Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

All Mankind Will Come And Bow Down Before God

Isaiah 66:23

“all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord.

I grew up the son and grandson of Methodist pastors. I was raised on Wesleyan theology – which is not Calvinist or Arminian exactly – but for me a mixture of the two (the best parts of each). I was raised during a time when we were told to date within our denomination – because it would be easier raising the children – better for a unified home. I didn’t always follow that path – dating a Catholic girl – a Baptist girl – an Episcopal girl – a non-denominational girl and a few others. I also dated a few Methodist girls. I eventually married a Methodist girl (young woman) – who would love to be non-denominational I think. All were Christian – just from different branches of the faith.

I raised my daughters to marry boys who were Christian – the denomination was secondary. I told them they should look for three things in the young men they dated – 1) a strong Christian faith – 2) a strong love for them – and 3) a strong work ethic. Although I was still biased toward those who thought Wesleyan theology was on the right path – I believed that most Christian faiths could have the core beliefs that would create a strong marriage and family. Continue reading

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May 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

As Unto The Lord

Ephesians 6:7

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,

I’ve had a job since I was 12. I have worked delivering papers – I was a certified babysitter – I worked behind a fountain at a Pharmacy as a Soda Jerk – umpired and officiated football – baseball – softball – basketball – field hockey (doing baseball at a Division I level and basketball on the Junior College level). I have worked installing carpet – laying tile – delivery materials – working at Sears and McDonald’s – cutting grass for a church and for individual homes – served as a sexton – sub teaching in High Schools – driving a school bus – coaching High School basketball and softball. I have worked as a starter/greeter at a golf course – as a maintenance person for West River Camp – and more. I have served the church for 42 years as a minister of the Gospel. I’m sure there’s more I have forgotten at the moment. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have 2 or 3 jobs going at the same time.

In addition to all of my secular and ministry jobs I finished High School from Annapolis High School – graduated with an AA degree from Anne Arundel Community College – graduated with a BS degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland – graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew Divinity School. I was ordained a Deacon and an Elder in the United Methodist Church as well. Continue reading

May 4, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take Refuge In The Lord!

Psalm 57:1

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.

Have any of us had rough days – troubled days? (LOL) I know – silly question. Most all of us have had hard days – some of us have had hard weeks – months – years and maybe even lifetimes. I’m thinking this morning of those who have been impacted by the recent hurricanes that hit the US – the Caribbean Islands – and other places. Puerto Rico for instance – a US territory – has been totally devastated.

I’m also thinking of the troubles that come from relationships and from life in general. Today I’m thinking of friends who have had or are experiencing broken marriages. I’m thinking about a colleague who lost a child through a drug overdose. I’m thinking about the folks I know who have lost loved ones through automobile accidents. I’m thinking of those who have faced life and death situations. I’m thinking of those in Vegas and their families. Continue reading

October 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s View People As God Views Them

1 Samuel 16:7c

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Our culture spends lots of time and money trying to work on our outward appearance. We pay tons of money and spend tons of time trying to lose weight – and to tone up what we have left. We spend major resources on our clothes and on our hair. Some of us even have surgeries to try and improve our outward appearance. We seem to care a lot about our outward appearance.

Today’s passage is found in the midst of God’s rejection of Saul as King. He was the people’s favorite because of his stature and his skill in battle. But as Samuel and God discuss this subject – Samuel saw another that seemed to fit his view of what a king should look like in Eliab – an older brother of David. David – of course – at his tender age – didn’t look anything like a king – but God knew his heart. In the midst of this we read these verses: 1 Samuel 16:6-7 – 6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Continue reading

October 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Call On The Lord

Psalm 120:1

I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.

One night last week – as I was beginning my recovery from surgery – I woke and needed my meds. I wasn’t in distress – but I knew I soon would be feeling significant pain if I didn’t get my meds soon. I also knew there were babies sleeping in the house so I couldn’t call out with a loud voice. In a whisper – I called for my wife. Carolyn – can you hear me?

If the roles were reversed – I know I never would have heard her at that sound level – cause I sleep through most anything and I often sleep with my good ear down. She was in the bedroom and I was on my chair in the TV room (I still haven’t slept in the bed yet since surgery). She heard me and came to my aid. She has been a real trooper through this surgery – as always. I wouldn’t be as recovered as I am without her help and support. Continue reading

April 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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