Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Some Of Us Face Hard Times

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Have you ever had a hard day? A hard week? A hard month? A hard year? Maybe even some of us have had a hard life? Things can pile on top of us at times and we can feel the weight of the world upon us.

Some of us have faced hard times – and we were instrumental in them. Maybe the hard time we face is with our health – and maybe we caused it by overeating or smoking or drinking too much or doing drugs. Maybe the hard time we face is with relationships – and maybe our bad habits or personality or idiosyncrasies have played a part in our broken relationships including marriages – friendships – and even family relations.

Some of us have faced hard times – and we had nothing to do with it. Maybe the hard time we face is because of someone drinking and driving – or someone committing a crime like rape or arson or murder. Maybe the hard time we face is because of the choices of others. Maybe the hard times are from the lies of others about us. Maybe the hard times we face are from issues in the home or at work caused by someone else. Maybe the hard time we face is caused by circumstances beyond our control. Continue reading

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Year Unfolds Before Us

Matthew 18:2-4

2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

We are in the early days of a New Year – thew New Year is unfolding before us. Some stayed up on New Year’s Eve to watch it arrive. Some had friends over to enjoy the change of years. Some may have headed to New York City and other places to join larger groups of people to celebrate the coming of a New Year. Some – like me – went to sleep as if nothing will be different or change with the changing calendar. Change is the key word. Some hope that a New Year will be better than the year just completed. Facebook is filled with people hoping for a better 2018. Some hope we can get a fresh start and make changes in our lives. If we change nothing and still expect a different result – well – you know what they say about that saying.

Have we ever read and wondered what Jesus meant by these words from Matthew’s gospel? When Jesus says – I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. What is it about a little child that is so significant? Continue reading

January 5, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Happy Face

Proverbs 15:13

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.

So how has your 2018 started? Did you make any New Year resolutions? It is January 2nd – have you broken any of them yet? I hope you last a little longer with any resolutions you made than the 2nd day of the year. What is your record?

What – if anything – have you decided to change in your life? What have we planned to do differently in the new year? Setting goals is important – because we all know – if you aim at nothing – you’re bound to hit it! What goals have you – have we – set? Continue reading

January 2, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy New Year – 2018

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Happy New Year! I’m reworking a past New Year’s Day devotional. I hope that your day – your New Year – got off to a great start. Steve Furtick once tweeted – The way your day starts doesn’t have to be the way your day finishes. We can always make improvements as the day goes along. We can always make improvements as the year unfolds.

This morning I was playing some basketball with some friends. I hit a couple of 3’s and made some nice passes – but didn’t have an exceptional day. But I stuck with it and had a good morning workout – even if I didn’t play very well. Our new years may not always produce the best days – but if we stick to it – stick to our goals – in the end – we might just have a good year.

Typically – on New Year’s Day – some friends and I play golf – 5 degree weather was just a little too cold for me. Continue reading

January 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Northing Can Separate Us From God

Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

RayMcDNothing – and I mean nothing – can separate us from God. I love the blessed assurance of this passage. Paul was convinced that NOTHING could come between him and the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. I love having that sweet blessed assurance.  At times it may be all we have to cling to in our lives.

Storms will come in our lives – this is a fact.  As the East Coast braces other storms that may follow the most recent one – some changes will happen. Like life has changed for those in West Virginia – in Ellicott City – in New Jersey – and in other places. If the change is merely working from home (because power at work is out) or maybe the children are home from school – there will be some changes in our lives because of the storms that come. Some will face major changes like our first responders – who may be asked to go out into the storm in life threatening situations. Whatever the change – we will all be impacted by the storms that come our way.

As part of my calling as a pastor I have been talking with people over the last few months with some major life situations facing them.  Some are battling cancer – some have marriages on the rocks – some have children who are making extreme decisions – some are still battling events from the past in their lives – some are battling addictions – while others are faced with economic struggles in these times. I’m sure I could continue with the list – and still not hit every storm that we all are facing – outside the weather. Some are even facing demonic attacks – I believe that Satan and his demons are busy at work – trying to steal our joy in Christ – I know this firsthand – and others do as well. Continue reading

September 7, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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