Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Eternity Is Secure In Christ

John 3:3

In reply Jesus declared, I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

Our eternity is secure in Christ. I cannot believe that it has been 45 years since I graduated from High School. I was taking a few minutes to remember those days recently. It seems so long ago and yet so recent. The early to mid 70’s were amazing years in my life. I was in High School – graduating in the spring of 1973 from Annapolis High School. I was in college – attending AACC or as we called her A2C2 (for those who don’t read math – that is A squared C squared). I graduated from AACC in 1975 and began to attend the University of Maryland. It seems so long ago and yet so recent.

Our eternity is secure in Christ. During this time in my life I had one girl friend for one year and one girl friend for two years – names have been left out to save their reputations (I’m still friends with one today – a FB friend even – I have no idea where the other might be in life – I lost touch with her decades ago). I mention this because many of us go through relationships that come and go – that at the time we thought would be forever. I thought both of these young ladies might be the one I would spend the rest of my life with for sure – yet neither turned out to be my life partner. Life is so unsettled at times – we live – we learn – we hurt – we have happiness. I had friends during this time in my life that I thought would be life-time friends. One died way too young and others – mostly – have gone on with their lives and our lives have crossed ever so infrequently. It was during these days that I began using the following phrase – happiness is circumstantially driven, while joy is spiritually derived. My days were filled with circumstances that brought happiness and sadness – sometimes in the same event. What seemed so concrete and secure during this time in my life seems to be just a vague memory today. Things that seemed so permanent are just afterthoughts today. Continue reading

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July 11, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I Might Share With Graduates

John 3:3

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

I’m reading on my Facebook feed about a lot of young people graduating from High School and College. It has been 45 years since I graduated from High School. I haven’t heard of any reunions – but maybe for our 50th in five years. If I had a chance to speak with graduates – I might say something like today’s devotional thought.

As I thought about those days gone by – which seem so long ago and yet so recent too – I am reminded of my days in school – in the educational process. The early to mid 70’s were amazing years in my life. I was in High School – graduating in the spring of 1973 from Annapolis High School. I was in college before my senior year was over (attending classes in the summer) – attending AACC or as we said A2C2 (for those who don’t read math – that is A squared C squared). I graduated from AACC in 1975 and began to attend the University of Maryland. It seems so long ago and yet so recent.

During this time in my life I had one girl friend of one year and one girl friend for two years – names have been left out to save their reputations (I’m still friends with one today – a FB friend even – I have no idea where the other might be in life). I mention this because many of us go through relationships that come and go – that at the time we thought would be forever. I thought both of these young women might be the one I would spend the rest of my life with for sure – yet neither turned out to be my life partner. Life is so unsettled at times – we live – we learn – we hurt – we have happiness. I had friends during this time in my life that I thought would be life-time friends. One died way too young and others – mostly – have gone on with their lives and our lives have crossed ever so infrequently. It was during these days that I began using the following phrase – happiness is circumstantially driven, while joy is spiritually derived. My days were filled with circumstances that brought happiness and sadness – sometimes in the same event. What seemed so concrete and secure during this time in my life seems to be just a vague memory today. Continue reading

May 23, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marriage: A Little Something About Marriage

John 3:3

“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

IMG_0301Yesterday was a sweet time of worship.  I’m always on a high for Easter – aren’t you?  Yesterday was something special – better than the normal Easter – whatever that measures out to be.  I hope you felt that way too.  I’d love to hear from you about how Easter worship blessed you.  I was sick all week – but the prayers of the people of God got me through a wonderful week.

We mentioned that Easter is different if you walk to the cross first – if you take a deep look at the Cross of Calvary and the love of Christ in sacrificing His life for us.  I hope you were able to do that this year – and if you did – maybe that is why Easter was special this year.  If you attended our Good Friday service and experienced the cross – I imagine Easter will never be the same for you.  I would love to hear what you thought of Friday’s service.

Today I wanted to add something – unless we are born again – a follower of Christ – a Christian – Easter is merely a nice holiday with bunnies – chocolate – eggs – spiral ham – maybe attendance in church and possibly some family gatherings.  Jesus makes it very clear – in several places in the Bible – that being His follower is required for eternity in heaven – eternity in His presence. Continue reading

April 6, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Born Again

John 3:3

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

RevRayIt has been 40 years since I graduated from High School.  I was taking a few minutes to remember those days.  It seems so long ago and yet so recent too.  The early to mid 70’s were amazing years in my life.  I was in High School – graduating in the spring of 1973 from Annapolis High School.  I was in college – attending AACC or as we said A2C2 (for those who don’t read math – that is A squared C squared).  I graduated from AACC in 1975 and began to attend the University of Maryland.  It seems so long ago and yet so recent.

During this time in my life I had one girl friend of one year and one girl friend for two years – names have been left out to save their reputations (I’m still friends with one today – a FB friend even – I have no idea where the other might be in life).  I mention this because many of us go through relationships that come and go – that at the time we thought would be forever.  I thought both of these young ladies might be the one I would spend the rest of my life with for sure – yet neither turned out to be my life partner.  Life is so unsettled at times – we live – we learn – we hurt – we have happiness.  I had friends during this time in my life that I thought would be life-time friends.  One died way too young and others – mostly – have gone on with their lives and our lives have crossed ever so infrequently.  It was during these days that I began using the following phrase – happiness is circumstantially driven, while joy is spiritually derived.  My days were filled with circumstances that brought happiness and sadness – sometimes in the same event.  What seemed so concrete and secure during this time in my life seems to be just a vague memory today. Continue reading

July 24, 2013 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Gotta Tell Somebody – Really!

John 3:3

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

What a simple yet complex truth.  Remember – those who were at Mt. Oak on Sunday – when I mentioned talking to another pastor who said they believed that we all ride different buses but we all end up at the same school – and they were referring to the various religions of the world as ways to God.  I had a long conversation with that pastor – but to no avail.  When we finished talking – I still believed that Jesus was the only way to heaven and they still believed in a world religion approach.  I think they also had an Universalist’s belief – believing that all people find their way to heaven.

Unless we have the belief that the Bible is not an authoritative book – inspired by God – we would have to believe the following truth from Jesus.  Matthew 7:13-14 – 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

As I mentioned Sunday – in the message you can listen to here – if we believe in heaven and hell – if we believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven – we gotta tell somebody my friends.  We cannot be afraid and thus do nothing.  We must be like the women who came to the empty tomb – Matthew 28:8 – So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.  They were afraid – yet they went and told somebody.

Who is God placing on your heart – even as you read this devotional thought – that you need to go and tell about Jesus?  I know God prompts us – are we quenching the Holy Spirit and refusing to go like Jonah?  Do we not understand that God can do all things – even raise the dead as He did with Lazarus?  Go and tell somebody today!  And do it every day!  Because Jesus IS going to return for His church – and those not in His flock – will be lost for eternity!

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

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April 18, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey | , , | Leave a comment

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