Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Holy Spirit Comes Upon Us

Luke 1:35

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”

I remember when I was in elementary school – we use to pass notes in class (I don’t recommend this to our students).  You know the type note I’m talking about – the girls would make up these little books with questions in them like do you like so-in-so?  One of the questions on a booklet passed around said – do you watch Dark Shadows? Now Dark Shadows was a show that came on right after school – a soap opera as it were. It was about a vampire and creepy things. I didn’t watch it – or at least hadn’t watched it before being asked – and didn’t even know about it – and so I thought they were talking about dark shadows at night. Everyone else was saying yes – so of course – succumbing to peer pressure – I said yes as well. It was only later – when I was asked specific questions about watching Dark Shadows – I found out it was a TV show – and of course I started watching it. Continue reading

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January 11, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Heart Is Revealed

James 4:1

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?

Have any of us ever seen a child throw a temper tantrum? Maybe it was because they didn’t get what they wanted or what they thought they deserved or were entitled to for some reason? Maybe they were in the grocery store and wanted a certain box of cereal they had seen on TV. Maybe it was Christmas morning or at a birthday party and the gift they wanted wasn’t there or the gift they got disappointed them somehow. I pick on children because they haven’t learned to hide their emotions like many of us have (some of us haven’t). They let that raw heart-felt emotion show many times. Our heart is revealed – often – by our actions.

Adults are not innocent here my friends. I have seen grown adults – in church meetings no less – throw temper tantrums – throwing down a clipboard – pulling power plays to gain an upper hand in a discussion – and more. Do we ever sit back – after an outburst by someone (or by ourselves) and wondered – where did that come from? James asks that question today – What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? Our heart is revealed – often – by our actions. Continue reading

December 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How To Turn From Addictions

James 4:7

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Some of us have addictive personalities or makeups. Our constitution is not strong enough – at times – to withstand the attraction of what we desire. We can be manipulated by things or persons to do things we wouldn’t ordinarily do if it weren’t for that which we become addicted.

For some of us it is hard to resist things we desire. For some – alcohol or drugs become substances that can control our lives. We try to fight the attraction – but often we are too weak to stand opposed to our desires. We try to dry out – we try rehab – we try going cold turkey – and for some it works – but for many of us – it doesn’t. Drugs and alcohol can control our lives and even take our life.

For some of us it is hard to resist things we desire. For some – food is an addiction. I know we must eat to survive – but for some of us – we eat beyond survival. For some – we are addicted to food. There is an old saying – eat to live – don’t live to eat. Over eating can not only control our lives – it can even take our life Continue reading

September 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

God Will Understand Us!

Romans 8:26

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

I have two granddaughters who are two years of age. They are beginning to talk up a storm. It is so cute. At times they are very articulate. At times I need their mother to interpret for me. At times – we both throw up our hands and wonder what they just said! Both are second born – and so this second born middle child connects with them. I love when they jump up into Pop’s lap to snuggle or watch their favorite shows on TV.

We are becoming an increasingly diverse community and country. I’ve entered some establishments and have a hard time understanding the cashier or salesperson because of their accent or dialect. I often call tech support from various companies and often I am connected with someone from another nation – where that tech center is located. It is hard at times for me to understand. Continue reading

September 1, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Search Me – Oh God – And Know My Heart

Psalm 139:23

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

An actor was famous for saying – who loves you baby. Of course I’m talking about Telly Savalas when he played the lollypop loving lead role in the detective show Kojak (1973-1978). Knowing who loves you is important. I remember in grade school when girls sent notes to boys asking them if they liked them. We have a need to know who loves us – who likes us – how people feel about us.

A better question than who loves us or likes us is whom do we love or like? Some men have a hard time saying I love you to their wife or children. Knowing whom we love/like and being able to express it is important.

The word love – at times – flows too easily for some. Young men say it to young women in order to sway them to like them back or give them special attention. We might say we love someone – even saying we love Jesus – but as my mom would say – the proof is in the pudding or words are nice but actions speak louder than words.

Do we love God? Do we really love God more than anything or anyone? In scripture we are told to love God with all that we have and all that we are. Mark 12:30 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Continue reading

March 24, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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