Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Holy Spirit – Come Spirit – Come

Luke 1:35

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”

Life ChangeThe overshadowing of the Holy Spirit made me think of a school experience. I remembered when I was in elementary school – we use to pass notes in class (I don’t recommend this to our students). You know the type note I’m talking about – the girls would make up these little books with questions in them like do you like so-in-so? One of the questions on a booklet passed around said – do you like Dark Shadows? Now Dark Shadows was a show that came on right after school – a soap opera as it were. It was about a vampire and creepy things. I didn’t watch it – or at least hadn’t watched it before being asked – and didn’t even know about it – and so I thought they were talking about dark shadows at night. Everyone else was saying yes – so of course – succumbing to peer pressure – I said yes as well. It was only later – when I was asked specific questions about Dark Shadows – I found out it was a TV show – and of course I started watching it.

That memory came back to me as I read today’s passage. Of course today’s passage is about Mary – the mother of Jesus – but it talked about the Most High overshadowing Mary – and so I thought of that school experience. Of course – one was an evil overshadowing and this passage is telling Mary that the power of the Most High will overshadow her. Continue reading

November 4, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Can’t We Just Get Along?

Philippians 2:10

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth

Life ChangeIt seems that it is getting harder and harder to live at peace with folks. From politics to religion to sports to how we raise our children – people differ in their opinion and seem to have a hard time expressing themselves without anger and attitudes. On top of that – some people seem to have a hard time dealing with a differing opinion. We’ve lost the art of debate and disagreement. It seems many among us cannot disagree without being disagreeable. Why can’t we just get along?

This seems to be the case in the political world for sure. After eight years of a President popular with one segment of the country and hearing the other side complain – I can’t remember the same venom I am hearing today with the current President. The previous President could do no wrong – it seemed – with the media. This President cannot seem to do anything right – according to the reports in the media (most of the media). I have witnessed families and friends have issues because of which way they voted in the 2016 Presidential elections. The country is very divided – red and blue – right and left – ideologically. We’ll see what 2020 brings. Why can’t we just get along?

This same thing is happening in our denomination – with some not being able to accept a differing view (I understand that at times the differences are so great it is hard if not impossible to harmonize the differences – but we shouldn’t be angry or hateful toward those that hold a differing view). The far left has one theology and the far right has another – and not only can they not agree on their theology – we’re having a hard time agreeing on pastoral ministry. We’ll see what 2020 brings. Why can’t we just get along? Continue reading

October 31, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Humble Is Christ Like

Philippians 2:3-4

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amI was talking to someone the other day – and the term narcissistic came up when referring to someone we both know. Narcissistic persons have an excessive or erotic interest in themselves and their physical appearance. Other terms used to describe a narcissistic person might be vain – self-loving – self-centered – self-admiring – self-absorbed – self-obsessed – conceited – egotistic – and more. These certainly aren’t the terms one would use to describe Jesus nor should they be terms that describe followers of Jesus.

According to today’s passage – followers of Christ should be humble. Humility can be defined as being modest or having a low view of one’s own importance. Humility in great people is so rare we often think highly of persons who have accomplished much but are very humble. Continue reading

September 10, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking A Nap – Finding Rest

Psalm 121:1-2

I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

June 2019The Major League Baseball season is in full swing. We just passed the All-Star game. What team are you rooting for to win it all? I’m rooting for the Houston Astros and the LA Dodgers to meet in the World Series and for the Astros to win it all.

I wish it was the Orioles playing for the World Series – but they are aiming to qualify for the number 1 draft choice in next year’s amateur draft for the second straight year. I am an O’s fan and always will be – even during hard years. I suffered through 14 straight losing seasons several seasons ago. We’re tired – already – of this losing skid and want changes. We hope the changes that are coming will help us win again. But this is not real life! It is a game! (As I type this devotional they have a perfect game against them thru 8 innings – not good.)

Where do you go when you are tired and exhausted in real life? When you need rest – where do you turn? I had a busy week last week with VBS and needing help in the office. Besides working over 70 plus hours – I’ve walked several miles each day. I’ve only gotten about 5-6 hours of sleep each night (one night only 3) and according to my new watch – that sleep hasn’t always been sound. I could use a nap! Taking a nap seemed like a punishment as a child. As an adult it is something I look forward to taking! Who agrees with me? 😇💤 Continue reading

July 15, 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

Trusting in the Lord

John 16:33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Life ChangeHave any of us ever wished we could tell the future? Are any of us the type of person who would like to know what is coming next? I mean – if we could know the day and time of something in our life – would we appreciate that knowledge or would it freak us out? I’m not sure for me – whether I would want to know or not.

What if we could know when we were going to die? What if we could know what will happen next week in our life? What if we had an idea about how we would be treated because of whom we followed on social media?

Dear Christian readers – listen to God when God says – the world will hate us because we follow Him. Jesus tried to warn His disciples – His followers – about what was coming – about the hate that we would face in the world we live in today. In the midst of some of His warnings – we find today’s passage – I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. Continue reading

March 13, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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