Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Little Piece

Ephesians 6:1-4

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Today is the last day of our VBS (Vacation Bible School) for 2017. I posted this on Facebook this morning early. Up early to thank God for the awesome folks at First United Methodist Church of Laurel. Today is the last day of VBS. This ministry is such an expression of love for Jesus, the community, and for the memory of Linda Ryan. I’m honored to serve those who serve for Jesus. They are all heroes to me!

As we finish another year of VBS – I’m taking a look at today’s passage – especially the final part of today’s passage that say – Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. VBS is part of the final part of that 4th verse – bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. I have marveled at the number of persons who have given of themselves all week to help train our children and the children of the community in the ways of Jesus! Continue reading

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Keep Our Eyes On God!

Psalm 77:12

I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

112015 Ray McDonaldSo – how’s your Prayer/Fast going? Leave a comment or two!  Mine has had ups and downs.  I’m doing well with the fast from sodas.  I’m spending more time with Jesus.  My devotional life is going well – but I’m still battling some things.  I keep praying about them and I encourage you to lift me in your prayers!

I mentioned my father-in-law and my father in a recent post and thought I would again – it just seemed appropriate. In today’s passage – the author informs us – that he considers all of God’s works and meditates on all of God’s deeds. I often remember the things my father and father-in-law did in their lives and taught me. Is there someone in your life – whose teachings and deeds you remember?  I pray there is!  If not – maybe you can be that someone for someone else!

Today’s lesson is from a Psalm that begins with the following two verses. Psalm 77:1–2 – I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. 2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. Continue reading

February 22, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holding Onto His Teachings

John 8:31

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”

112015 Ray McDonaldHow’s your Prayer/Fast going? Are there any words from the Lord through your increased prayer life? My sermon Sunday about worship was mainly something that came to me during a recent extended prayer time.

I was also thinking about dates and stuff – brought on by the recent passing of my father-in-law. It has been 3½ years since my father passed. I will turn 61 next month. This spring I will celebrate 43 years since I graduated High School. This summer my wife and I will celebrate 36 years of marriage. Starting this summer I will be in my 40th year of ministry. July 1st I will begin my 4th year sharing with the fine people of First United Methodist Church in Laurel – Maryland. All of these dates will come about – the Lord willing.

Throughout this life of mine – I have learned a great deal from many. My father was my key instructor through much of my life. Not only lessons on being a man and a father – but – because we shared callings – he taught me much in the way of being a pastor. In high school – college – and seminary – I learned much as well. I remember lessons learned from Mr. Bridger in Science. I learned a great deal from Big Al Larimore – both on and off the court. I learned a great deal from a dear friend – Harry Dobson. In ministry – aside from my father – I have learned a great deal from Rev. Ed Ankeny – one of my first bosses in ministry. I learned a great deal from an early DS – Rev. Richard Clifford. Many of my colleagues in ministry have taught me so much. I continue to learn much from my wife Carolyn – my life partner – and from my children – Shelly – Nicole – Jaclyn – Justin & Jason. And new lessons are being learned daily from my four granddaughters – Vyrie – Justice – Scarlett & London (namely that Pop knows when to give them back to a parent – LOL). Continue reading

February 15, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus First!

Colossians 1:17

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 

112015 Ray McDonaldSo – how’s your Prayer/Fast going? I would love to read some comments on how your fast is going and how God is speaking to you through your prayer time. My fast is so-so at this point. I am still deciding what else to fast from since I changed my mind about Social Media for ministry purposes. My prayer life is growing each day.

Being more intentional about putting Jesus first in our lives is so very important. Times like our Prayer/Fast help to draw us to this truth. The more we remove the secular things from our lives – the more we add spiritual things to our lives – the closer we get to Jesus – and putting Him first. Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Here is today’s passage in partial context. Colossians 1:15-20 – 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Continue reading

February 12, 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, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deny Self and Draw Near to God

Luke 9:23

 Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

112015 Ray McDonaldDenying self is not easy. Taking away things you enjoy – for a variety of reasons – is not easy. I enjoy a good Diet Pepsi or ten – I love the carbonation and the taste. But I might be addicted so I need to deny myself! Some studies have also shown that they are not good for the body!  It will not be easy – but my last Diet Pepsi was Saturday at noon.

Denying self is not easy. Taking away things you enjoy – for a variety of reasons – is not easy. I’m cutting out desserts and as much sugar and flour as possible. I’m sure it will be hard at first – but in time – I will not miss it at all! And it will be better for my body for sure.

Denying self is not easy. Taking away things you enjoy – for a variety of reasons – is not easy. I like technology and I enjoy social media and some online games (like solitaire). But they can become time consuming and they can take valuable time from each and every day – time I could use to be more productive and to spend with God.  In a previous prayer/fast – I stopped playing Farmville – and have never played it again.

I plan to use the time I gain from cutting things out of my day to spend more time with Jesus! Here are some devotional materials for our 49-day Prayer/Fast. Continue reading

February 8, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: