Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Walking Toward the Cross

Isaiah 49:1

Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.

Life ChangeLent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny self – to dig deeper into our walk with Jesus. Today we look at a passage that will lead us to the cross and to the resurrection. Let us focus on Jesus this week – more than usual – the cross is near. Let us identify with the walk and the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us. Jesus came to earth – voluntarily – to walk to the cross. Can we imagine how we would face our last weeks on earth? How we would face our death – when we had the power to avoid it?

What has changed in your walk with Jesus during Lent this year? A load of folks have walked together reading the book – The Case for Easter – and yesterday they talked about some of the change that are taking place this Lenten season for them. Lee Strobel has crafted his book to challenge and prove the life – death and resurrection of our Lord. Continue reading

March 27, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 36 of Lent 2018

1 Peter 5:6

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Today is day 36 of the 40 Days of our Lenten reading plan (looks like the plan will have 47 days because the Sundays didn’t count). I hope you have stayed with us. I veered off of the online plan and am finishing the plan myself. Today’s passage is about humbling ourselves. This is not easy for many if not most of us. It is what we as Christians are called to do.

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny self – to dig deeper into our walk with Jesus. Today we want to read what Peter had to say about humbling ourselves before God. As I mentioned previously – humbling ourselves is not easy for many. Peter also gives us instructions about other parts of our Christian walk in today’s larger passage. Continue reading

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 3 of Lent 2018

John 12:16

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

Day 3 of the Lenten reading is a similar story to the one we read on day one. Today I want to look at the above portion of that passage. At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.

As we walk to the cross this Lenten season – I want us to think about some of the things we didn’t or still don’t understand about our faith. It might be things like the Virgin Birth – the resurrection – forgiveness of sin. As we think of those things we might not completely understand – intentionally seek out Scriptures and readings that deal with these items. We live post the resurrection – post the glorification of Christ – and the Holy Spirit is available to us as we seek the understand the things of God. Seek to understand more about Jesus this Lenten season! Continue reading

February 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christ Came To Save Sinners

1 Timothy 1:15

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.

It won’t be long and March Madness with be upon us. I’m not certain my favorite college team – the Maryland Terps – will be in it this year. They have not played very well of late.

The competitive juices begin flow in almost everyone during March Madness. Even if a person doesn’t like or follow sports in general – they often get excited in the office place (and on Facebook) for their alma mater (go Terps!).

I wonder – have we ever had a competitive spirit about following Christ? I mean – have we ever thought of giving our very best effort – spending a day or a lifetime – seeking His face and desiring His grace? Have we ever gone out of our way to connect with others around our faith? With numerous Lenten season events happening at First UMC in Laurel – it would be a great opportunity to invite someone to join us. Continue reading

February 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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