Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Focus on God – Live Out Our Faith

2 Corinthians 4:18

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Life ChangeI love this passage. It so speaks to focusing on the eternal rather than the temporal. Focusing on the things of God and the promises of God rather than on what we can see with our eyes – understand with our minds – or hold in our hands. Unfortunately – many of us often focus on what we can see rather than what has been promised.

An example of this is Abraham and Sarah. They were promised by God that they would have many descendants – but late in life they couldn’t see the promise fulfilled so they took things into their own hands. Sarah gave Abraham her maidservant Hagar to bear him children because she was barren (Genesis 16). Of course God wasn’t late in fulfilling His promise – God gave Abraham and Sarah a child – Isaac – and he did become the father of a great nation – the Hebrews. Hagar’s son did as well. His name was Ishmael – and he became the father of Muslims. Continue reading

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March 25, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Works For Good

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

RayMcDAt times things seem to stack up against us. I remember when I was much younger and dating – I had two long-term girlfriends – one for a year and one for two years. When the relationships ended – I remember thinking my life is coming to an end and why would God allow such pain in my life – among other things. It was hard to see beyond the pain of the breakup. It was hard to see beyond the moment. Yet somehow God helped me push forward.

At times things seem to stack up against us. I remember when I was in college changing my major more times than I wished – never feeling comfortable with what I chose. At times I was lost – yet I still pushed forward. God helped me stay focused.

At times things seem to stack up against us. Four years ago my father – whom I thought was the greatest man in the world – passed. A year or two earlier my mother fell into dementia and we lost her – mentally – too. She is still with us physically but we haven’t had her for nearly six years now. Losing my father and mother has been harder than I expected. I fight negative feelings more often than I thought I would at losing them. God keeps me going. Continue reading

January 12, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Northing Can Separate Us From God

Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

RayMcDNothing – and I mean nothing – can separate us from God. I love the blessed assurance of this passage. Paul was convinced that NOTHING could come between him and the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. I love having that sweet blessed assurance.  At times it may be all we have to cling to in our lives.

Storms will come in our lives – this is a fact.  As the East Coast braces other storms that may follow the most recent one – some changes will happen. Like life has changed for those in West Virginia – in Ellicott City – in New Jersey – and in other places. If the change is merely working from home (because power at work is out) or maybe the children are home from school – there will be some changes in our lives because of the storms that come. Some will face major changes like our first responders – who may be asked to go out into the storm in life threatening situations. Whatever the change – we will all be impacted by the storms that come our way.

As part of my calling as a pastor I have been talking with people over the last few months with some major life situations facing them.  Some are battling cancer – some have marriages on the rocks – some have children who are making extreme decisions – some are still battling events from the past in their lives – some are battling addictions – while others are faced with economic struggles in these times. I’m sure I could continue with the list – and still not hit every storm that we all are facing – outside the weather. Some are even facing demonic attacks – I believe that Satan and his demons are busy at work – trying to steal our joy in Christ – I know this firsthand – and others do as well. Continue reading

September 7, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Things Work For The Good

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgIt is the time of the year when people are graduating from school. Some are moving from High School to College – some from High School to the work force – and some from college to the work force. It is also the time of year for weddings – I think June has traditionally been the most popular month for weddings.

In each of these scenarios and more – the hope is always that all things would work for the good. We’re hoping the decisions we have made and training or education we have received – will work for the good! I have yet to see a coupe walking down the aisle that wasn’t full of a measure of hope that all things will work for the good. Continue reading

June 6, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

profileSome things are hard to understand in life.  I just experienced my 40th High School reunion last weekend and some of us have aged – lol.  Hard to understand how it has been 40 years since we walked the halls of High School together.  Talking with some of my classmates – life has taken some turns for the good and for the not so good.  Some of our classmates didn’t make it to this 40th reunion – already having their journey on earth ended.  Some things are hard to understand – even when we spend a lot of time trying to understand.

In 35 plus years of ministry I have had to help a number of people understand that our understanding is not all that and that we should rely on a higher power for sure.  When a child is born with a special need – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  When a person has taken their life – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  When a marriage fails – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  When a child dies unexpectedly in a crib at night or from a disease – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  When a young mother or father succumbs to a disease – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  When called in the middle of the night because a young person was just lost in a car accident – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  And I could go on and on.  When I have or someone else has yielded to the same temptation – again – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  Life has some difficult moments and being in ministry – I have experienced much of it with folks and with my own family. Continue reading

August 14, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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