Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Who Knows Us the Best?

Psalm 139:23

Search me, God, and know my heart;

Ray 2019Who is it that knows you better than any other? That might be a curious question and the Sunday School answer would be Jesus for sure. But think about it for a moment. If you’re married – as I have been for nearly 40 years – your spouse might know you pretty well. If your children have any age on them – mine all in their 30’s – they might know you pretty well. If you worked in the same place for a few decades – your co-workers might know you pretty well too. Your parents – if they are still alive – might know you pretty well also.

Unless we are hermits – there are those in our life who know us pretty well. Well enough in some cases to guess how we will react to certain things – or even finish our sentences (isn’t that scary?). Other than my wife and children – maybe my brother and sister – no one knows me like my dear friend Norma – who just transitioned to be with Jesus for eternity. Thanks for your prayers for me – for her children and grandchildren – and her many friends.

I perform a lot of funerals and often friends and family have some of the same stories about their loved one. They laugh and cry at the same memories. Yet – no one knows us like we know us and know one knows us like God knows us. We can hide so much from others – our deepest thoughts – yet we know them and God knows them. We can put on a show or a façade for many who see us – even on a regular basis – but we can hide from God. Continue reading

December 20, 2019 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s NEVER Too Late

Philippians 1:9

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,

Life ChangeIf you’re a parent – you probably had or have dreams for your children. I know I had and have dreams for our three girls. Dreams about their physical – emotional and spiritual growth. Dreams about their athletic abilities – and their maturity – and about their walk with Jesus. They have surpassed most of my dreams for sure. They are amazing young women (young is always a relative term). Their mother and I are very blessed by them. The men in their lives are also a blessing. Our five granddaughters are a new generation to pray over and invest in for sure. It is NEVER too late to take corrective action though – if our dreams and prayers have not been met.

If you’ve had or have dreams for your life – you probably have succeeded in some areas and fallen short in some areas. As I look back at my life – there are things I would do differently – of course – but – overall – I’m pleased with my life. I may not have reached all of my goals – but the ones that are most important – my walk with Jesus and my family – are a blessing. I wish I could lose another 50 pounds. I wish I could still dunk a basketball (yet I can still light it up from the 3-point arc). I wish my ministry had reached more people for Jesus. I wish I had spent more time with my family – and less time working. I wish I hadn’t spent so much money on cars as a teen and young adult. OK – the list could go on and on – but – most of my dreams have come true and some are still in reach. It is NEVER too late to take corrective action though – if our dreams and prayers have not been met. Continue reading

April 4, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In case you didn’t know it – I’m very emotional.

Romans 12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

In case you didn’t know it – or didn’t know me well – I’m very emotional. I’m the kind of guy that cries at shows on the TV. I cry when certain songs are played. I’ve yet to watch It’s a Wonderful Life without crying. I cry at most movies that talk about the death of a parent. I can be found crying while watching The Andy Griffith Show or MASH.

In case you didn’t know it – or didn’t know me well – I’m very emotional. I like a good belly laugh – hearing jokes or telling them. I like to be around funny people. I have numerous golf jokes and pastor’s jokes if you’d like to hear them.

In case you didn’t know it – or didn’t know me well – I’m very emotional. I enjoy expressing my love for my wife – for my children – and for my grandchildren. I love hugs and my granddaughters give the best hugs. I drive my brother crazy when I tell him I love him.

In case you didn’t know it – or didn’t know me well – I’m very emotional. I have a hard time at funerals – often shedding tears right along with the family. I remember doing the funeral of my brother’s future (that week) father-in-law and losing it in the midst of the service. I had known that man my whole life and knowing the emotions of that week got to me. Continue reading

July 30, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 30 of Lent 2018

John 14:1

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

Today is day 30 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan on www.youversion.com. I pray that you are continuing to read the pan or can catch up with this reading plan. Lent is the 40 days leading up to the cross of Calvary. Walk with me as we draw near to God.

I picked the first verse today – of the reading. This is a section of Scripture that many pastors use at funerals. Jesus – speaking to His disciples – says – Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. These are meant to be words of encouragement – and we should receive them as such. If we believe in God and trust in God – we should also believe in and trust the words of Jesus! Something to think about today! Continue reading

March 15, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Is The Battle Against?

Ephesians 6:12

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

When I was in High School – we battled several area High Schools for dominance in sports and in academics. We had battles with their bands and music departments too. Annapolis High was one of the best at most sports and in music. We battled Severna Park and Arundel High for 1st place in many areas of school life. The battles were real and we played or performed for keeps.

Who do we battle today? Do we battle folks at work? Do we battle against folks who root for another sports team than us? Do we battle with our spouse? Do we battle with members of our own church? Do we battle with our pastor? Who do we battle? And why? Continue reading

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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