Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Being Still Is Not Easy

Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God”

I’ve always had a hard time sitting still. Even though I love working on my computers – I have a hard time sitting still. I even tried one of those desk risers – to no avail. Some say moving around is healthy – and suggest that desk workers get up every hour to move around for five minutes. I enjoy preaching from the podium instead of the pulpit from time to time so I can move around more. Not only am I able to move around – but it gets me closer to the people I am trying to reach with the Word of God.

I’ve always had a hard time sitting still. Typically – if I sit still for any length of time – I drift off to sleep. I traveled to Carnegie Hall in New York City once to listen to James Taylor in concert. I love me some James Taylor. My wife – daughter – son and I traveled to New York City to site-see and to see JT. As I sat and listened to his mellow sound – I found myself drifting off. Granted – we were in the nose bleed section and it was dark and I often listen to his music to drift off to sleep at home – but I was in Carnegie Hall and it was JT live! I couldn’t believe that I was drifting off. Continue reading

June 17, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

Judges 17:6

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

Rays HaircutOne of the old movies I enjoy watching is one starring Charles Bronson (the Death Wish Series). It was a movie about a lawless group of people who were corrupt and evil. They kept their community scared by their lawlessness and their violence. The actor that Charles Bronson played – and has played in many movies – was Paul Kersey. He wife and daughter had been brutally treated and killed by lawless persons and he became – in several movies – a vigilante. He began to bring order to a lawless area in his city.

While I don’t support vigilantes – he stood up against lawlessness when few would – if any. In the movies his efforts to stand up against lawlessness won him the admiration and support – eventually – of his neighbors and others in the community. Lawlessness is not the answer. Obeying the laws or working to change the laws – lawfully – is the answer.

In our society we see or hear about lawlessness all around us. In cities like Chicago – New York – and Baltimore – the murder rate is often higher than the number of days in any given year. I have a friend – a colleague in ministry – that reminds us often how many murders there are in Baltimore. Lawlessness is so hard to comprehend. Continue reading

June 4, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Satan Is Real and Needs to be Rejected

 Revelation 2:13

I know where you live — where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city — where Satan lives.

This is a reworked devotional – produced on Tuesday for Thursday so I won’t need to write a new one while I’m at Annual Conference. I will do the same for Friday.

Have we ever felt surrounded on every turn by folks that seem to be doing the work of the Devil? I mean – we can think of cities like Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible or cities like San Francisco – New York City – Chicago – Washington, DC and other havens of sin – but sin lives wherever men and women’s hearts are turned away from Jesus and turned toward Satan. Satan may live in our workplace – in our own family or in our own life at times. We may think (tongue in cheek) we are married to Satan him/herself – but in reality Satan is Satan and those who succumb to his trickery are his instruments – and they live everywhere.

We do not have to be a child molester or mass murderer to be a tool of Satan! We don’t have to be named Hitler or Attila the Hun to be a tool of Satan. Our journey may take us into the presence of many who are being used of Satan – daily. We may be used of Satan from time to time as well. Even people who present themselves as sheep can really be wolves in sheep’s clothing. Matthew 7:15 – Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. Continue reading

May 30, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sitting Still Is Not Easy

Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God”

I’ve always had a hard time sitting still. Even though I love working on my computers – I’m thinking of getting one of those desk risers – so I can stand and move about while working. They say moving around is healthy – and suggest that desk workers get up every hour to move around for five minutes. I enjoy preaching from the podium instead of the pulpit from time top time so I can move around more. Not only am I able to move around – but it gets me closer to the people I am trying to reach with the Word of God.

I’ve always had a hard time sitting still. Typically – if I sit still for any length of time – I drift off to sleep. I traveled to Carnegie Hall in New York City once to listen to James Taylor in concert. My wife – daughter – son and I traveled toe New York City to site-see and to see JT. As I sat and listened to his mellow sound – I found myself drifting off. Granted – we were in the nose bleed section and it was dark and I often listen to his music to drift off to sleep at home – but I was in Carnegie Hall and it was JT live! Continue reading

August 7, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, 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

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