Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Let Jesus Shine In Us – Thru Us – and In Spite of Us

Matthew 5:14

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

June 2019The month of October is the beginning of darker days. Only a few months away from the heat and long days of July we are currently experiencing. 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.

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July 18, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Make Sure You Fit Into The Right Crowd

John 15:19

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

June 2019Have you ever fit into the in crowd? Maybe it was the way you wore your hair? Big hair was in for women at one time. I grew up during a time when men – to keep their hair slicked back – used Vitalis. It was the Elvis look I guess – or a hood look! The natural look – the Beatles’ style – became popular among some years later! Hippies wore really long hair. When i was younger I wore the crew cut look.

Have you ever fit into the in crowd? Maybe it was the clothes you wore? I remember when the style of clothes you wore got you labeled. I was known as a block in junior high school. Block’s wore kaki pants with banlon shirts. We wore Peter’s jackets with our name on it and Chuck Taylor basketball shoes. We weren’t hoods – who wore leather jackets. As the years mounted there were hippies and preppies and others who dressed certain ways to be in the in crowd (the crowd they wanted to be).

Have you ever fit into the in crowd? I remember when I finally got into the “A” club at Annapolis High School and got to wear my “A” jacket (I became an official jock at that time). I was never very good at any particular sport – still aren’t – but I could play most sports well enough to make a few teams and to play and enjoy sports later in life. I have some lifetime friends because of sports and later because I coached and officiated sports. Continue reading

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Strong and Courageous

1 Chronicles 28:20

David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.”

Life ChangeMemorial Weekend is a time in our family’s history – when we visit with family. In the past – pre-arson on our West Virginia home – we would go home to my mom’s home town – where mom and dad met. There is a family reunion – with mom’s side of the family. We haven’t gone the last two years because our home is missing – and it wouldn’t be the same.

I did spend a great deal of time thinking about my mom and dad and our family history. We spent time with our local family – over at my nephew’s home on Sunday afternoon and my daughter’s home on Monday afternoon. We spent time with family.

I also spent time yesterday and even all weekend – thinking about those who gave their all so that we could spend a weekend spending time with family. Phrases like freedom is not free and Home of the Free – Because of the Brave – reminded me of Memorial weekend. I also appreciated a meme that said – Stand for the flag and kneel for the Cross – and one that reminded me that Armed Forces Day is for those currently serving – Veteran’s Day is for those who once served – and Memorial Day is for those who served and never returned home. Too often folks get them mixed up. Continue reading

May 28, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Devil Is Real – But Defeated

1 John 3:8

He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

Life ChangeThe devil is real and not a figment of someone’s imagination. Some churches try to suggest that the devil is not real – that he/it is merely a personification of evil as a whole. Not sure what Bible they read – if they read the Bible at all – but the Bible tells us over and over that the devil is real. Please do not fall prey to false teachers and false religions. Run as fast as you can from a pastor or church that doesn’t believe that the devil is real!

According to Scripture – the devil tempted Jesus after His baptism.  Matthew 4:1-11 – 1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” 7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Continue reading

May 16, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Attitudes of the Heart

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Life ChangeI have been writing and preaching about attitudes lately – referring to an old saying of mine – Christianity Boils Down to Attitudethe condition and position of the heart. Today’s passage reminds us what impacts the attitudes of the heart. Namely the Word of God! Reading and understanding the Bible is essential as we mature in Christ. It is the key element in our training as Christians.

We have had a number of people put their faith and trust in Jesus lately at First Church (Praise the Lord). Something exciting is happening at First Church. Recently we have seen an increase in young adults coming to First Church. We’ve seen people accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Giving their hearts to Jesus. The best advice I can give them and others is to begin to read the Bible and join a Bible study where they can search together with others the truths of God. We’ve been calling people of late to train up in the Lord. Continue reading

February 13, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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