Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Memorial Day 2017

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Arlington

Arlington Cemetery

Today is Memorial Day 2017. It is a day we remember those who gave the greatest sacrifice – those who gave their lives for our nation – for our freedoms. It is a day that we remember that freedom is not free. Pictures of Arlington Cemetery reminds us of the number of folks who have served and died. It is an amazing experience to visit one of our veteran’s cemetery’s.

I use to walk to and from school past the Annapolis Veteran’s Cemetery and would often say a prayer of thanks for those who have served and died. I remember a few years ago attending a service for my cousin who served in Viet Nam and most likely died of something he was exposed to in Nam. He didn’t die in Nam but may well have died early because of Nam. Not all veteran’s died during war time – but they all were exposed to life and death as they served our nation. Continue reading

May 29, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Deeper Walk With The Holy Spirit

John 16:13

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.

I miss my dad. I often went to dad with spiritual and personal issues in my life. I would also talk to him about church life and share my concerns and my joys. He was a good sounding board – a man of faith and a man of love. He guided me through many troubling waters and helped me avoid so many as well.

Is there someone in our lives that fits this bill? Is there someone who we turn to in times of need and times of joy? A number of my friends are fellow clergy and we often have people coming to us for guidance on issues in life.

My children come to me from time to time – but not nearly as often as I would like – seeking guidance. I miss my dad greatly – because he was a source of strength for me. Continue reading

May 26, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Cleanses Our Sin

Zechariah 3:4

The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”

Growing up I can remember times when I got my clothes pretty dirty. We had sand pits in the backyard and my brother and I would play in them and get pretty dirty. We also had woods need our home and I would run through them. In the sand pits or in the woods – I would play soldier or cowboy – always carrying my air rifle.

Mom would say we were a sight and have us take off our clothes. She would wash them as we bathed ourselves and I remember seeing my favorite clothes (a Roy Roger’s cowboy shirt) hanging on the clothesline outside. Clothes always smelled so fresh when they were air-dried.

We would put them on and begin the whole process over again the next day. If I wasn’t playing cowboys (riding my stick horse around) I was playing soldier Combat! was a popular TV show when I was 7 and older). Continue reading

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

Keeping The Sabbath Holy

Deuteronomy 5:14

…but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.

Growing up stores were all closed on Sundays – the Christian Sabbath Day. People generally went to worship God in the morning – came home to eat a family meal – rested for the next week’s work load (dad called them siestas – a nap taken in the heat of the day) – had family time – ate supper together – went back to church for youth group followed by evening worship.

Today – many – even Christians – treat Sundays as any other day. Oh – some might come to worship on Sunday mornings – maybe evening Sunday School – but many treat the rest of the day as any other day. They shop – they go out for a meal – they cut their lawns – they wash their cars – they clean the house – and more. They buy and sell on the Sabbath – even in the church building. They go to work on the Sabbath as if it is any other day. Continue reading

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

Jesus’ Prayer For Unity

John 17:21

…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Annual Conference is coming next week – a week I would look forward to in years past – a time to see old friends that are scattered all over the conference. It was a time to renew friendships and share war stories. It was a time to worship and learn and to be challenged. Although there have always been ideologies and theologies that differ from my own – we always seemed to get along – somehow.

In recent years – the divide between us has grown it seems. On issues like human sexuality there doesn’t seem to be a place for us to coalesce. On one side of the discussion – some expressions of sexuality are considered sinful – such as same-sex relations. On the other side of the discussion – same-sex attraction and relations is seen as normal and acceptable. For over four decades this debate has raged – yet in the last few years it seems to have gotten more and more divisive.

Add to the discussion persons born one gender who wish to be seen – treated – and recognized as the other gender – even going so far as to alter their gender identity with surgery – and the divide increases. Continue reading

May 23, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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