Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Essentials in Life

John 7:16–17

16 Jesus answered, My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMRecently at a Bible Study I asked those in attendance – What are your essentials of faith? How would you answer that question? Do we base our faith on any essentials? Do we have any irrefutable truths you bank on in your walk with Jesus? Are there any absolutes for you?

What are the essentials of your faith – the essential doctrines? With so many denominations around and non-denominational churches too to attend – is doctrine an important part of your choice or not? If you are United Methodist – what is the reason? If you are Roman Catholic – why? If you attend a non-denominational church – is the church’s doctrine the reason? Why do we attend the church we attend? Is doctrine a part of that decision? Continue reading

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

I Will Not Lose Heart

2 Corinthians 4:16

Therefore we do not lose heart

Ray 2018Have you ever lost heart? There are a number of times I have lost heart. With injuries and age creeping up on me – my sport playing life has changed (I spend more time with golf these days). I love me some basketball – if you didn’t know that fact. With two rotator cuff surgeries the last two springs – I have not played a lot of basketball in the last two years or so. If you ask my wife or my friends – they would tell you I have contemplated leaving the game for good. My doctor even suggested it when I injured my shoulder playing basketball – which led to my last surgery. I went back Monday and enjoyed the full-court running (it might help me lose some weight). For most of my life I have been a 3-point bomber. I would find an open spot and the ball would find me and I would bomb away – hitting a high percentage typically. But – after two shoulder surgeries – gaining some age – and not working out much for two years – my 3-point shot is weak right now. I actually had to abandon the 3-point shot today and shot and hit from inside the arc. I will get my shooting touch back! I will not lose heart! I will keep trying! Continue reading

September 4, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Settling Our Differences

Philippians 4:2 (NLT)

Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement.

RayMcDWhen my brother and I – or my sister and I – or my brother and sister would have a disagreement – even an argument – my parents would remind us that we were siblings and that we should get along. The argument might have been over what TV show to watch (we had one TV in the whole house). The argument might have been over who’s turn it was to ride our loan bike (me and my sister before we got our own – see here). Whatever it was about – it wasn’t worth siblings being upset with one another for sure. We would settle our disagreements and move on.

Carolyn and I would remind our daughters the same thing. We would often tell them – that no matter how hard it might be at times to get along – your sisters (we had three daughters) – would always be there for you. Often – they would be your best friend(s) in life. They had some doozies at times – but they patched things up and carried on – loving each other. They settled their disagreements and moved on with life. Continue reading

August 31, 2018 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

God’s Love Endures Forever

Psalm 136:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.

RayMcDWe often debate what is good in our lives. For instance – if you asked me a year ago what was good – I might say – lemon meringue pie – or peanut butter moose track ice cream. These days I can’t have either and have had to turn them down (I’m trying to lose some weight for a variety of reason). Some might say – my marriage is good – or my children are good – or my favorite team is good.

School is getting ready to start back up and maybe you think your school’s football team is good or their soccer team or volleyball team. You might think your entire school is good. It might be your school’s band that you think is good. Some of us might even say our school is good. What or who do you think is good?

The ultimate good – according to Scripture and the personal experience from many of us – is the love of God. All things we consider good are temporal – they do not last. But the love of God endures forever. Continue reading

August 28, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Living at Peace with Everyone

Hebrews 12:14

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy…

RayMcDI know some families have issues during football season. Some couples I know root for opposing teams – like one will root for the Ravens while the other will root for the Steelers – or one will root for the Redskins while the other will root for the Cowboys. Football season is very interesting in those homes – especially when they play each other. Add to this the football widow or widower – where one spouse loves football and the other cannot stand it and you have tension in the home.

Last night in Bible study one of the brothers mentioned his wife’s support of the Capitals and his support for the Penguins and how there is usually tension in the home during hockey season – especially then they play each other. At least – he said – the Stanley Cup was in their home the last three years (2 for the Penguins and 1 for the Capitals)! Continue reading

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

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