Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

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

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