Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Let’s Streamline Our Lives

1 Peter 2:1

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

I’m the type of person who likes change in my work environment. I would change my office at home and at work every year or two – to give me a different look and feel. This has become harder in our current home and in my current office because of a mounted TV at work and the windows in my home office (along with the internet hookup). Because I can’t change my desk position much anymore – I’m making a plan to streamline my office at home (giving away some books and such since most everything is online now). I have a nice sound system that needs to find a good home because I listen to music at home on my computer and at work on my Smart TV. The hope is that a more streamlined office will give me more flexibility and less of a confined feeling.

Carolyn and I want to streamline our home now as well – not wanting to leave (in 30 years or so) that task to our children when we’re gone or unable to do it. Like many – we have things stored in the house that we haven’t used for 20 years or more and we should give them away or recycle them. Less stuff will give us a streamlined feel to our home. It will make it easier for the children eventually too. Continue reading

July 6, 2017 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May He Turn Our Hearts To Him

1 Kings 8:58

May he turn our hearts to him…

Dear readers – can we remember a time in our lives when we wanted someone’s heart? Maybe it was in grade school when we first liked someone and wanted them to like us back. Maybe later in life when we began to date – we hoped a certain person would give their heart to us. Our hearts have probably been broken when someone who had our heart wouldn’t give their heart to us (or took it back after giving it to us).

Many of us eventually found someone to share hearts with and married them. My wife and I will be married 37 years this summer (and she hasn’t aged a bit – I on the other hand have grayed and gained significant weight – I’m glad it was my heart she loved not my body).

God seeks after our hearts. God desires to have our hearts and He knows if He has our hearts – He has the rest of us as well. We’re told that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God will everything in us. Last Sunday’s sermon had this passage as part of the morning’s readings. Deuteronomy 6:5 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Continue reading

June 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God, Have Mercy On Me, A Sinner

Luke 18:13

‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

It seems so easy for some – maybe even for most – to point out the sins or wrongs performed by others. Little children learn to tattle on their siblings to mom and dad at a young age. It is easy to point a finger at someone else and report their mistakes.

I remember being told as a child that when I point a finger at someone – I have three fingers pointing back at me. I also remember this passage of Scripture. Matthew 7:3–5 – 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

In the news these days are report after report from media sources of perceived wrongs of the current administration while at the same time reports are being made that previous administrations did the very same things. Wrong is wrong – whether someone else did it before us or not – just saying. But when we have a penchant toward picking out the mistakes of others before correcting our own mistakes – we leave ourselves open for ridicule and judgment. Continue reading

May 30, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Thoughts On The UMC And Homosexuality

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

With the recent news about the Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church – and the cases they are hearing this week and next – I’ve been asked for the church’s stance on the subject of homosexuality. This is a hot topic and not an easy answer.

I will start by saying the United Methodist Church strives to have open hearts – open minds – and open doors. This is not just a slogan but rather a desire to be open to all people – even in our sin – and trying to be a place where we can all find grace – forgiveness – and spiritual growth.

Having said that – the church is not a place to condemn or condone sin – that is above our pay grade so to speak. We can name what we believe is sin – but not condemn the person(s) caught up in it. We can love the person dealing with sin without condoning their sin(s). I know for some – that may sound like double talk. For me it isn’t. I can love a person without accepting or condoning their behavior/sin (as I hope people can do the same with me). I can minister to a person (and do all the time) caught in an area of sin – trying to help them (and me) see the sin in their (my) lives (life) and helping them (me) to see God’s redeeming grace in the midst of their (my) lives (life). We are to shine the light of grace on our sin so that we are convicted or compelled to confess and repent of it and move away from it. We are not to accept sin or condone it or live in it with no attempt to change. Continue reading

April 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Reset the Heart

Ezekiel 18:31

Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.

RayMcDI remember playing arcade games in a real arcade. There was an arcade game room across from the old Sears Store in the old Parole Shopping Center in Annapolis MD. I went there from time to time and had the Pac Man pattern memorized. I could play for a long time on one quarter – all afternoon on a dollar. I could rack up the Cherries – Strawberries – Oranges – Apples – and Melons with ease. It got a little harder when I moved to the Galaxian Bosses – Bells and Keys – but I would keep going – screen pacmanafter screen. Crowds would gather around to watch as I gobbled Pac dots and power dots. I routinely would capture all for ghosts after hitting a power dot. Ever remember playing arcade games or computer games? I had one of the original Atari sets and played some of the most basic games.

One thing we might all have wished for – from time to time – was a reset button. Being able to reset a game from the start or from just before we saw Game Over – would have been great. Occasionally I play some games that came with my iPad and the great thing about them is you can reset them and start all over with new statistics and a new game. Continue reading

October 26, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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