Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Be An Encourager!

1 Thessalonians 4:17-18

17 After that,we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Life ChangeBe an encourager. What is it that would encourage us today dear readers? When we’re trying to lose weight or put it on – doesn’t it encourage us when people notice and say something nice to us? When we are trying to change our shape – exercising more or watching what we eat – it is nice when people notice. When you’re trying to change something about yourself – isn’t it nice to hear someone say something nice about that change? Let’s try to notice others and not be so narcissistic – focused on self so much.

Be an encourager. What is it that would encourage us today dear readers? Yesterday I played some golf with a friend. It was my first time in about 10 years trying to walk all 18 holes. It is early in the season. I was encouraged by my score – but I was also encouraged by my friend. He often said good things (when I hit good shots) and didn’t rag on my when I hit some not so good shots. I tried to return the favor – encouraging him as he played his game. We were not competing – we were enjoying each others company and the great outdoors. It wasn’t about me playing well – it was about us having a good time and enjoying the day. I decided before we went out – my focus yesterday was going to be on enjoying the day and encouraging my friend. Hit some really nice drives and approach shots. He hit a few irons like I have never seen him hit before – and I made sure he knew I thought they were outstanding. My task for the day was to make sure he had a good time and felt encouraged playing.

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March 26, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Loves Us All!

John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Life ChangeIt is no secret – I like golf. The course is too wet – even though the temps have been good for February. Golf doesn’t always like me. I enjoy playing golf and the friends I play with from time-to-time. Some say – golf is a good walk in the outdoors – spoiled. Not me – I love the nature in golf – but I also like the game itself. I plan to improve my game this summer (like every year) – with my weight loss I plan to get back to walking the course some. I usually play better when I walk the course – and the weight loss (66 pounds from my max) should help. I’d like to play in the 70’s (not the temperature folks) this summer on a regular basis. Last summer I only hit the 70’s a few times. Most of the year I played in the 80’s with a few really bad round. We shall see!

I do what some think the most boring thing imaginable – I watch golf on TV (I’d rather be playing – but I do enjoy a good match on TV from time-to-time). When you watch golf – many times in the crowd around a tee-box – you see someone with a sign that simply says John 3:16. The assumption is that most people know what that verse says – or maybe it will cause them to go and look it up. It is part of this morning’s passage. John 3:16-17 – 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Continue reading

February 18, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Is Our Shelter

Psalm 91:1

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Life ChangeLast summer – when I was playing golf – the rains came (I was told it never rained on the golf course). I took out my trusty umbrella – and got beneath its protection. I stayed dry because I was under the protection of that umbrella – which was made to do just what it did. It rained hard for a few holes – and when the rain passed – I put the umbrella up – until it was needed again.

When I was a young lad – living with my parents – my parents were my protection from the world around me. They taught me about life – they did what they could to protect me from hurt and from trouble. Most often – when I listened to their advice – I stayed safe and out of trouble. When I didn’t listen – I often got into trouble.

When we became parents – Carolyn and I found ourselves trying to protect our children from trouble. At times we did a good job – at times we failed. Most times our children listened – there were a few times they did not. Continue reading

January 28, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Need a Nap?

Psalm 121:1-2

I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Photo on 10-9-18 at 2.15 PMThe Major League Baseball playoffs are in full swing. Only one series to go before the World Series. What team are you rooting for to win it all? I’m rooting for the Houston Astros and the LA Dodgers to meet in the World Series and for the Astros to win it all.

I wish it was the Orioles playing for the World Series – but they qualified for the number 1 draft choice in next year’s amateur draft. I am an O’s fan and always will be – even during hard years. I suffered through 14 straight losing seasons several seasons ago. We’re tired – already – of this losing skid and want changes. We hope the changes that are coming will help us win again. But this is not real life! It is a game!

Where do you go when you are tired and exhausted in real life? When you need rest – where do you turn? I’ve had a busy week. Besides working over 60 plus hours – I’ve played basketball – a round of golf – and I’ve walked several miles each day. I’ve only gotten about 5-6 hours of sleep each night and according to my new watch – that sleep hasn’t always been sound. I could use a nap! Taking a nap seemed like a punishment as a child. As an adult it is something I look forward to taking! Who agrees with me? 😇💤 Continue reading

October 12, 2018 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

God Can Heal Our Hurting Nation and Denomination

John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

It is no secret – I like golf. Golf just doesn’t always like me. I enjoy playing golf and the friends I play with from time-to-time. Some say – golf is a good walk in the outdoors – spoiled. Not me – I love the nature in golf – but I also like the game itself. I plan to improve my game this year (like every year) – with my weight loss I plan to get back to walking the course too. I usually play better when I walk the course – and the weight loss (44 pounds from my max) should help. I’d like to play in the 70’s (not the temperature folks) this summer on a regular basis. Last summer I didn’t hit the 70’s at all and played mostly in the mid 80’s. We shall see! I shot an 81 – last week.

I do what some think the most boring thing imaginable – I watch golf on TV (I’d rather be playing – but I do enjoy a good match on TV from time-to-time). When you watch golf – many times in the crowd around a tee-box – you see someone with a sign that simply says John 3:16. The assumption is that most people know what that verse says – or maybe it will cause them to go and look it up. It is part of this morning’s passage. John 3:16-17 – 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Continue reading

August 8, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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