Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Make My Joy Complete

Philippians 2:2

then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

img_0063-2I looked back at the months before the 2016 elections. I found something I wrote in March 2016. I will make some changes today – but the truths from 2016 are still truths today. Remember – both parties were trying to find a candidate in 2016.

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This will be a short devotional today – but it will have much to ponder. First – how’s your Prayer/Fast going (we were in Lent when I wrote this and we were doing a prayer fast)? I pray it is going well and that God is speaking to you.

Second – and lastly – the Presidential Elections of 2016 are not going well. I’m not talking about my candidate doing well or not. I’m talking about the way ALL of the candidates are acting – both parties. Childish would not be strong enough. Making fun of one another – the way they talk – their physical appearance – their gender – and more is not what we the voters want to see – IMHO. I know I would much rather hear a debate on the issues of the day – like the economy – national security – immigration – the Supreme Court – race relations – entitlement programs – the environment – and more.  I’d much rather hear their agenda moving forward than to listen to them cutting down their counterparts. Continue reading

January 31, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2020 – A Year of Decisions

John 3:16-17

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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

img_0063-2It is no secret – I like golf. The weather has been nice in January and I have gotten out already in 2020. Golf doesn’t always like me. I enjoy playing golf and the friends I play with as well. Some say – golf is a good walk in the outdoors – spoiled. Not me – I love the nature in golf – but I also like the game itself. Two friends and I walked 18 holes a week or so ago. We were dragging coming up 18 (an uphill walk) – but we had fun.

I plan to improve my game this summer (my plan every year) – if I can continue to lose some weight – I plan to get back to walking the course more. I usually play better when I walk the course – and the weight loss – should help. I’d like to play in the 70’s (not the temperature folks) this summer on a regular basis. Last summer I only hit the 70’s a few times. Most of the year I played in the 80’s with a few really bad rounds as well. We shall see!

I also do what some think the most boring thing imaginable – I watch golf on TV (I’d rather be playing – but I do enjoy a good match on TV from time-to-time). When you watch golf – many times in the crowd around a tee-box – you see someone with a sign that simply says John 3:16. The assumption is that most people know what that verse says – or maybe it will cause them to go and look it up. It is part of this morning’s passage. John 3:16-17 – 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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Continue reading

January 28, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Agree to Disagree?

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

img_0063-2Well – here we are in the year 2020. This year – we will see much debate – numerous votes – and an opportunity to agree to disagree with many friends – family and others.

I am disturbed by the number of colleagues and others that think they are being prophetic by speaking evil about and toward the current POTUS. I disagree greatly with much our current POTUS says and does – as I have with previous presidents – but I wouldn’t say some of the things others are saying. There needs to be a way of disagreeing with the POTUS or others without speaking evil. How are we a witness for Jesus when we join in the name calling and judging? I hear some of the same rhetoric when it comes to those who support the conservative side of our denomination.

Living at peace with each other in days like these is not easy. During this season of time – pre-2020 elections and pre-2020 General Conference – we need to focus as much as possible on living at peace with one another – even everyone. I know – it is not easy to live at peace with people who are diametrically opposed to your ideology or theology – but it is what we are called to do as we walk out our faith. It is not always easy to live at peace with those we love and agree with either. We don’t need to agree with everyone – but as we disagree – we should not be disagreeable. Living at peace with others doesn’t mean we always have to agree for sure.

In today’s passage Paul writes – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. How do we read this? And if we read it that we should strive to live at peace with everyone – how well are we doing? If we’re as blue as it gets – even radically blue (far left) – even socialists – with our politics – how well do we get along with someone who is as red as it gets – even radically red (far right)? Can we discuss our differences without becoming ugly? I know this doesn’t seem to happen on many social media pages I visit. It seems like the far left cannot even comprehend the far right – and vice versa – and they don’t play well together either. Continue reading

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Beginnings

First Church,

img_0063-2As we enter 2020 – I wanted to let you know how honored I feel to serve our Lord with you. We have made some treasured memories together over the last 6.5 years. I look forward to the time God gives us to continue to serve Him together. Whatever happens to our denomination – we can remain faithful to our Lord.

2020 will see many changes. We have a significant General Conference in the United Methodist Church in May with many proposals about our future as a church. We have a Presidential election in November as well – with many possible changes to our country’s leadership. If the Lord allows – we will see these – along with another birthday and special holidays.

A New Year – and even a new decade – are times God offers us as New Beginnings. Some will want to change some things in their lives. Some will get married. Some will have children. Some will get new jobs. Some will purchase a new home. Some may move away. Others may move into the area and join us at First Church. Some may try to change their physical or emotional or spiritual health. What new beginning are you looking forward to in 2020? Continue reading

December 31, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on New Beginnings

I Need Some Prayer Warriors – Please

Jeremiah 20:11

But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.

Ray 2019Lamar Jackson – Marlon Humphreys – Marshal Yanda – Earl Thomas – Mark Ingram – Mark Andrews and Marcus Peters – just to name a few Baltimore Ravens – have played like mighty warriors this year. They have won 10 straight games and have won games in very hostile stadiums and in terrible weather. They have won when they have not played their best. They have fought hard – for entire games – not taking off any time during games. They are 12-2 and could lock up the #1 playoff slot in the AFC with a win Sunday against the Cleveland Browns (who beat them early in the season).

Another mighty warrior that I know is my dear friend Norma Floyd. She has been battling cancer for many years. There have been times we all thought she was at the end – only to see her bounce back. Last fall we didn’t think she would see Christmas 2018 and now we are facing the thought that she may not make Christmas 2019. Norma has never wavered from her faith and her love for her children and grandchildren. She has always been a dear friend of mine. In the words of another dear friend – when he found out that Norma was not doing well said – Norma always made you look good Rev. Ray. To which I responded – and that is not an easy task for sure.

My dad was always a mighty warrior to me – he stood for Biblical truth – and never wavered from it. He was consistent and reliable and in this day and age when everything is ever changing – that was a solid foundation for me growing up. He stood for Jesus – even to the very end.

Mighty warriors are not easy to find. Mighty prayer warriors are even harder to find. We need some mighty prayer warriors today! Things are not going well in the world around us.

Continue reading

December 17, 2019 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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