Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Iron Sharpens Iron

Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

My wife and I have gotten into the habit of binge watching TV shows. Recently we have been watching All American on Netflix. It is a sports related TV show. Players trying to become better.

If you ever played a team sport – you know that practicing with your teammates often improves your game. The better the teammate(s) – the better you will become – because you are competing against the best in practice. Offenses that practice against strong defenses – often say they improve their game. They often say it makes game day easier – because they have been practicing against a top 10 defense all week or against an All-Pro in certain positions – and they often play a lesser defense or player on game day. Going against a future Hall of Fame player every day in practice has to improve your game.

Do you remember growing up – and being influenced by your peer group – your close friends? Parents typically spend a lot of energy trying to influence us about the people who influence us – because it really does matter. The old saying – one bad apple spoils the whole barrel – is so true at times. Most of us are not leaders – most of us are followers. We are more easily swayed by others than we sway them.

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September 8, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unwholesome Talk

Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

In less than three months – our nation will go to the polls for the 2020 Presidential elections. I urge everyone to register to vote and to get out and vote for the person or persons you believe will help to make us a better nation. It is our legal duty and responsibility as citizens of this country to vote.

If you’ve been listening to the TV news – or the radio – or have read anything on the internet – you have probably heard what I have heard – or read what I have read. Men and women – people in political office – radio jocks – TV and movie stars – entertainers – comedians – folks on social media – and in other places – say or write some horrible things. Their choice of words leaves a lot to be desired. I mean – I’ve stopped listening to programs on TV because of the language being used. I’ve even had to turn off some sports programs on my favorite all-sports channel. I won’t watch certain shows on TV and don’t go to too many movies. I’ve unfriended or hidden some folks on social media because of the language they use. Some people use such foul language! They even take the Lord’s name in vain – and laugh about it! There is a commandment about that with a warning!

Exodus 20:7 – You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

Talking about blowing up the White House or kicking people – or mocking people with disabilities – or being told to shout at people in public – should never be something we expect to hear or read in America. From the White House on down we have become a nation that simply says what we feel with little to no filter. I wonder what my grandchildren will believe about their nation as they are exposed to this type of mean and demeaning expressions?

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August 21, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Difference Between Wants and Needs

Philippians 4:12

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Rays HaircutWe live in a day and age – probably not unlike many other eras – when there are a number of folks that live hand-to-mouth. These persons live in many communities around us and in our own communities. Living hand-to-mouth means that a person uses every part of their income with no plan for the future. Everything they make they spend. They live hand-to-mouth.

Some people have had many opportunities – yet still live hand-to-mouth. Some have not had many opportunities and find themselves in the same situation. There are a number of people in our society that may not be able to make ends meet. For these our society tends to help (although many we help – IMHO – have made decisions in life to put themselves in this situation of need).

Part of what leaves many folks living hand-to-mouth is a lack of understanding or discipline when it comes to wants verses needs. Most people (and I have no statistics for this at this time but it is an educated opinion from 40+ years of ministry) live beyond their means because they have mixed up their needs and their wants. This happens at all income levels – from the very poor to the very rich. How many times have we read about professional athletes – who make more money in a 4-10 year career than many of us could make in several life-times – only to find themselves living hand-to-mouth in short order? I had an elderly person once tell me they couldn’t live on their social security check. I wanted to tell them that social security was never meant to be the sole income for a person in retirement. A person was supposed to save – to put money aside for retirement. They were not to spend all they made. They may have mixed up their needs and wants. Continue reading

May 26, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can We Be a Better Witness for Jesus?

Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Rays HaircutThis year – the year of our Lord 2020 – our nation will go to the polls once again – to place our vote for the POTUS and for others to lead our nation. I urge everyone to register to vote and to get out and vote for the person or persons you believe will help to make us a better nation. It is our legal duty and responsibility as citizens of this country to vote.

If you’ve been listening to the news or to TV – or the radio – or have read anything on the internet – you have probably heard what I have heard – or read what I have read. Men and women – people in political office – radio jocks – TV and movie stars – entertainers – comedians – folks on social media – and in other places – say or write some horrible things about the persons they do not support. I would rather hear positive things about the person(s) they support. Their choice of words leaves a lot to be desired. I mean – I’ve stopped listening to programs on TV because of the language being used. I’ve even had to turn off some sports programs on my favorite all-sports channel. I won’t watch certain shows on TV and don’t go to too many movies. I’ve unfriended or hidden some folks on social media because of the language they use (not always foul language but not uplifting language). Some do take the Lord’s name in vain – and laugh about it! There is a commandment about that with a warning I believe! Continue reading

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

Day 8 of Lent 2020

Luke 20:19-20

19 The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people. 20 Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor.

Ray 2020Today is day 9 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you are keeping up – if not – another day off in the reading plan is coming so you will have a chance to catch up. Today’s reading is another parable.

Parables are stories that Jesus used to share essential truths. Parables are not usually real life stories – yet they tell a real life truth. They are great examples of putting the Scripture to work – an application of the word of truth in our lives.

What does this parable say to us this morning? The verses I picked from today’s reading remind us that the teachers of the law and the chief priests were out to get Jesus – because He taught with such authority and they feared Him. God bless you as we walk with Jesus to the Cross of Calvary! Continue reading

March 5, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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