Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Get a New Heart

Ezekiel 18:31a

Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.

Life ChangeOnce – when I was preaching a sermon series on forgiveness – during the first sermon in the series – someone ask – during the sermon – if I could preach of forgiving ourselves. I hope that I touched on that in that series. I think I will repeat that series sometime soon. Today’s passage from Ezekiel spoke to my heart about forgiveness. I want to share it today for our devotional thought.

We have said a number of times – in sermons and in teachings – that the heart is very important as we walk out our faith in Christ.  Christianity boils down to attitude is now a common phrase many of us know. The position and condition of our heart is very important – so I like the simplicity of today’s passage – Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Continue reading

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April 1, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Satan Is A Fallen Angel

2 Corinthians 11:14

And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

Life ChangeIn High School there were several High School teams we got up for above all the rest. They were our rivals so to speak. Severna Park and Arundel were those teams (I attended Annapolis High School). There was no South River and no Broadneck High Schools in those days and Southern rarely gave us a scare in football (basketball yes – but not football).

In High School – whole schools get up for that week’s opponent – that week’s enemy. School colors were/are all over the stadium – pep rallies and other events often precede contests with the number one foe. You don’t need to tell a High School student which schools are the arch rivals! They know it. They’ve heard about the rivalry well before they arrived at High School.

Unfortunately – many Christians aren’t aware that our number one enemy is Satan. This might be because some preachers – even some denominations – don’t believe in or articulate enough about the presence of this chief demon. Because we don’t acknowledge something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Today’s passage gives us some insight into the chief demon – Satan. Here it is in partial context.  2 Corinthians 11:12-15 – 12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. Continue reading

January 16, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2019 – What Are Your Goals?

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Life ChangeToday is New Year’s Eve – 2018. What will you do today or tonight? Do you have plans to spend time with friends until the ball drops and we begin 2019? Are you going to a party or like our church – a game night tonight? Are you heading to New York or DC or Annapolis? What are your plans for tonight? Sometimes I stay up – sometimes I go to bed early. My wife is babysitting some of our grands – I may be alone. I could be in bed by 9 pm or stay up. We’ll see how much I do during the day and how tired I am tonight. Maybe an afternoon nap will help me stay up till the New Year.

Tomorrow is January 1st – New Year’s Day – 2019. What are your goals for 2019? Remember – one of my favorite sayings – aim at nothing and you’re bound to hit it! Spend some time today – if you haven’t already – planning some goals for 2019. In the message yesterday – I mentioned a few things. Did any of those goals fit your eye? Let’s spend some time discussing some goals for 2019. Continue reading

December 31, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

November Fast is Coming

Romans 8:6

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

Photo on 10-9-18 at 2.15 PMI’m challenging all of our readers and my congregation to join me in the month of November on a fast. Fasting is not a spiritual discipline many pay much attention to these days. Fasting is a time of spiritual control over something in the temporal world. I plan to place this challenge before the congregation. I will encourage them to find something in their life that either controls them or deters their walk with Jesus – and fast from it for one month – the month of November.

I want us to be challenged to think spiritually rather than with our natural minds. Let’s begin with today’s passage in partial context. Romans 8:5-8 – 5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

I want to bring up one more Scripture for our devotional thought today – 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  The old is the human – carnal – natural – sinful self. There are many things that we feel drawn toward – maybe genetically – maybe environmentally – maybe a combination of nature and nurture. The point is – not all things we might be drawn toward in our natural human self can be considered godly or acceptable as Christians. I could make an argument that my physical structure gives me every right to be heavy – I mean I am big-boned – I have broad shoulders – I have an appetite that is enormous – always have and always will I assume. From my earliest remembrances I have had a big appetite. As a young adult I could down two double Whoppers – two large orders of fries and a large milkshake as a nighttime snack. And while I was active – officiating sports all year round – playing basketball every free moment and keeping otherwise busy – it never showed up in my weight. But this sinful desire – this over active appetite (a human desire) – has shown itself in significant ways as an adult who has slowed down. I gained over 100 plus pounds since my young adult days. I maxed out a few years ago and have been on a journey to find me inside this fat man. Continue reading

October 15, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Letting Our Light So Shine

Matthew 5:14

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

Photo on 10-9-18 at 2.15 PMThe month of October is the beginning of darker days. Darkness is fun at times – and at times it is not. I remember growing up and living next door to a cemetery. Now that could be scary – at least for those not use to it. When friends came over or cousins visited – we would play hide and seek. I would always hide in the cemetery – over in the darkest corners where the house light didn’t shine. Whenever someone got close to where I was hiding – I would make sounds that would scare them away. The darkness and the unknown would always win the day. But darkness is not always something to be desired as we will see.

Darkness – in today’s scripture – represents the absence of Jesus. Jesus is instructing His followers and He tells them that they are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. As believers – as disciples of Jesus – we are to allow His light to shine in us – thru us – and in spite of us.

I remember – again as a child – traveling to my mother’s home town – Moorefield – WV.  As we would come over the mountains – with very little light other than our headlights – we would crest the last mountain top and move down toward the valley. As we descended the mountain – we would see the lights of Moorefield. We knew we were there – for mom – it was her childhood home. I remember when the chicken plant started running all night and when they got their first fast food store – a McDonald’s. As the town started to get more and more active over the years – the lights were stronger as we crested that last mountain.

Continue reading

October 10, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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