Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We Are All Sinners

Luke 18:13

But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’

RayMcDI’m getting burned out with this election stuff. Some thought things would settle down after the election – whether Clinton or Trump got elected. Clearly some of those who voted for Clinton are appalled that Trump won. I imagine some who voted for Trump would have been appalled if Clinton won. There are strong reasons to have concerns for a Trump presidency – as there would have been strong reasons to have concerns over a Clinton presidency. I have long said that I didn’t support either candidate – both had major flaws IMHO.

The bottom line – president elect Donald J. Trump has been duly elected as our 45th President. The task – as I see it – is to pray for him and those he surrounds himself with that they will lead our country well. Having said that – and I would have said the same thing had Hillary R. Clinton won – we – the citizens of America – need to watch and sound off when we believe any of our leaders are leading us in a destructive way. We need to peaceably protest and have our vote ready to correct anything we believe is wrong with those we have elected. Continue reading

November 15, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Jesus Light The Way

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMHave we ever walked in the darkness? I am one of those people who must have the light switches going in the correct direction (up in on – down is off). With that said – you know I have stumbled through a dark room so I wouldn’t get the light switches in the wrong position. Crazy – right?

Have we ever walked in the darkness? I’m so thankful my cell phone has a flashlight on it. I use it often (see above paragraph) while walking in darkness – inside and outside. I only have one switch in part of my basement and when the light is off and it is dark outside – I need the flashlight in order to walk through till I get to the switch (which is always up for on and down for off). Having a light to shine in the darkness is important for sure.

Have we ever walked in the darkness? Have we ever felt like we were lost – without focus – without a purpose? We can feel that way as an individual or a family or a church or even a country. Yesterday in worship at First UMC in Laurel I spoke a little about broken hearts. When we break up with a significant other – dating or in marriage – we often feel lost – walking in the darkness. Listen to the sermon for some suggestions on how to mend a broken heart (http://fumcl.org/sermons) (because it was VBS Sunday the sermon may not get uploaded until the middle of the week). Continue reading

July 25, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Wants Everyone to Repent

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

RevRayMcWe can talk about the wrath of God and we can talk about the grace of God. We are called to fear God and we are called to seek His grace. There is a balance required. That balance is shown to us in the following passage. Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Sin earns us death but if we love Jesus and give Him our lives – His grace will cover our sins.

Paul reminds us that we are all sinners – lost on our own account in Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We all deserve death – eternal separation from God – eternity without God. Yet Peter reminds us today that God’s desire is for all of us to come to repentance. Continue reading

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

Condemn or Save?

John 3:17

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

112015 Ray McDonaldShould we be about condemning each other or striving to bring each other to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? OK – not a trick question – and it seems like an easy question to answer – but – it is easier for most of us to see other’s mistakes than to lift them up. It is easier for some to see what is wrong with this picture – when the picture is not of them. It is easier to pick the speck out of someone’s eye than the 2×4 in our own eye. It is easier to condemn than to encourage it seems.

It is easier to pick apart rather than to build up. It is easier to destroy rather then develop and create. It is not natural for many to encourage – it seems natural to some to condemn and destroy. Yet here we are told that the One who could condemn – righteously – didn’t come to do so (there will be a time for judgment). The most famous of all passages is followed by today’s passage.

Here is today’s passage in partial context. John 3:16–21 – 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. Continue reading

May 13, 2016 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Us Walk With Jesus

Psalm 146:8

…the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.

112015 Ray McDonaldI was driving a golf cart – late at night – on the golf course – near the clubhouse. It was pitch dark – I was there late – and I drove off the cart path. I hit a sign. The club pro tried to warn me just before I hit the sign and maybe – just maybe – that saved me from wrecking the sign and the cart and doing damage. I replaced the sign and went on! Driving without lights in the dark – not a good thing to do. Driving blind – so to speak – is not a fun way to drive. I need a golf cart with headlights if I’m going to be out that late. I noticed this year that they placed some ground lights along the cart path I was on. Folks can thank me later!

Humility is something that we seek in leaders – while also seeking self-confidence. Seems contradictory – right? We want a leader who can lead – but also one who is humble enough to know they don’t have all the right answers. We need a leader who will surround themselves with experts in many areas because they don’t know everything. Continue reading

March 16, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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