Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

Following God’s Example

Ephesians 5:1-2

1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

So who stands out in our lives as an example we follow? As a child and a youth – I had favorite ballplayers I followed. Boog Powell – Brooks Robinson – Frank Robinson – were players I liked in my youth. They played for my home team Baltimore Orioles. Eddie Murray – Cal Ripken – and others were baseball players I followed later in my life. In basketball some of my favorites were Wes Unseld – Earl “the Pearl” Monroe and Walt Frazier (from the Baltimore Bullets). In football I liked Johnny Unitas – Raymond Berry – Tom Matte. They were football players – Baltimore Colts – that I followed.

In school I had my favorite teachers – did you? I had my favorite singing groups I followed as well like James Taylor – Cat Stevens – Stevie Wonder – 3 Dog Night – Diana Ross and the Supremes and more. I had men and women who I looked up to in church and in other circles. I looked up to my dad the most. Continue reading

July 13, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Our Light So Shine

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

112015 Ray McDonaldJust a personal note – today is my birthday!  I’m 61 today and thankful that God has allowed me to live this long.  I also want to thank my parents – family – and friends for putting up with me all of these years (or as long as you’ve known me.

OK – I must admit it up front – I am an Orioles’ fan – I mean it – even when we suffered though 14 straight losing seasons – I love me some O’s.  They have returned to some winning of late and now we have gotten use to it again. Ever since I was a young lad – in 1966 when they won the World Series and I was 11 years old collecting baseball cards – I have followed the O’s.  I remember the time I met Eddie Murray – it was a highlight for me.

I follow them closely – I listen to their games – even those on the West Coast late at night (just ask my wife).  I have an O’s jacket – some hats and other items.  I have baseball cards of some of the O’s greats of old like Brooks Robinson – Boog Powell – Frank Robinson – Mark Belanger – Jim Palmer – Paul Blair – Dave McNally – and more.  I’m excited about my O’s – the coming season – and I let others know it.  I really think they will go far this year – even though some think they will be in last place in their division.  They have won more games than any American League team since 2012 I think. Continue reading

March 4, 2016 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Approaching God with Confidence

Hebrews 4:16

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

I remember meeting Eddie Murray – a future Hall of Fame player – one rainy day in Baltimore.  I believe I have shared this story in a sermon but it fits here very well I think.  Carolyn and I were going to games once-a-week or so in those early days of our marriage and we had gone up to the stadium for a game – even though it was raining and could be called off.  We pulled up to the park only to hear that the game had been postponed because of the rain.

As we sat in the car deciding what to do with our evening I saw Eddie Murray coming out of the stadium and headed for his vehicle (I assumed).  In the drizzle that was falling I ran out to say hi and shake his hand – I was very nervous to go up to him.  He stopped – greeted me – and shook my hand.  I asked him for his autograph and he said sure.  I had nothing to write with or on so I ran back to my car to get something – anything – to get Eddie Murray’s autograph.  The amazing thing is that Mr. Murray stood there in the drizzle – with his very expensive leather jacket on – and waited for me to return.  It was a highlight for me – I would imagine he only remembers it if it ruined his jacket – lol.

I thought of this story as I read today’s Scripture passage – Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  I wasn’t confident approaching Mr. Murray.  I wasn’t confident asking him for his autograph.  I wasn’t confident that he would stand around waiting in the rain for me to get back with something to write on – just ask Carolyn – I was in panic mode trying to find something in the car.  And Eddie Murray – just a ball player – albeit a Hall of Famer to be – caused all of this excitement!

The author of Hebrews writes that we can approach the throne of grace – the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings – with confidence.  And because we can approach the throne of God with confidence – we can also ask in confidence and receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  That is such Good News!  It is an amazing part of God’s love for us – that God would welcome us into His presence!

When we come to Jesus – we are given a new spirit – a spirit of confidence in the presence of the Most High!  It is beyond my understanding – because I was less than confident in the presence of a mere man – albeit a famous man.  I’m told I can have confidence in the presence of God the Father because of Jesus!  That is amazing.  Here is another passage that shares this same truth.

Romans 8:15-17 – 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba,  Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Today – you might meet someone famous – and you might get excited – unless like my friend Michael you meet famous people all the time in your job.  We should still get excited when we approach God in prayer – I still do nearly 45 years after giving my heart to Him – but we can go in confidence – in the assurance that we will be received.  I think that is amazing!

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

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February 24, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , | 1 Comment


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