Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Lord – Set Us Free From Our Things

Psalm 146:7

He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free,

RayMcDThere was a time I heard this a lot – do we own our things or do our things own us? While growing up in America – in a lower middle class family – things were of some importance. My parents worked hard to provide for us some of the finer things of life. Christmas was a big deal because it was a time we got lots of new things. Yet ownership of things is a trap for some if not many.

With the recent hurricane – Hurricane Matthew – much devastation has occurred in our Western Hemisphere. Haiti was a place where much damage of property and loss of life occurred. I spent a week on a mission trip there and know that most of the people of Haiti have very little. It wouldn’t take much to take away all that some families have worked a lifetime to collect. I know that much damage was caused in the USA as well but many families in America have insurance or savings or other support to fall back on (although I realize some families do not and may have lost everything). Again – I ask the question I mentioned earlier – do we own our things or do our things own us? Continue reading

October 11, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Our Light Shine Before Others

Matthew 5:16

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

112015 Ray McDonaldAs a pastor’s son – a PK (pastor’s kid) – I always had to be on guard around people. Some were looking for ways to get the pastor’s kid to make mistakes so they could run it in the pastor’s face (or so it seemed). I remember once – in a bowling league – someone treated our team to a round of sodas (we all have marks in a certain frame). I was keeping score and so they brought my soda to me at the scorer’s table. As I raised the cup to my mouth – something didn’t smell right so I put it back down. Later the person who bought the drinks asked me why I wasn’t drinking mine – which made me weary. Later – on a food run – I noticed a small empty vodka bottle near where this person sat. I believe this person was trying to get the PK to drink (I was under age at the time). We must all be no guard – it seems – at all times. Our witness can be damaged in a twinkle of an eye.

I remembering when I was a young adult – going into a bar/restaurant in downtown Annapolis with some of my friends. They went in for a drink – I went in to be with my friends. I hung with them – trying to show them one didn’t need to drink to have a good time. A few times I had to drive them home. I tried to let my light shine – so that Christ could be seen (not always of course – I had my issues). Continue reading

May 3, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

He Was Hungry

Matthew 4:1-2

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

RayBlogI remember as a child running in from outside playing and telling my mom I was starved. Of course I received the typical parent’s response – you’re not starving – you’re just hungry. Of course I wasn’t starving – I was merely – ever so slightly mind you – hungry. It might have been a few hours – even several hours – since my last meal and I had been playing and was running low on fuel.

This past year I visited Haiti on a mission trip. It wasn’t the first time I had seen starving people – having taken several mission trips to Appalachia – but it reminded me of the times I told my mom I was starving. It made me feel bad for ever thinking I was starving.

Continue reading

March 11, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Getting Ready for Haiti

1 Corinthians 6:20, 7:23

You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body... You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.

In a couple of days – I will be headed to Haiti with 17 other Christians.  My prayer is that I will remember these passages.  I have been bought and paid for by the blood of Christ.  Although I should try to take care of the temple (my body) in which the Spirit of God resides – I am God’s to do with as He pleases.  I thought I understood this before – but going way outside my comfort zone with this mission trip as brought it to mind in a different way.

If you didn’t know it – I’m a home body.  I love the good old USA and have no desire of my own to visit anywhere else.  My friend Charles has gone to Russia.  My friend David has been to Haiti six times.  Others have been all over the world.  My wife has expressed and interest in travel abroad.  My daughter and son are talking about adopting a child from China some day – and they would have to travel to China to make that adoption – halfway around the world.  Here I am – concerned about going a little south of Florida.

In my prayers I have decided to follow Jesus – wherever He leads me.  This may or may not be my only mission trip outside the USA.  Right now He is leading me to Haiti.  I’m still not sure how Jesus will use me – I don’t have building skills – I don’t speak French or Creole – I’m not a gifted teacher – I just love Jesus AND I have been bought and paid for by His shed blood – so I yield my life to Him.

