Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

At Times…

Philippians 1:21

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

fullsizeoutput_ffeAs you read this devotional thought today – I have a question. Does anyone daydream? Does anyone think about things in the future or in the abstract or in the future? Am I the only one who thinks about the past – the present – and the future – all in the same day? My mind wonders all around at times. Staying focus on the here and now is not always easy.

Are there things you wish you could change about your life? I think about this at times. I think about the choices I’ve made in the past and how my life would be different had I made other choices. At times – my life would be better – I imagine. At times – my life would be worse – I imagine. I try to live in the here and now – but often my mind wonders about the time spectrum of life. Continue reading

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November 12, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Need a Nap?

Psalm 121:1-2

I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Photo on 10-9-18 at 2.15 PMThe Major League Baseball playoffs are in full swing. Only one series to go before the World Series. What team are you rooting for to win it all? I’m rooting for the Houston Astros and the LA Dodgers to meet in the World Series and for the Astros to win it all.

I wish it was the Orioles playing for the World Series – but they qualified for the number 1 draft choice in next year’s amateur draft. I am an O’s fan and always will be – even during hard years. I suffered through 14 straight losing seasons several seasons ago. We’re tired – already – of this losing skid and want changes. We hope the changes that are coming will help us win again. But this is not real life! It is a game!

Where do you go when you are tired and exhausted in real life? When you need rest – where do you turn? I’ve had a busy week. Besides working over 60 plus hours – I’ve played basketball – a round of golf – and I’ve walked several miles each day. I’ve only gotten about 5-6 hours of sleep each night and according to my new watch – that sleep hasn’t always been sound. I could use a nap! Taking a nap seemed like a punishment as a child. As an adult it is something I look forward to taking! Who agrees with me? 😇💤 Continue reading

October 12, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Mankind Will Come And Bow Down Before God

Isaiah 66:23

“all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord.

I grew up the son and grandson of Methodist pastors. I was raised on Wesleyan theology – which is not Calvinist or Arminian exactly – but for me a mixture of the two (the best parts of each). I was raised during a time when we were told to date within our denomination – because it would be easier raising the children – better for a unified home. I didn’t always follow that path – dating a Catholic girl – a Baptist girl – an Episcopal girl – a non-denominational girl and a few others. I also dated a few Methodist girls. I eventually married a Methodist girl (young woman) – who would love to be non-denominational I think. All were Christian – just from different branches of the faith.

I raised my daughters to marry boys who were Christian – the denomination was secondary. I told them they should look for three things in the young men they dated – 1) a strong Christian faith – 2) a strong love for them – and 3) a strong work ethic. Although I was still biased toward those who thought Wesleyan theology was on the right path – I believed that most Christian faiths could have the core beliefs that would create a strong marriage and family. Continue reading

May 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Amazed!

Mark 4:41

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

I’ve been amazed a few times in my life. The first time was when I realized that Jesus loved me enough to die for me and to cover my sins. That just amazed me because I’m not worthy of such love.

Another time had to do with amazing love as well. It was when my wife said she would marry me. I was so amazed that a woman of her qualities would marry a man like me and – after 37 years – still stayed married to me.

Another time I was amazed was when my three daughters were born. To watch them come into the world and know that Carolyn and I had just given birth to three amazing girls – now that was amazing.

Another time I was amazed in my life was when Eddie Murray stood out in the rain in his expensive leather jacket to sign an autograph for me at old Memorial Stadium (after a game was canceled because of the rain). Continue reading

November 2, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Vision For The Church Family

Ephesians 3:19

that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Paul writes his heart’s desire for the church in Ephesus by saying; Ephesians 3:16-19I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

As I have been praying about First Church – this has come to my heart numerous times. I believe God wants us to grown up and deepen our faith at First Church. God wants us to seek His face and desire His grace. I’m not saying we don’t have mature Christians at First Church – I’m saying the whole body needs to grow up and mature even more in Jesus (this includes the pastor and church leaders). Paul continues in Ephesians 4 to tell us some of the measures of a mature Christian. Read it and see what it has to say. Are these things abundant in our church? Are they gifts and blessings that we could use more of at First Church? In your local church dear reader? Continue reading

October 16, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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