Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Trusting in the Lord

John 16:33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Life ChangeHave any of us ever wished we could tell the future? Are any of us the type of person who would like to know what is coming next? I mean – if we could know the day and time of something in our life – would we appreciate that knowledge or would it freak us out? I’m not sure for me – whether I would want to know or not.

What if we could know when we were going to die? What if we could know what will happen next week in our life? What if we had an idea about how we would be treated because of whom we followed on social media?

Dear Christian readers – listen to God when God says – the world will hate us because we follow Him. Jesus tried to warn His disciples – His followers – about what was coming – about the hate that we would face in the world we live in today. In the midst of some of His warnings – we find today’s passage – I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. Continue reading

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March 13, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smile – Someone is Watching

Exodus 34:29
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.

Life ChangeWhat brings a smile to your face? Of course the first answer I would give these days is spending time with my grandchildren (and children). We now have five grandchildren with a sixth on the way. Another answer might be a long winning streak by the Baltimore Ravens or Washington Wizards (even a win would be great at times). Didn’t the Ravens play a great game Sunday? They came up just short in overtime – but all in all – it was a good game against one of the best teams in the NFL. The game brought a smile to my face. I had to miss the ending – one of my grandchildren had a Christmas event at her school and I left the game with a few minutes left in regulation.

Still another reason to smile might be time spent with my wife. I could get very pastoral here (and truthful) and say a smile comes across my face when a person receives Jesus Christ – when the light comes on for them in their personal relationship with Jesus. Other things bring a smile to my face as well (like when my friend makes a good shot in golf and gets excited about it). When we see someone with a smile on their face we usually think something just happened and we tend to be curious.

How about when people notice you have lost weight? Better yet – when they say something encouraging to you (if losing weight was what you were after). I remember when one of my daughters greeted me with a hug and she said – getting skinny dad – as she wrapped her arms around me? What about someone saying something about your new hairdo or your new dress (or suit)? How about the smell of your favorite food – or freshly baked bread – or bacon frying (that one always brings a smile to my face)? Continue reading

December 11, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Peace of God

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Life ChangeAs I was doing my devotions I ran across this passage – Philippians 4:7 – And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  It made me stop and think.  It made me spend time in prayer for the church – the Body of Christ. For the local church I serve and the denomination my family has served for four generations in a row as an elder.

As I read this passage once again – I thought of the colleagues and others with whom I disagree – theologically. As we preach on the Thanksgiving and prepare to face Advent and then Christmas – at our local congregation – I would love a Word from God – a message of knowledge and of wisdom – that would be so clear on some of the issues we face and where we differ in our understanding – that there would be no room for disagreement. I pray the Holy Spirit pours out on the church during the upcoming weeks before the Special General Conference at the end of February next year. Continue reading

November 21, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Living at Peace in Days Like These

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

fullsizeoutput_ffeLiving at peace with each other in days like these is not easy. During this season of time – post mid-term elections – pre-new congress forming in January – pre-Special General Conference in the United Methodist Church (February 23-26) – pre-Thanksgiving – and pre-Christmas (did I miss anything) – we need to focus as much as possible on living at peace with one another – even everyone. I know – it is not easy to live at peace with people who are diametrically opposed to your ideology or theology – but it is what we are called to do as we walk out our faith. It is not always easy to live at peace with those we love and agree with either. We don’t need to agree with everyone – but as we disagree – we should not be disagreeable. Living at peace with others doesn’t mean we always have to agree for sure.

In today’s passage Paul writes – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. How do we read this? And if we read it that we should strive to live at peace with everyone – how well are we doing? If we’re as blue as it gets – even radically blue (far left) – with our politics – how well do we get along with someone who is as red as it gets – even radically red (far right)? Can we discuss our differences without becoming ugly? I know this doesn’t seem to happen on many social media pages I visit. It seems like the far left cannot even comprehend the far right – and vice versa – and they don’t play well together. Continue reading

November 20, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Following Jesus and Jesus Alone

John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMHave any of us ever wished we could tell the future? Are any of us the type of person who would like to know what is coming next? I mean – if we could know the day and time of something in our life – would we appreciate that knowledge or would it freak us out?

What if we could know when we were going to die? What if we could know what will happen next week in our life? What if we had an idea about how we would be treated because of whom we followed?

Dear Christian readers – listen to God when God says – the world will hate us because we follow Him. Jesus tried to warn His disciples – His followers – about what was coming – about the hate that we would face in the world we live in today. In the midst of some of His warnings – we find today’s passage –“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Continue reading

October 8, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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