Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Does It Cost Us To Follow Christ?

Philippians 3:8

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ

What does it cost us to follow Christ? I wonder – have we ever thought about this question? Have we ever spent time really thinking about the cost of following Christ?

What does it cost us to follow Christ? Most things in life cost us something. In our home (mostly me) – we estimate something’s worth to us by what it would cost us to get it. If we want to buy something – I might estimate how many hours we would need to work for it. We would then determine if it was really worth it and if we really wanted it that badly.

What does it cost us to follow Christ? This week or soon – the Baltimore Orioles will begin to dismantle this year’s team and begin working on the team of the future. At some point – a team will determine what it will cost them to purchase 3-4 months (counting the playoffs) of one of the top 2-3 players in baseball and some of his teammates. The Orioles will need to do the same as they figure out what the best offer is moving the team forward. Will it be the needed players or draft picks. What will it cost to improve a playoff team and what will it cost to rebuild a once proud team? Continue reading

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July 10, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Battle Is Not Ours Alone!

2 Chronicles 20:15c

For the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Some of us have a tendency to take everything personal and some of us try to tackle everything ourselves. For instance – God tells us to give Him our burdens and we take them back. Matthew 11:28-30 – 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” What seems to happen all too often is we offer our burdens to God only to take them up again as we get off our knees. We try to leave them at the altar rail only to pick them up again as we rise. This happens to me far too often. Does it happen to you as well?

We’re reminded often in Scripture that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual foes. Ephesians 6:12 – For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. We cannot fight the fight against a spiritual foe with human means. We must have spiritual power to battle the powers of darkness. Continue reading

July 6, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seeing Clearly Is Important

Hebrews 1:3

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Seeing clearly is important. I’m understanding – that the older we get – the more light we need to see. For instance – I used to be able to see things in the dark – now I need some – maybe even a lot of light – in order to see. Like my iPad gets the brightness turned up to max when I preach without my glasses – it really helps. Light helps us see things.

Seeing clearly is important. My wife did some remodeling of our home and one of the things she did was had us install new LED lights throughout the house. With less wattage used – the brightness has improved – and we can see better. We had to return some bulbs because the same wattage was too much in some rooms. Speaking of seeing clearly – two new mirrors and better lighting in the master bathroom shows way too many wrinkles on my face – just saying! I was wondering why we had a picture of my father in the bathroom when looking into the mirror. Continue reading

July 2, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Hunger and Thirst After Right Living?

Matthew 5:6

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Sunday – we talked about being ready for Christ’s return. The sermon was titled That Day and Hour – and we were reminded that Christ will return for us. We also talked about being ready for His return. I mentioned that Christ would return in one of two ways for us – either He would be there for us when we drew our last breath or He would return to receive His church at the rapture.

We mentioned a number of things we could do to be ready for Jesus’ return. Of course – number one was receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Without Jesus – we would be hopelessly lost for eternity.

We named a few other things we could do as well. We didn’t mean to give a list of all of the things we could do to be prepared for Christ’s return – but – we mentioned a few things. Among those things we listed was today’s passage. Continue reading

June 4, 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

Being Faithful To God

Ruth 1:16

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”

In a couple of months – my wife and I will celebrate 38 years of marriage. They have mostly been fantastic years (she might say otherwise). Our oldest just turned 35 and our twins will be 30 soon. Our oldest grands are 5 and there are two that are 3 and one that is 1. More might be coming in the years to come. I would hope that as a family we will stick together thru thick and thin. Two daughters lived out-of-state for a season of time and that was hard – especially on their mother. We are now all together in Maryland. I pray that God will keep us all together in some fashion as we age and continue to live and be a blessing to each other and to others. All have a deep faith and trust in God and that is a blessing. I pray – as a family – we will remain faithful to God.

Soon I will finish my 42nd year in ministry (37th in ordained ministry – 38th under appointment). Time flies – let me tell you. A number of the interns I have been blessed to serve with have already retired or left the active ministry. Some are still at it. It has been mostly a blessing. Retirement isn’t too far off. Yet – we will remain faithful to God and God’s Word – and serve Christ and His church somehow – even in retirement. I pray I will always be faithful to God. Continue reading

May 30, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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