Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 13 of Lent 2020

Mark 12:42

But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

Ray 2020Today is day 13 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you are enjoying the 40 Day reading plan – I know I am. Keep up with the stories about Jesus’ life as He walked to the cross. These Biblical stories are a great way to walk through Lent.

Today’s reading reminds us that it isn’t how much we give to the Lord’s work – but rather the heart with which we give it. The widow gave her all – the rich – they gave from their abundance. How do we give? Do we give our tithe and think we are doing so well – when a sacrificial gift might be 15 or 20%? Are we giving sacrificially to God or are we giving from our abundance? Let us search our heart today and be honest with ourselves. Do we give our all to Jesus or only from what we think we can spare?

Here’s a good question. How do we determine what to give? Do we give our full offering to the church we attend or do we give to other charities? Do we under the difference between a tithe and an offering? We talk about taking up our tithes and offerings on Sunday morning. Do we know what that means? Continue reading

March 11, 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

Church Life

Luke 10:2

He told them, The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMIn church life – there is a common statement that is very sad. It goes like this – 20% of the people do 80% of the work in the church. At times this might be because the 20% has a hard time sharing or delegating the work load. At times it might be a control issue on the part of the 20%. But most often it is because the 80% aren’t joining in the labors for Christ in the church. Are we part of the 20% or the 80%? If you are in one camp or the other – why?

Think about this for a moment. Are we only attending worship in our church and doing nothing or little else? Are we only taking what the church offers – youth ministry – children’s ministry – family ministry – worship – fellowship events – etc. – and not giving anything back? In essence are we takers without being givers as well?

There is another saying we might be familiar with – it goes like this – you get out of something what you put into it. I wonder what a church would look like if everyone associated with that church were to serve God in some capacity in the life of that church? What if everyone in the church considered themselves workers in the harvest fields Christ has for us? I mean – we can all help somewhere! Right? Continue reading

September 25, 2018 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giving Up Everything

Luke 14:33

In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

Tuesday night at Bible Study we talked about giving up everything for Jesus. The concept is a hard one to grasp. Many of us are selfish by nature – wanting to protect what is ours and what we have earned (so we think). We talked about the rich young man in the following story. Luke 18:18–23 – 18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” 21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.

He went away and became very sad – because he was very wealthy – he had much. Jesus knew that his stumbling block was his possessions. He had an ownership issue. I believe some of us – if not most of us – have an ownership issue. We’ve convinced ourselves that we have worked hard and earned what we have gained in life. Instead – as followers of Christ – we should believe that all we have is God’s – given by God. Continue reading

July 21, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Loves A Cheerful Giver

2 Corinthians 9:7

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

There are many hot topics in church life. There are many things talked about in the parking lot. The Judicial Council of the church is hearing arguments this week concerning some of the hot topics in the United Methodist Church. Their decision will more than likely be transformational for our denomination unless they kick the can down the street to some future date or group.

One hot topic in many churches is the idea of giving. There are several scriptures about giving in the Bible. Here are just a few.

Proverbs 3:9 – Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;

Proverbs 11:25 – A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Proverbs 18:16 – A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great. Continue reading

April 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Do We Own Our Things – Or Do Our Things Own Us?

John 12:3-5

3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.”

I’ve always been told – throughout my life – that one way to determine whether your things own you or that you own them is to give them away.  I remember a time in my life when even the smallest nick on my car brought tears (recently someone knocked a bike over on my car and I didn’t react at all – lol)!  What is it you treasure greatly?  I know older folks who would rather live together rather than marry each other because they trust in their pensions and retirements (which they would lose if they married again) more than they trust in God’s sovereignty and provision.  What is it you treasure?  I’m sure we could all come up with examples.

Do you remember the story in the Bible of the rich young man who came to Jesus asking how he could get eternal life?  This is a portion of that story – Matthew 19:21-22 – 21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

I don’t believe that this is a command to all of us to sell all we have and give it away – but – if that is what it takes for us to realize that our God is sovereign and in control…  We don’t have to give it all away to test this idea!  God has called us to tithe to His church – give 10% of our income – and many in the church today have a hard time trusting God with this spiritual principle.  Some would rather cheat or rob God and trust in their things! (Malachi 3:6-10 – 6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse — the whole nation of you — because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

The numbers are so easy – everyone can figure 10%!  If we earn $50,000 a year that would mean we give to the church $5,000 that year.  If we earn $100,000 a year that would mean we give to the church $10,000.  See how simple?

Here’s a phrase I have always appreciated in most bulletins in most churches.  Where the offering is taken – you might normally see the phrase tithes and offerings.  The tithe is supposed to be the base giving – not the goal.  The goal is to tithe and then offer more to God – tithes and offerings.  In today’s passage – Mary was willing to give a very expensive gift to Jesus.  We’re told that it was worth a year’s wage!  Do we own our stuff – or does our stuff own us?

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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November 25, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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