Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

A Cheerful Heart

Proverbs 17:22

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

We’re only two games into the new baseball season. Both the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles are 2-0 and leading their divisions (I know – small sample size). I watched the Orioles – both games. I must say they were both thrillers.

The opening day game went into extra innings. There was great pitching by starter Kevin Gausman and the bullpen did its normal great job. There was some highlight defense as well (an amazing play by Manny Machado – just the best 3rd baseman in the Major Leagues). There was just enough offense to go to extras. The Orioles won in the 11th inning on a 1-2 count with two outs when Mark Trumbo hit a homer to left. I gave out a shout of joy. I believe it was the Orioles first opening day walk off win. The Orioles have won seven straight opening day games. Continue reading

April 6, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Call On The Lord

Psalm 120:1

I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me.

One night last week – as I was beginning my recovery from surgery – I woke and needed my meds. I wasn’t in distress – but I knew I soon would be feeling significant pain if I didn’t get my meds soon. I also knew there were babies sleeping in the house so I couldn’t call out with a loud voice. In a whisper – I called for my wife. Carolyn – can you hear me?

If the roles were reversed – I know I never would have heard her at that sound level – cause I sleep through most anything and I often sleep with my good ear down. She was in the bedroom and I was on my chair in the TV room (I still haven’t slept in the bed yet since surgery). She heard me and came to my aid. She has been a real trooper through this surgery – as always. I wouldn’t be as recovered as I am without her help and support. Continue reading

April 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Faithful Stewards

1 Peter 4:10

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

The Baltimore Orioles and every other Major League Baseball team is trying to figure out what 25 players to put on their opening day roster (just a few days away on April 3rd for the Orioles at home against the Blue Jays). Trying to figure out the best 25 players for a team is not easy. Many reporters have discussed in their posts and articles which 25 they think should make the team. There are obvious players who will make the team and then the manager must decide who else will make the team. It isn’t always as easy as picking the 25 best players.

Contracts and options (a player that can be sent to the minors without the chance of losing them through waivers) play a big part in the process. Also having the right number of players in each position is important. An outfielder for instance might be a better all around player than an infielder that makes the team but might be the 5th or 6th outfielder on the depth chart. He might be sent to the minors rather than make the team because there is a need for a certain amount of players to play the infield. The same could be said about some right-handed pitchers when the team might need a few left-handers or starters and relievers. Some players can do most anything – like super-sub Ryan Flaherty for the Orioles. The more positions a player can play the more valuable they are to the team. Yet – most players can only play one position. Everyone can’t pitch. Everyone cannot hit clean- up. It is part of the manager’s decision which 25 players will help him long-term throughout the season and at what position. Continue reading

March 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Love Springtime

Genesis 1:11

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.

I love the springtime. I love warmer weather and budding plants. The fact that baseball season starts in the spring helps for sure. Go Orioles! Go Nationals!

Warmer weather means more outside activities and of course more sunshine for longer hours and that extra vitamin D helps most of us. I love cutting grass and springtime is a great time for that as the grass grows quickly in the warm days and cool nights.

What is your favorite time of the year? What are your favorite springtime activities? I love getting outside and doing chores that have mounted through the winter. My siding needs cleaned. My yard needs picked up. My wood needs cut and stacked for next winter. Some leaves are still around and some sticks and branches have fallen through the winter. I want to get outside and walk more and of course – playing golf in the spring is my second favorite season (I like fall golf the most). Continue reading

March 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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