Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Following God’s Voice

Isaiah 30:21

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMI’ve mentioned several times before that as a child – I tried to follow in my father’s footsteps. I could ALWAYS trust that dad would not lead me wrong. He was a man of God and if I followed his example – I knew I would be walking after God – seeking His face and desiring His grace. Of course – he told me on several occasions that I should follow Christ – not him. That was because he was a humble man for sure.

Have you ever wondered about the path God has for your life? Did you or are you praying for God’s guidance as you walk thru life – seeking His face and desiring His grace? I encourage people to pray over all decisions. I especially urge them to pray about the big ones such as – who to date – what school or training to seek – what career to pursue – whether to marry or who to marry – whether to purchase or rent a home or a vehicle – whether to have children and how many – where to worship – etc. If we don’t include God in our decisions – why would we go to Him for help after we make mistakes? Go to God before decisions are made and I bet – if we are listening to His voice – we might just make fewer mistakes. Think about it – doesn’t that make sense? Continue reading

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September 26, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

General Conference 2019 – Part 2

2 Timothy 3:16–17

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God  may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Scripture is the base of our understanding of God. It is often where those who differ in their understanding of God depart from one another. Scriptural authority is often the real issue when presenting issues surface. In the United Methodist Church today – the presenting issue is the nature of human sexuality. The real issue – can the Scriptures be believed and held as authoritative in our lives today.

For the next few days I will include articles written by some leaders in the United Methodist Church concerning the upcoming special General Conference of 2019 (#GC2019). Now that our Annual Conference is over – I want to make sure our readers are informed about the upcoming #GC2019. You can return and read yesterday’s post here.

Today I include an article written by Cynthia B. Astle – from United Methodist Insight. You can read her article here if you wish to respond to it directly. I include her long article below. You can respond on this blog page if you wish as well. Continue reading

June 6, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

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