Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Little Piece

Ephesians 6:1-4

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Today is the last day of our VBS (Vacation Bible School) for 2017. I posted this on Facebook this morning early. Up early to thank God for the awesome folks at First United Methodist Church of Laurel. Today is the last day of VBS. This ministry is such an expression of love for Jesus, the community, and for the memory of Linda Ryan. I’m honored to serve those who serve for Jesus. They are all heroes to me!

As we finish another year of VBS – I’m taking a look at today’s passage – especially the final part of today’s passage that say – Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. VBS is part of the final part of that 4th verse – bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. I have marveled at the number of persons who have given of themselves all week to help train our children and the children of the community in the ways of Jesus! Continue reading

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July 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, 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

United In Christ

Romans 12:5-6

5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.

On a baseball team – there are different abilities or gifts. Some are really fast and can run down fly balls with the best of them – and they play the outfield. Some are very quick and have great hands and they might end up playing the infield where the ball comes at them at a high rate of speed off the bat. Still others can pitch the ball with accuracy and maybe even with a high rate of speed. Still others have a knack for hitting the ball a long way or at a high average. Still others can play multiple positions and become valuable as utility players. In other words – although there is a common goal – to win games – the gifting of the players on the team vary.

In many marriages – the husband and wife complement each other. One might be good with finances while the other spouse is good at keeping the yard looking nice. One might be good at keeping the house looking tiptop while the other might be good at mechanical things. One spouse might be good at solving problems that arise while the other spouse might be good at implementing a plan. I could go on and on. It isn’t always this way in a marriage. Sometimes both spouses are good at the same thing. Sometimes neither is good at something. In a healthy marriage there is a mutual sharing of gifting and time. Even when one is not the best at something – they still chip in and help. Continue reading

June 23, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Labor For The Lord Will Not Be In Vain

1 Corinthians 15:58

Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

I’m back from my staycation. For the last two weeks I have taken some time off to relax and reflect. If you missed our weekday postings – I’m back! If you didn’t miss them – you probably aren’t reading this anyway.

Yesterday I was honored to be asked to return to my home church – Mt. Zion UMC in Lothian – MD. As a child – a couple of months old – my family moved to Mt. Zion (MZ). My father followed his father as the pastor of MZ (granddad died mid year and the Bishop called my father to take his place). I lived in the parsonage of this church until I was 9 – the pastor’s son. We returned often to this base church because my grandmother – who lived with our family after her husband’s passing until she built her own home. She still lived in the community (next door to the parsonage) after we left for another church.

It was about 18 years later that a new Bishop appointed me to MZ. I thought it would be neat to return to the church where my grandfather (3 years) served and my father (9 years) served. Little did I know that Carolyn and I were to spend the next 24 years serving in this church community. We were blessed by our time together. We stayed in touch with MZ over the years because other family members remained at this church after we left. They live in the community and so do we.

It has been about 10 years since we left MZ as pastor and so returning yesterday was a blessing. There were some familiar faces present as well as some new ones. We were warmly welcomed. I thank the pastor who followed us and ministered to MZ for 10 years for allowing us to return – Rev. William (Bill) Herche (retired). Continue reading

June 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Is The Rapture?

Matthew 24:36

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Have we read anything lately about the rapture. Do we even know what the rapture represents? I first posted this devotional thought on May 21st – 2011. According to fundamentalist Harold Camping – that was the day he predicted for the Rapture. The Rapture is a belief that the saints of Christ – true believers – will be raised before the end of time arrives. A key passage some use in their teaching about the Rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. Here’s what I believe – Christ will return – Christ will receive His church (true believers) – and the end times will unfold. I just wasn’t sold on Harold Camping’s prediction in 2011 nor of anyone’s ability to predict the date today of the rapture or the end of time. Nor what order things will occur.

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 – According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Continue reading

April 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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