Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

If You, Lord, Kept A Record Of Our Sins!

Psalm 130:3

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?

Do any of us keep records of things? For instance – I know couples that keep track of how often they argue. Others keep a record of how often they spend time together. Some must actually schedule time together because their schedules are so full and can be overwhelming. Some keep records of wrongs and bring them up to the other from time to time. Some keep a record of when the other partner did the dishes or watched the children or got their way in some area of disagreement.

Do any of us keep records of things? The baseball season is basically over for my team – they need to go 8-2 in order to finish at .500. But baseball is filled with record keeping. Records seem to be made to break. Homers are being hit this year at or near a record pace. Continue reading

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September 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Perplexed But Not Crushed

2 Corinthians 4:8

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;

Life – at times – can be unfair. I’m not talking about a pitch being two balls of the plate and called a strike unfair. I’m talking about real life – being unfair. I know a number of persons who are going through some real life struggles. I know of a few marriages that were supposed to last a lifetime – that are falling apart. I know persons who have lived healthy lives – taken good care of their bodies – facing cancer and other life threatening medical issues. I’ve heard from pastors and parishioners that are perplexed by what they see even in the pews and pulpits of the church – the Body of Christ.

We see people ready to take sides – vehemently – on issues that abound. We are still not settled – nearing a year after the election of our President. If you are against him – or for him – people on the other side will attack your views in a heartbeat. Racism is an ugly reality in our nation and yet the recent destruction and removal of Confederate statues has driven our nation to polar opposites with little harmony in sight. Love for one another is not the center of our thinking as a nation or even as a church at times. Continue reading

August 30, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Do We Treasure?

Luke 12:34

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

One of my nephews just purchased several large crates full of baseball cards. I found him the other evening going through them – sorting out teams – Hall of Fame players – and some others groupings. He was in his glory – a sports fan with sports memorabilia. As I was leaving I asked him to find some duplicates of some nice players and sell them to his uncle. For those who have been in my office at church – you know I have a display of Hall of Fame players on my wall. I love baseball – the American pastime.

Another thing I enjoy is collecting hats – baseball style hats. I have several from the Orioles – the Ravens – the University of Maryland – the Redskins – the FBI – golf hats of many brands like Titleist – Callaway – SR (the golf club at South River) – Twin Shields – and more. I have one with a cross on it and others as well. My home office door has three straps with hooks for hats on it. My closet in the bedroom has about a dozen hats that I wear the most. One shelf at work is decorated with hats (stop by them and see). I gave several dozen away to Goodwill recently because I couldn’t wear them all or keep them all (said the boss). Continue reading

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

At Times – Life Is About The Mercy Rule

Psalm 30:10

Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.

Mercy is something that is rare. Most of us – operating in our human nature – tend to want fairness – or even revenge – but mercy is rare. When I was umpiring baseball – we had a mercy rule in recreational league play. If a team was up by 10 runs after a certain inning of play – they had won the game – we didn’t have to play any longer. This mercy rule kept the team that was being beaten from being beaten by even more – and maybe destroy all of their confidence for future games.

What would a mercy rule look in real life? In golf it might be called a mulligan. We like do-overs in our world – a chance to improve on a mistake or a failure. Yet – often – we are reluctant to give mercy to others. It is hard to offer mercy – maybe because we feel little mercy has been shown us.

I’ve often written on this blog about how salvation is through grace. We all deserve hell – yet because of God’s great mercy – He gave us a free gift – salvation – through the shed blood of Jesus – if we place our trust and life in His hands. Ephesians 2:8 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— Continue reading

July 20, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do Not Love The World

1 John 2:15

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

It’s summer and there are many summer activities. My Facebook page is exploding with people on vacations for example. Some of them are at the beach – some in the mountains – some at the lake – some playing golf – some are spending time with the family in staycations. Others are enjoying being poolside or eating crabs or swimming in the river or creek near their home. Others are boating or going to a baseball game or barbecuing in the backyard.

Most people look forward to the summer – the children are off school – vacations are usually taken – trips to see family or special places. Summers make us feel like getting out and doing things. Some of us actually love doing yard work and spending time in gardens and outdoors.

What is your favorite hobby? Where do you like to spend your spare time? If you had a week or two in the summer – what would you do with it? What is it that you love in life? What is it in this world you love? Continue reading

June 26, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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