Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

As School Begins Yet Again

1 Corinthians 15:33

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

June 2019With school starting last month (college and private schools) and this week (Maryland public schools) – I am reminded of this post from not too long ago. Our children (mostly) are facing the world without us. All of our lessons – we hope – have been instilled in them as they venture out into the world around them. My wife would send our girls off with this ringing in their ears each morning as they headed to school. Make good choices – listen to the Holy Spirit – and be aware of your surroundings. As the years mounted and technology increased – she added – and remember everything goes on YouTube.

Our children are developing their character as they grow. The decisions they make each day puts another building block on their character. Hopefully we have helped to shape their character over the years but our influence is less and less as they get out into the world.

How would you define character? I believe that the best definition I ever heard for character is this – character is what you do when no one is looking. The things we do when we think no one is looking or when we think no one will find out – define our character. Let me give an example.

What is on your computer you wouldn’t want anyone else to see? Ouch – was that someone’s toe I stepped on right there? I’m not talking about your bank account or things like that – but rather your browser history – or your bookmarked sites – or your e-mails – or your Facebook account or other social media account. Who have you been in contact with you shouldn’t have been in contact with lately? If someone had access to your computer – would they see things you wouldn’t want them to see? Think about it? How about your cell phone – your pad or other type of device?

If character is what we would do if no one were watching – is there anything on your personal or work computers or devices you wouldn’t want anyone to know about? If marrieddoes your spouse have your password for your e-mail? For your Facebook account? To even get onto your computer/pad or cell phone? If not – why not? Are you trying to hide something from them? Continue reading

September 4, 2019 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

Numbers Are Awesome – God Is More So

Psalm 147:4

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.

Life ChangeThe Orioles lost yesterday. They are 4-3 – having already won two away series. They only won three away series all of last year. They had a 4-1 lead – late into the game – but couldn’t hold down the Spankees in the late innings.

I’ve mentioned – in the sermon titled Let’s Talk About the Pastor – that I loved baseball because I love numbers. I was preparing to be a CPA in college when God called me into the ministry – so I love to crunch numbers and baseball is filled with them. For instance – if the Orioles only lose 100 games this year – they will have improved by 15 games over last year – an amazing turnaround. That would give them a 62-100 record. If they improved the following year by 15 games – they would be 77-85 – pushing .500. The third year of a 15 game improvement would give them a 92-70 record and in the thick of the playoff picture. I know – that is a tall order – but – you have to improve a little each year. If they don’t improve by 15 games a year – it might take them longer or they may need to improve by more than 15 games in some years. Baseball is filled with numbers. A player that fails 7 out of 10 times to get a hit for a career can go to the Hall of Fame. Continue reading

April 5, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advent – A Time to Anticipate

Ephesians 1:7

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

Life ChangeAs we enter Advent (yesterday) and head toward Christmas – I want to make sure we know how very important Christmas is for us. Today I want to celebrate what Christmas is all about – the coming of Christ – the One who sacrificed His life for us. Not so much that He came – so very important – but why He came. He didn’t come to be a baby in a manger – although the secular world would like us to focus on buying and selling at Christmas – or at the very least – the little helpless baby in a manger – Jesus came to be the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.  He came to die for our sins – to pay the debt of our sin – for our redemption. It was God’s plan from before creation.

We all need Jesus. We all need forgiveness from our sins. We have all sinned and all stand in need of redemption – Romans 3:23-24 – 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Continue reading

December 3, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does God Really Exist?

Psalm 14:1a

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

I would imagine that most of us have had friends or have friends even today who do not believe in God.  Maybe even some who are reading this have their questions.  Rather than use the Bible to prove that God is real – which might be considered circular reasoning – I want to point to a few other thoughts – and if you have any – please share them with our readers.

The non-Biblical example that first comes to mind is the created order itself.  The picture is a depiction of God at creation – putting together the created order.  I said order – not chaos or random chance.  The little science studies I did through school always told me that things left on their own without outside influence in nature tend to decompose or become less complex rather than more complex.  To believe that the universe developed the complexity we see by random chance seems farfetched to me – and the mathematical chance that it could happen are astronomical to say the least.  As I look outside and see nature unfolding before my eyes on this warm day – I am drawn to a master planner – a master architect.  There is an order about creation!

Speaking of math – I was told there are only four options to consider.  If we had a four square of options – labeled I believe and I don’t believe across the top and there is a God and there isn’t a God down the left side – there are only four options.  Decide where you fall in that square of choices.  If I believe and there is a God is my selection – I’m OK.  If I believe and there isn’t a God is my selection – I’m OK still – what did it hurt to live my life believing in God and eternity?  If I don’t believe and there isn’t a God – I’m OK.  But – if I don’t believe and there is a God – I’m in big trouble.  So mathematically – the only unsafe choice among the four choices we have seems to be to not believe in God and there really is a God!  The Psalmist wrote: The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”

What are some other non-Biblical examples you can think of today?  Have you ever wondered how a hummingbird can exist let alone fly?

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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March 19, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , | Leave a comment


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