Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

Judges 17:6

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

Rays HaircutOne of the old movies I enjoy watching is one starring Charles Bronson (the Death Wish Series). It was a movie about a lawless group of people who were corrupt and evil. They kept their community scared by their lawlessness and their violence. The actor that Charles Bronson played – and has played in many movies – was Paul Kersey. He wife and daughter had been brutally treated and killed by lawless persons and he became – in several movies – a vigilante. He began to bring order to a lawless area in his city.

While I don’t support vigilantes – he stood up against lawlessness when few would – if any. In the movies his efforts to stand up against lawlessness won him the admiration and support – eventually – of his neighbors and others in the community. Lawlessness is not the answer. Obeying the laws or working to change the laws – lawfully – is the answer.

In our society we see or hear about lawlessness all around us. In cities like Chicago – New York – and Baltimore – the murder rate is often higher than the number of days in any given year. I have a friend – a colleague in ministry – that reminds us often how many murders there are in Baltimore. Lawlessness is so hard to comprehend. Continue reading

June 4, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We Do Not Walk Alone!

2 Timothy 4:17

But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amHave you ever been in a tough place because of your faith? A place where the enemy was out to get you? A place where those around you were beating on you – seemingly from all angles? A place where there seemed to be no way to safety? I would imagine we have all faced such times. We recently talked about witnessing our faith in our Bible studies and when we do so in an unsaved world – we will come under attack. Remember the words from yesterday’s devotion and from our Lord – John 15:18 – If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

When I think of being attacked for my faith I think of the stories in the Bible of Daniel and of Shadrach – Meshach and Abednego. Daniel was thrown into a Lion’s den – a den filled with very hungry lions! The three boys were thrown into a fiery furnace – so hot that the heat killed those taking them to the furnace. Each time it was because they were being faithful to God and wouldn’t disobey Him. Each time God delivered them – or as Paul writes – stood at my side and gave me strength. Continue reading

September 12, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lawlessness and Obedience

Judges 17:6

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

I just finished watching a movie starring Charles Bronson. It was a movie about a lawless group of people who were corrupt and evil. They kept their community scared by their lawlessness and their violence. The actor that Charles Bronson played – and has played in many movies – was Paul Kersey. He wife and daughter had been brutally treated and killed by these lawless persons and he became – in several movies – a vigilante. He began to bring order to a lawless area in his city.

While I don’t support vigilantes – he stood up against lawlessness when few would if any. In the movies his efforts to stand up against lawlessness won him the admiration and support – eventually – of his neighbors and others in the community.

In our society we see or hear about lawlessness all around us. In cities like Chicago and Baltimore – the murder rate is higher than the days of the year. I have a friend – a colleague in ministry – that reminds us often how many murders there are in Baltimore. Lawlessness is so hard to comprehend. Continue reading

October 30, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

So Which Will We Follow – The Laws of the Land or the Laws of God?

Daniel 1:8

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

82015 RayIt is big in the news these days – a clerk in Kentucky who has decided to stand her ground on what she believes (not to mention the Bible – the U.S. and Kentucky Constitutions) in regards to same-sex marriage. Questions abound as to whether the Supreme Court is overstepping their bounds – trying to make law instead of interpreting it. Questions surrounding marriage verses a license to change tax status abound.  Is marriage a state or a national rite?

A debate has reared its head in social media for sure. Some have compared the clerk to Daniel – a high government official – in line for even higher office – of a foreign land – who stood against the government on several occasions. Daniel was faithful to the foreign government – until that government asked him to do something that was contrary to God’s law.  Daniel was willing on a number of occasions to face the consequences of his rebellion – following God’s law rather than the law of the land. Continue reading

September 4, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Defile Ourselves?

Daniel 1:8-9

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

IMG_0301OK – who is trying to eat a healthy diet these days?  It is not easy – that is a fact jack!  I mean all the good things in life – like ice cream – chips – soda – bacon – Big Macs – pizza – and more – are on someone’s DO NOT EAT list!  Some plans allow you to eat loads of meat – others loads of vegetables – others say you can eat carbs – others say no carbs at all or very little.  Some plans say you will lose weight quickly – if you buy their pre-fabricated and packaged foods or drink their shakes or take their pills.  Trying to eat healthy is not easy – I am trying it right now – a large portion of broccoli and grilled chicken with water to wash it down just doesn’t sound too appetizing.

The story today’s passage comes from is found in the start of the book of Daniel.  Here it is in partial context.  Daniel 1:1-14 – 1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. 3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.  5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. 6 Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. 8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.” 11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. Continue reading

July 14, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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