Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

2016 Presidential Election

Philippians 2:2

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

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMLast night at the DNC Hillary Clinton was chosen as the Democratic nominee for President. According to posts by our new Bishop – and others – a historic event for sure. Donald Trump was chosen as the Republican nominee a couple of weeks ago. Darrell Castle is running from the Constitution Party of the U.S. Jill Stein is running from the Green Party. Gary Johnson is running from the Libertarian Party. There are others on some state ballots.

My hope is that each person running for President will refrain from negative advertising. I won’t hold my breath. Both of the major party candidates have already done a lot of mud slinging.

What I would like to hear are the plans of each candidate – if elected – to work on issues 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

July 27, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Peace of God – We Can Have It

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMWe live in a day and age when people are still struggling with right and wrong – go figure. Some might say it has always been that way. Our parents and grandparents and so forth probably thought that each generation faced an uncertain world around them and a struggle for right and wrong. They probably thought they lived in a world where others called wrong as right and the right as wrong. Key to this thought is that we don’t all have the same moral values or ideology. We don’t all see the world or truth as the same. What a shame.

We live in a day and age when people are still struggling with right and wrong. Racial tension is still high in our society. A call for racial reconciliation – a call to treat persons by the content of their heart rather than the color of their skin – is still being met with opposition. Fifty to sixty years after some tried to awaken our country to racial tensions – they are still alive and well in some folks and in some areas more than others. There are still those who hate because of skin color – as crazy as that seems.

We live in a day and age when people are still struggling with right and wrong. There are ideologies today – as there have been in days gone by – where people think the only way to nirvana is to kill all infidels. ISSIS (radical Islamic terrorists) is gaining strength and killing Muslims – Christians – Jews – and others – around the world because they don’t agree with their ideology. They are creating fear around the world with their understanding of right and wrong. Most agree this is wrong but we can’t seem to agree how to defeat this hatred. Continue reading

July 18, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Things Are Possible With God

Mark 10:27

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

IMG_0435-0Today – Annual Conference begins for the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. Much will be discussed and much will be decided (unless the Bishop is asked to create a commission to study something).

Like with General Conference in May – everyone doesn’t agree on the important issues or even which issues are the important ones. Local churches send their pastors and lay delegates and other agencies of the church are also represented. Typically – by design – there will be an equal or nearly equal number of clergy and laypersons voting on the issues.

Like with General Conference – there are those who believe the sky is falling and there are those with their heads stuck in the ground (so to speak). Some see the church falling a part and some see the church on the rise. Some wish for a liberalization of the Book of Discipline and some want to hold to what is written (at Annual Conference we cannot change the discipline – that can only happen at General Conference – when it is allowed). Continue reading

June 1, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Mind of Christ

1 Corinthians 2:16

But we have the mind of Christ.

IMG_0301Soon I will be a grandparent – again. My third and fourth grandchildren are on the way. Any day now – my youngest child will give birth to her second child. Beautiful women surround me – from my wife to my daughters to my granddaughters. I say this – not to brag about the beautiful women that surround me – but to reveal that I have had a lifetime of trying to figure out the mind of the opposite sex. I’m here to testify that this is just not possible!

It may just be me – or the women in my family – but trying to figure out how they think is not an easy task. Maybe it is my feeble mind – maybe they are just trying to keep me guessing. Whatever the reason – I have two more women coming into my life this year. They all have me wrapped around their fingers for sure – especially my granddaughters. Continue reading

February 23, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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