Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Hold Unswervingly To The Hope

Hebrews 10:23

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

What is it we hope for in life? I posted something on Twitter and Facebook this past week about a parent’s hopes and dreams. I found it in one of my daily devotional readings on www.youverison.com. We want our children to have good jobs & healthy marriages & families, but what matters most is that they have a vital relationship with Jesus. Of course we want them to be happy and productive – but walking with Jesus is most important.

What is it we hope for in life? Some of us want to own a piece of the good earth. Some own larger pieces than others – some maybe larger pieces than they need (LOL). Some of us hope for material things or blessings. We care about what we drive or how many vehicles we own. Some of us hope for the latest greatest technology. Continue reading

October 11, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Cheerful Heart

Proverbs 17:22

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

We’re only two games into the new baseball season. Both the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles are 2-0 and leading their divisions (I know – small sample size). I watched the Orioles – both games. I must say they were both thrillers.

The opening day game went into extra innings. There was great pitching by starter Kevin Gausman and the bullpen did its normal great job. There was some highlight defense as well (an amazing play by Manny Machado – just the best 3rd baseman in the Major Leagues). There was just enough offense to go to extras. The Orioles won in the 11th inning on a 1-2 count with two outs when Mark Trumbo hit a homer to left. I gave out a shout of joy. I believe it was the Orioles first opening day walk off win. The Orioles have won seven straight opening day games. Continue reading

April 6, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Complete Joy

John 15:11

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

IMG_0435-0Dear readers – have you ever experience joy that you felt was complete? I’ve experienced joyful moments before – I imagine most of us have in our lifetime. But complete joy may be something that some have never experienced. We might experience moments of happiness – but joy is something spiritual.

There always seems to be something that deflates our joy or happiness. For instance – the Capitals won the President’s Trophy with the best record in the regular season this year – a lot of people were happy! But they were ousted from the playoffs and failed to win the Stanley Cup – deflated joy or happiness.

I’ve heard of couples that were filled with joy/happiness for their wedding and even during the honeymoon period only to have their joy/happiness tempered or deflated when the honeymoon was over and stuff began to happen. Continue reading

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Fruits of the Spirit – Joy

Galatians 5:22-26

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

82015 RayToday we continue with our examination of the Fruits of the Spirit as found in Galatians 5. I believe a good attitude and the level of love we show in our life goes a long way in expressing the maturity of our faith.  Some wise pastor once said – Christianity boils down to attitude.

The second fruit listed in today’s passage is joy.  Joy is not the same as happiness.  I’m sure some of you remember the saying I coined that says happiness is circumstantially driven, while joy is spiritually derivedHappiness is all about the moment – my team won and I am happy – I got a new job and I am happy – my car slid down the driveway into the woods and I am not happy – it isn’t totaled and will be repaired and I am happy again.  Joy is something that runs deeper than circumstantially driven happiness.  It is derived from a relationship with Jesus. Continue reading

October 7, 2015 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Joy of the Lord is Better than Happiness

Acts 13:52

And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgA friend of mine once posted this on their Twitter account – It’s not about happy. It’s about joy.  It made me think of a saying of mine – Happiness is circumstantialy driven while joy is spiritually derived. Although happiness is a good thing – joy is lasting while happiness is fleeting. Joy is better than Happiness!

Today’s passage ends a section of the Book of Acts that describes the Gospel being taken to the whole of the region – including to the Gentiles.  The church began in Jewish circles – of course – since Jesus and the early disciples were Jewish.  And although many were moved to accept Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah – some had a hard time being open to the message that God was also available to all people – including the non-Jewish people. In the King James Version of the Bible the word for non-Jewish people is often pagan – the ungodly. Continue reading

July 18, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , | Leave a comment

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