Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Be Blessed This Good Friday

Psalm 29:2

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

Today is Good Friday. Spend the day remembering that Jesus loved you so much – that He came down from heaven and died on the cross for your/our sins. If you are in the Laurel area – join us this evening for a meaningful service of remembrance as we read through some of the Biblical story of Jesus’ sacrifice. The service begins at 7 pm at First United Methodist Church at 424 Main Street – in Laurel – MD. Here are some passages to get us thinking today.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Continue reading

April 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Have An Advocate

1 John 2:1

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

One of my favorite shows – and I don’t watch a lot of TV other than sports – news – and some old shows – is Blue Bloods. Aside from the lead actor and one of my favorites – Tom Selleck as Frank Reagan – I appreciate the work that Bridget Moynahan does as Erin Reagan. I like police shows and courtroom shows (I grew up watching Raymond Burr on Perry Mason).

Court scenes are often very moving. The tension between the prosecution and the defense is often very subtle and at times very upfront. On a recent show Erin’s ex-husband was the defense while Erin represented the state – the prosecution. It was interesting watching the two lawyers and the judge interact. Continue reading

April 13, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Father – Forgive Them

Luke 23:34

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Forgiving people is not easy. We have all sinned. We have all hurt people. The old saying – hurt people – hurt people is so true. When we hurt or when others hurt us – forgiveness is not easy. We tend to hold grudges. We tend to seek revenge for the hurt. We tend to get angry and at time we close down when we are hurt. At times we even strike out at others when we are hurt – even to those closest to us – even when they had nothing to do with the hurt we feel.

What are some hurts we have experienced? My heart goes out to those who have experienced the death of a child – at the hands of someone – be it an accident or intended. I feel for those who have lost children or other loved ones in drive by shootings in some of our urban areas. The chemical attack by Assad on his people brought many images into our living rooms. Such pain in my heart watching babies gasping for a breath. I’ve talked to persons who have had hurt from abusive parents – from ugly divorces – from false accusations. These and other images and experiences beg the question – can we really forgive those who do evil in our world? Continue reading

April 12, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holy Week Remembered

Luke 24:50-53

50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Today’s passage is from the story of Jesus’ accession. At the end of Luke’s Gospel we read an account of Jesus’ accession. Here is a larger section of that story – Jesus had already been crucified and had already risen when this story took place. I know – out of order with this being Holy Week – but it impacted me today as I read it.

Holy Week is a powerful reminder of our walk with Jesus and His walk to the cross. Services this week will be held on Wednesday – Thursday – Friday and a beloved member of the church – 98.5 years old – will be remembered and celebrated on Saturday. Then and only then will we enter into the Easter celebration. Today’s passage will give us a reminder of His walk and His purpose. Jesus reminds us of His suffering and His glory. At the end of the reading we read that the Disciples stayed continually at the temple, praising God. Let’s take a read. Continue reading

April 11, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Knows All About Us

Psalm 139:3

You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

When I was growing up – I had certain chores – like most of us I assume. One of my chores was to cut the grass. We had just moved into the new parsonage at Seat Pleasant UMC on Addison Road in Seat Pleasant – MD. That church has since been renamed Gethsemane UMC.

The grass was just starting to take root and so it was very thin – sparse. There were rocks in the soil and my dad instructed me to cut the grass with the mower pointing away from the house. This meant I would push the mower up the hill in our side yard and pull it down the hill. It was harder – I thought – than pushing it down hill and pulling it up the hill – so I turned the lawn mower around and did as I thought – rather than as my father had told me. Continue reading

April 10, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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