Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 29 of Lent 2020

John 16:8-11

8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

Ray 2020Today is day 29 of the 40 Days of Lent. We’re coming to the end of the reading plan as we head toward the cross. I hope you have enjoyed the reading plan. I know I have enjoyed it. Did you use yesterday to catch up if you were behind?

Yesterday – in the sermon – we talked about ways we can know Christ is in us – ways others can see Jesus in us. We talked about coming to Christ through confession of our sin – repentance and receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior. There were 10 ways. Can you remember any of them?

Today’s lesson talks about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit – the Counselor – will convict us of our sin and convict others of their disbelief. I know when the Spirit is working on my heart – and I know we all do! We should be open to the Holy Spirit’s movement in our lives. The Holy Spirit is God with us today. Continue reading

March 30, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 5 of Lent 2020

Matthew 21:23

Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”

Ray 2020My prayer for us is that the old self will begin to fade as we walk toward the Cross of Christ this Lenten season – and that more and more we will look like Jesus. I also pray that our attitudes will be set on Christ and on no one or nothing else. During our walk to the cross this Lent – let us seek His face more clearly and desire His grace more dearly.

I hope you able to keep up with the readings – or at least used yesterday to catch up. Today’s reading has a number of points or directions – and I have chosen the first verse for focus on – when the chief priests and elders asked Jesus by what authority He spoke.

Isn’t it often like this? When someone doesn’t like what we say – rather than try to debate what we say – they try to discredit the messenger rather than the message. Maybe our spouse is making a good point and rather than stay on topic – we decide to question how loud they are speaking or the tone they are using – deflecting the discussion to something else. Maybe our child is trying to get a valid point across and instead of staying the course – we complain about how they are talking to us or ask who they think they are to say something like that to their parent! Continue reading

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 3 of Lent 2020

John 12:16

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

Ray 2020Day 3 of the Lenten reading series is a similar story to the one we read on day one. Today I want to look at the above portion of that passage. At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

As we walk to the cross this Lenten season – I want us to think about some of the things we didn’t or still don’t understand about our faith. It might be things like the Virgin Birth – the resurrection – or forgiveness of sin. As we think of those things we might not completely understand them or intentionally seek out Scriptures and readings that deal with them. We live post the resurrection – post the glorification of Christ – and the Holy Spirit is available to us as we seek to understand the things of God. Seek to understand more about Jesus this Lenten season

Our Bible studies on Tuesday will begin to look at and understand some of the essentials of the faith. This coming Tuesday we will look at the Cross. Join us at 10:30 am or 7:00 pm on Tuesdays in the Fellowship Hall at the church.

Continue reading

February 28, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 4 of Lent 2018

Mark 11:23

“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

Day 4 of the Lenten reading is a remarkable (did you see what I did there) passage. It holds a number of curiosities for me. I only have time today to deal with the above verse. There is the cursing of the fig tree – the overturning of the tables of the money changers in the temple – the declaration that the house of the Lord was a place of prayer not a ten of robbers – the withered tree – and today’s verse – “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

I could spend a week in this section of Scripture and still not fully unpack it – I’m sure. What the final statement says – that if we believe and not doubt mountains will be moved to the sea is powerful. Continue reading

February 17, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 5

Philemon 1:7

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.

christmas-5During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

The things that brings me joy during the holiday seasons thru Jesus is the warmth of the holiday season in itself, the Christmas songs (Motown especially), the holiday movies, Santa Claus riding through the neighborhood on the fire truck (I’m like a big kid when I see that), cooking holiday meals for family and friends.  I’ve always been a giving person and I know gift giving during the holiday season is over rated but I love to see the expressions on family & friend’s faces as they open a gift they weren’t expecting or didn’t think they were going to get.  What brings me to First Church and how I see Jesus at First church is the same warm feeling of having another family that welcomes you with open arms, the message the heavenly father speaks thru Rev. Ray to share with us, learning and understanding who Jesus is & why he died on the cross for us.  The only recommendation that I would like at First Church is to have an upbeat choir like The Itzels perform more often.  I truly enjoyed the message thru the songs. 

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 5, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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