Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Pornography – Conform Not!

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Sexuality drives the secular world it seems. One area of our lives where we are called to NOT conform to the pattern of this world is Sexuality and Pornography.

Pornography is very damaging to marriage and to all of human sexuality. Filling one’s mind with unnatural and fictitious scenarios can lead to expectations and demands that are not healthy or natural. It can lead to fantasies that are sinful and damage not only marriage but relationships with other men and women in your life. You will find yourself thinking thoughts about strangers and even close friends you would never have thought without the use of or involvement with pornography.

Pornography is addictive. It is easy to access today through the internet. It is sin and WILL damage your marriage. As a single person, it will damage your thinking about sexuality and when you marry it will cause expectations that will lead to difficulties in your marriage, guaranteed. Continue reading

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March 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rend Your Hearts

Joel 2:13

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

RayMcDI hope our readers don’t get tired of posts about the heart. I think that the heart (not the blood pumping organ but the inner being) is the central element in our Christian walk. One of my favorite sayings – which I created some 35 plus years ago – goes like this – Christianity boils down to attitude. A about 25 years ago I added the following – Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart.

The condition and position of one’s heart is vital. One can go through all of the Christian-like actions and not feel it in the heart. One can rend their garments and bow and tithe and attend to the regular ordinances of the faith – but if they do not feel it in their heart – their actions are empty.

Today’s passage reminds us that it isn’t the outward things God is after but the inner heart. If God has the inner heart – the actions will follow. Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Joel 2:12–14 – 12 “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” 13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. 14 Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God. Continue reading

October 19, 2016 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Will For Our Lives

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

RayMcDIf there is a subject that comes up the most in ministry – it is determining the will of God for our lives. We’re spending a time of prayer – interviews – and discernment right now on our next Contemporary Worship Leader. We’re praying about it and some of the candidates for the position are praying about it. We are seeking God’s will.

A number of High School students over the years have asked me how they can determine God’s will for their future. Where should they go to school? Should they go to college or trade school or some other form of advanced education past High School? What is God’s will for me?

Through the years young people have asked – what is God’s will concerning my future? Should I get married? Should I work here or there? Should I have my education and job before I settle down and get married? When should we have children? Where should we work? Where should we live? What is God’s will for me? Continue reading

September 22, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Is It We Struggle The Most?

Romans 7:18

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMHave you ever felt one way and yet ended up going another way? Silly question I guess – since we are all human and most know the right thing to do but have succumbed to the wrong way. We often know the right way – and yet yield to the wrong way. We fight temptations and evil – but at times we fail in our struggle.

Where is it that we struggle the most? For some it is what we put into our bodies. That could mean drugs and it could mean overeating – both are harmful to us – and we know it – yet some of us continue to abuse our bodies with what we put into them. We try diets – we try to be sober – we try to walk the steps – but – at times – we succumb to what is harmful for us.

Where is it that we struggle the most? For some it is their behavior. Some of us have trouble with interpersonal relationships. Some have tempers – some use foul language – some have faithfulness issues – some are gossips – and more. We probably know we should do better – and may even desire to do better – but the flesh is weak it seems. Continue reading

August 5, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Plan For Our Lives

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

112015 Ray McDonaldI’m a planner. I use an app that sets reminders for my to-do-list. My wife and I use an app to tell each other what we need at the grocer (it actually works when she remembers to check it). I use a program that keeps all of my important info or data (no secrets or deep treasures) available to me wherever I am. I plan out future sermons well in advance. I try to give as much information to the worship team as possible. I allow my office manager to review and even edit my work calendar. I have my work & personal calendar and several other calendars on my devices. My wife and I have planed – financially – for our retirement (we have a target figure and conditions we wish to achieve before we retire). In other words – and I could go on and on – I plan and try to execute my plan(s).

Are you a planner? Do you make plans or do you fly by the seat of your pants? One of my favorite saying is – if we aim at nothing – we are bound to hit it. Making plans is important for most of us. Carrying those plans out is what we should all aim at – allowing for adjustment of our plans as things develop. For instance – the Orioles plan to win their division and thus make the playoffs. If during the season that doesn’t seem possible – the next target would be to make the playoffs by being a wild-card team. Continue reading

April 6, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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