Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

Judges 17:6

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

Rays HaircutOne of the old movies I enjoy watching 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 – New York – 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 4, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gracious Words

Proverbs 16:24

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Ray 2020One thing that the quarantine has given many of us is more time on social media. That is a two-edged sword for sure. It is good that some of us have been challenged to learn more and grow in our ability to connect with folks electronically. It is not so good that more people have an opportunity to share their thoughts and that some are so negative and mean.

Right in the middle of our great divide in our denomination and in our country (the USA) – this pandemic has given way too many who would increase our divide on social media and in the regular media. Negative comments about our President for instance – during a time of crisis – is not helping anyone. For some – the crisis is just a time to make political points. Continue reading

April 15, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 5 of Lent 2020

Matthew 21:23

Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”

Ray 2020My prayer for us is that the old self will begin to fade as we walk toward the Cross of Christ this Lenten season – and that more and more we will look like Jesus. I also pray that our attitudes will be set on Christ and on no one or nothing else. During our walk to the cross this Lent – let us seek His face more clearly and desire His grace more dearly.

I hope you able to keep up with the readings – or at least used yesterday to catch up. Today’s reading has a number of points or directions – and I have chosen the first verse for focus on – when the chief priests and elders asked Jesus by what authority He spoke.

Isn’t it often like this? When someone doesn’t like what we say – rather than try to debate what we say – they try to discredit the messenger rather than the message. Maybe our spouse is making a good point and rather than stay on topic – we decide to question how loud they are speaking or the tone they are using – deflecting the discussion to something else. Maybe our child is trying to get a valid point across and instead of staying the course – we complain about how they are talking to us or ask who they think they are to say something like that to their parent! Continue reading

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Things Never Seem to Change

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.

img_0063-2Reworked devotional from 2011. Things haven’t changed much in 9 years. Some things never seem to change. Heretical teaching will always lead a person or a church away from God.

The United Methodist Church has been through a lot during my lifetime.  I remember the sawdust camp meetings of my early years where the Bible was preached and lives were transformed for Christ. The authority of Scripture and the centrality of Christ were not questioned. Transformation took place because sound doctrine was taught and the transforming nature of Christ was preached.

During my lifetime I have also seen a  segment of the church’s leadership turn away from truth – turn away from the transforming love of Christ and His Word. During my lifetime I have heard the deceptive philosophy of some church leadership that has led our denomination into decline. During some of the darkest days of the United Methodist Church – when attendance and membership were falling at alarming rates – a group of Bishops led our denomination. Many of these bishops have retired since that time from active church leadership and I do not think it is by any surprise that our denomination is beginning to grow again in certain areas. I do not think it is by surprise that the majority of churches that are growing the fastest in our own conference are being led by pastors who believe in the transforming power of God – the centrality of Christ and the authority of the Bible. Continue reading

February 19, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Calling All Prayer Warriors

Ephesians 6:18–20

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

img_0063-2Calling all Prayer Warriors!

This morning I feel compelled (obligated, duty-bound) to call on all who will to pray for the church and for your pastors and leaders. According to Scripture: 1 Peter 5:8-98 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith,

The devil is out there and wants nothing more than to devour the Church! Part of standing firm is to stay in prayer together. Pray that the devil not be given even a foothold in our lives and in the church. As Scripture says; Ephesians 4:25-2825 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Continue reading

January 9, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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