Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Love One Another – Please!

Romans 12:10

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Some have had bad experiences growing up with family and some with church life. I talked to someone Tuesday that had a very bad experience with family and with the church.

Some of us aren’t sure how to love one another because we didn’t have a good model growing up. Some of us have a hard time showing love – even to those whom we are supposed to love. Growing up – if your home was void of expressions of love – it is something you had to learn as an adult (or still lack). Loving one another is not as easy as just saying the words.

I grew up in a loving home. I had a father and mother at home who loved each other and expressed that love – or modeled that expression of love – for their children. Did any of us grow up with siblings? I grew up with an older sister and a younger brother. We loved each other and still do today (mostly – LOL). Love was modeled for me growing up so it is easier for me to love others (though not easy – just easier). Continue reading

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Showing Love to the Unlovable

Philippians 1:23

I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far

IMG_0435-0Have you ever been torn between two choices? Let me add – and both choices are good. Like what to eat – when they are offering seafood or steak (I didn’t say and – no surf and turf)? When the seasons cross – and you are faced with the choice of watching a Ravens game verses and Orioles game – for me that is a tough choice? I guess it would depend on if the Orioles are in the hunt for the playoffs and what team the Ravens play. Some solve this problem with a split screen TV or two TVs in the same room.

What if you’d rather make one choice but another choice is what is before you? That is what Paul faced in today’s passage. Both choices were good choices – stay with God’s people and serve God on earth – even under pain and persecution – and going to be with Christ in death. He desired to part with this world and go to be with Jesus – yet the choice that was before him was to remain and at times suffer – for the sake of the early church. Continue reading

June 8, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Grace – We All Need It!

Romans 3:23

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

IMG_0301Just a few thoughts this morning on grace. God’s grace is amazing. I love the song Amazing Grace. Here are the lyrics from the first verse from that old familiar and fantastic hymn.  Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.

According to today’s passage – we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory and we all stand in the need of grace. Grace is all about what we do not merit!

Paul writes in another Epistle about grace (the New Testament is filled with passages about grace). Ephesians 2:8-10 – 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Grace is so amazing!

Continue reading

June 23, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Ought to Love One Another

1 John 4:11

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

RamonBlogAs I was growing up – when we lived in Seat Pleasant – we lived across the street from a family that wasn’t the type of family we grew up knowing.  They let their home go without repair (front door was broken – yard was a mess – toys and trash everywhere – people coming and going all the time – and I mean all hours of the day and night).  The only time that home looked normal was one winter when it snowed so hard it covered everything in the yard!  Looking back on it – there was probably some great dysfunction in that family that needed someone’s love and care.  Enter my dad (more on this later).

All I knew as a child was to avoid that home across the street.  I could go down the street to my friend’s home (a few doors down).  I could go up the street to my sister’s friend’s home.  But the home across from us – I avoided.  There was a little girl about our age that lived in that house.  She came over once-in-awhile to our yard.  She smelled.  She wasn’t very orderly in behavior or in her appearance.  She wasn’t like the children we were around in church or our friends in the neighborhood.

My dad actually had the audacity to invite this girl over to our home – to share meals with us – to play with us – to sit and talk with him.  I was appalled – and didn’t want her taking up my dad’s time – after all he was very busy and when he was home – we wanted him to ourselves (I know – pretty selfish – right?).

As I grew – not only in years but also as a Christian – I better understood today’s passage – Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  I’m sure to God I stink – don’t do all the right things – even have some major dysfunctions in my life – but God reached out to me and continues to reach out to me with His love.  As we remember the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ I am reminded that Jesus was born for one purpose – to become the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.  He came to earth at Christmas and died on Good Friday to show us the full extent of His love for us.

My friends – we may all have people in our lives that repulse our senses – which we would not pick as friends.  But if we love only those who love us – or look like us – or fit into some preconceived picture in our world – we will not truly experience the kind of love that Jesus came to give us.  Jesus left heaven to come to earth for me long before I even knew Him.  Jesus died for me long before I accepted His Lordship in my life.  The song says love came down at Christmas time and it is this love – shared at Christmas and more fully revealed on the Cross of Calvary that should be within us.  It is this love we are called to show to others – even the ones we don’t find acceptable – maybe even more so to them!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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December 14, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor | , , , | 2 Comments


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