Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

He Prayed More Earnestly

Luke 22:44

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Growing up – I remember going to prayer meetings and camp meetings where people prayed with such fervor – nothing like (in my mind) the prayers I heard on a Sunday morning. Often the prayer time at less formal settings allowed for more time and it seemed to help people get into a deeper prayer mode.

Has there been a time when we have prayed with fervor and earnestness? I remember praying long and hard during a prayer vigil held at my church when I was a young teen. I signed up for a half-an-hour every day for a month.

Has there been a time when we have prayed with fervor and earnestness? I remember praying long and hard when the planes were hitting during 9-11. I prayed for such evil to be stopped. I prayed for those who were trapped in the towers. Continue reading

August 17, 2017 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

He Himself Suffered

Hebrews 2:18

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Growing up – I always appreciated working for a boss who started at the bottom – one who suffered along with the common man so to speak. If he or she didn’t start at the bottom – it was appreciated when they would roll up their sleeves and helps those of us on the bottom of the employee list.

I work for a young man now at a local golf course that embodies this approach. He may or may not have started at the bottom long ago – but after he was hired as the director of golf for the private club where I work – he has always been willing to serve others and help whenever needed doing whatever is needed. It really makes me appreciate him all the more!

I worked as a teen and in my early 20’s for another man who first managed the company where I worked and later owned the company – and yet he would join in the most basic of tasks if needed. He would go on jobs with us and would model for us how leaders were supposed to lead. I appreciate this man and he was in my wedding! Continue reading

August 16, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Do We Place Our Trust – I Place Mine In Jesus

Psalm 20:7

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Where do we place our trust? Planning ahead is something some do and some do not. I’m a planner myself. As I age – I’m starting to get more and more info on retirement (and senior discounts – sweet). I was talking to someone the other day about retirement and they said they hadn’t thought much about it yet (and they were older too). I have been planning for retirement (even though I hope it is 3-10 years off) since I was 25 and first married. I wouldn’t say I put my trust in my retirement plan – but I have one. I am a planner.

Where do we place our trust? In the NFL – my favorite team (the Baltimore Ravens) – has a general manager named Ozzie Newsome. General managers are very important to NFL teams. General managers draft players – sign players – and work out contracts for players. They have others who work with them – but the saying around Baltimore is – in Ozzie we trust. Ozzie is a planner. Even when we as fans do not see the merit in a trade or a signing – someone will post in Ozzie we trust. The same can be said about the Baltimore Orioles – I often see in Buck we trust – when he makes a managerial move that we may not understand. Both Buck and Ozzie are planners too. Continue reading

August 10, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leaders Are Called To Serve

Mark 10:45

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Today’s thought is a quick reminder for all of us who feel a calling to lead. If we are called to lead – we are called to serve. Leaders in the church – be it pastors – Bible study leaders – Sunday School teachers – church officers – office staff – church staff – and more – are called to be servant ministers rather than dictators.

If we are followers of Christ – it should be more about whom we serve than the position we hold. Some people work hard for title or position – rather than to serve. Some people can’t wait to be called teacher – pastor – reverend – church leader – when it shouldn’t matter what we are called – we should all be serving Jesus and others. Continue reading

August 9, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Conversation

Colossians 4:6

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

We all need to read and hear this passage today – especially the first part – let our conversation be always full of grace. Our conversations are probably not always up-lifting. They are probably – at times – not positive and helpful.

We have probably all heard this one – if you can’t say something good about someone – say nothing at all. Many of us – if not all of us – need to spend more time and effort when it comes to our conversations. We need to take care that what comes forth from out mouth is a blessing and not a curse.

There are a number of passages about our talk – about the way we present ourselves through our conversations. Here are a couple of them.

Matthew 12:36–37 – 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. Continue reading

August 8, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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