Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Hearing From God – Do We?

June 2019Often – as I sit at my desk in the wee hours of the morning – waiting to hear from God – I began to put some thoughts down for a devotional or a sermon. Have you ever wondered how one would hear from God? I mean – the Scriptures are filled with people hearing from God. Some examples are in the biblical text for us. There’s Moses’ burning bush.

Exodus 3:1-5 – 1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight — why the bush does not burn up.” 4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” 5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Continue reading

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July 17, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking A Nap – Finding Rest

Psalm 121:1-2

I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

June 2019The Major League Baseball season is in full swing. We just passed the All-Star game. What team are you rooting for to win it all? I’m rooting for the Houston Astros and the LA Dodgers to meet in the World Series and for the Astros to win it all.

I wish it was the Orioles playing for the World Series – but they are aiming to qualify for the number 1 draft choice in next year’s amateur draft for the second straight year. I am an O’s fan and always will be – even during hard years. I suffered through 14 straight losing seasons several seasons ago. We’re tired – already – of this losing skid and want changes. We hope the changes that are coming will help us win again. But this is not real life! It is a game! (As I type this devotional they have a perfect game against them thru 8 innings – not good.)

Where do you go when you are tired and exhausted in real life? When you need rest – where do you turn? I had a busy week last week with VBS and needing help in the office. Besides working over 70 plus hours – I’ve walked several miles each day. I’ve only gotten about 5-6 hours of sleep each night (one night only 3) and according to my new watch – that sleep hasn’t always been sound. I could use a nap! Taking a nap seemed like a punishment as a child. As an adult it is something I look forward to taking! Who agrees with me? 😇💤 Continue reading

July 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

VBS Week – a Great Week!

Revelation 3:2

Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.

June 2019During the week of VBS – each year – my dad would wake us up (we had morning VBS) with a song I believe he made up. At the top of his singing voice – which was considerable – he would sing his Vacation Bible School song. I can still remember him singing it today. It woke us up for this day long – week-long event. I fondly remember it now – but at the time I was not too happy.

Dad wasn’t the subtle type. He didn’t come up and lovingly whisper in our ears that it was time to get up and gradually allow us to deal with the early hour. He allowed us to stay asleep as long as possible – I assume – and then he WOKE US UP!

How do you like to be awakened? Is there really a good way? In the past – about 15 minutes before my alarm goes BUZZ – I would have my radio timed to come on and begin to air my favorite sports channel. By listening to the DJ’s talk (105.7 The Fan) about the latest talking point about the Orioles or Ravens – I would slowly wake – usually before the BUZZ sounded off. Yesterday – because I was up till close to 1 am – I turned off the alarm and slept an additional 45 minutes – just saying! It was a blessing. Being VBS week I have been coming into the office later. Continue reading

July 10, 2019 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If We Confess Our Sins…

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

June 2019Confession is key to forgiveness. Saying we are sorry for what we have done is important – but – remember – confession is more than merely saying words. True confession involves repentance that requires three things – confession – grieving – and turning from sin.

I’ve often said that we sin in specifics so we ought to confess in specifics. If we lost our temper – we should confess that we have lost our temper – and not just something as simple as – Lord – forgive me for all of my sins.

Naming our sins actually helps us with the grieving process. If we remember our sins – and remind ourselves what it is that we did wrong – it might bring back memories that we wish to avoid in the future. For example – if we hurt our child by saying something – simply asking for God to forgive our sins is a cop out. Remembering the look on our child’s face brings back the hurt they felt and that we felt when we sinned. Going to the child and apologizing – in specifics – will also help us remember and grieve our sin. Continue reading

July 8, 2019 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orthodoxy Is Not Bad, It May Just Be Correct!

Colossians 1:23

…if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Life Change

Today’s devotional thought was mainly written years ago.  I have made some minor changes – but – it seems – things don’t change much – because it is still speaks about a truth today.

If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it? I know most of us have heard that saying before. That isn’t perfect English – but – it is real. Most often we shouldn’t try to fix things that are working.

Change is not always good nor is it always bad. Change for change sake can be either good or bad. Many of us do not like change. Many of us have a hard time with change.

Technology buffs (the mirror is up) always want the latest greatest – even when what they have accomplishes what they are doing. Car buffs always want the newest model – even when the vehicle they have is working well. We can have a closet full of clothes – and every style imaginable – but when the new line comes out – we want to change. Our golf clubs play well – but someone convinces us that a new set will help our game (it is not the arrow but the Indian that misses the target – typically). My 2013 iMac is doing just fine thank you – I don’t need the newer model. Many of us need to resist change – because change is often just fluff – bells and whistles. Continue reading

February 25, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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