Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

Faithfulness – Can We Define It?

Galatians 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

What do you think of when you hear the word faithfulness? I first think of the vows we share at our marriages – to be faithful until death do us part. Throughout the Hebrew and Christian portions of the Bible – the relationship between God and His people – between Jesus and the church – is compared to that of a bride and groom. I like the love and passion shown by God for the church. Here is a passage from the Hebrew Bible.

Isaiah 62:5 – As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.

God’s faithfulness is NEVER questioned. God is the groom that will never be unfaithful to His bride – the church. The question is – how faithful are we?

In the Christian text we read Paul urging the church to be faithful. Romans 12:1–2 – 1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Continue reading

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

Extraordinarily Good and Wonderful Worship

Psalm 95:6-7

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice,

Life ChangeThe other day I was singing a song to my children. I remember the words to Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. These are the lyrics of the chorus of that song from Mary Poppins.

It’s Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Even though the sound of it
Is something quite atrocious. If you say it loud enough, You’ll always sound precocious. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Um-dittle-ittl-um-dittle-I Um-dittle-ittl-um-dittle-I Um-dittle-ittl-um-dittle-I Um-dittle-ittl-um-dittle-I. The grands seemed mystified that Pop knew this song. They were excited to say the least.

I remember the definition of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – extraordinarily good – wonderful. As I was reading some old blogs I had posted in the past – I ran into some on worship that I thought I would rework and present. But the word Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious came to mind. What if this word was related to our worship of God?

Reading today’s passage – it made me think of all of the worship services I have attended and participated in over the years. I thought of all the worship committee meetings – e-mails – calls – and notes sent me over the years with comments about worship. And I started to wonder if we really grasp what worship is – really? Would we call it extraordinarily good or wonderful? Continue reading

March 19, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Growing Spiritually

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.

fullsizeoutput_ffeI greet you in the name of Jesus – my Lord – my Savior – and my dear friend. I write to encourage you this day in your walk with Jesus. We’ve often encouraged the congregation (and myself with the mirror before me) – about building our spiritual lives (realizing our need for Jesus). We want to encourage those who would hear to take the time to build their spiritual lives and to develop a deeper walk with Jesus. We want to urge people to take advantage of the many opportunities to eat spiritual food and to grow stronger.

I write to encourage us to NOT rely on our pastor(s) to have knowledge of the Word and a relationship with Jesus! I write to encourage us to regularly search the Word and to pray on every occasion. Our faith cannot be based on our parent’s – our grandparent’s – our pastor’s – or anyone else’s faith. Each of us must develop our own walk with Jesus. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians that we are to always have joy and to test everything.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 – 16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil. Continue reading

November 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

November Prayer/Fast Is Coming Soon

Zechariah 7:4-5

Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?

fullsizeoutput_ffeSo – here is a question for us today – as we prepare for our November Prayer/Fast. Do we pray and fast – regularly? I mean – is it an essential part of our spiritual walk as we strive to draw closer to God? The answer to that question might go a long way in explaining if we are growing spiritually or not. I believe that prayer and fasting are essential spiritual disciplines.

I am calling the church to a time of prayer and fasting from November 1st thru the end of the month. I know that is a long time – but it will be very rewarding – if we seek His face and desire His grace. Let’s use the month of November to deny ourselves of something – and focus more on Jesus.

When we fast from something – we should spend extra time with God. Spending extra time with God – will draw us closer to Him. Here is something important to understand. Read well! When we fast from certain foods and expect something – like weight loss – is fasting for us or for God? Losing weight is OK – but it shouldn’t be the reason we fast. As we call for a time of prayer and fasting during November – what would we fast from and how would we spend our time? It should be to draw closer to God. Continue reading

October 22, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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