Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

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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

Following God’s Example

Ephesians 5:1-2

1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

So who stands out in our lives as an example we follow? As a child and a youth – I had favorite ballplayers I followed. Boog Powell – Brooks Robinson – Frank Robinson – were players I liked in my youth. They played for my home team Baltimore Orioles. Eddie Murray – Cal Ripken – and others were baseball players I followed later in my life. In basketball some of my favorites were Wes Unseld – Earl “the Pearl” Monroe and Walt Frazier (from the Baltimore Bullets). In football I liked Johnny Unitas – Raymond Berry – Tom Matte. They were football players – Baltimore Colts – that I followed.

In school I had my favorite teachers – did you? I had my favorite singing groups I followed as well like James Taylor – Cat Stevens – Stevie Wonder – 3 Dog Night – Diana Ross and the Supremes and more. I had men and women who I looked up to in church and in other circles. I looked up to my dad the most. Continue reading

July 13, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Run With Perserverance

Hebrews 12:1

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…

As I write this – three of my favorite teams are dealing with different parts of a trying season. The Baltimore Orioles have started well – and after 32 games they have the second best record in Major League baseball. Unfortunately – for now – the team with the best record in MLB is a half game ahead of them in their division. The season is long (162 games) and so they have a lot of games left. If their pitching holds up – their defense as well – and their offense begins to come around it should be a nice season for sure. (By the way – the O’s are facing the Nationals in a series right now and the Nat’s are close behind the O’s in record in the National League.) It takes perseverance to succeed in the long season.

The Washington Wizards are tied up in their second round playoff series with the Boston Celtics – 2 wins and 2 loses. They return to Boston for game 5 and the hope is they win there and win at home in game 6 to move on in the playoffs (they have won the last two games at home). Their guards are leading the way as they combine to score a large portion of their points and play defense against a rising super star on the Celtics. If they win this series they will face the Cleveland Cavaliers for the conference championship and if they win that they will face the Golden State Warriors I imagine. For now – let’s get past Boston. Basketball has a long season as well. It seems they only play the regular season in order to determine the pecking order of the playoffs – the real season. It takes perseverance to succeed in the long season.

The Washington Capitals have come back from elimination and squared the series 3 wins to 3 loses with the Pittsburg Penguins. Game 7 will determine who goes further. It is my humble opinion (and I must say I don’t follow hockey very much) that the winner of this series will win the Stanley Cup. The hockey season is another long season with many games. Again – played it seems to determine the pecking order of the playoffs. It takes perseverance to succeed in the long season. Continue reading

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

And The Peace Of God

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Even in the year 2017 – we live in a day and age when people are still struggling with right and wrong – go figure. Some might say it has always been that way. Our parents and grandparents and so forth probably thought that each generation faced an uncertain world around them and a struggle for right and wrong. They probably thought they lived in a world where others called wrong as right and the right as wrong. Key to this thought is that we don’t all have the same moral values or ideology. We don’t all see the world or truth as the same. What a shame.

We live in a day and age when people are still struggling with right and wrong. Racial tension is still high in our society. Last night in Boston – Baltimore Orioles’ Adam Jones was racially abused – verbally – by some fans. A call for racial reconciliation – a call to treat persons by the content of their heart rather than the color of their skin – is still being met with opposition. Fifty to sixty years after some tried to awaken our country to racial tensions – they are still alive and well in some folks and in some areas more than others. There are still those who hate because of skin color – as crazy as that may seem to many of us.

We live in a day and age when people are still struggling with right and wrong. There are ideologies today – as there have been in days gone by – where people think the only way to nirvana is to kill all infidels. ISIS (radical Islamic terrorists) is still a problem and they are still killing Muslims – Christians – Jews – and others – around the world because they don’t agree with their ideology. They are creating fear around the world with their understanding of right and wrong. Most agree this is wrong but we can’t seem to agree how to defeat this hatred. They are certainly not the “JV” – and I pray they are stopped soon. Continue reading

May 2, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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