Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Favorite Passage of Scripture

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Do we all have a favorite scripture? One of the all-time favorite passages is today’s passage – John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Watch any golf tournament and you might just see a sign that says John 3:16.

A sign of whom we love or what we love is what we are willing to give up for them or it. For instance – I once asked my Tuesday morning Bible Study – who or what they loved. They responded with the normal list – children – pets – Jesus of course – and more. When asked what they would be willing to do for a pet with a major illness – some said – whatever it takes. Another said they would sell their house to help with the medical bills of a child.

We are willing to do whatever it takes for those we love or something we love. Some of us – for the sake of a few dollars – would camp out overnight at a store to assure that we were one of the first ones in the store the next day or overnight to get tickets to a movie or a concert. We’ll do some crazy things for something we love. Continue reading

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September 21, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Your 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.

All of my life – growing up – I was told that my actions reflected on my earthly father and mother. My dad was the pastor of my home church and as I grew into my teens – people knew him and if I did something good or something not so good – it would reflect upon him (and mom).

I remember a time in my early twenties when my friends wanted to go downtown Annapolis – drinking. I went along with them (I didn’t and don’t drink). I remember wrestling with the idea of my witness to my friends (that I could have a good time without drinking) and the witness of someone seeing me coming out of a bar (I was raised in the old Methodist belief that drinking was something to be avoided – we called it abstinence). Continue reading

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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