Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Who Is The Battle Against?

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.

When I was in High School – we battled several area High Schools for dominance in sports and in academics. We had battles with their bands and music departments too. Annapolis High was one of the best at most sports and in music. We battled Severna Park and Arundel High for 1st place in many areas of school life. The battles were real and we played or performed for keeps.

Who do we battle today? Do we battle folks at work? Do we battle against folks who root for another sports team than us? Do we battle with our spouse? Do we battle with members of our own church? Do we battle with our pastor? Who do we battle? And why? Continue reading

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November 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love One Another – Please!

Romans 12:10

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Some have had bad experiences growing up with family and some with church life. I talked to someone Tuesday that had a very bad experience with family and with the church.

Some of us aren’t sure how to love one another because we didn’t have a good model growing up. Some of us have a hard time showing love – even to those whom we are supposed to love. Growing up – if your home was void of expressions of love – it is something you had to learn as an adult (or still lack). Loving one another is not as easy as just saying the words.

I grew up in a loving home. I had a father and mother at home who loved each other and expressed that love – or modeled that expression of love – for their children. Did any of us grow up with siblings? I grew up with an older sister and a younger brother. We loved each other and still do today (mostly – LOL). Love was modeled for me growing up so it is easier for me to love others (though not easy – just easier). Continue reading

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alive To God In Christ Jesus

Romans 6:11

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

I had a young person in my office recently. This young person was having a battle with an addiction and was asking for my recommendation on how to overcome the addiction. When they were in the midst of their addictive behavior – they would feel the Holy Spirit pricking their heart – yet they enjoyed the addiction – so they often pushed the Spirit aside. It was a real struggle – a struggle many of us have battled before and will battle in the future.

I know a person who has battled addiction for many decades. They have suffered much. Their family has suffered much as well. They seemingly had defeated the addiction for a long period of time only to have it rear its ugly head again. Addiction is never gone – it is always one day at a time. Our victory is only a needle – a bottle – a porn site away. Addiction can at times make us seem powerless to control ourselves. Continue reading

July 12, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 21

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

christmas-18During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

As Christmas approaches I am reminded of my family. My personal family and my church family are very special to me. I see Jesus in my family. I enjoy being with my family. I visit with my personal family several times a year. I visit with my church family day-by-day. I enjoy the way our pastor preaches God’s Word, he doesn’t pull punches or water it down. I appreciate the music and atmosphere our worship service offers. I feel drawn into the presence of God each time I step into our church building, whether in the early service or the late service. As Christmas approaches I am getting more and more excited. First Church is such a a blessing to me. 

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 21, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 14

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

christmas-14During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

Rev. Ray, Christmas for me has always been a time of remembering. I remember times past shared with family, some long gone. I remember the warm feelings I get during this season. The special music, I’m glad we sing Christmas songs during Advent, at First Church always blesses me. First Church is like most families, we have good days and not so good days. First Church is where I feel the Spirit of God. First Church is my family away from my biological family. I especially like the circle we make at the eleven o’clock Christmas Eve service as we light the candles while singing Silent Night. It wouldn’t be Christmas for me without that service. My prayer this Christmas is for our church to draw closer together and to serve our Lord in our community. I see Jesus in each smile and desire for us to pull together for Jesus.

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 14, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Holy Spirit, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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