Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 24 of Lent 2020

John 13:34

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Ray 2020Today is day 24 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope we have all kept up with the reading plan. If not – please catch up by reading the days you might have missed. Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross of Calvary. Stay current with the reading plan.

Today’s reading is again about the Last Supper. It has a lot in it. Make sure you read the whole reading below.  The verse I picked to reflect upon is near the end of the reading for the day – verse 34. Jesus said – A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. We are called to love others – one another – as Christ loved us. The example of His love was just foretold as He talked about His betrayal and death. Jesus’ love is even for those who would turn against Him – if they repent and return to Him. He even loved us – Scripture says – before we loved Him.

Something to think about today. How well do we love one another? How about the neighbor who plays their music late into the night – loudly (or early in the morning)? How about the undocumented or illegal person down the street? What about the person whose sexual preference doesn’t match yours? What about the person who votes for a candidate you can’t stand? What about the person who has hurt you or your family? What about the dictator of a country who seems bent on causing war? How about the person or government behind the coronavirus pandemic? What about the x-spouse who has caused you nothing but pain? Yes – we are to love even these. We are not called to ignore sin or pain. We are called to love one another – like Christ loves us! Continue reading

March 24, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 11 of Lent 2020

Matthew 4:1

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.

Ray 2020Today is day 11 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you are enjoying the reading plan as it walks us through some of the events in Jesus’ life as He walked to the cross. Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross. My prayer is that God will draw us into a deeper relationship with Him during this Lenten season.

Here’s today’s reading – it is about Jesus’ temptations. We’ve taught and preached about temptations. Join us on Tuesdays at 10:30 am and 7:00 pm for our Bible Studies and on Sunday mornings for our worship services at 8:30 am and 11:00 am at First Church at 424 Main Street – in Laurel, Maryland. There is always room for one more and we would love to share with you. We also have education time (commonly called Sunday School) at 9:45 am on Sundays for the whole family. We have 5 adult classes during this time. Continue reading

March 9, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 8 of Lent 2020

Luke 20:19-20

19 The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people. 20 Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor.

Ray 2020Today is day 9 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you are keeping up – if not – another day off in the reading plan is coming so you will have a chance to catch up. Today’s reading is another parable.

Parables are stories that Jesus used to share essential truths. Parables are not usually real life stories – yet they tell a real life truth. They are great examples of putting the Scripture to work – an application of the word of truth in our lives.

What does this parable say to us this morning? The verses I picked from today’s reading remind us that the teachers of the law and the chief priests were out to get Jesus – because He taught with such authority and they feared Him. God bless you as we walk with Jesus to the Cross of Calvary! Continue reading

March 5, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 4 of Lent 2020

Mark 11:23

“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

Ray 2020Day 4 of the Lenten reading is a remarkable (did you see what I did there) passage. It holds a number of curiosities for me. I only have time today to deal with the above verse. There is the cursing of the fig tree – the overturning of the tables of the money changers in the temple – the declaration that the house of the Lord was a place of prayer not a ten of robbers – the withered tree – and today’s verse – “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

I’m sure I could spend a week in this section of Scripture and still not fully unpack it. What the final statement says is that if we believe and not doubt – mountains will be moved to the sea. Now that is a powerful statement.

We need the power of God in our lives today dear readers. We need the power of God to heal our country – our denomination – our world. We need to seek His face and desire His grace – daily! Continue reading

February 29, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Things Never Seem to Change

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

img_0063-2Reworked devotional from 2011. Things haven’t changed much in 9 years. Some things never seem to change. Heretical teaching will always lead a person or a church away from God.

The United Methodist Church has been through a lot during my lifetime.  I remember the sawdust camp meetings of my early years where the Bible was preached and lives were transformed for Christ. The authority of Scripture and the centrality of Christ were not questioned. Transformation took place because sound doctrine was taught and the transforming nature of Christ was preached.

During my lifetime I have also seen a  segment of the church’s leadership turn away from truth – turn away from the transforming love of Christ and His Word. During my lifetime I have heard the deceptive philosophy of some church leadership that has led our denomination into decline. During some of the darkest days of the United Methodist Church – when attendance and membership were falling at alarming rates – a group of Bishops led our denomination. Many of these bishops have retired since that time from active church leadership and I do not think it is by any surprise that our denomination is beginning to grow again in certain areas. I do not think it is by surprise that the majority of churches that are growing the fastest in our own conference are being led by pastors who believe in the transforming power of God – the centrality of Christ and the authority of the Bible. Continue reading

February 19, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: