Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We’re Not Working Alone!

John 14:15-17

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

Life ChangeI’ve always liked to work with someone rather than alone. I could work all day if my dad was helping (or rather I was helping my dad) – yet if I was working alone – it was hard to stay on task. Even when dad gave me clear instructions – it was hard to stay on task with no one to help me.

I’m the same way today – work better with someone helping me. I would even invite my brother over to watch me work so I had someone present.

My wife and I cleaned the garage and painted a wall in the garage Monday. We cleaned up a couple of tool boxes and moved two to the basement. We threw a bunch of stuff out and straightened things up. My wife even claimed part of the basement as hers and wouldn’t let me store any of my stuff there – nothing goes near my motorcycle – she said. It was hard work – but it was fun work – working with her all morning before we went over to a daughter’s home for family time. Continue reading

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May 29, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sin and God’s Perfect Design

Life ChangeThis is not a typical devotional thought. Today, I have been caught up in a theological discussion on Facebook (not the best place for such things but it is a tool to use to reach folks one might not be able to reach otherwise). I’m caught off guard – some – by those who differ with my understanding of God. The following – without names – is part of the discussion. I would welcome your thoughts and understanding on the issue at hand – namely – can we say we were born a certain way by God’s design or has sin caused a deviation or atypical altering of God’s perfect plan for us? I will identify my comments and will not post all  comments here. You can read all on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ramonmcdonald).

This theological understanding is deep in a thread. If you are not following the thread, you may not have seen it. It was my theological explanation for why we see deviations from God‘s perfect design of humanity, even of the world. I would be interested in your theological take?

(I wrote) I believe that all deviations from God’s perfect design are a result of our brokenness from God (sin). That brokenness can be personal sin, the sin of others, or our collective sin (humanity). God did not, as I understand it, create these deviations. Now God can use them, even to His glory, but let’s not say God made me or designed me with these deviations from His perfect design. Somewhere along the line, brokenness (sin) has caused the deviations we see. Sin or brokenness is the ultimate issue we face. In the case of birth defects, somewhere our genetic makeup has changed. For instance, a person’s use of drugs or alcohol could cause genetic change for their descendants (personal sin). This same change in genetics could’ve been caused several generations back and passed on unknowingly (the sin of others). This same change in genetics could be caused by environmental change (think ozone destruction or the chemicals in our food or water)(sin of humanity). This is not meant to place blame, it is an attempt to explain deviations from God’s perfect design in creation. Continue reading

March 1, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Plan for the Prayer/Fast

Isaiah 40:29

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

fullsizeoutput_ffeMy daughters are all trying to be healthy. I’m proud of them in so many ways – but their desire to be healthy is one of the reasons for sure. One of my daughters is really into working out and keeping her body in top shape. She needs to do so for her job – but besides that she is into being healthy. She sticks to a strict diet and goes to the gym almost daily. She is into cross-training now and loves it. She has great control over her physical desires when it comes to her physical body. I want that! Another daughter has just lost 40 pounds and is really starting to look like she did a decade or more ago. She recently fit into her wedding gown for a surprise to her husband. My third daughter stays in shape chasing after 3 children – soon to be 4. They all make me proud in so many ways. I want to be like them in some ways!

Like many of us – I have tried to lose weight for years now – even decades. I have always blamed my weight on three things (do they sound familiar?) – 1) medication I take to combat Tourette Syndrome – 2) age and genetics (I’m big boned) – and 3) a lack of will power. I can’t change number one (although I continue to pray for God to heal me). Number two is an excuse – because many people over 60 are in much better shape (and my daughters have half of my genetics and they are improving their health all the time). I’m not sure I can do much about my will power either – I either have it or I don’t. So there doesn’t seem to be any good reason! At least none that hold water. Continue reading

October 30, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Memory – God’s Grace

Psalm 103:11-12

as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

My memory is not the best. For instance – I forgot to put out today’s devotional. Before I hear a rousing chorus of amens from the peanut gallery about my memory – let me explain. I’m not sure if it is age – my Tourette Syndrome – my A.D.D. – a male thing – early Alzheimer’s disease or dementia – or simply who I am. I can leave my office and walk to Cathy’s desk and forget why I was going there. I can even at times get into my car and forget where I was headed. It’s my issue – among others – but today it reminded me of God’s grace.

You might ask how I got from my short term memory loss to God’s grace? Well – I’m going to tell you. Continue reading

May 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Know God’s Voice?

John 10:4

When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

RayMcDBefore I began to use medication to combat my Tourette Syndrome tics – I would make some weird noises. It was weird for sure. It was embarrassing much of the time. My dad use to tell me to be quiet – and I tried – but the TS would win out. When I tried very hard to control the tics – I could do it for a short while – but when I thought I was alone – they would come out like a wild fire.

My children and my long time friend and secretary would tell me that it was comforting to know I was near when they hard my tics. That was – maybe – slightly – the only good thing. When I began to take the meds – I had to experiment to see how large a dose to take. How much would control the tics (to a degree) and yet not put me to sleep. I went through a period of time when I would fall asleep in the middle of conversations. I’m a little better these days. Continue reading

November 1, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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