Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We Should Be Encouragers

1 Thessalonians 4:17-18

17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Therefore encourage one another. What is it that would encourage us dear readers? When we’re trying to lose weight or put it on – doesn’t it encourage us when people notice and say something? When we are trying to change our shape – exercising more or watching what we eat – it is nice when people notice. Try to notice others and not be so narcissistic – focused on self so much.

Therefore encourage one another. What is it that would encourage us dear readers? Yesterday I played in a golf tournament. I had one of my worst rounds in a long time. I think I was pressing – trying too hard just 12 weeks after rotator cuff surgery. My arm actually started to hurt near the end of the round. I was playing with a couple of friends and wanted to do well. Yet – it wasn’t about me playing well – it was about my friends and our guest having a good time. I began to take my focus off of my golf game and spent most of the day encouraging my partners. I told them how well they were playing (even if that was a stretch at times) and praised their good shots (like the awesome approach shot by one player followed by another player hitting an amazing and hard putt for an eagle). My task for the day was to make sure they had a good time and felt encouraged doing it.

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May 25, 2018 Posted by | Build | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Rest Of Our Lives

Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. I wonder – have we ever heard that before now? We cannot change anything about yesterday or the days – weeks – months – or years in the past. We might be able to make restitution for something that happened in the past. We might be able to correct something done in the past. We might be able to improve on something in the past. We might even be able to build upon something done in the past. But the past is just that – the past.

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Recently my wife and I had a conversation about what we’d like to do in the year and years ahead of us. We both have some hobbies we’d like to develop. We both have family that would require travel to visit. We both have ministries we would like to invest in and visit. The list continues. We cannot change what we have done – but we can focus on what we would like to do in the future. Continue reading

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Have A Plan?

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? 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 nearly my age). I have been planning for retirement (even though I hope it is 2-9 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’m not sure I want to retire – but I have a plan if I do.

Where do we place our trust? In the NFL – my favorite team (the Baltimore Ravens) – has a general manager named Ozzie Newsome (his last year). 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. 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 (currently as I’m writing this devotional I have music playing and the NFL draft on mute – I’m not watching the Birds <down 5-0 already with our best pitcher going tonight>). Continue reading

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, 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

Clothe Ourselves in Christ

Romans 13:14

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

I remember as a child dressing up like a soldier and playing Combat! It was fun to pretend. I was usually Sergeant “Chip” Saunders – played by Vic Morrow. I even had a play machine gun to complete the ensemble. I remember I had an army canteen and an army backpack (for my sandwiches for lunch). My brother and I would make adventures in the sand dunes between our house and grandmother’s home. It was fun playing make believe. When we got a little older we would play in the woods or even in the cemetery next door to the parsonage.

We just finished a week of VBS at First UMC of Laurel. The theme was super heroes and many of the workers were dressed up like super heroes. The children too got to play dress up. We had real life super heroes like our local police – our local fire department – a teacher from our local elementary school – and others – come and visit with the children. We even collected funds to support them in their super hero work – over $1,000.00. Continue reading

July 31, 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

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