Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Happy 4th of July – 2020

1 Timothy 2:1-4

1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

20B2484D-93F3-4834-A657-15E51ED76F9ATomorrow is not a day to think Republican – Democrat – or Independent. Tomorrow is not the day to be the resistance or to be a member of Trump’s troops. It is not a day to attack each other – or to attack those whose ideology is different than ours. Tomorrow is a day to celebrate our freedom as a nation. It is Independence Day. It is the day our nation declared its independence from the Old Country and decided to begin a new as a new nation.

Too many people – thinking themselves wise and even some thinking themselves prophetic or woke – have attacked our current President and our current Congress (and other leaders as well). We have the freedom to express ourselves. For one day – please – let us put our differences behind us. Tomorrow is a day to be united and to thank God for His mercy and grace on our nation. To thank God for America – with all of our warts and scares. We are still the greatest nation in the world IMHO. Continue reading

July 3, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

These Are Trying Times

John 14:9

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.

Rays HaircutThese are trying times. This pandemic has given us reason to pause. Some have been isolated in their homes for months now – it seems like longer. Some have been continuing to work – wondering where the rest of us have been (LOL). I pray constantly for our members – family and friends – and for the whole world indeed. In our state – Maryland – our governor has given good leadership during these trying times. Many are calling for him to run for POTUS in 2024.

These are trying times. With the recent death at the hands (knee) of a police officer in Minnesota and the multiple deaths of police officers and others by rioters across the nation – our society seems to be on the brink. Many are blaming or pointing the finger at those from the opposite political party. Racial unrest is nothing new. A solution would be something new. A people who worked together for the good of all people would be good.

These are trying times. Finances are an issue for some. For some – this is not a pandemic issue. The stimulus check helped some – but it was not enough for others – who are not back to work yet. Continue reading

June 5, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can We Be a Better Witness for Jesus?

Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Rays HaircutThis year – the year of our Lord 2020 – our nation will go to the polls once again – to place our vote for the POTUS and for others to lead our nation. I urge everyone to register to vote and to get out and vote for the person or persons you believe will help to make us a better nation. It is our legal duty and responsibility as citizens of this country to vote.

If you’ve been listening to the news or to TV – or the radio – or have read anything on the internet – you have probably heard what I have heard – or read what I have read. Men and women – people in political office – radio jocks – TV and movie stars – entertainers – comedians – folks on social media – and in other places – say or write some horrible things about the persons they do not support. I would rather hear positive things about the person(s) they support. Their choice of words leaves a lot to be desired. I mean – I’ve stopped listening to programs on TV because of the language being used. I’ve even had to turn off some sports programs on my favorite all-sports channel. I won’t watch certain shows on TV and don’t go to too many movies. I’ve unfriended or hidden some folks on social media because of the language they use (not always foul language but not uplifting language). Some do take the Lord’s name in vain – and laugh about it! There is a commandment about that with a warning I believe! Continue reading

April 30, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 24 of Lent 2020

John 13:34

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Ray 2020Today is day 24 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope we have all kept up with the reading plan. If not – please catch up by reading the days you might have missed. Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross of Calvary. Stay current with the reading plan.

Today’s reading is again about the Last Supper. It has a lot in it. Make sure you read the whole reading below.  The verse I picked to reflect upon is near the end of the reading for the day – verse 34. Jesus said – A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. We are called to love others – one another – as Christ loved us. The example of His love was just foretold as He talked about His betrayal and death. Jesus’ love is even for those who would turn against Him – if they repent and return to Him. He even loved us – Scripture says – before we loved Him.

Something to think about today. How well do we love one another? How about the neighbor who plays their music late into the night – loudly (or early in the morning)? How about the undocumented or illegal person down the street? What about the person whose sexual preference doesn’t match yours? What about the person who votes for a candidate you can’t stand? What about the person who has hurt you or your family? What about the dictator of a country who seems bent on causing war? How about the person or government behind the coronavirus pandemic? What about the x-spouse who has caused you nothing but pain? Yes – we are to love even these. We are not called to ignore sin or pain. We are called to love one another – like Christ loves us! Continue reading

March 24, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holding Our Tongue and Our Key Strokes

James 3:6

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

img_0063-2I have preached a number of sermons over the years on the danger of the tongue. I’ve also heard a number of sermons on gossip – on slander – and on idle conversations. I’ve heard teachings on being positive and not negative with our words. I’ve heard sermons on how words can hurt and how we should consider what we say before we say it. The old saying is so true – put your brain in gear before putting your tongue into action.

We’ve probably all heard this old saying – sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never harm me – yet words do hurt and can cause lasting pain. Verbal abuse is real abuse! Just because the bruises are not visually evident (at times) from verbal abuse doesn’t mean there hasn’t been real injury and real pain.

We should all think before we speak. Another saying about the tongue I’ve read – credited to Abraham Lincoln – goes like this – Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. Another quote I posted yesterday is credited to Willie Nelson – and it goes like this – Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results. Continue reading

January 14, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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