Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Light In The Darkness

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Life ChangeHave you ever been in the dark? Have you ever tried to walk thru your living room or another room in the dark? Do your toes scream to turn on the lights? Have you ever tried to climb the steps from the basement with the lights out because the switch was not in the right condition (you know: the switch is up when the lights are off and you have to change it – LOL)? OK – that last one was just me – I guess.

Next week is Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for in your life? Are you in a relationship with someone? If so – are you thankful for that relationship? Have you ever been without a meaningful relationship in your life? Have you ever been in the dark in a relationship? Wondering if he or she liked you? Wondering if this was the one – your life partner? Have you been burned several times and you’re tired of walking in the darkness? Have you sought a way to throw a little light on your relationships? Maybe even trying to figure out a relationship?

Have you ever wondered about life in general? Have you ever experienced dark moments when you felt depressed? Have you searched for the meaning of life only to come up empty? I imagine a lot of people struggle with understanding life – especially when it doesn’t seem to go as we planned. Continue reading

November 19, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2020 – A Year of Change

Psalm 46:10

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Life ChangeAs we enter the last 6 or so weeks of 2019 – I have been giving us warning that 2020 could be a year of major change for many of us. The United Methodist Church seems on the brink of a split – officially or otherwise. This change may impact many of us. If it is an official split or some other split – conferences – churches – and members will need to decide where they will worship moving forward. This could being as early as January 1 – 2020 – as the 2019 Special General Conference approved churches withdrawing from the denomination. It could happen as we move toward the 2020 General Conference in May – shortly thereafter – or as soon as any changes take place.

The 2020 Presidential Election in November could continue the current Presidential leader or elect a new President. The Congress could change hands or solidify one party in leadership. Will one party of the other hold the President’s office and both houses of the Congress or will there be divided leadership? Will we continue along the same lines of leadership or will there be a change? How will the economy react to this election? How will the election impact you and your family? Continue reading

November 13, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Should Give Our Anxiety To Jesus

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Life ChangeAnxiety is tough to face. Anxiety is defined online as – a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Anxiety can overwhelm us. It can cause disorders and medical issues. It can immobilize us and take us down if we allow it to do so.

Anxiety can manifest itself in many ways. WebMD defines anxiety this way: Everyone feels anxious now and then. It’s a normal emotion. For example, you may feel nervous when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision. Anxiety disorders are different, though. They are a group of mental illnesses, and the distress they cause can keep you from carrying on with your life normally. For people who have one, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming, and can be disabling. But with treatment, many people can manage those feelings and get back to a fulfilling life.

WebMD lists these among the anxiety disorders – panic disorders – social anxiety disorders – specific phobias – and generalized disorders. Each – if not treated – can be disabling. Some – who battle an anxiety disorder – are unable to function in society. Some need medication. Some need psychotherapy. Some may need both. But the passage today suggests another treatment for anxiety. We’re called to give our anxiety to Jesus. Continue reading

October 30, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Heart of God – Kindness and Goodness

Galatians 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Life ChangeOur Tuesday morning and evening Bible studies are just amazing. If you are available at 10:30 am or 7:00 pm and in the Laurel area – please stop by. In these Bible studies – we’re into the Book of Acts – sometimes called the Acts of the Apostles. We have been reading about the power of God – God the Holy Spirit – as the early church was being birthed.

As we have gone thru this study – some questions have been raised that made me think about preaching on the Holy Spirit. So – beginning in November – we will preach a series on the Holy Spirit. Stay tuned!

Today’s passage is about the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. What do you think of when you hear the words kindness and goodness? A few verses before the fruit of the Spirit is listed in Galatians 5 – we read the following words. Galatians 5:6 – For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

When I think of kindness and goodness – I think of the heart of Christ. It is often contrary to my heart. I am not – by nature – a mercy person. I can express mercy – but only because of the grace of God – it isn’t from my natural fabric. The heart of God – the heart of Christ is seen best – for me – in the following passage. Continue reading

October 24, 2019 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

The Nationals Are In The World Series

1 Corinthians 9:24

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amOK – lots of posts on this blog are about significant theological issues. We have written about the United Methodist Church’s policies and doctrines (and we’re praying for General Conference 2020). We have talk about church drama and operation. We have written about grace – peace – assurance – salvation – sin – Jesus – conviction – repentance – and more.

Today I want to focus just a few thoughts on this baseball season – which is down to the World Series (with the Nationals in it to win it). As today’s passage suggests – athletes will strive to achieve victory in their sport. In order to do so – they must practice – workout – and strive every day for their goal. The Nationals and the Astros have been through an off-season – and spring training – and long season and now they are fighting for the World Series title.

My Orioles (my first team – Nats are second) are out of it (they were out of it long ago), I met too coaches from the Orioles a couple of summers ago. They were on a day off during the season and came out to play golf. We talked about the team and about our fighting spirit. The team did not give up that season and they didn’t give up this season. They play it to win it – like most athletes.

Continue reading

October 23, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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