Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

How To Turn From Addictions

James 4:7

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Some of us have addictive personalities or makeups. Our constitution is not strong enough – at times – to withstand the attraction of what we desire. We can be manipulated by things or persons to do things we wouldn’t ordinarily do if it weren’t for that which we become addicted.

For some of us it is hard to resist things we desire. For some – alcohol or drugs become substances that can control our lives. We try to fight the attraction – but often we are too weak to stand opposed to our desires. We try to dry out – we try rehab – we try going cold turkey – and for some it works – but for many of us – it doesn’t. Drugs and alcohol can control our lives and even take our life.

For some of us it is hard to resist things we desire. For some – food is an addiction. I know we must eat to survive – but for some of us – we eat beyond survival. For some – we are addicted to food. There is an old saying – eat to live – don’t live to eat. Over eating can not only control our lives – it can even take our life Continue reading

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September 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Putting the Word of God on Our Hearts

Psalm 119:11

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Today we began our Tuesday Bible studies. The morning class meets at 10:30 am in the Fellowship Hall. We had 6 of us this morning. We normally have between 6-12 – and the room can hold more so all are welcome.

Tonight we will start up the Men’s study again. We meet in the Fellowship Hall as well and meet at 7:00 pm. We normally have 8-12 men and would love to see you – if you can join us. Both studies will pick up where we left off in July – with Matthew 14:1.

The more we know the Word of God – the more useful a tool it will be for us in our spiritual journey. That is a reason – one of many – that I asked people to bring their Bibles with them on Sunday mornings instead of using the pew Bibles (or our data devices if we carry the Bible there). The more we use our Sword (the Bible) – the more useful that tool becomes to us – so we encourage people to bring their Bibles to church and to follow along (and keep the pastor on track). Today we can read our Bible on our smart phone/data device and even follow along on YouVersion.com and leave notes for later on the sermons (on our live events). Continue reading

September 5, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Us Clothe Ourselves With Christ

Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Dear readers – did you have any favorite clothes growing up? I apparently – according to old photos – had a favorite cowboy shirt and a red baseball hat. In my of my childhood pictures from a certain age – that was what I had on. I still have favorite clothes – enjoying the more casual look over anything dressy. When I was a teen I had a favorite hat that was always on my head it seems. I remember when I finally had to give it up – it was old – torn and smelled from years of sweating in it. I remember buying it with my own money at Ocean City one year. I know my girlfriends probably didn’t like it much – but it was a favorite!

As a pastor – I know there are proper times to wear certain clothes. For instance – I have a funeral this afternoon (this was written on Wednesday) and I have my collar and dress jacket to put on before I go. I will return to the office for meetings this evening and will put on my church shirt – a polo shirt with my name and the church’s name on it. I hardly ever wear a tie anymore – using the clergy collar shirt when I need to dress up. Continue reading

August 31, 2017 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hurt People Hurt Others – There Must Be A Better Way

1 Peter 3:9

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.

Over the weekend hatred reared it’s ugly head once again in our nation. Satan had a field day as 3 people died and at the last report 35 others were injured. And a nation – leaders – and others – are picking sides and blaming each other for the violence – deaths – and injuries. Folks are also wagging fingers at others for not seeing things their way and condemning the other side with the words they see appropriate.

A radical hate group – some have even called them a homeland radical terrorist group – a group of white supremacists – who believe they are better than others because of the color of their skin – clashed with another group in Charlottesville – Virginia. I stand opposed to any group that represents themselves as a neo-Nazi movement. I stand opposed to any group that believes they are better than others because of the color of their skin.

The protests soon became an angry confrontation – between two differing sides of a point of view (I’m not trying to minimize their difference). Hatred – on both sides – as evidenced by the video clips – erupted. Innocent people – standing up for their view and rights are often caught up in the hatred of others. Apparently – and we will know more when the investigations conclude – a member of the white supremacy group ran a vehicle into a crowd of protestors – killing one person and injuring many others. When the local and national investigation is complete – we will probably find guilt on both sides. Yet the evil – sinful – premise that some people are better than others because of the color of their skin or their nation of origin is an evil we cannot ignore and bares the brunt – IMHO – of the responsibility for the violence. This is not a view that can be or should be supported in American! Continue reading

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Be Prepared for Life

1 Peter 5:8

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

When I was just a boy – I was a Boy Scout. Be prepared is the Boy Scout’s motto – or it is the song by Scar – envious brother of Mufasa – in the movie Lion King. Being prepared is a good goal for sure. We never know when our lives can change in the next heartbeat. Accidents – sudden deaths – life changing events happen – at times when we least expect them.

A few years ago – life changed for my friend Mike – his family and his friends. He was a well loved teacher at Crofton Meadows Elementary School. He was a man of God loved by most everyone. Several hundred people gathered for his celebration of life service including current and former students and many from our former and current church families. The Board of Education was also well represented – as well as South County folks and friends from all over the area. Mike was well loved by most everyone. Continue reading

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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