Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Holding Our Tongue and Our Key Strokes

James 3:6

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

img_0063-2I have preached a number of sermons over the years on the danger of the tongue. I’ve also heard a number of sermons on gossip – on slander – and on idle conversations. I’ve heard teachings on being positive and not negative with our words. I’ve heard sermons on how words can hurt and how we should consider what we say before we say it. The old saying is so true – put your brain in gear before putting your tongue into action.

We’ve probably all heard this old saying – sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never harm me – yet words do hurt and can cause lasting pain. Verbal abuse is real abuse! Just because the bruises are not visually evident (at times) from verbal abuse doesn’t mean there hasn’t been real injury and real pain.

We should all think before we speak. Another saying about the tongue I’ve read – credited to Abraham Lincoln – goes like this – Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. Another quote I posted yesterday is credited to Willie Nelson – and it goes like this – Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results. Continue reading

January 14, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Agree to Disagree?

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

img_0063-2Well – here we are in the year 2020. This year – we will see much debate – numerous votes – and an opportunity to agree to disagree with many friends – family and others.

I am disturbed by the number of colleagues and others that think they are being prophetic by speaking evil about and toward the current POTUS. I disagree greatly with much our current POTUS says and does – as I have with previous presidents – but I wouldn’t say some of the things others are saying. There needs to be a way of disagreeing with the POTUS or others without speaking evil. How are we a witness for Jesus when we join in the name calling and judging? I hear some of the same rhetoric when it comes to those who support the conservative side of our denomination.

Living at peace with each other in days like these is not easy. During this season of time – pre-2020 elections and pre-2020 General Conference – we need to focus as much as possible on living at peace with one another – even everyone. I know – it is not easy to live at peace with people who are diametrically opposed to your ideology or theology – but it is what we are called to do as we walk out our faith. It is not always easy to live at peace with those we love and agree with either. We don’t need to agree with everyone – but as we disagree – we should not be disagreeable. Living at peace with others doesn’t mean we always have to agree for sure.

In today’s passage Paul writes – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. How do we read this? And if we read it that we should strive to live at peace with everyone – how well are we doing? If we’re as blue as it gets – even radically blue (far left) – even socialists – with our politics – how well do we get along with someone who is as red as it gets – even radically red (far right)? Can we discuss our differences without becoming ugly? I know this doesn’t seem to happen on many social media pages I visit. It seems like the far left cannot even comprehend the far right – and vice versa – and they don’t play well together either. Continue reading

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

As School Begins Yet Again

1 Corinthians 15:33

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

June 2019With school starting last month (college and private schools) and this week (Maryland public schools) – I am reminded of this post from not too long ago. Our children (mostly) are facing the world without us. All of our lessons – we hope – have been instilled in them as they venture out into the world around them. My wife would send our girls off with this ringing in their ears each morning as they headed to school. Make good choices – listen to the Holy Spirit – and be aware of your surroundings. As the years mounted and technology increased – she added – and remember everything goes on YouTube.

Our children are developing their character as they grow. The decisions they make each day puts another building block on their character. Hopefully we have helped to shape their character over the years but our influence is less and less as they get out into the world.

How would you define character? I believe that the best definition I ever heard for character is this – character is what you do when no one is looking. The things we do when we think no one is looking or when we think no one will find out – define our character. Let me give an example.

What is on your computer you wouldn’t want anyone else to see? Ouch – was that someone’s toe I stepped on right there? I’m not talking about your bank account or things like that – but rather your browser history – or your bookmarked sites – or your e-mails – or your Facebook account or other social media account. Who have you been in contact with you shouldn’t have been in contact with lately? If someone had access to your computer – would they see things you wouldn’t want them to see? Think about it? How about your cell phone – your pad or other type of device?

If character is what we would do if no one were watching – is there anything on your personal or work computers or devices you wouldn’t want anyone to know about? If marrieddoes your spouse have your password for your e-mail? For your Facebook account? To even get onto your computer/pad or cell phone? If not – why not? Are you trying to hide something from them? Continue reading

September 4, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Try Loving One Another

John 16:33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

I wish I had words or a solution for the hatred in the world. I wish there was a person or political party who had the answers or a solution. I wish our country could come together and dismiss the hatred – the racism – the evil – in our country and world today. But I can’t and no one else can – I fear.

Should we have stricter gun laws? Maybe so – but evil people will find a way to perform their evil. Should we make it harder for unstable people to get weapons – absolutely – but who gets to determine who is unstable or mentally ill? Some are very easy to tell – some are well hidden. Should we outlaw assault weapons outside of the military and law enforcement? Maybe that would help – but where would such a law start and end? There are no easy answers and as a former youth pastor friend of mine said – People are more the problem than any gun!

I believe the answer is found in telling more people about Jesus – and letting others see Jesus in us. I believe – if we were more excited and convinced of our faith – we would impact more people for Jesus. Continue reading

August 5, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Social Media – It Can Be a Tool for God

Philippians 2:21

For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

June 2019Social media has connected a boat load of people in the last few years. I have a Facebook account – a Twitter account and other accounts as well. Follow me – if you so desire. I also have this blog page that I use to share my faith and thoughts.

I have numerous friends on Facebook (and that term is used at various levels on Facebook). There are so many friends that you have to put them in categories like folks who went to your High School – folks who are family – folks who are from your church – folks who live in your community – folks you really don’t know – etc. You can determine who sees your posts – no one but you (if you pick this option why are you posting on Facebook – lol) – everyone – your friends only – and you can even break some friends down into a group called acquaintances and you can also block some from seeing what other friends see. It can get confusing. You have a news feed where you see what your friends post. There is a private messaging portion of Facebook as well. You can post pictures and videos too.

On Twitter you can follow some folks and some folks can follow you. On Facebook you can leave long messages. On Twitter you are limited to 280 characters per post (that number used to be 140). Some programs will allow for larger posts. Twitter is supposed to be short thoughts and people come up with loads of shortcuts to get their message across in 280 characters.

Continue reading

July 30, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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