Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

My Hope Is In Jesus – Not The Left Or The Right!

Mark 9:23

“Everything is possible for one who believes.”

This is not an easy truth to always count on or believe. My wife and I both counsel people – and are reminded of the pain and suffering folks are dealing with everyday. I’m aware of a few couples that are facing severe stress in their marriages – stress that would challenge even the best of marriages. I know of a few people who are facing life-altering situations – some facing multiple such situations. Yet Jesus says – everything is possible for one who believes.

I have seen with my own eyes the miracles of God. I know that the impossible can be possible. I don’t believe I know how or when or why – but I have seen the impossible. Today’s Biblical story is about the healing of a young man who was possessed by demons – evil spirits. The father was brought his son to Jesus but His disciples could not cast out the evil spirit. Read the story below and see why Jesus said – everything is possible for one who believes. Continue reading

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April 11, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are We A People Of Justice or Anarchy?

Titus 2:7

In everything set them an example by doing what is good.

Ask my wife – or my children – or my friends – and they will all tell you I have a thing about fairness – about justice – about the rule of law. Oh – I’ve cheated and I’ve lied in my life and been unfair and unjust – but it almost destroys my insides when I do. All in all – I am typically a justice kind of guy that tries to follow the rules. As we raise our children for example – we try to help each of them (now adults) the same – even if one doesn’t need the help – we usually extend the support or help.

One thing that irks me is when rules or laws are not evenly applied – which is not justice. In my professional life – I have run into this a number of times for sure. I imagine many of us have as well. Recently – the following has come to my attention. A church – served by a colleague – has discussed and debated breaking away from the denomination because of some broken covenant issues on the part of some in our conference and denomination’s leadership. They have had internal discussions and may have even taken a vote of their members about leaving the denomination. When the Bishop’s office received word of their discussions – an official objection and sanction was issued saying this was not in accordance with the Book of Discipline (BOD) and would not be allowed as valid. Yet – recently – the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church (BWCUMC) broadcast a decision of theirs relating to their examination of candidates for ministry. Their vote – made public – was completely against what the BOD and what the Judicial Council of the UMC has ruled – and yet the Bishop’s office has publicly been silent (to my knowledge). If the BOOM decision is not ruled out of order by the Bishop’s office or at the Executive Clergy Session at Annual Conference – it would seem the rules only apply to one side of our disagreement and not to the other. This is not justice. Continue reading

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Loving Our Enemies

Matthew 5:44

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

The family was over on Sunday – at least most of it. It was a neat time. I was in my glory holding first one grandchild and then another. At one time I had three of them sitting with me (on me) watching a movie on the TV (a Troll movie). It was such a blessing.

Loving on your grandchildren is so easy. As a matter of fact – loving on anyone who loves you back is easy. I really enjoying cuddling with the grands and I enjoy showing love to my daughters and to my wife. I often don’t have trouble showing love to others as well – with hugs and kind words. What gets hard is showing love to those I know do not love me.

Are there folks in our lives that we might consider enemies? When I think of the word enemies – I often think of the Germans in WWII or Communists who threaten our way of life or ISIS who threatens world peace with terrorism. Enemies seem to be the worst of the worst. They are mean and contrary to all that is sacred or holy (or so it seems). Continue reading

February 13, 2018 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bringing People Together

Colossians 3:11

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Yesterday was MLK Day. Martin Luther King Jr. tried to bring people together. I saw a picture of MLK and Billy Graham on Franklin Graham’s Facebook page and Franklin said they were good friends and both tried to bring about good. Here is what Franklin wrote.

My father Billy Graham was friends with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday is honored today. They knew each other well. They traveled together some, and at least one time even stayed in the same room together! Dr. King’s daughter, Bernice King, said, “I think both Dr. Graham and my father were trying to make the world a better place…They were different obviously in their style and their approach, but I think their heart and their goal was the same.” When my father was holding an evangelistic Crusade in Chattanooga, TN, in 1953, he arrived and ropes had been put up to segregate the people. He was appalled. He told the head usher to take down the ropes, but he wouldn’t—so my father took down the ropes himself. He told the ushers who threatened to put them back up, “Either these ropes stay down or you can go on and have the revival without me.” I appreciate the strong stand he took. #MLKDay Continue reading

January 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pressing Onward

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

So how’s our new year going? Are we still holding true to any resolutions we might have made? Or have they all fallen by the wayside just one week into the new year? I pray we can hold out and even continue some resolutions for the whole year.

Did you decide to read the Bible everyday? I have a couple of reading plans on my schedule. I would suggest a reading plan on your phone or computer and I would suggest some reading partners to discuss what you read. A weekly Bible study would be good to with others.

I’ll be 63 this year. Forced retirement in the United Methodist Church is 72 so I have 9 years left in active full-time ministry (unless I retire early). My plan at this time is to retire early – maybe by 65 or so. Believe it or not – retirement takes some planning – some goal setting. We not only need a financial plan – we need a plan about what we will do everyday – for the rest of our lives. Some of my plans include yard work – a honey do list – playing more golf – helping a church in some way – traveling with my wife (and family at times) – and taking up hunting again. This is not an all-inclusive list – but a sample plan. Continue reading

January 3, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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