Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Then the Devil Left Him

Matthew 4:11

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

fullsizeoutput_ffeWhat is it that temps you? In November we are challenging our church members and other to a prayer/fast – a time to remove something that tempts us away from God. I’m tempted by a number of things – some of which I will share with you today. For most of us – the things that tempt us are greater than we are alone or they wouldn’t really be temptations. For example – I cannot be tempted to eat liver. Now some people love liver – but I would need to be very hungry with no hope of any other food before I would succumb to eating liver. Ice cream (most any flavor) would tempt me. Pizza would tempt me. All-you-can-eat restaurants tempt me. Bargains and deals tempt me. Liver does not tempt me.

What is it that temps you? Some people think they are above temptation. Some think they are so strong they can stand up – alone – against the devil and his temptations. I want to suggest that battling Satan alone – on our own – is not a battle we will win. We’re told in Scripture that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 We are battling the spiritual realm and need Jesus in order to come out on top. What is it we can fast from that will allow us to be draw closer to Jesus? Continue reading

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November 5, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Every Good and Perfect Gift

James 1:17

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

RayMcDCan you remember any gifts you’ve gotten over the years? I remember my first new bike (my sister and I shared an old one together but one Christmas we both got new bikes). It was a red bike – because red has always been my favorite color. I rode that bike – almost every day. It was my favorite gift that year. I kept it for many years. I would later put a banana seat on it and monkey handlebars (you have to be old to remember those). I remember putting old baseball cards in the wheel spokes to make noise like a motorcycle at my cousins. I delivered papers with that bike – putting a basket on the front and two saddle bags on either side of the rear wheel. But – alas – it got old and eventually I had to get another bike. But – while it lasted – it was a great gift.

Can you remember any gifts you’ve gotten over the years? I remember once – when my brother and I were into the show Combat – we got walkie-talkies. We would talk on them all the time – pretending to be soldiers. We played in the church cemetery and in the sand dunes behind my grandmother’s house. But – alas – they broke and were of no use after a while. Continue reading

August 29, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Do We Struggle The Most In Our Lives?

Romans 7:18

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Where do we struggle the most in our lives? Have you ever felt one way and yet ended up going another way? Silly question – right? We are all human and most know the right thing to do but have succumbed to the wrong way. We often know the right way – and yet yield to the wrong way. We fight temptations and evil – but at times we fail in our struggle. I know I have more times than I wish to remember. And I keep trying to find a way to be faithful to what I know to be right.

Where do we struggle the most in our lives? For some it is with what we put into our bodies. That could mean drugs – or alcohol – or it could mean overeating. Anything we do to excess and can be harmful to us. We know certain things are wrong and harmful – yet some of us continue to abuse our bodies with what we put into them. We try diets – we try to be sober – we try to walk the steps – but – at times – we succumb to what is harmful for us. Again – I have a mirror up as I type this devotional seeing myself! Continue reading

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

Where Is It That We Struggle Most?

Romans 7:18

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Have you ever felt one way and yet ended up going another way? Silly question I guess – since we are all human and most know the right thing to do but have succumbed to the wrong way in our lives. We often know the right way – and yet yield to the wrong way. We fight temptations and evil – but at times we fail in our struggle. We fall short and sin.

Where is it that we struggle the most? For some it is what we put into our bodies that tempt us. That could mean drugs or alcohol or it could mean overeating – all are harmful to us – and we know it – yet some of us continue to abuse our bodies with what we put into them. We try diets – we try to be sober – we try to walk the steps – but – at times – we succumb to what is harmful for us. Continue reading

May 10, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 12 of Lent 2018

Matthew 4:1

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

Today is day 12 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan on www.youversion.com. 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’re learning about temptations during our sermon series during Lent – The Wilderness Experience. Join us on Sundays at 8:30 or 11 am at First United Methodist Church at 424 Main Street – in Laurel, Maryland. There is always room for one more and we would love to share worship with you. Continue reading

February 25, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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