Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What I Might Share With Graduates

John 3:3

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

I’m reading on my Facebook feed about a lot of young people graduating from High School and College. It has been 45 years since I graduated from High School. I haven’t heard of any reunions – but maybe for our 50th in five years. If I had a chance to speak with graduates – I might say something like today’s devotional thought.

As I thought about those days gone by – which seem so long ago and yet so recent too – I am reminded of my days in school – in the educational process. The early to mid 70’s were amazing years in my life. I was in High School – graduating in the spring of 1973 from Annapolis High School. I was in college before my senior year was over (attending classes in the summer) – attending AACC or as we said A2C2 (for those who don’t read math – that is A squared C squared). I graduated from AACC in 1975 and began to attend the University of Maryland. It seems so long ago and yet so recent.

During this time in my life I had one girl friend of one year and one girl friend for two years – names have been left out to save their reputations (I’m still friends with one today – a FB friend even – I have no idea where the other might be in life). I mention this because many of us go through relationships that come and go – that at the time we thought would be forever. I thought both of these young women might be the one I would spend the rest of my life with for sure – yet neither turned out to be my life partner. Life is so unsettled at times – we live – we learn – we hurt – we have happiness. I had friends during this time in my life that I thought would be life-time friends. One died way too young and others – mostly – have gone on with their lives and our lives have crossed ever so infrequently. It was during these days that I began using the following phrase – happiness is circumstantially driven, while joy is spiritually derived. My days were filled with circumstances that brought happiness and sadness – sometimes in the same event. What seemed so concrete and secure during this time in my life seems to be just a vague memory today. Continue reading

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May 23, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving One Another In The Midst Of Disagreement

Luke 6:27-28

27 But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

We all have enemies. Maybe not like war enemies – Russia vs. USA or North Korea vs. South Korea – but people who are out to do us harm and have done us harm. A colleague recently posted that she had been on the receiving end of some gossip that was very hurtful – from fellow clergy members even. When people do or say things that hurt us – it is hard to deal with for sure. It hurts deeply when it is people who we think should know better or know us better.

We all have enemies – those persons who are not looking out for our best interest – those persons who are actually out to hurt us. Gossip – rumors – lies are the tools of some. It is not easy to love those who are out to hurt you. Loving those who love you is hard enough at times. Loving our enemies is next to impossible it seems. Continue reading

May 22, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning To Be Generous

Acts 2:44

All the believers were together and had everything in common.

I just attended the graduation ceremony for my two five-year-old granddaughters. We saw picture after picture on the big screen of children sharing and having a great time. Children from all walks of life – from various communities – and from diverse races. Children don’t care about our differences as much as their parents do. Children just care if someone is nice and plays nice. I wish we adults could learn something from our children.

Most children learn early in life to share – especially if they have siblings. When they are very young – sharing is something they learn or should learn. It may not come naturally to us all – but thru time and training – most of us learn to share. We take turns in games – we learn to share our crayons and other materials. I know my daughters taught this to our grandchildren – even sharing with their cousins after they learned to share with their siblings. Now – they wouldn’t think of letting a classmate go without if they had something and could share. Continue reading

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grief is Real

Genesis 25:8

Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people.

Yesterday I went with a family – some friends from younger years at another church – to spend some time with the body of their 30 year-old son who died Sunday – on Mother’s Day – in a car accident. As I stood with the family and tried to hold back the tears – my thoughts went to my nearly 30 year old daughters and eventually to my mom and my dad’s passing.

I was reminded of today’s passage – as I thought of my dad’s passing nearly 6 years ago. When dad passed – my dad was 84 – he would have bene 90 this summer. I would have loved to have had him around another 16 years or so – yet he was at a good old age when he died. He was ready to meet his Maker – even though he would have loved to stay around to be with a family that he loved and who loved him. One of the comforting thoughts I cling to even today is that as much as he loves us – he wouldn’t trade a moment of heaven for another moment with us. He is in God’s glory! Continue reading

May 17, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Mankind Will Come And Bow Down Before God

Isaiah 66:23

“all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord.

I grew up the son and grandson of Methodist pastors. I was raised on Wesleyan theology – which is not Calvinist or Arminian exactly – but for me a mixture of the two (the best parts of each). I was raised during a time when we were told to date within our denomination – because it would be easier raising the children – better for a unified home. I didn’t always follow that path – dating a Catholic girl – a Baptist girl – an Episcopal girl – a non-denominational girl and a few others. I also dated a few Methodist girls. I eventually married a Methodist girl (young woman) – who would love to be non-denominational I think. All were Christian – just from different branches of the faith.

I raised my daughters to marry boys who were Christian – the denomination was secondary. I told them they should look for three things in the young men they dated – 1) a strong Christian faith – 2) a strong love for them – and 3) a strong work ethic. Although I was still biased toward those who thought Wesleyan theology was on the right path – I believed that most Christian faiths could have the core beliefs that would create a strong marriage and family. Continue reading

May 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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