above temptation. Some think they are so strong they can stand up – alone – against the devil and his temptations. I want to suggest that battling Satan alone – on our own – is not a battle we will often win. We’re told in Scripture that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 We are battling the spiritual realm and need Jesus in order to come out on top. What is it we can fast from that will allow us to be draw closer to Jesus during the next 10 days? Continue reading

November 18, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Before Christmas

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Life ChangeThanksgiving comes once a year – as does Christmas – and Easter. Yet we don’t have to limit our thankfulness to one day – do we? If your family is like mine – when we gather to give thanks over the bounty on Thanksgiving – we pause to give thanks for something specific – everyone at the table. It is a touching time – and watching our family age before our eyes – year after year – brings a nostalgic note too. Listening to what the girls have shared over the years and now what the grandchildren will share has been and is a blessing. We are always thankful for the way God touches our lives.

I’m the crier in the family (one daughter is starting to show my emotions as well). An example of my inability to hold back my tears can be seen in most any family gathering. I remember at a special birthday for my wife – as others were sharing – I tried to share my heart and the tears flowed. Tears will flow for most any reason from my eyes. With the holidays coming – I will shed tears when I watch It’s a Wonderful Life for the 200th time – and even while watching Charlie Brown Christmas – tears will flow.

Thanksgiving is a family time for our family and we will gather once again – the Lord willing. Holidays are especially hard for me now that mom and dad have gone to be with Jesus – along with my father-in-law. Dad loved Christmas so much – that holiday is especially difficult for me these days. Continue reading

November 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Immeasurably More – God’s Love

Ephesians 3:20

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

Life ChangeImmeasurably more! That is what the society wants us to want – more and more and more – every year! The Christmas shopping has become a contact sport on Black Fridays. Christmas sales start well before Thanksgiving to draw folks to the stores to purchase immeasurably more! Perfectly good products are jettisoned in order to buy the newest model (I’m updating the hard drives on my computers rather than buying new ones – they will speed up while being more economical than replacing them).

Scripture tells us that if we want immeasurably more – the only way to receive what really matters – is to seek after Jesus and the love that He shares with us. Read with me if you will: Ephesians 3:14-21 – 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Continue reading

December 5, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Bring, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Is Coming! But Don’t Worry!!

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. NIV84

Life ChangeOver the years we have heard loads of catch phrases. Phrases like what – me worry or don’t worry – be happy have graced our airways over the years. The world knows all about worry and how many of us suffer with it. What is it that we are spending time worrying about today? Are we worrying about the economy (it seems to be doing well with a little room for error)? Are we worried about the elections past or the ones to come yet (two years till the next one)? Are we worried about where our next meal with come (many of us could miss a meal or two and be OK)?

Another translation of this passage reads this way – Matthew 6:34 – “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ESV Apparently worry and anxiousness are akin – alike.

So what are we anxious about or worried about? Is it our health – let’s give it over to God. Is it our economics or lack thereof – let’s give it over to God. Is it a relationship – like our marriage or a friendship – let’s give it over to God. Is it the election – let’s give it over to God. Is it trouble in some way in our lives – let’s give it over to God. Are we anxious or worried about Christmas? As of yesterday – we have a whole month till it arrives – so let’s give it over to God. Continue reading

November 26, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Day After Thanksgiving!

Ephesians 5:19-20

19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Life ChangeI hope and pray you had a fantastic Thanksgiving Day yesterday. I also hope you had time with the family. Around Thanksgiving table – we asked the question – what are you thankful for this year – and some heartfelt responses came our way. What would your answer be to that question? Maybe you are thankful for your health (maybe you haven’t had good health this year but are feeling better now). Maybe you are thankful for family and friends. Maybe you are thankful for your job or for your home. Maybe you are thankful for a son or daughter or a grandson or granddaughter coming home. I’m thankful for a new son this Thanksgiving – and of course – for all of my family.

The passage today gives the Sunday School answer – lol – and reminds us that we should be thankful for God and for all that God has allowed in our lives. We are even to greet one another with praises – even with songs of praise – acknowledging our thanks for God. Continue reading

November 23, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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