Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Satan Is Real and Needs to be Rejected

 Revelation 2:13

I know where you live — where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city — where Satan lives.

This is a reworked devotional – produced on Tuesday for Thursday so I won’t need to write a new one while I’m at Annual Conference. I will do the same for Friday.

Have we ever felt surrounded on every turn by folks that seem to be doing the work of the Devil? I mean – we can think of cities like Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible or cities like San Francisco – New York City – Chicago – Washington, DC and other havens of sin – but sin lives wherever men and women’s hearts are turned away from Jesus and turned toward Satan. Satan may live in our workplace – in our own family or in our own life at times. We may think (tongue in cheek) we are married to Satan him/herself – but in reality Satan is Satan and those who succumb to his trickery are his instruments – and they live everywhere.

We do not have to be a child molester or mass murderer to be a tool of Satan! We don’t have to be named Hitler or Attila the Hun to be a tool of Satan. Our journey may take us into the presence of many who are being used of Satan – daily. We may be used of Satan from time to time as well. Even people who present themselves as sheep can really be wolves in sheep’s clothing. Matthew 7:15 – Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. Continue reading

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May 30, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is The Cost?

Luke 9:23

Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Life ChangeWhat is the cost of being a fan of the Orioles? This past year we had to suffer through 115 losses. In recent history – we suffered through 14 losing seasons in a row. Some of our best players have signed elsewhere – because we weren’t willing or able to sign them. Some of the best players in baseball were traded away (example: Curt Schilling) or allowed to leave in free agency (example: recently honored Hall of Famer Mike Mussina). Maybe – just maybe – the sons of the current owner of the Orioles will be able to bring back some enthusiasm and bring us a winner once again. We can only hope.

What is the cost of living in Maryland? Some of the things that some would call costs – others might call blessings. For instance – the high cost of living makes it tough – but that also means there are plenty of jobs and careers that pay high wages/salaries. The urban areas of Baltimore and DC are seen by some as a high cost of living in Maryland – but – with many people brings much diversity and amazing schools and hospitals – just to name a few things. We have the Orioles as mentioned before and the Ravens along with some DC teams to cheer as well. And some strong colleges in the area. Continue reading

January 25, 2019 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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lawless Behavior Does Not Honor God

Judges 17:6

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

One of my favorite old movies – of all-time – is one starring Charles Bronson (the Death Wish Series). It was a movie about a lawless group of people who were corrupt and evil. They kept their community scared by their lawlessness and their violence. The actor that Charles Bronson played – and has played in many movies – was Paul Kersey. He wife and daughter had been brutally treated and killed by lawless persons and he became – in several movies – a vigilante. He began to bring order to a lawless area in his city.

While I don’t support vigilantes – he stood up against lawlessness when few would – if any. In the movies his efforts to stand up against lawlessness won him the admiration and support – eventually – of his neighbors and others in the community. Lawlessness is not the answer. Obeying the laws or working to change the laws – lawfully – is the answer.

In our society we see or hear about lawlessness all around us. In cities like Chicago and Baltimore – the murder rate is often higher than the number of days in any given year. I have a friend – a colleague in ministry – that reminds us often how many murders there are in Baltimore. Lawlessness is so hard to comprehend. Continue reading

June 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lawlessness and Obedience

Judges 17:6

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

I just finished watching a movie starring Charles Bronson. It was a movie about a lawless group of people who were corrupt and evil. They kept their community scared by their lawlessness and their violence. The actor that Charles Bronson played – and has played in many movies – was Paul Kersey. He wife and daughter had been brutally treated and killed by these lawless persons and he became – in several movies – a vigilante. He began to bring order to a lawless area in his city.

While I don’t support vigilantes – he stood up against lawlessness when few would if any. In the movies his efforts to stand up against lawlessness won him the admiration and support – eventually – of his neighbors and others in the community.

In our society we see or hear about lawlessness all around us. In cities like Chicago and Baltimore – the murder rate is higher than the days of the year. I have a friend – a colleague in ministry – that reminds us often how many murders there are in Baltimore. Lawlessness is so hard to comprehend. Continue reading

October 30, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sin Is Crouching At Our Door

Genesis 4:7

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.

As I write this devotional thought I’m listening to Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin.

Doing the right thing is not always easy – is it? Most of us know the right thing to do – in most circumstances – but at times we fail to do the right thing. We struggle with doing the right thing – it doesn’t seem to come naturally to many of us.

Most of us won’t kill someone – literally – but we at times kill them figuratively with gossip or hurtful/abusive talk. Today’s passage comes from the story of Cain and Able. It is a sad story for sure – brother taking the life of another brother.

One of my friends and colleagues who serves a church in Baltimore reminds us constantly of the number of murders in Baltimore – typically equally or greater than the number of days in the year. These are brothers and sisters – killing brothers and sisters – boys and girls – even the elderly. Continue reading

September 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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