Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Holding Our Tongue and Our Key Strokes

James 3:6

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

img_0063-2I have preached a number of sermons over the years on the danger of the tongue. I’ve also heard a number of sermons on gossip – on slander – and on idle conversations. I’ve heard teachings on being positive and not negative with our words. I’ve heard sermons on how words can hurt and how we should consider what we say before we say it. The old saying is so true – put your brain in gear before putting your tongue into action.

We’ve probably all heard this old saying – sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never harm me – yet words do hurt and can cause lasting pain. Verbal abuse is real abuse! Just because the bruises are not visually evident (at times) from verbal abuse doesn’t mean there hasn’t been real injury and real pain.

We should all think before we speak. Another saying about the tongue I’ve read – credited to Abraham Lincoln – goes like this – Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. Another quote I posted yesterday is credited to Willie Nelson – and it goes like this – Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results. Continue reading

January 14, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love God With All Our Heart

Matthew 22:37-38

37 Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

Life ChangeI thought of this passage the other day. I heard a pastor once ask – the question isn’t the one we typically hear – how much of the Holy Spirit do we have? The question should be – how much of you have we allowed the Holy Spirit to have? He also reminded us that the Holy Spirit comes to transform us – to change us – to make us holy.

As I think about today’s passage I begin to think – how committed are we to God? We talk about being saved – but are we only after someone to save us from Hell? Isn’t Jesus also our Lord – our Master? If the Holy Spirit dwells in us through this salvation – what difference are we allowing Him to make in us – in our lives?

I know some Christians who have made radical changes in their lives. Some have stopped smoking when they came to Christ. Some have cleaned up their language – no longer sounding like sailors. Some have turned from drug and/or alcohol addictions. Some have turned from pornography. Some have turned from same-sex relations or extra-marital relations. Some have made radical changes in their lives because of Christ in their lives – because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Continue reading

November 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving One Another In The Midst Of Disagreement

Luke 6:27-28

27 But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

We all have enemies. Maybe not like war enemies – Russia vs. USA or North Korea vs. South Korea – but people who are out to do us harm and have done us harm. A colleague recently posted that she had been on the receiving end of some gossip that was very hurtful – from fellow clergy members even. When people do or say things that hurt us – it is hard to deal with for sure. It hurts deeply when it is people who we think should know better or know us better.

We all have enemies – those persons who are not looking out for our best interest – those persons who are actually out to hurt us. Gossip – rumors – lies are the tools of some. It is not easy to love those who are out to hurt you. Loving those who love you is hard enough at times. Loving our enemies is next to impossible it seems. Continue reading

May 22, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Is It That We Struggle Most?

Romans 7:18

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Have you ever felt one way and yet ended up going another way? Silly question I guess – since we are all human and most know the right thing to do but have succumbed to the wrong way in our lives. We often know the right way – and yet yield to the wrong way. We fight temptations and evil – but at times we fail in our struggle. We fall short and sin.

Where is it that we struggle the most? For some it is what we put into our bodies that tempt us. That could mean drugs or alcohol or it could mean overeating – all are harmful to us – and we know it – yet some of us continue to abuse our bodies with what we put into them. We try diets – we try to be sober – we try to walk the steps – but – at times – we succumb to what is harmful for us. Continue reading

May 10, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Your Light So Shine For Jesus

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

All of my life – growing up – I was told that my actions reflected on my earthly father and mother. My dad was the pastor of my home church and as I grew into my teens – people knew him and if I did something good or something not so good – it would reflect upon him (and mom).

I remember a time in my early twenties when my friends wanted to go downtown Annapolis – drinking. I went along with them (I didn’t and don’t drink). I remember wrestling with the idea of my witness to my friends (that I could have a good time without drinking) and the witness of someone seeing me coming out of a bar (I was raised in the old Methodist belief that drinking was something to be avoided – we called it abstinence). Continue reading

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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