Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

Real Transformation

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

RayMcDLast night in the Men’s Bible study we were talking about real transformation – the real change that comes over us when we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. From time to time – shows appear on TV that seem to be popular. Shows like Extreme Makeover or Strong or Biggest Losers appeal to the general population because we like to believe – given the right circumstances – we can all become better than we are right now. We can lose the weight – we can reshape our appearance – we can have a better home and a better life. If nothing else – we can get lost in the fantasy of someone else’s transformation and wish it were really about our lives.

From time to time – most of us – looking back on the life choices that have led us to where we find ourselves – most of us would make a few changes. We often hear people say – if I had it all to do over again I wouldn’t change a thing – but in reality – most of us would change some things.

From time to time – have we ever thought of taking a different career path? Have we ever thought about living in a different part of the country or even a different part of the world? Have we ever regretted choices we have made? I bet the answer to that is a resounding YES for many of us. Continue reading

December 14, 2016 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Finished the Race

2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

RayMcDThe Olympics are over for another cycle. The USA got the most metals and the most gold metals. Maryland came in third I think – if they were a nation. It was fascinating to watch. I even watched the Olympics – at times – rather than an Orioles game or a Ravens pre-season game.

During the Olympics we witnessed many exciting and touching moments. Two Olympian icons participated in their last (they say) race and both won gold during their relays (Michael Phelps & Usain Bolt). Michael ended up with more gold metals in his career than any other athlete (it isn’t even close) – with a total of 28 metals – 23 of them gold. Usain tied the record with 9 golds in Track and Field.

The scene with New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino is what the Olympics is all about – as they tumbled together during a preliminary heat and cared for each other as they crossed the finish line – injured. It tugged at the hearts of many and really shows off the Olympic spirit. Continue reading

August 24, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Word of Encouragement This Morning!

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

RayMcDWe must be careful when we pull verses out of context and try to make too much out of them. I pray I don’t do that – simply using the words of Scripture to encourage and give us something to think about as we go on our way each day. Here is a word that encourages me and I pray it does you as well. We all need encouragement from time to time – don’t we?

Paul is coming to the close of his letter (Epistle) to the Christians in Rome and he is trying to give them encouragement after giving them much instruction. Encouragement can be so helpful. When a team is going bad – like the Orioles – encouragement can lift them to play better. When a person is fighting depression – encouragement can help them fight through the down time and see the light at the end of the tunnel. When a student is having a hard time focusing on material for a test – encouragement might be of help.  When someone is trying to accomplish a significant task – encouragement can help.  Who are we encouraging today? Who’s walk in Christ are we trying to encourage? Who is encouraging us today? Continue reading

August 22, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Truly You Are The Son Of God

Matthew 14:33

Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

RayMcDWhat was it that convinced us to become fans of a certain team? Was it our parent’s view of preference? Was it our friend’s view or preference? Was it our home team? Was it a winning season that won us over? I began to follow the Baltimore Orioles one year before their first World Championship in 1966 when they swept the Dodgers in four games.

What convinced us to attend a certain college (if we did)? What was it that convinced us to ask someone or accept the invitation of someone to go on a date or later to married him or her? What does it take to convince us of something?

What was it that led us to believe in Jesus? What was it that convinced us that Jesus was the Son of God? Was it a message on a Sunday or at a revival service? Was it something we read in the Bible? Was it the witness of someone that convinced us? Was it a miracle or something you couldn’t explain? Continue reading

August 19, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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