Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Spending More Time In Prayer

Psalm 61:1
“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.”

RayMcD

‬Have any of our readers had a moment or even a longer time when we cried out to the Lord in prayer? Maybe it was a time of great pain or a time when we were making major changes in our life and felt frustrated or overwhelmed. I’ve experienced times in my life when I have cried out for God – thinking that God was no where to be found. I felt alone – I felt lost – I felt as if I were all alone.

A young person recently posted on their Facebook page seeking prayers. They asked for their Facebook friends to seek God in prayer for an unspoken prayer request. Have we ever spent a whole evening praying? We would call praying all night – praying through something – until we had an answer. What is the longest time frame we have spent in prayer for one item? How many days have we prayed for something before we’ve given up? Think about the things we have spent time praying over. Continue reading

July 26, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Calling The Church To Pray!

James 5:13–16

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

This morning I feel compelled (obligated – duty-bound) to call on all who will to pray for the church and for your pastor and leaders. According to Scripture: 1 Peter 5:8-98 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith. The devil is out there and wants nothing more than to devour the church – the people of God! Part of standing firm is to stay in prayer together.

Pray that the devil not be given even a foothold in our lives and in the church. Scripture says; Ephesians 4:25-2825 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Continue reading

July 25, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Your Light So Shine For Jesus

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

All of my life – growing up – I was told that my actions reflected on my earthly father and mother. My dad was the pastor of my home church and as I grew into my teens – people knew him and if I did something good or something not so good – it would reflect upon him (and mom).

I remember a time in my early twenties when my friends wanted to go downtown Annapolis – drinking. I went along with them (I didn’t and don’t drink). I remember wrestling with the idea of my witness to my friends (that I could have a good time without drinking) and the witness of someone seeing me coming out of a bar (I was raised in the old Methodist belief that drinking was something to be avoided – we called it abstinence). Continue reading

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, 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

At Times – Life Is About The Mercy Rule

Psalm 30:10

Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.

Mercy is something that is rare. Most of us – operating in our human nature – tend to want fairness – or even revenge – but mercy is rare. When I was umpiring baseball – we had a mercy rule in recreational league play. If a team was up by 10 runs after a certain inning of play – they had won the game – we didn’t have to play any longer. This mercy rule kept the team that was being beaten from being beaten by even more – and maybe destroy all of their confidence for future games.

What would a mercy rule look in real life? In golf it might be called a mulligan. We like do-overs in our world – a chance to improve on a mistake or a failure. Yet – often – we are reluctant to give mercy to others. It is hard to offer mercy – maybe because we feel little mercy has been shown us.

I’ve often written on this blog about how salvation is through grace. We all deserve hell – yet because of God’s great mercy – He gave us a free gift – salvation – through the shed blood of Jesus – if we place our trust and life in His hands. Ephesians 2:8 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— Continue reading

July 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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