Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Be An Imitator of God

Ephesians 5:1-2

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

IMG_0301As I type this devotional – I have decided that today is a challenge for me.  If our readers wish to read along and even join me – you all are more than welcome to do so. My personal challenge over the next few weeks – will be to become a better imitator of God.

I was listening to 105.7 the Fan recently and they have been talking about the volunteer practices (OTA’s) the Ravens have been holding.  They remarked at the number of veterans who have been in attendance – including Joe Flacco and Steve Smith.  These players are setting a good example – as well as getting attuned to a new offensive coordinator.  As a team – they are striving to be the best that they can be – with the playoffs and Super Bowl in their minds. Continue reading

June 11, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

More!

Ephesians 5:1-2

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgToday I want to challenge me – and if you would like to read along and even join me – you are more than welcome to do so. My personal challenge has to do with being more of a mercy person – a person that shows grace. I am not by nature a mercy person – so this will be a challenge.

I remember listening to 105.7 the Fan a few years ago and they were taking about Ed Reed not being at camp for the Ravens (sound familiar? – this year with Joe Flacco) and others who didn’t show up for the volunteer camps earlier that summer. They were saying that the team was one play away from going to the Super Bowl the previous year. They made the comment that you would think – the players – especially the leaders on the team – would be at all of the camps trying to find that little extra that could get them back to the Super Bowl in the season coming up. They went on to say that if for no other reason than to be a good example for the younger players – the veteran leaders should be there! If the players really cared about the team as a whole – they would be there – even if they didn’t think they needed to be there! Continue reading

June 25, 2014 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Gift from God

Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

RayBlogToday is my birthday – I turn 58 today.  I can’t believe I’m as old as I am.  My oldest daughter was out with us Friday night for dinner and thought I was in my young 50’s – she even called me old!  It seems just like yesterday that I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior (46 years this August).  It seems just like yesterday I was in High School (40 year reunion this spring).  It seems just like yesterday that I entered the ministry (36 years this summer).  It seems just like yesterday I was married (33 years this August).  It seems just like yesterday that our first child was born (30 later this month).  It seems just like yesterday that – well – you get the picture.

Now that we have run through a review of my past – let’s write something about the gifts we receive when we have a birthday or some other special occasion.  This year I left nothing to chance when it comes to my birthday presents.  When the Baltimore Ravens won the AFC Championship I bought a hat to remember it by!  When they won the Super Bowl I bought a hat to remember it by!  I also bought a jersey – the jersey of the highest paid player in the NFL as of today when he signs his contract – Joe Flacco.  So my daughters only need to chip in for the hats and my mother and others can buy me the jersey.  I won’t be taking these gifts back to exchange! Can you remember a special gift you received for a birthday or other special occasion?  I remember my first new bike at Christmas – I got a red one and my sister got a blue one.

Continue reading

March 4, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Lenten Thought, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Come, Follow Jesus

Matthew 4:19

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

RayBlogRecently our home team – the Baltimore Ravens – won the Super Bowl and became world champs. As a dutiful fan I was at a local sporting goods store on Monday morning to buy my Ravens Super Bowl gear (I bought a hat and a jersey – to be used as birthday presents by family members – lol). I didn’t go to the Super Bowl – but a friend did and I lived vicariously through his Facebook posts and pics. I didn’t go to the parade in Baltimore – but watched on TV. To see the crowds in New Orleans and in Baltimore – many people follow their favorite sports teams and players (my shirt is a Joe Flacco jersey and I have a Ray Rice hat). I follow several players on Twitter and enjoy reading their tweets.

I also follow certain pastors like Andy StanleyCraig GroeschelTony Evans and others on Twitter. I also follow the blog pages of certain pastors and listen to their podcasts. How many followers do we have on our Twitter account or blog pages? It seems like many of us are ready to follow – to be followers or fans of someone or some team. Following has become a part of our society it seems. Some follow certain politicians or political parties or philosophies. Some follow the teachings of a particular theologian camp – calling themselves CalvinistsWesleyansArminianists – or something else. Some believe they follow a more liberal thought pattern – or more conservative or call themselves evangelicals or progressives. Following has become part of the culture we live in today – probably always has been in vogue.

FollowJesusBut following Jesus – now this is something a good number of people say they do but few it seems truly follow after the teaching and lifestyle of Jesus fully. Let’s take a look at the morning’s passage in context. According to Matthew’s timeline Jesus had just finished His calling and tempting experience and was beginning His earthly ministry. He was calling His early disciples. Matthew 4:17-25 – 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” 18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. 23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

What stands out to me is that those He called left everything to follow Him. They were commercial fishermen and left their boats – nets – families and friends to follow Jesus. Jesus said “Come, follow me” and at once they left their nets and followed him. He told them if they followed Him He would make them fishers of men.

One question that arises for me today – when we hear Jesus calling us to come follow Him – are we willing to leave everything and follow Him? Too often I believe we are like these who were called to follow Jesus – yet have excuses for not following just now. Luke 9:57-62 – 57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

So what is our excuse when Jesus calls us to follow Him? When we are convinced God wants us to do something – to follow His teachings and example – are we like – sure Lord – I want to follow – but maybe you weren’t aware of whatever we can come up with at the moment? When Jesus calls – we MUST respond and follow.

One more point. When Jesus calls us He always calls us to something more important than what we are currently doing. That importance is not always measured as we measure but it is more important. When the disciples were fishing Jesus called them to follow Him “and I will make you fishers of men.” Fishing for souls is immeasurably more important than fishing for fish! When God calls we need to respond and follow and prepare for the task. Remember God doesn’t call the qualified He qualifies the called. Also one of my sayings takes off on that one – God will not call you to anything He will not equip you to accomplish.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

February 7, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision, Worship | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

   

%d bloggers like this: