Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Advent Starts on Sunday

Matthew 3:1-2

3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Life ChangeAdvent starts on Sunday – just a few days away. As we approach Christmas – we are reminded – often – I hope – that Christmas is all about Jesus coming into the world. Christmas is not about buying and selling things. It is about the greatest gift ever given – Jesus Christ – the babe in the manger that grew to be the man who was the Lamb of God that died on the cross to pay for our sins.

Advent starts on Sunday – just a few days away. What are you hoping for this year? Peace on earth is always a good wish. Maybe peace between the political parties of our nation? Maybe peace on the southern border of our nation? Maybe that people would get it and love their neighbors?

Advent starts on Sunday – just a few days away. What will we do leading up to Christmas this year? Will we anticipate the coming of Christ into our lives – once again? In Tuesdays Bible study we talked about the difference between people who claim to be a Christian and those who have had a born-again experience. I don’t mean that unless you have had a radical change in your life you aren’t a Christian. Many Christians have grown up in faith and feel that they always believed. But – even those people need a point in time – a time when they accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior – and not just a faith they learned from their parents. Being born-again means being saved. Being saved is not something that you can gain through osmosis – it is a personal decision to follow Jesus. Continue reading

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I Might Share With Graduates

John 3:3

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

I’m reading on my Facebook feed about a lot of young people graduating from High School and College. It has been 45 years since I graduated from High School. I haven’t heard of any reunions – but maybe for our 50th in five years. If I had a chance to speak with graduates – I might say something like today’s devotional thought.

As I thought about those days gone by – which seem so long ago and yet so recent too – I am reminded of my days in school – in the educational process. The early to mid 70’s were amazing years in my life. I was in High School – graduating in the spring of 1973 from Annapolis High School. I was in college before my senior year was over (attending classes in the summer) – attending AACC or as we said A2C2 (for those who don’t read math – that is A squared C squared). I graduated from AACC in 1975 and began to attend the University of Maryland. It seems so long ago and yet so recent.

During this time in my life I had one girl friend of one year and one girl friend for two years – names have been left out to save their reputations (I’m still friends with one today – a FB friend even – I have no idea where the other might be in life). I mention this because many of us go through relationships that come and go – that at the time we thought would be forever. I thought both of these young women might be the one I would spend the rest of my life with for sure – yet neither turned out to be my life partner. Life is so unsettled at times – we live – we learn – we hurt – we have happiness. I had friends during this time in my life that I thought would be life-time friends. One died way too young and others – mostly – have gone on with their lives and our lives have crossed ever so infrequently. It was during these days that I began using the following phrase – happiness is circumstantially driven, while joy is spiritually derived. My days were filled with circumstances that brought happiness and sadness – sometimes in the same event. What seemed so concrete and secure during this time in my life seems to be just a vague memory today. Continue reading

May 23, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

See That No One Takes You Captive

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

RayBlogWhat sets believers apart from church goers?  Think about that for a moment.  Would you believe me if I wrote that not all church goers are believers – not all the baptized are born again (Christians).  I know that in some denominations – in some churches – that would be heresy.  I mean – there are some churches that believe when a baby is baptized they are saved – they become a Christian – but that just doesn’t stand the test of Biblical examination.  There are some so called Christian churches today that teach their traditions rather than Biblical truth.  There are some churches that believe their understanding of what is sin and what is acceptable supersedes what the Bible says. Today we begin a series – that will stretch over several weeks (not consecutive days) spending time debunking some myths in the church as we examine Scripture together.

biblePaul spent much of his time teaching true doctrine in the 1st generation of the church.  There were heresies at that time and there are heresies today.  Here is today’s passage in partial context.  Colossians 2:1-15 – 1 I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. 6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. 9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Continue reading

February 18, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Questions, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


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