Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Let’s Do Thanksgiving Before Christmas – Please!

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Thanksgiving comes once a year – as does Christmas – and Easter. Yet we don’t have to limit our thankfulness to one day – do we? If your family is like mine – when we gather to give thanks over the bounty on Thanksgiving – we pause to give thanks for something specific – everyone at the table. It is a touching time – and watching our family age before our eyes – year after year – brings a nostalgic note too. Listening to what the girls have shared over the years and now what the grandchildren will share has been and is a blessing. We are always thankful for the way God touches our lives.

I’m the crier in the family (one daughter is starting to show my emotions as well). An example of my inability to hold back my tears can be seen in most any family gathering. I remember at a special birthday for my wife – as others were sharing – I tried to share my heart and the tears flowed. Tears will flow for most any reason from my eyes. With the holidays coming – I will shed tears when I watch It’s a Wonderful Life for the 200th time – and even while watching Charlie Brown’s Christmas – tears will flow.

Thanksgiving is a family time for our family and we will gather once again – the Lord willing – even with this pandemic – the best we can. Holidays are especially hard for me now that mom and dad have gone to be with Jesus – along with my father & mother-in-law. Dad loved Christmas so much – that holiday is especially difficult for me these days.

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November 16, 2020 Posted by | Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Day After – November 4 2020

Colossians 3:13-14

13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

I am trying to wrap my brain around all of the unrest shown during the 2020 election season. It is now the day after (I’m writing this the day of) the election. We may or may not know who our next President will be.

I believe – like I believed in 2016 – that neither candidate was an ideal candidate – IMHO. I know that both had major issues with their morals and ethics. Many said they had to vote for the lesser of two evils – not a good place to be in as we elect the President of the United States. Some had reasons for their vote – and many voiced their reasons.

On November 5, 2008 – I wrote the below blog post. It was a tough time in our nation as we elected the first president of color. There was unrest after that election as well – although I don’t remember the protests and riots that we are seeing this year or in 2016. I pray the protests settle and soon we will begin – especially as the church – praying for our next president. I know – whomever is elected – will come with loads of baggage and many are having a lot of pain and anguish at his election. I pray he does a good job. Here is what I wrote in 2008.

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November 4, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Seems Hard to Love One Another These Days!

John 14:15

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

It seems hard to love one another these days. For example – I tried to cheer on the Washington Nationals as they were in the playoffs and eventually won Major League Baseball’s World Championship in 2019. Yet – pushback came from National’s fans calling me a pretend fan who was jumping on the bandwagon late. I also took pushback from others – calling me out for rooting for the Nationals – since I’m a diehard Orioles fan – as if I couldn’t root for another local team – simply because my team wasn’t in the playoffs (or even being over .500). I could better understand if the Orioles and Nationals were in the same league or division and competing for the same league championship. But the Nationals are my National League team – since I was a young child – I’ve rooted for the local Washington team – back in the day it was the Senators (my dad was a big fan). When I was 12 – I began to root for the Orioles and have stayed with them ever since.

It seems hard to love one another these days. For example – because I have Facebook friends from all walks of life – we don’t all agree on many subjects. Be it sports (Ravens and Steeler fans – Oriole and Yankee fans) – or politics (Republican and Democrat – Trump and Biden or Trump anything – there are some never Trumpers in my friends group) – or theologically (left and right – liberal and conservative – Christian and atheists or others) – my friends are all over the place. We hardly agree on much of anything. As a matter of fact – some have unfriended me because of my beliefs (my theology or ideology). I have snoozed some of late to keep their negative attitude off my feed so I can have some sanity.

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October 19, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Abortion – Our Nation’s Evil

Psalm 139:14

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

This is a reworked repost. It is sad that we have not ended abortion as of yet. It is coming up on 48 years since abortion has been made legal. Although there are some crisis circumstances – like rape – incest and the actual life of the mother – abortion has become a form of birth control for many.

January 1973 – I was 17 – soon to be 18 – and a graduate of High School. I was preparing to enter Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) for the summer semester to get a head start on college. I would raise my baseball officiating career to the college level by umpiring division one games at Navy that spring and be invited by Navy’s coach to go to Florida to umpiring school to become a professional umpire. Life was good – for me. But January 1973 is an infamous month in the history of our country. Nearly 48 years ago (I can’t believe I’ve been out of High School that long) the courts passed Roe v. Wade – which legalized killing babies in the womb – called abortion.

I understand that this is a hot button topic still today. My Facebook post the other day really got some people responding. Abortion is a hot topic right now because President Trump has placed two Justices on the Supreme Court in recent years and has nominated a third (in the process now). Vice President Pence is very pro-life and so maybe for the first time in 46 years there is hope for the pro-life movement to have some laws changed to protect the lives of the unborn children.

I’ve written about abortion on several occasions – one article was titled – An Article about Abortion – written in 2009. Another article was titled simply – Abortion – written in 2008. Still another article was titled – Does It Take Controversy – written in 2012.  In 2011 I mentioned abortion in an article about the upcoming resolutions before General Conference in 2012. In 2011 I wrote another article titled – When Will Our Nation Awaken to Such a Great Sin?  In 2010 I wrote about abortion and used the example of a dear child that doctors said should be aborted and about a woman who was aborted but lived. In 2010 I also shared The Manhattan Declaration In Total.

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October 13, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What? Me Worry?

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The 2020 Presidential Elections will happen in less than a month. Your candidate will either win or lose – your opinions will either be in the majority or the minority. You may agree or disagree that our nation is headed in the right or wrong direction. Many in the news – on Facebook – or other social media will try to project the future. They will have mixed projections – and mixed results.

Let’s look at a few things. The stock market has hit all time highs for the last 4 years – with some ups and downs during the pandemic (but rebounding). Are your finances better off today than they were 4 years ago? Some say that people vote according to their personal pocketbook. Will you?

Several of us who are closing in on retirement – say in the next few years – naturally peek into the future to see what the climate will be as that day approaches. We look at things like the housing market – our debt – the Dow Jones – our savings – the cost of living – and on and on the list might go. Looking to the future is not a bad thing – it is actually a wise thing. Dave Ramsey has many suggestions about savings and retirement. Look up some of his ideas here. The Presidential elections usually have a major impact on the market – on our finances. As one who is considering retirement – these are all things I am thinking and praying about on a regular basis.

We’re told that many if not most Americans are better off today than ever before. The jobless numbers were down to record lows before the pandemic (and improving as we rebound from it). The average wage is higher than ever before – and rising in record amounts. But – is it all about our finances?

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October 7, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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