Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

May We Only Boast in the Cross

Galatians 6:14

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Life ChangeDid your team win the National Championship in Division 1 basketball? Virginia won for the men. My cousin Mac went to Virginia and he was very happy. Did your team even make the dance? If so – how far did they go? My team – Maryland – made the dance and made it to the second round – but fizzled out. Did any of us boast on social media about our team? How about at work or in other conversations?

Did our team win their opening game in Major League Baseball this week? The Orioles usually do but didn’t this year. Which team will win their division this year – the league championship – the World Series? If our team is playing well – will we compare them to other teams and boast a little in our circles? The Orioles started out real well and had a few good games – but are losing as of late.

I saw some parents posting on Facebook about their children’s spring teams and some about their children’s scholastic achievements. I’m so proud of our youth and the youth I know. Some High School seniors I know are busy preparing for college or careers. Our new favorite college team might just be where our child attends – even if we never saw ourselves rooting for them before! Continue reading

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April 12, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Satan Is Real – Rebuke The Devil!

1 Peter 5:8

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Life ChangeI’m shocked by the number of pastors who do not believe in the devil – Satan. Some simply do not believe in an entity known as Satan – the devil – or Lucifer – a fallen angel. As many times as the Bible tells us about Satan – it is hard to believe some do not believe. I would label these as false teachers – and we should rebuke them as we rebuke Satan.

In today’s passage – Peter reminds us that the devil – our enemy – prowls around like a wild beast – looking for an opportunity to devour us – to destroy us. 1 Peter 5:8 – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Are we to somehow believe that Peter didn’t realize that the devil is not real? Do we believe that Peter was simply using a metaphor when he wrote about the devil?

Maybe Jesus didn’t understand when John quotes Him – as He was speaking with Jewish persons who didn’t agree with His teachings. John 8:42–44 –42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Continue reading

April 8, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s NEVER Too Late

Philippians 1:9

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,

Life ChangeIf you’re a parent – you probably had or have dreams for your children. I know I had and have dreams for our three girls. Dreams about their physical – emotional and spiritual growth. Dreams about their athletic abilities – and their maturity – and about their walk with Jesus. They have surpassed most of my dreams for sure. They are amazing young women (young is always a relative term). Their mother and I are very blessed by them. The men in their lives are also a blessing. Our five granddaughters are a new generation to pray over and invest in for sure. It is NEVER too late to take corrective action though – if our dreams and prayers have not been met.

If you’ve had or have dreams for your life – you probably have succeeded in some areas and fallen short in some areas. As I look back at my life – there are things I would do differently – of course – but – overall – I’m pleased with my life. I may not have reached all of my goals – but the ones that are most important – my walk with Jesus and my family – are a blessing. I wish I could lose another 50 pounds. I wish I could still dunk a basketball (yet I can still light it up from the 3-point arc). I wish my ministry had reached more people for Jesus. I wish I had spent more time with my family – and less time working. I wish I hadn’t spent so much money on cars as a teen and young adult. OK – the list could go on and on – but – most of my dreams have come true and some are still in reach. It is NEVER too late to take corrective action though – if our dreams and prayers have not been met. Continue reading

April 4, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Focus on God – Live Out Our Faith

2 Corinthians 4:18

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Life ChangeI love this passage. It so speaks to focusing on the eternal rather than the temporal. Focusing on the things of God and the promises of God rather than on what we can see with our eyes – understand with our minds – or hold in our hands. Unfortunately – many of us often focus on what we can see rather than what has been promised.

An example of this is Abraham and Sarah. They were promised by God that they would have many descendants – but late in life they couldn’t see the promise fulfilled so they took things into their own hands. Sarah gave Abraham her maidservant Hagar to bear him children because she was barren (Genesis 16). Of course God wasn’t late in fulfilling His promise – God gave Abraham and Sarah a child – Isaac – and he did become the father of a great nation – the Hebrews. Hagar’s son did as well. His name was Ishmael – and he became the father of Muslims. Continue reading

March 25, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are We Mentoring the Young?

1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Life ChangeI remember – in my younger days – watching my dad and the young men and women he trained along the way in his ministry. Many of them began as church hires – working with the youth – working with visitation – working with the general ministry of the church. Some came to our church as conference appointments. At Seat Pleasant (now Gethsemane) and Trinity in Annapolis – he had several young people enter the ministry through their joint ministries. I remember well these young people who were entering ministry and how my dad mentored them and gave them many opportunities to serve and learn. Several were at his funeral six plus years ago – others sent letters and cards expressing how much dad meant to them.

I remember the young men and women who came through the churches I have served and still serve. I even began as a young pastor myself. Being young is something I don’t have to worry about any longer. There is still time though to pass along some wisdom and insights in ministry to those who are beginning the journey. I have worked with numerous staff members over the years – several are now elders in our conference – and it has been a blessing. I have also used social media of late as a way to connect with other young pastors and have enjoyed working with others. I hope they have enjoyed our interactions as well. Continue reading

March 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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