Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Do You Think About the Word Protection?

Daniel 6:22

“My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.”

img_0063-2Protection – what do you think of when you hear that term? In the movie Blindside – Michael Oher – once the right tackle for the Baltimore Ravens – was made famous for his life’s story. Blindside is the term used for the protection given by the left tackle in football for a right-handed quarterback. A right-handed quarterback would have their back turned to the left side of the line when they drop back to pass and a rusher from that side could hit them from behind – from their blindside. The left tackle is very valuable in protecting the quarterback from rushing defensive players from that side of the defense. The Ravens have a Pro Bowl left and right tackle this year – Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr. They are both young and very good bookends.

Protection – what do you think of when you hear that term? In most sports a person will wear protective equipment like shoulder pads – knee pads – batting helmets – mouth guards – etc. The equipment is to provide protection from injury. Most times the equipment works!  At times it fails.

Protection – what do you think of when you hear that term? Some might think of insurance when they think of protection. I remember my near tragic tractor-trailer accident several years ago. I was glad I had insurance and that the truck driver had good insurance too. The coverage allowed me to find an almost exact replica of my totaled 2002 Acura RSX-Type S – only with 180,000 less miles – no accidents – and gray instead of black. Continue reading

January 23, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Do Not Walk Alone!

2 Timothy 4:17

But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amHave you ever been in a tough place because of your faith? A place where the enemy was out to get you? A place where those around you were beating on you – seemingly from all angles? A place where there seemed to be no way to safety? I would imagine we have all faced such times. We recently talked about witnessing our faith in our Bible studies and when we do so in an unsaved world – we will come under attack. Remember the words from yesterday’s devotion and from our Lord – John 15:18 – If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

When I think of being attacked for my faith I think of the stories in the Bible of Daniel and of Shadrach – Meshach and Abednego. Daniel was thrown into a Lion’s den – a den filled with very hungry lions! The three boys were thrown into a fiery furnace – so hot that the heat killed those taking them to the furnace. Each time it was because they were being faithful to God and wouldn’t disobey Him. Each time God delivered them – or as Paul writes – stood at my side and gave me strength. Continue reading

September 12, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Lawlessness and Obedience

Judges 17:6

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

I just finished watching a movie starring Charles Bronson. 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 these 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.

In our society we see or hear about lawlessness all around us. In cities like Chicago and Baltimore – the murder rate is higher than the days of the 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

October 30, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are We Willing to Please God?

Daniel 1:8

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

112015 Ray McDonaldSunday – we will preach the final part of a three part sermon series on Discerning the Will of God in an Ever-Changing World.  In that message we will ask the question – What are we willing to do to please God?  I know that might not be your basic question – but it is a real question I think we should wrestle with daily.  In today’s devotional passage – Daniel and his friends were in a tough place.  They were God-fearing young men who wanted to please God – yet they were captured by a foreign nation and placed in their service.  They experienced favor and were in a very good situation – as far as being captive was concerned.

The king gave them the best – because they were the best of the captives.  Daniel 1:5 – The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.

Continue reading

January 14, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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