Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Eternity Is Secure In Christ

John 3:3

In reply Jesus declared, I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

Our eternity is secure in Christ. I cannot believe that it has been 45 years since I graduated from High School. I was taking a few minutes to remember those days recently. It seems so long ago and yet so recent. The early to mid 70’s were amazing years in my life. I was in High School – graduating in the spring of 1973 from Annapolis High School. I was in college – attending AACC or as we called her A2C2 (for those who don’t read math – that is A squared C squared). I graduated from AACC in 1975 and began to attend the University of Maryland. It seems so long ago and yet so recent.

Our eternity is secure in Christ. During this time in my life I had one girl friend for one year and one girl friend for two years – names have been left out to save their reputations (I’m still friends with one today – a FB friend even – I have no idea where the other might be in life – I lost touch with her decades ago). I mention this because many of us go through relationships that come and go – that at the time we thought would be forever. I thought both of these young ladies might be the one I would spend the rest of my life with for sure – yet neither turned out to be my life partner. Life is so unsettled at times – we live – we learn – we hurt – we have happiness. I had friends during this time in my life that I thought would be life-time friends. One died way too young and others – mostly – have gone on with their lives and our lives have crossed ever so infrequently. It was during these days that I began using the following phrase – happiness is circumstantially driven, while joy is spiritually derived. My days were filled with circumstances that brought happiness and sadness – sometimes in the same event. What seemed so concrete and secure during this time in my life seems to be just a vague memory today. Things that seemed so permanent are just afterthoughts today. Continue reading

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July 11, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I Might Share With Graduates

John 3:3

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

I’m reading on my Facebook feed about a lot of young people graduating from High School and College. It has been 45 years since I graduated from High School. I haven’t heard of any reunions – but maybe for our 50th in five years. If I had a chance to speak with graduates – I might say something like today’s devotional thought.

As I thought about those days gone by – which seem so long ago and yet so recent too – I am reminded of my days in school – in the educational process. The early to mid 70’s were amazing years in my life. I was in High School – graduating in the spring of 1973 from Annapolis High School. I was in college before my senior year was over (attending classes in the summer) – attending AACC or as we said A2C2 (for those who don’t read math – that is A squared C squared). I graduated from AACC in 1975 and began to attend the University of Maryland. It seems so long ago and yet so recent.

During this time in my life I had one girl friend of one year and one girl friend for two years – names have been left out to save their reputations (I’m still friends with one today – a FB friend even – I have no idea where the other might be in life). I mention this because many of us go through relationships that come and go – that at the time we thought would be forever. I thought both of these young women might be the one I would spend the rest of my life with for sure – yet neither turned out to be my life partner. Life is so unsettled at times – we live – we learn – we hurt – we have happiness. I had friends during this time in my life that I thought would be life-time friends. One died way too young and others – mostly – have gone on with their lives and our lives have crossed ever so infrequently. It was during these days that I began using the following phrase – happiness is circumstantially driven, while joy is spiritually derived. My days were filled with circumstances that brought happiness and sadness – sometimes in the same event. What seemed so concrete and secure during this time in my life seems to be just a vague memory today. Continue reading

May 23, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 33 of Lent 2018

Joel 2:12

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

Today is day 33 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan (I believe the Sundays were not suppose to count as days so we will have more than 40 days). We’re coming to the end of the reading plan as we head toward the cross. My prayer is that we will be drawn into a deeper relationship with Jesus during this Lenten season.

We read a passage last Sunday in the message from Jeremiah. Jeremiah 29:13 – You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Today’s passage is along the same line – we are called to return to God with all our heart. Continue reading

March 18, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Darkness Cannot Overcome The Light – Jesus

John 1:5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Have you ever tried to go from one doorway to another in a room that is without any lights? There is a room in my basement that only has a switch at one door and not the other. If for some reason I go out in the light or someone follows me and turns off the light – I must return in the dark. It is not always easy for sure! Thank God for the flashlight app on my iPhone. It has helped me avoid stubbing my toe many times.

But – I have often gone around in the dark because I like the light switches to be in the right direction (you know – up for on and down for off). If I turn the light on at one door and off at the next – the switches get out of sequence (I know – a little OCD of me for sure). It is my issue – I’m sure I am alone! Walking in the dark is no fun I must say. Continue reading

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

There’s Just Something About God’s Amazing Grace

Romans 3:23

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

God’s grace is amazing. I love the song Amazing Grace. I love the old hymns – and so do the folks in our church if the recent survey results are to be believed. Here are the lyrics from the first verse from that old familiar and fantastic hymn. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.

According to today’s passage – we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We all stand in the need of grace. Grace is all about what we do not merit – what we have not earned!

Paul writes in another Epistle about grace (the New Testament is filled with passages about grace). Ephesians 2:8-10 – 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Grace is so amazing! Continue reading

August 2, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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