Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 6 of Lent 2018

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?”

Day 6 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan on www.youversion.com. I hope you have been able to keep up or used yesterday to catch up. Today’s reading has a number of points or directions – and I have chosen the first verse – 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! Continue reading

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February 19, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Sins Are Blotted Out

Isaiah 1:18

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

We haven’t had much snow this winter. I for one – really like snow – and not just a little bit. If it is going to be cold (which it has been this winter) and snow (which it has done very little this winter) – I say let the snow come down! I loved the years when we had storms of 12 – 24 – or more inches in one storm. Enough to slow down the area and allow for some home time. I also would like to see some significant snow this winter so I can really get some use out of my new snow blade for my lawn tractor (a John Deere of course – nothing runs like a Deere). I would also like to use my 4-wheel drive some!

One thing I really like about snow – its ability to cover up (blot out) whatever is in the yard. It covers all of the sticks and leaves and if there is any trash – it covers that up too. There are few things better – to me – than getting up early in the morning after a snow – before anyone has walked on it. The whole yard is so peaceful and beautiful – everything covered with a layer of snow. I have a couple of pictures of our home in the snow – and everything is so nice. Continue reading

February 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christ Came To Save Sinners

1 Timothy 1:15

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.

It won’t be long and March Madness with be upon us. I’m not certain my favorite college team – the Maryland Terps – will be in it this year. They have not played very well of late.

The competitive juices begin flow in almost everyone during March Madness. Even if a person doesn’t like or follow sports in general – they often get excited in the office place (and on Facebook) for their alma mater (go Terps!).

I wonder – have we ever had a competitive spirit about following Christ? I mean – have we ever thought of giving our very best effort – spending a day or a lifetime – seeking His face and desiring His grace? Have we ever gone out of our way to connect with others around our faith? With numerous Lenten season events happening at First UMC in Laurel – it would be a great opportunity to invite someone to join us. Continue reading

February 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Is Our Refuge And Strength

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

I do not like to work alone. I would rather have someone watch me – than to work alone. I have asked my brother and my wife numerous times to just sit and watch – just so I am not alone. I do not like to work alone.

I also like to have someone who knows what they are doing around. I am very good with computers – with cell phones – most of technology. My family calls on me to do those kinds of things. I’m good at cutting grass too (LOL). But hanging pictures – working on cars – doing plumbing – painting – etc. – I am not very good at these and other things. I have even asked a young man I know to build me some removable walls for my utility trailer – because I wouldn’t know how to go about it. Continue reading

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Become Like Little Children

Matthew 18:3

And he said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

My wife and I have five grandchildren. They remind us of when we had little children. Children have a way of trusting – at least until we prove untrustworthy. They will do most anything you ask of them – or at least try it – as long as they feel you are there to catch them or help them or look after them.

I remember my oldest daughter Shelly – when she was two or so. We had gone camping and the campground we were at had a jungle gym type apparatus. She was on the top level and I urged her to jump to daddy. She came to the edge of the platform – her feet were above my head – and jumped into her daddy’s arms. I caught her of course. A year later – we went to the same place and tried the same process. This time she came to the edge and said – but dad I might fall and hurt myself. In a short year – she went from totally trusting her dad to catch her to adding some doubt (by the way – she eventually jumped after some coaching). Continue reading

January 30, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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