Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Day 31 of Lent 2020

Matthew 6:16

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

Ray 2020Today is day 31 of the 40 Days of our Lenten reading plan. Remember – Sundays are not counted in the 40 days. I hope you have stayed current with us. I veered off of the online plan and am finishing the plan myself. Today’s passage is about fasting.

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny yourself – to dig deeper into your walk with Jesus. Fasting is one way to do this. Fasting is denying yourself of something. You can fast from food or a certain type of food. You can fast from technology (a youth pastor I worked with did this one Lent) – or you can fast from social media (right now that might be tough with the pandemic restrictions).

Not only are we to deny ourselves of something – we are to replace that item with more of Jesus. For instance – if we are fasting from something – when we feel tempted to eat it or do it – we should spend time praying or digging into God’s Word. Continue reading

April 1, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Is Watching Over Us

Psalm 121:3

He will not let your foot slip — he who watches over you will not slumber;

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amJust to bring you up to date – I have five granddaughters. Two are in 1st grade – two are in pre-school and one is catching her older sisters and cousins (she wants to do everything the older girls do)!

Believe it or not – I actually get left alone with them from time to time. I have sat with the three from the one family for movie night while their parents go out for an evening (their parents must have been desperate for a night out to leave them under my care – LOL!). Before we go any further I want you to know everything went well and there were no fires! The girls actually go to bed for me pretty well – better than my own girls if I remember correctly.

Technology is so great these days – when I watched my granddaughters solo – her parents had cameras in each bedroom that allowed me to watch them in their rooms. I can even talk to them – when they get out of bed. I could watch them (and their parents could too while they were out) without disturbing them. It is better than peeking into their rooms every 45 seconds. I wish we had those when our children were babies. Continue reading

October 1, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

Orthodoxy Is Not Bad, It May Just Be Correct!

Colossians 1:23

…if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Life Change

Today’s devotional thought was mainly written years ago.  I have made some minor changes – but – it seems – things don’t change much – because it is still speaks about a truth today.

If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it? I know most of us have heard that saying before. That isn’t perfect English – but – it is real. Most often we shouldn’t try to fix things that are working.

Change is not always good nor is it always bad. Change for change sake can be either good or bad. Many of us do not like change. Many of us have a hard time with change.

Technology buffs (the mirror is up) always want the latest greatest – even when what they have accomplishes what they are doing. Car buffs always want the newest model – even when the vehicle they have is working well. We can have a closet full of clothes – and every style imaginable – but when the new line comes out – we want to change. Our golf clubs play well – but someone convinces us that a new set will help our game (it is not the arrow but the Indian that misses the target – typically). My 2013 iMac is doing just fine thank you – I don’t need the newer model. Many of us need to resist change – because change is often just fluff – bells and whistles. Continue reading

February 25, 2019 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

For The Time Will Come…

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.

Life ChangeHave you ever been warned about something that was pending – something that was going to happen in the future? I had a teacher who would often say – mark my word – and then tell us something that was going to happen – like – mark my word – this will be on the next test.

Maybe as a parent you have said something like this – or your parents did – mark my word – if you do that again – you will get punished. Maybe it was like this – if you don’t stop fighting – if you make me get out of my chair – if you don’t get up now – if you don’t eat all your food – than “whatever” was going to happen – mark my word.

Paul gives us warning in today’s passage – 2 Timothy 4:3 – For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. He could have added – mark my word. Continue reading

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

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