Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We Live In Troubling Times

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

We live in troubling times. North Korea is a nuclear threat. There is unrest – once again – with Russia. China is also a super power threat. Not to mention the unrest in Iran – Iraq – Afghanistan – Nigeria – Syria – Pakistan – Yemen and Somalia. World peace seems only a dream for the uninformed.

We live in troubling times. I personally know of several married couples that have given up or are on the verge of giving up. Some are recently married and some have been married for some time. Some of the couples have children – even young children. Even some of the married couples I know who might not be in trouble – have troubles. It seems like happily ever after is just a pipe dream in many cases. The peace that some seek in a lifetime commitment is not experienced by many. Continue reading

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November 21, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking Like Jesus

1 John 4:12

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Some people have said – over the years – that I look like my father. I was named after him too – and God called me into the same field of work. We have so many similarities. Both of us are/were workaholics – working several part-time jobs over the years in addition to our full-time ministry. When people see me – they often see my father. We look so much like one another. I always take it has high praise to be compared to my late father.

In today’s passage we’re told that if we love one another – God lives in us and people will see God in us. 1 John 4:12 – No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. Continue reading

November 13, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Should Ooze Jesus!

Ephesians 3:20

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

In my younger days – one of my first jobs was as a Soda Jerk. People loved to order an ice cream cone from me because I gave them a good measure for their money (the pharmacist approved of my methods). A single scoop cone always got a scoop pushed into the cone before a scoop was applied to the top. Nothing worse than an empty cone! I worked at Pink’s drugstore on West Street a block away from my home on Locust Avenue in Annapolis.

One of the reasons I write weekday devotional thoughts is to give the members of the congregations I serve and have served and others more than just Sunday morning theology. I think we need to be digging into Jesus every day – not just on Sunday – and my hope is that these daily thoughts help to trigger something inside us to want immeasurably more from our relationship with Jesus. I try to use everyday ideas and thoughts to connect us with some spiritual thought for the day so that our hearts are pricked to think more about Jesus (let me know if they help). Continue reading

November 7, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Connected

John 15:5

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

A month or two ago (time blurs together) our church was struck by lightning. We suffered a number of electrical issues. One that seems to be lingering is an Internet issue. We shortly got the main system up and running so that the office could operate – but – the lingering issue seems to be all of the runs around the building. Things are connected – and finding all of the affected connections has been a task. We have replaced a number of connectors and boasters but still have some issues. Everything is connected to the core and if each run of wire or each Wi-Fi connector or boaster is not synced or working – people in parts of the building will not have access to the Internet.

Is there a patriarch or matriarch in your family that holds everything together? My mom and dad were the Lynch pins for our family. Mom and dad drew the family together for most of the holidays. We all wanted to be around mom and dad. It seems like – with them now residing in heaven with Jesus – each of our families are scattered – doing their own thing. We still try to get together – but it isn’t the same without mom and dad. When an arsonist burned down our family home in West Virginia – an era ended for our family. Continue reading

November 6, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Our Faith Like The Grass?

Isaiah 40:6

A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.”

A few summers ago I lost my front yard. A combination of lack of water – excess sunshine and a weak root system did it in. I treated the ground – aerated – seeded with good seed – fertilized with starter fertilizer and winter fertilizer later in the season and that following spring I fertilized it again. It came up strong and full. I fully realize that if I can’t figure out a way to water the yard in the summer – it will not be as full later in the year. That year I got an estimate for a sprinkler system – and that was way out of my price range. I purchased some extra hose and have tried – during the dry periods – to water the front yard.

Even with all of that work that fall – just a few weeks into March even – my yard was like most yards – dormant (to a degree). It did remain green through the winter that year – thanks to fertilizers and a mild winter – but it was in a dormant state. With the warmer than normal March that spring – with lots of sunshine and some rain – my yard was ahead of schedule that spring. It had time that spring to deepen the roots and thicken before the summer months. I cut my grass at the highest setting my lawn tractor with a mulching kit would allow. I cut the grass twice a week during the peak-growing season so I don’t leave behind piles or clumps of dead grass. I love a green lawn throughout the year! Continue reading

November 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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