While on this trip – I will try to find ways to post blogs each day.  I will be blogging and taking pictures and hoping to use something I enjoy to allow those back home to see what God is showing me.  I decided the cost of a global data phone was too great – so if I find Wi-Fi along the way – I will upload the posts – otherwise I will post them when I get back home.

What I will do is tweet (“RayMcDonald” is my Twitter name) through text message.  These will post to my Facebook (“RamonMcDonald” is my Facebook name) and Diane from the office will send them out by e-mail to the congregation.  With 140 characters I will try to share a glimpse of what God is showing me each day.

Thanks to all who donated and all who have signed up to pray for me while I am gone.  Call the office to sign up to be a prayer warrior – Harriette and the mission team at Mt. Oak have a chart for people to pray.  I’m sure the office will have a copy you can sign up on.

I may be the person going on the trip – but we are all going as the Body of Christ – reaching out to those in need.  Rev. Graves tells me the poverty will rival any I have ever experienced in the mountains of Appalachia (ASP mission trips I have gone on before).  My prayer is that God will use me on this trip to help someone see Jesus.  I pray my attitude – no matter the circumstances – will be a positive one – letting the light of Christ shine.  Happiness is circumstantially drive, while Joy is spiritually derived.  Lord – help me this week to make that more than a nice saying in the lives of those in Haiti.  May they see Jesus in me, through me, and in spite of me this week.  I appreciate your prayers.

Part of me wants to apologize to anyone who is tired of reading about Haiti on my blog – but it is what God is doing with me and I feel led to share it.  I pray that I will never be the same when I return.  I pray that God stretches me and in the remaining years of my life God gives me new and exciting ways to serve Him – since He owns me – bought by His shed blood!

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

June 18, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Outreach | , , | 2 Comments

Praying for Haiti

This morning as I arrived at work – Haiti was on my heart.  Only 12 days till we head off.  I’m am less apprehensive these days and more anticipative. I’m starting to look forward to going and allowing God to use us to help in some small way.  My morning prayers are about God using me(us) during the 8 days we will be away – ask I often say – may God work in me – through me – and in spite of me.

The country is still trying to dig out from under the rubble from the earthquake that occurred in 2010.  I’ve included some pictures in today’s post – the first of a village in Haiti.  As I searched the internet for pictures this morning – some were way too graphic to put up on this blog page.  The carnage that the earthquake caused – to an already poverty-stricken nation – was too much.

Here is a view of the Haiti I saw on my “cruise” – a very different picture.  It is in a beautiful part of the world – with sandy beaches and blue waters.  But people live in poverty most in our country have never seen.  I would say – even the homeless in America have it better off than many in Haiti.  My friend David told me that I needed to prepare for the scenes I will see.  I told him I had been on ASP trips for many years and had seen poverty.  He told me many in Haiti would love to move to Appalachia.

I know my life will never be the same after this trip.  Another prayer is that God will change me – to seek His face more – while I desire His grace.

Some have asked me where Haiti is located and I found this picture which gives us a good idea of where it is located – so close to Florida – so close to other thriving nations.  It is in the Caribbean – where vacation spots are located for many.  Near Cuba – on the same Island with the Dominican Republic – near Jamaica.  It is amazing to me how much poverty can be in such a lush and beautiful part of the world.  But – then again – I have seen poverty in the lush and beautiful mountains of Appalachia – with spectacular views.  You know the song that says – Almost Heaven – West Virginia.

A lot has and will happen to me in 2012.  My first trip outside the USA – my first mission trip outside the USA (same trip) – my first and second grandchild will be born this year (the Lord willing) – Carolyn and I will celebrate 32 years of marriage – I am experiencing a revitalization of my call into ministry – and God is working on me (and more).  I will also have my ear worked on again this year (hopefully) and maybe my eyes (getting to that age where parts are wearing down!).  Like my car with 208,000 plus miles on it – you just replace a few parts and keep on keeping on.  I pray that this Haiti trip is just the start of many more to come.  Maybe some folks from Mt. Oak will join me next time.

God bless you all!

June 8, 2012 Posted by | Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Outreach | , , | 2 Comments


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