Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Darkness Cannot Overcome The Light – Jesus

John 1:5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Have you ever tried to go from one doorway to another in a room that is without any lights? There is a room in my basement that only has a switch at one door and not the other. If for some reason I go out in the light or someone follows me and turns off the light – I must return in the dark. It is not always easy for sure! Thank God for the flashlight app on my iPhone. It has helped me avoid stubbing my toe many times.

But – I have often gone around in the dark because I like the light switches to be in the right direction (you know – up for on and down for off). If I turn the light on at one door and off at the next – the switches get out of sequence (I know – a little OCD of me for sure). It is my issue – I’m sure I am alone! Walking in the dark is no fun I must say. Continue reading

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January 8, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Your Light So Shine For Jesus

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

All of my life – growing up – I was told that my actions reflected on my earthly father and mother. My dad was the pastor of my home church and as I grew into my teens – people knew him and if I did something good or something not so good – it would reflect upon him (and mom).

I remember a time in my early twenties when my friends wanted to go downtown Annapolis – drinking. I went along with them (I didn’t and don’t drink). I remember wrestling with the idea of my witness to my friends (that I could have a good time without drinking) and the witness of someone seeing me coming out of a bar (I was raised in the old Methodist belief that drinking was something to be avoided – we called it abstinence). Continue reading

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Our Light So Shine For Jesus

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

RayMcDThe new sermon series that begins on Sunday is on A Family Legacy. Services are at 8:15 & 11 am at 424 Main Street in Laurel at First United Methodist Church. All are welcome and come as you are! Today’s passage is one that speaks to letting our light shine – as we develop our legacy.

Everywhere I turn – every devotional I do these days – brings me back to our upcoming sermon series on legacy. Today’s passage tells us about letting our light shine – letting our witness shine – so that those who see us will see Jesus and come to glorify our God. We are to let others see the Christ within us.

It is so important that our children – the next generation – and others – see that our faith is sincere. If they do not see Christ in us – if they only see a façade of faith – they will not be drawn toward God. Continue reading

August 17, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Jesus Light The Way

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMHave we ever walked in the darkness? I am one of those people who must have the light switches going in the correct direction (up in on – down is off). With that said – you know I have stumbled through a dark room so I wouldn’t get the light switches in the wrong position. Crazy – right?

Have we ever walked in the darkness? I’m so thankful my cell phone has a flashlight on it. I use it often (see above paragraph) while walking in darkness – inside and outside. I only have one switch in part of my basement and when the light is off and it is dark outside – I need the flashlight in order to walk through till I get to the switch (which is always up for on and down for off). Having a light to shine in the darkness is important for sure.

Have we ever walked in the darkness? Have we ever felt like we were lost – without focus – without a purpose? We can feel that way as an individual or a family or a church or even a country. Yesterday in worship at First UMC in Laurel I spoke a little about broken hearts. When we break up with a significant other – dating or in marriage – we often feel lost – walking in the darkness. Listen to the sermon for some suggestions on how to mend a broken heart (http://fumcl.org/sermons) (because it was VBS Sunday the sermon may not get uploaded until the middle of the week). Continue reading

July 25, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Live as Children of Light

Ephesians 5:8

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

112015 Ray McDonaldI often tell this story at funerals. When my oldest daughter was old enough to spend the night at a girlfriend’s home – her mother and I gave her the talk – about being on her best behavior and minding her manners. Remember – we told her – you represent your mom and dad – your family.

Of course – she did so well – when the mother reported back all that she did – I wondered if she was talking about my daughter. She certainly lived in a manner that represented her family well.

Sometimes – I ask myself – if I have lived in such a way to be a blessing to others. I think about my father and mother and whether they would be pleased with the life I am living and have lived. I think about my wife and children and the example I have been or failed to be at times. Continue reading

March 22, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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