Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

As Far As The East Is From The West

Psalm 103:12

…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

My wife and I have worked our whole adult lives staying out of debt. We have been married for 37.5 years and we have tried to never be in more debt than we could pay off (paying off credit cards when they came due each month). Of course – buying cars and a home mortgage have been exceptions to the general rule until most recently. We have always paid off all of our credit cards each month when they have been due (which was hard when we were younger – trying to establish a home and staying within our budget or means). It has produced fruit as both my wife and I have great credit ratings – never really felt like we deprived ourselves – and have a good start on the next season of our life (retirement). We had a plan and we stuck with it! We paid back all of our debt. If we couldn’t for a short season – we worked hard to do so – at times holding down two and three jobs at a time. Hard work and good financial planning have produced good fruit. I understand some have had a plan and have not been as blessed. We have been blessed – even as we have worked hard. Continue reading

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January 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No One Can Serve Two Masters

Matthew 6:24

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

RayMcDOk – Christmas is coming – ready or not. Christmas has turned into a commercial season for many for sure. Buying gifts is all the rage. Stores are trying all sorts of ways to get you to buy from them – online stores as well. The advertisements are amazing at times.

Christmas is a good time to determine where our priorities are for sure. When we check our expenditures for Christmas compared to say what we give to God’s work through His church – we might get the idea. When God’s Word says much about giving to God and God’s work but nothing about giving gifts to one another at Christmas – we might realize that we have bought into the lies about Christmas. Instead of a season to give to God it has turned into a season to out do the neighbors and spoil our children and grandchildren.

Our church – not unlike many churches this time of the year – is behind in our giving in relationship to our budget. We budgeted what we thought was a conservative budget for the working of God’s work for 2016. Unfortunately – for a variety of reasons – our giving has not kept up with our expectations. Continue reading

December 13, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Election Day 2016 And Our Diversity

Galatians 3:26-29

26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

RayMcDI have often been asked – at each church I have served – what I appreciate the most about the current church I am serving. One thing I appreciate about First UMC in Laurel is the diversity of our congregation.

When asked recently – I went on to explain what I meant by diversity. I told them of our wide range of ages at FUMCL – from a member who is 101 to youth and children. I mentioned our growing multi-ethnic flavor at FUMCL – with many hues of people. I mentioned our economic diversity as well – with some people on government assistance while others had well-paying jobs. The diversity I see at FUMCL reminds me of what I think heaven will be like – people of all races and nations – loving on Jesus.

As the elections approach – I see another diversity at FUMCL. As I read posts on social media from our members – I see our diversity around politics. There were a number of people I love and respect from our church expressing support for either candidate and for no candidate at all. (I believe Christians could vote for either candidate – God is not Democratic or Republican). Continue reading

October 24, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Vision, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Recognizing Jesus!

Luke 24:31

Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.

112015 Ray McDonaldI was at the golf course the other day and a young man walked by me. Right away he called me by name but it took me a few seconds to figure out in my brain where I knew him. His face was familiar – but you know – the context wasn’t there.

Have you ever seen someone you know you know but you can’t put a name with the face? Usually for me it is when I see the person out of the context from where I know them. Like meeting someone from church in the grocery store – you know you know them but you can’t bring their name up to your memory. Maybe that just happens to me – and maybe because I’m getting older – but I usually have a good memory for names – just ask my wife.

What keeps us from recognizing people?  Is it age?  Is it context?  Is it our relationship?  Is it something else? Continue reading

March 31, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology, Vision, Worship | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What The Church Needs Today Is More Of God’s Grace

Romans 5:8

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

IMG_0301I’m going to start today with the bottom line – we are all sinners saved by grace. You can stop reading now and you have the jest of this blog post. Here are three Scriptures that make today’s point. They are familiar passages and often quoted.

Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

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.

God’s grace was shown to all of us through Jesus Christ. Every one of us deserves hell – yet God’s free gift of salvation gives those who turn to His saving grace – eternal life. Continue reading

June 12, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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