Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

One Thing I Ask

Psalm 27:4

One thing I ask from the Lord…

Ray 2018If you could ask for one thing of God – what would it be? World peace would be a popular request I believe. Some might ask for wealth – or health – or a loved one to return to life. Some might ask for a life partner or for children. What would you ask for if you could ask for one thing of God?

Let me ask another question. How’s your prayer life? Prayer is how we speak with God. How’s your prayer life?

When we pray – do you do the normal now I lay me down to sleep and thank you for this food along with some short prayers at church? Does that sum up your prayer life? I sure hope not. How do you approach God? How’s your prayer life? Would you like to improve your prayer life? Continue reading

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September 13, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Questions, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Connect with People?

Romans 12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

RayMcDChristian are often called upon to connect with people. As a pastor – I am often called upon to be empathetic with people and their needs/situations. At times I must be sympathetic or compassionate. Are we empathetic with others? Are we sympathetic at times? Are we compassionate too? Do we feel the pain of others?

I was moved by a report on Facebook yesterday of a police officers who pulled over and saved the life of a lifeless infant. His mother was panic mode and this officer calmly proceeded to give life support to the infant and rush him to the hospital in his patrol car. I could feel for the mom – and I could feel for the officer and his professionalism. Continue reading

August 15, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time For An Attitude Check

Philippians 2:5

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

RayMcDTime for an attitude check. I will begin today’s post by confessing that I have not always had a good attitude. I battle with my attitude at times. Sometimes more than other times. I have – through time and life – become more aware of my attitude(s) and the attitude(s) of those around me. Some may have a natural tendency to see the negative first – rather than the positive. For instance – when someone arrives at home is it more natural for them to notice the lights on in rooms not being used – the TV running and no one watching – and the children’s bikes in the driveway – rather than notice that all the children are doing their homework – their partner is busy fixing dinner – and their pet meets them cheerfully at the door. Because this might be natural for some – doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to overcome this tendency. Our attitudes impact people around us – our family – our co-workers – folks at church – folks at the grocery store – etc. Time for an attitude check.

Time for an attitude check. Throughout my ministry and my personal life – I have seen the impact a negative attitude can have on people – on me. Snide remarks on Facebook – Twitter – in person – in an e-mail – on the phone – can scar people and damage our witness for Christ. Some people might think their spiritual gift is to complain – to be negative – to point out to those around them the things they are doing wrong – but that one is missing from the list of spiritual gifts the Bible gives us. Some seem to see the negative first like I said. Some see the glass half-empty. For those with these natural tendencies – the task at hand might be tougher. But all of us should hear today’s Scripture and examine our attitudes with the attitude of Christ. Time for an attitude check.  Continue reading

July 23, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Too Is Part Of The Grieving Process

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

This too is part of the grieving process. A few years ago – I wrote this blog post and this morning it came to mind as I was sitting in the presence of God. I miss my dad so much (and mom too). I hope this devotional touches someone. If it doesn’t – it touched me – so it has served its purpose. It brought fresh tears to my eyes and it is part of my grieving process – nearly 6 years later.

– – – – – – – –

As I sit in the hospital room with my dad my thoughts are scattered.  I know I need time to grieve. I know my emotions are on edge. I know that just the sight of my in-laws this morning followed by my father’s brother brought tears to my heart – for them and for me. Did I say I know I need time to grieve? I know that working helps me grieve and helps control my emotions at the same time. I have thoughts like: what will I do without my father? Who will I turn to with my many questions in life? As the oldest son – the oldest patriarch of the family – what does that mean? Why can’t I be strong for the family and friends? Why must I be so emotional? What will my mom do without dad? What about my sister and brother and the grand/great children? What about my wife, my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law? My brother-in-law has been like a son to dad and has cared for him like his own father – and we cried in each other’s arms last night at the hospital! My mind races to the next steps. Should we have a private burial followed by a memorial service? Should we have a fellowship meal? Where will we hold the service? Who would we ask to help – there are so many pastors in the family – pastors dad influenced – pastors that know him and us? What funeral home will we use – we have such a good relationship with so many? Should we call Hospice Care? Is dad really comfortable? Can he still hear me pray with him? How many angels can dance on the head of a needle? These are just a few of the things running through my head. If you have been where I am right now – you know the many thoughts that are going through my mind. Continue reading

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

Our Eternity Is Secure In Christ

John 3:3

In reply Jesus declared, I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

Our eternity is secure in Christ. I cannot believe that it has been 45 years since I graduated from High School. I was taking a few minutes to remember those days recently. It seems so long ago and yet so recent. The early to mid 70’s were amazing years in my life. I was in High School – graduating in the spring of 1973 from Annapolis High School. I was in college – attending AACC or as we called her A2C2 (for those who don’t read math – that is A squared C squared). I graduated from AACC in 1975 and began to attend the University of Maryland. It seems so long ago and yet so recent.

Our eternity is secure in Christ. During this time in my life I had one girl friend for one year and one girl friend for two years – names have been left out to save their reputations (I’m still friends with one today – a FB friend even – I have no idea where the other might be in life – I lost touch with her decades ago). I mention this because many of us go through relationships that come and go – that at the time we thought would be forever. I thought both of these young ladies might be the one I would spend the rest of my life with for sure – yet neither turned out to be my life partner. Life is so unsettled at times – we live – we learn – we hurt – we have happiness. I had friends during this time in my life that I thought would be life-time friends. One died way too young and others – mostly – have gone on with their lives and our lives have crossed ever so infrequently. It was during these days that I began using the following phrase – happiness is circumstantially driven, while joy is spiritually derived. My days were filled with circumstances that brought happiness and sadness – sometimes in the same event. What seemed so concrete and secure during this time in my life seems to be just a vague memory today. Things that seemed so permanent are just afterthoughts today. Continue reading

July 11, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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