Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Life – It Keeps Changing!

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Rays HaircutLife – it keeps changing! A number of things in my own life have changed – and keep changing. This summer I will have been married for 40 years. It has been 47 years since I graduated High School. I saw a picture of me in High School the other day and I do not look the same today. My children – my babies – are fully grown. Two have children (my five granddaughters). My wife and daughters are such a blessing to me along with my granddaughters. Soon my grandson from South Korea will be home (I can’t wait). I’ve been in ministry for 44 years. I continue to think about retirement (although I hope I will still be active in ministry in retirement).

Life – it keeps changing! No baseball yet! Maybe not this season. No basketball yet! They’re talking about using Disneyland. Football is trying to get started soon for the fall. The Ravens had an amazing season last year and I hope they play even better this coming year. Golf is just starting to have live events. NASCAR was the first live sport to come back – if you don’t count cornhole!

Life – it keeps changing! Churches are meeting online and others are talking about reopening their facilities. Things have changed – things we thought would never change.

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June 15, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Offering Our Gifts to God

Matthew 5:23-24

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

Rays HaircutA historic view might help us understand how important this statement is from Jesus – how eye-opening it was for His hearers. In order to offer a sacrifice – an offering – most people traveled miles upon miles – often over several days. Some were lucky enough to live in Jerusalem and might have come more often – but most only traveled to the Temple a few times a year. After making the trip to the temple – they had to purchase a sacrifice if they hadn’t brought one with them on their long trip. They would have a calf – or a dove – or a lamb maybe or maybe their offering was money. They would probably wait most of the day in a long line to get the chance to offer their sacrifice/offering. It was hot – dry – and smelly with all of the animals in line – not counting the smell from the altar with all of the animals being sacrificed in the temple. They finally got to the altar area and were ready to give the priest their offering and it hits them – they have someone who has an issue with them – it may not even be their fault. This is where Jesus’ words hit – this is the circumstance as the people heard Jesus say: “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Continue reading

May 20, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Running the Race of Our Lives

1 Corinthians 9:26

Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.

Rays HaircutHave you picked your favorite candidate for President in 2020? he election is only 5 plus months away. The two major candidates – President Donald Trump (the current President and Republican candidate) and Mr, Joe Biden (former Vice President the the Democratic candidate) – are facing a difficult campaign season with the Pandemic making typical rallies and campaigning difficult if not impossible. Both believe they would make the best next President of the United States. I’m praying for our country and the next President. I truly hope that the person we elect has a plan and that the other leaders of our country have one too – and that they gel. Our country is in trouble if a plan doesn’t develop that will carry us forward – past this pandemic and to help our economy to recover.

As I type this – basketball and baseball – among other sports – are on hold. NASCAR has returned and I actually saw ESPN running a cornhole contest. The public must be starving for entertainment and sports.

Basketball is talking about a playoff of some sorts. Baseball – Major League Baseball – is talking about playing in July – a shortened season – maybe 100 games rather than 162 with more teams making the playoffs. Continue reading

May 18, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Light Shining in the Darkness

Matthew 5:14

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

img_0063-2Pastor Trevor preached Sunday – about being the light in the darkness. Darkness can be fun at times – but – at times it is not. I remember growing up and living next door to a cemetery. When friends came over or cousins visited – we would play hide and seek. I would always hide in the cemetery – over in the darkest corners where the house’s outside floodlight didn’t shine. Whenever someone got close to where I was hiding – I would make sounds that would scare them away (remember – we were young and this was a cemetery. The darkness and the unknown noises would always win the day. But darkness is not always something to be desired as we will see.

Darkness in today’s scripture represents the absence of Jesus. Jesus is instructing His followers. He tells them that they are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. As believers – as disciples of Jesus – we are to allow His light to shine in us – through us – and in spite of us. I remember – again as a child – traveling to my mother’s home town  Moorefield – in West Virginia. As we would come over the mountains – with very little light other than our headlights – we would crest the last mountain top and down toward the valley we would see the lights of Moorefield – we knew we were there! I remember when the chicken plant starting running all night and when they got their first fast food store – a McDonald’s. As the town started to get more and more active over the years – the lights were stronger as we crested the mountain.

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January 8, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Is The Great Physician

Matthew 9:12

 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”

Life ChangeI go to see my primary physician next month. My hope is that he will allow me to stay off my Blood Pressure medicine and be happy with my weight loss (65 pounds now – I want to get to 100). I’ve also backed off most of my meds for my Tourette Syndrome (not totally but mostly). I also need to get my flu shot (might get it at the hospital because my doctor’s have a clinic on Saturdays for the shot and I am usually tied up on Saturday mornings).

Health care is so important. I’ve had both shoulders worked on (rotator cuff surgery) and I have gotten cortisone shots in both knees (getting old is not for whimps – said my dad). My orthopedic surgeon is looking into other injections for my knees. I want to be able to walk more and play golf and not have such pain. I haven’t played basketball for 6 months now because of pain in my knees.

Some of the Presidential candidates are talking about health insurance for all and this sounds nice – but how will it be paid for is the big question and will we be able to keep our current health plans and doctors? When is the last time you went to the doctor’s office or the hospital? I know I am very appreciative of the doctors and caregivers that have treated me during my surgeries and treatments. Continue reading

October 28, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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