Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Sweeping Our Life Clean

Isaiah 44:22

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.

Alexa is Amazon’s voice-controlled device, Alex has an interesting feature – it can erase everything you say. My wife thinks Alexa is listening to everything we say – and she might be right (there are times Alexa responds and we didn’t say Alexa). Alexa can clear your commands. Whatever you’ve asked Alexa to do – whatever information you’ve asked Alexa to retrieve – can be deleted by one simple sentence (delete everything I said today). I wonder if it would work for the following – delete everything I’ve ever said – or delete everything I said this month (I might try this). When Alexa sweeps your commands clean – it is as if you never said anything.

I was returning an old MacBook Air to factory settings the other day – and it was like brand new – nothing on it but what was intended from the factory (I imagine the hard drive might have had some things stored – but maybe not).

It’s too bad that the rest of our life doesn’t have this capability – to have our words or deeds swept clean or rebooted to original settings. Imagine every misspoken word – every sinful act – every bad moment we wish we could erase – swept clean merely but saying the command – and the entire slate of sins and mistakes would disappear.

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July 27, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let the Holy Spirit Have All of You!

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.

As I reflect upon my years of ministry and the lives that have crossed my path – I am blessed by many memories. I heard these words from a pastor – 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? This pastor reminded me that the Holy Spirit comes to transform us – to change us – to make us holy. How much of us do we give to the Holy Spirit?

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 daily 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 or construction workers. Some have turned from drug 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. What difference has the Holy Spirit made in our lives?

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July 22, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Is Coming Soon

Matthew 10:37-39

37 Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Thanksgiving is prime family time and it is sneaking up on us folks! It arrives this Thursday. Do you have the whole week off? Do you have Friday off? I hope you get some time off to spend with your family. Family time is a special time. I remember a few years ago a football game on Thanksgiving Day – the Harbaugh Bowl – where the 49’ers and Ravens played each other on Thanksgiving – a family affair with brother’s Jim and John Harbaugh as head coaches. I wonder who is playing this year?

In our home – the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is always a special time for family gatherings and time spent together. We gather as a whole family several times (we miss dad and mom and Carolyn’s dad).

What are you planning for the holidays to come? If you don’t have a plan – better make one soon. I hope you and yours have great family time throughout the fall and into the holidays. Don’t forget to keep Christ in Christmas when it comes. Remember – don’t go into debt to buy gifts for the children (or yourself) – they will end up playing with the box anyway and then you will have to pay the bills in January (or throughout the year). Continue reading

November 25, 2019 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Seems Hard To Love One Another

John 14:15

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Life ChangeIt seems hard to love one another. For example – I tried to cheer on the Washington Nationals as they were in the playoffs and eventually won Major League Baseball’s World Championship. Yet – pushback came from National’s fans calling me a pretend fan who was jumping on the bandwagon late. I also took pushback from others – calling me out for rooting for the Nationals – since I’m a diehard Orioles fan – as if I couldn’t root for another local team – simply because my team wasn’t in the playoffs. I could better understand if the Orioles and Nationals were in the same league or division and competing for the same league championship. But the Nationals are my National League team – since I was a young child – I’ve rooted for the local Washington team – back in the day it was the Senators (my dad was a big fan). When I was 12 – I began to root for the Orioles and have stayed with them ever since.

It seems hard to love one another. For example – because I have Facebook friends from all walks of life – we don’t all agree on many subjects. Be it sports (Ravens and Steeler fans – Oriole and Yankee fans) – or politics (Republican and Democrat – Trump and Hillary or now Trump or anyone but Trump) – or theologically (left and right – liberal and conservative – Christian and atheists or others) – my friends are all over the place. We hardly agree on much of anything. As a matter of fact – some have unfriended me because of my beliefs (my theology or ideology). Continue reading

November 8, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, 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

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