Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Being God’s Friend

John 15:14

You are my friends if you do what I command.

Life ChangeIf you’ve ever helped raise children – you know the heart of every parent is for their children to listen to them and grow to make good decisions. We train and discipline them to behave properly. We spend their lifetime trying to equip them to have good morals and values – to trust in God and follow His teachings. Every morning – as our girls were headed to school – my wife told them – make good choices – watch your surroundings – and listen to the Holy Spirit. Wise words to guide your life.

I was listening to Andy Stanley this morning and he was talking about treating his children well. If anyone didn’t treat them well – he was their enemy. The Papa Bear came out in him when his children were mistreated – and look out for Sandra – his wife – because she was a very protective Mama Bear. Continue reading

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April 19, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, 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

Loving God – Loving Others

Luke 18:25

Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

112015 Ray McDonaldLet us think for a moment today of difficult things in our lives – cue the Mission Impossible music.  We wrote once about loving our enemies – about hatred and love.  Loving our enemies has to rank up there as a tough thing to accomplish.  For some of us getting properly and getting enough exercise seems to be difficult.  For some getting to work on time or to church on time seems difficult.  Getting along with the in-laws or our spouse seems hard for some.

Can we think of a few things that we find difficult?  How about getting good grades?  How about waiting till marriage to be intimate with our fiancé or with our dates?  How about going a day without something we love – like fasting from something we have on a regular basis.  What about making ends meet when our income has been reduced or removed?  What about trying to make sense out of this world?

When I was younger – I use to think that the passage for today meant that rich people couldn’t get into heaven – because my grandma sewed and I knew we could never get a camel through the eye of a needle.  I often had a hard time getting thread through the eye of the needle. Continue reading

March 18, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving Our Neighbors

Matthew 5:43-45

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

112015 Ray McDonaldAt Christmas time – love is felt by many but not by all. I remember the little girl next door to us when we lived in Seat Pleasant – who didn’t seem to have anyone to love on her and how my dad would welcome her to play with us or eat a meal with us. My dad would even buy her some Christmas gifts as I remember. Dad showed love to others – his heart was as big as the whole outdoors.

Who will we show love to this Christmas? It is easy to love those who love us back. Here is today’s passage in partial context. Matthew 5:43–48 – 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Continue reading

December 18, 2015 Posted by | Advent Thought, Bring, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hatred

John 15:18-19

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

RevRayHate is such a strong word.  According to dictionary.com hate is defined as – to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest: to hate the enemy; to hate bigotry.

Have you ever felt hatred toward someone or something?  In our society we tend to use terms a little lightly – telling a person we love them on the first date or becoming angry with someone and quickly using the term hate to describe how we feel at the moment.

In Matthew we read Jesus teaching about love.  It was way too easy for those who heard His words – love your neighbor – to infer that that meant they could hate their enemies.  So Jesus tries to make Himself and the truth clear with today’s passage – Matthew 5:43 – You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  Jesus knew this is what some were saying and so He addressed it clearly – Matthew 5:44 – But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Continue reading

May 7, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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