Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Peace That Transcends All Understanding

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

RayMcDIf you are from my church or follow me on Facebook – you know that I fell Sunday morning. I was getting out of the shower and my foot – hitting the wet tile – came out from underneath me. I went down in a heap and for a moment thought I had really hurt myself. I fell on the same shoulder I fell on playing basketball a couple of weeks ago (my left shoulder). I have had a hard time lifting my arm all day and will go see the doctor for x-rays on Monday if it doesn’t improve. I must admit – I was scared and yet after a brief prayer – I felt a peace about me. My wife was not there – but God was there and peace came over me.

The elections happened just shy of a week ago and I must be honest with our readers – whichever way the outcome – I would have had unrest. I supported neither candidate – thinking both major candidates (and all others) to be flawed. I have a peace about the election though – because whoever is President – Jesus is still King! The elections didn’t catch God by surprise – God was prepared for our free-will choice. Continue reading

November 14, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keep Watch With Me!

Matthew 26:38

Then he said to them, My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.

RayMcDThe Cubs won the World Series in baseball. It has been a long time since that was last typed. This ended a 108-year drought – a period longer than any other Major League Baseball team.

There are Cub fans that haven’t experienced a winning season very often much less winning the title. Yet many Cub fans are diehard fans – win or lose (and they often lost) – they supported their team. Around here the Orioles went 14 seasons without having a winning season and many fans departed and haven’t come back – even though they have started to win again and have been to the playoffs recently. The Nationals have been favorites before the season a few times to win the World Series (on paper) and when they didn’t achieve those lofty goals – some fans departed. Let’s not get started on the Redskins or the Ravens around here or Maryland Football/Basketball.

At times – things won’t go our way. At times – things will actually go wrong. How will we deal with the tough times? Will we stay strong – win or lose? Will we follow the cause – no matter what happens? Will we run the race and fight the fight? Will we stay the course? Continue reading

November 4, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Strive to be Blameless and Pure

Philippians 2:15

…so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky

112015 Ray McDonaldDear readers – how’s your Prayer/Fast going? I will try to ask this each day or as often as possible.  I hope that some of our readers will leave comments on this blog page as to how their Prayer/Fast is going and what God might be revealing to them.

Let me report that my Prayer/Fast is going well – although I may reconsider my fast from Social Media. I found out just how much I use Social Media in ministry these last two days.  To avoid it – would hinder me – I think. Keeping up with members and youth/young adults through social media helps me greatly. I will reconsider it – maybe not comment as much but still keep in touch.  I will seek something else.  Any ideas?

I have spent more time in prayer and reading the Word of God during the first few days of the Prayer/Fast. I feel a new closeness to Jesus. Every little bit helps!  I am doing two reading plans from http://www.youversion.com and encourage our readers to find a plan that works for you.  Mine are The One Year Bible and Devotions for Lent from Holy Bible: Mosaic if you desire to read along. Continue reading

February 9, 2016 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Discussion on Prayer

Proverbs 15:8

The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him.

112015 Ray McDonaldWe’re preparing for a 49 day Prayer/Fast at First United Methodist Church located in Laurel, MD.  From February 7 through March 26 – as we walk through Lent – we will strive to deny self – add to our walk with Christ – and draw near to God!

I would like to start a discussion about our prayer life.  I believe that for a person or for a church to be spiritually healthy and mature – we need a solid view of prayer and a solid prayer life.  Would you agree?

So – to start the discussion – I want to suggest some questions that might get us going.

What is our view of prayer? What is it for? What is the reason we do it?

Where do we pray? Is it important where we pray?

How often do we pray? Is our frequency important?

What do we expect to get from prayer? Do we have an agenda or a product we are after in prayer?

What is God’s part in prayer? Is God an active participant in prayer?

How essential is prayer to us?  As a person and as a church member?

Continue reading

January 28, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Appearance During the Fast

Matthew 6:16

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

Pic of Ray 11302014I have recently challenged the congregation I serve – First United Methodist Church of Laurel – to a 21-Day Prayer/Fast. Here is the information that was sent them by the office. If you would like to join us – please respond to me and we will welcome you for sure!

Info sent to the congregation this week:

January 5 – January 25 our pastor has called us to a time of prayer and fasting as we seek God’s will for our lives, our families, and our church. The following materials are being recommended for all to read/view during the prayer/fast. Continue reading

December 31, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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