Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Smile – What Brings a Smile to Your Face?

Exodus 34:29
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.

What brings a smile to your face? Of course the first answer I would give these days is spending time with my grandchildren (and children). We now have five grandchildren. Another answer might be a long winning streak by the Baltimore Orioles or Washington Nationals (even a win would be great at times). The opening day win in the 11th inning by the Birds Monday brought a smile to my face. Still another might be time spent with my wife. I could get very pastoral here and say a smile comes across my face when a person receives Jesus Christ – when the light comes on for them in their personal relationship with Jesus. Other things bring a smile to my face as well (like when my friend makes a good shot in golf and gets excited about it). When we see someone with a smile on their face we usually think something just happened and we tend to be curious.

How about when people notice you have lost weight? Better yet – when they say something encouraging to you (if losing weight was what you were after). I remember when one of my daughters greeted me with a hug and she said – getting skinny dad – as she wrapped her arms around me? What about someone saying something about your new hairdo or your new dress (or suit)? How about the smell of your favorite food – or freshly baked bread – or bacon frying (that one always brings a smile to my face)? Continue reading

April 5, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taste and See

Psalm 34:8

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

82015 RayI love bacon! Bacon makes everything – and I mean everything – taste better. I haven’t had much bacon of late – my wife doesn’t want me eating it – but I still love it! On occasion I order it when I am out. I could eat breakfast foods all day and bacon makes breakfast food even better. What is your favorite taste?

For years I wouldn’t eat salmon. It just didn’t appear to be something I would like. I’m not a big fish eater – that fishy taste doesn’t sit well with me. But a few years ago – yes – just a few years ago – I tried some salmon. The way my wife makes it (baked I think) – I really liked it. Sometimes – you need to taste something to find out if you like it or not. I’ve tried liver and DO NOT LIKE HOW IT tastes. Continue reading

September 8, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Defile Ourselves?

Daniel 1:8-9

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

IMG_0301OK – who is trying to eat a healthy diet these days?  It is not easy – that is a fact jack!  I mean all the good things in life – like ice cream – chips – soda – bacon – Big Macs – pizza – and more – are on someone’s DO NOT EAT list!  Some plans allow you to eat loads of meat – others loads of vegetables – others say you can eat carbs – others say no carbs at all or very little.  Some plans say you will lose weight quickly – if you buy their pre-fabricated and packaged foods or drink their shakes or take their pills.  Trying to eat healthy is not easy – I am trying it right now – a large portion of broccoli and grilled chicken with water to wash it down just doesn’t sound too appetizing.

The story today’s passage comes from is found in the start of the book of Daniel.  Here it is in partial context.  Daniel 1:1-14 – 1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. 3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.  5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. 6 Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. 8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.” 11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. Continue reading

July 14, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Bread of Life

John 6:48

I am the bread of life.

profileWhen I was growing up – I loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – still do.  I could fix one or two for lunch on Saturday and it would carry me through the westerns on TV.  I could also go for a peanut butter and potato chip sandwich or a peanut butter and banana sandwich.  The key elements in each of these is peanut butter and bread.  Before we knew that plain white bread wasn’t the best for you – I would make my sandwiches with it.  I later developed a taste for my bread toasted so that the peanut butter would melt on the toasted bread.  It would have been hard to make any of these sandwiches without the bread! Continue reading

November 4, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does Our Face Shine for Jesus?

Exodus 34:29

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.

RevRayWhat brings a smile to your face?  Of course the first answer I would give these days is spending time with my grandchildren (and children).  Another would be another Orioles’ win.  Still another might be time spent with my wife.  I could get very pastoral here and say a smile comes across my face when a person receives Christ – when the light comes on for them in their personal relationship with Jesus.  Other things bring a smile to my face as well.  When we see someone with a smile on their face we usually think something just happened and we tend to be curious.

How about when people notice you have lost weight and say something to you (if losing weight was what you were after)?  What about someone saying something about your new hairdo or your new dress (or suit)?  How about the smell of your favorite food – or freshly baked bread – or bacon frying? Continue reading

June 21, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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