Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Stay Committed

Daniel 3:17-18

17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

RayMcDIf you’re rooting for the Orioles – this year – you’re one committed fan. They are in the midst of their worse season – ever. They are on track to finish with only 48 wins and a whopping 114 loses – or some terrible record like they have never seen. Their current record – after being swept by Boston is 35-84 – the worst in the majors this year (although Kansas City is not too far ahead of us at the moment). The race for the worst record is on – the prize – the #1 draft choice in each round of the upcoming draft.

Some believe the Orioles will not win 50 games this year. Their current record supports this theory – as I mentioned. They are headed to a 48-114 record at their current pace – and that is certainly a sorry state. If you are a follower of the Orioles – this year – you have your work cut out for you to stay committed. Continue reading

August 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Is Able To Deliver Us

Daniel 3:17

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.

Is there anything we are going through today that is too much to face alone? I know some folks – myself included – who will face Christmas this year without a parent for the first time (my mom passed this year after my father passed 5 years ago). I know some folks who have some major medical issues – and at times they seem to compound – one on top of another. I know some folks who are facing broken marriages this Christmas. I know some folks that are out of work this Christmas.

What are some of the difficult things we are facing this year? The economy is doing amazingly! The market is higher than it has ever been – gaining 5,000 points in a calendar year for the first time ever. Yet some are not invested in the market – even with their retirement funds. Joblessness is the lowest it has been for decades. Yet there are still folks who haven’t planned well or haven’t had the opportunity to do so – and their economic state is not what they would wish. Some folks are still living paycheck to paycheck or social security check to social security check. Continue reading

December 21, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Defile Ourselves?

Daniel 1:8-9

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

IMG_0301OK – who is trying to eat a healthy diet these days?  It is not easy – that is a fact jack!  I mean all the good things in life – like ice cream – chips – soda – bacon – Big Macs – pizza – and more – are on someone’s DO NOT EAT list!  Some plans allow you to eat loads of meat – others loads of vegetables – others say you can eat carbs – others say no carbs at all or very little.  Some plans say you will lose weight quickly – if you buy their pre-fabricated and packaged foods or drink their shakes or take their pills.  Trying to eat healthy is not easy – I am trying it right now – a large portion of broccoli and grilled chicken with water to wash it down just doesn’t sound too appetizing.

The story today’s passage comes from is found in the start of the book of Daniel.  Here it is in partial context.  Daniel 1:1-14 – 1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. 3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.  5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. 6 Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. 8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.” 11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. Continue reading

July 14, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

21-Day Prayer/Fast – Day 17

Daniel 3:17-18

17 “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

01032015 RayToday we read one of the most fascinating stories in the Bible.  If we were churched as children – we probably heard this one in Sunday School.  It is the story about Shadrach – Meshach – and Abednego – and the fiery furnace.  Do you remember the story?

Daniel and our three stars of today’s story were part of a group of Israelites taken captive by a conquering nation.  They were part of the cream of the crop so to speak and had found God’s favor even in the foreign land.  Let’s look at the story today.

King Nebuchadnezzar made a large statue in his own honor – Daniel 3:1 – King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.  He was convinced that anyone who didn’t bow to his statue should be killed by some corrupt officials who didn’t like our young fellows.  They then reported that the boys didn’t bow to the statue (because of their faith and only bowing to God).  Daniel 3:13-15 – 13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” Continue reading

January 21, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: