Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Is Our Faith Like The Grass?

Isaiah 40:6

A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.”

A few summers ago I lost my front yard. A combination of lack of water – excess sunshine and a weak root system did it in. I treated the ground – aerated – seeded with good seed – fertilized with starter fertilizer and winter fertilizer later in the season and that following spring I fertilized it again. It came up strong and full. I fully realize that if I can’t figure out a way to water the yard in the summer – it will not be as full later in the year. That year I got an estimate for a sprinkler system – and that was way out of my price range. I purchased some extra hose and have tried – during the dry periods – to water the front yard.

Even with all of that work that fall – just a few weeks into March even – my yard was like most yards – dormant (to a degree). It did remain green through the winter that year – thanks to fertilizers and a mild winter – but it was in a dormant state. With the warmer than normal March that spring – with lots of sunshine and some rain – my yard was ahead of schedule that spring. It had time that spring to deepen the roots and thicken before the summer months. I cut my grass at the highest setting my lawn tractor with a mulching kit would allow. I cut the grass twice a week during the peak-growing season so I don’t leave behind piles or clumps of dead grass. I love a green lawn throughout the year! Continue reading

November 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, 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

What Changes Your Countenance?

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.

82015 RayWhat brings a smile to your face? Of course the first answer I would give these days is spending time with my grandchildren (and children) (see my granddaughter Scarlett on the Radio Flyer). Another answer might be a long winning streak by the Baltimore Ravens or Washington Redskins (even a win would be great).  Still another might be time spent with my wife (we IMG_0416have the children and grandchildren in our home this weekend (minus a couple of husbands).  I could get very pastoral here and say a smile comes across my face when a person receives 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) (my daughter from New Jersey greeted me last night 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 (go Mark) – or bacon frying (that one always brings a smile to my face)? Continue reading

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Build, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

IMG_0301What brings a smile to your face?  Of course the first answer I would give these days is spending time with my grandchildren (and children).  Another would be another Orioles’ win (they lost last night 9-8 – but came back from down 9-2 at one time).  Still another might be time spent with my wife (we might go to an O’s game Saturday night).  I could get very pastoral here and say a smile comes across my face when a person receives 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 and say something to you (if losing weight was what you were after)?  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 (go Mark) – or bacon frying (that one always brings a smile to me)? Continue reading

July 31, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

21-Day Prayer/Fast – Day 16

Psalm 27:4

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

01032015 RayDuring our 21-Day Prayer/Fast – I hope we have spent more time seeking God rather than merely seeking what God can do for us.  We probably all know what it feels like to find out that someone was our friend or at least presented themselves to be our friend simply to find out they were merely out for something.  My prayer is that we have been seeking His face more than merely desiring His grace.  Even though we often say – seeking His face while desiring His grace – my prayer is that we are seeking God’s face first and foremost during our 21-Day Prayer/Fast.  Being in God’s presence is what our heart should desire.

The Psalmist begins today’s reading by describing the power and awesomeness of God – Psalm 27:1-3 – 1 The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?  2 When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.  3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.  What comes next is what I feel we should be striving for during the prayer fast.  Psalm 27:4 – One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Continue reading

January 20, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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