Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Going To Be With Jesus

John 11:25

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;”

RayMcDIt is hard to imagine that both of my parents are with Jesus – no longer in our presence – but waiting for us in heaven. As a pastor – I am often called upon to celebrate the life of a loved one who has passed. I do so through my congregation and I also help families without a congregation or a pastor in our community and other communities. The end of life can be a scary time. Even for people of faith – the end of life can be scary. As confident as we might be of our faith – the unknown can still present challenges.

I have had the honor over the years to honor a number of people who lived longer than 100 years on this earth. We have folks in our own church who are over 100 or in their 90’s. God has blessed them with good lives – lives in many cases – well lived. Many of these older members still honor us with their presence most every Sunday or when we visit with them in their homes. I don’t feel so old when I am around them – at nearly 62 – I am 30-40 years their junior.

Often – the question is not how long we live – but rather how well we live. When I say how well we live – I am not speaking about material things – I’m speaking of our walk with Jesus. How well we live with Jesus is of the utmost importance. Continue reading

February 15, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Be A Signet Ring For God

Haggai 2:23

“‘On that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

RayMcDMy dad gave my brother and I family rings years ago. He had one for many years and he found a couple that looked like his and gave them to us. They are gold rings with a black stone in the middle with a small diamond in the middle of the black stone (the stone is onyx I think). I love wearing my ring. It reminds me of my father.

We call them our family rings and we wear them with pride – my brother and I. When I wear my ring – I remember my dad. Simply looking at it warms my heart. I have my dad’s ring now after his death and I wear it on special occasions. It looks like a Mason’s ring – sort of – and Masons have often confused my family ring on first glance with a Mason’s ring.

Dear readers – do you have a family ring or a family crest or something that represents your kin and your heritage? Were there family parties or reunions over the holidays that have become customs that remind you of family? Are there times with family through the year that reminds us of our heritage? Continue reading

December 30, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Let Our Light Shine?

Philippians 2:15-16

15 Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.

RayMcDHave you ever looked out into the night sky and watched the stars? If you live in an urban area – this might be a little hard – but if you live in a rural area like I do – it is a sight to behold. The stars shine brightly in the clear night sky. When I was a teenager – I use to love sitting on the roof top of our family home – just outside my upstairs window – watching the sky (my room have a window that opened onto the roof and I slipped out there some nights – my parents didn’t know – I think – unless my brother rated on me – we shared a room).

Let’s look at today’s passage in partial context. Philippians 2:12–18 – 12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”  Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. Continue reading

November 11, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Our Light So Shine For Jesus

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

RayMcDThe new sermon series that begins on Sunday is on A Family Legacy. Services are at 8:15 & 11 am at 424 Main Street in Laurel at First United Methodist Church. All are welcome and come as you are! Today’s passage is one that speaks to letting our light shine – as we develop our legacy.

Everywhere I turn – every devotional I do these days – brings me back to our upcoming sermon series on legacy. Today’s passage tells us about letting our light shine – letting our witness shine – so that those who see us will see Jesus and come to glorify our God. We are to let others see the Christ within us.

It is so important that our children – the next generation – and others – see that our faith is sincere. If they do not see Christ in us – if they only see a façade of faith – they will not be drawn toward God. Continue reading

August 17, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Our Light Shine Before Others

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

112015 Ray McDonaldAs a pastor’s son – a PK (pastor’s kid) – I always had to be on guard around people. Some were looking for ways to get the pastor’s kid to make mistakes so they could run it in the pastor’s face (or so it seemed). I remember once – in a bowling league – someone treated our team to a round of sodas (we all have marks in a certain frame). I was keeping score and so they brought my soda to me at the scorer’s table. As I raised the cup to my mouth – something didn’t smell right so I put it back down. Later the person who bought the drinks asked me why I wasn’t drinking mine – which made me weary. Later – on a food run – I noticed a small empty vodka bottle near where this person sat. I believe this person was trying to get the PK to drink (I was under age at the time). We must all be no guard – it seems – at all times. Our witness can be damaged in a twinkle of an eye.

I remembering when I was a young adult – going into a bar/restaurant in downtown Annapolis with some of my friends. They went in for a drink – I went in to be with my friends. I hung with them – trying to show them one didn’t need to drink to have a good time. A few times I had to drive them home. I tried to let my light shine – so that Christ could be seen (not always of course – I had my issues). Continue reading

May 3, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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