Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Grass Grows and Withers

Isaiah 40:6

A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.”

Life ChangeA number of summers ago I lost my front yard. A combination of lack of water – excess sunshine – and a weak root system did it in. I treated the ground – aerated – seeded with good seed – fertilized with starter fertilizer and winter fertilizer later in the season and that following spring I fertilized it again. It came up strong and full. I fully realize that if I can’t figure out a way to water the yard in the summer – it will not be as full later in the year. That year I got an estimate for a sprinkler system – and that was way out of my price range. I purchased some extra hose and have tried – during the dry periods – to water the front yard. It did OK.

Even with all of that work that fall – just a few weeks into March even – my yard was like most yards – dormant (to a degree). It did remain green through the winter that year – thanks to fertilizers and a mild winter – but it was in a dormant state. With the warmer than normal March that spring – with lots of sunshine and some rain – my yard was ahead of schedule that spring. It had time that spring to deepen the roots and thicken before the summer months. I cut my grass at the highest setting my lawn tractor with a mulching kit would allow. I cut the grass twice a week during the peak-growing season so I don’t leave behind piles or clumps of dead grass. I love a green lawn throughout the year!

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April 16, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advent Attitude Check

Philippians 2:5

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

Life ChangeAdvent is in the second week and Christmas is only 16 days away – counting today and Christmas Day. Are you excited yet? What do you do to prepare for the Christmas season? A niece of mine and her married family always bake dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies that their family (and extended family) baked together. It is a family tradition for her husband’s family. They certainly look good and if I could taste them – I imagine they taste good too. I will try to resist cookies this Christmas season – LOL.

What do you do to prepare for Christmas? What do you do in this time of waiting and anticipating (Advent)? Were you active on Cyber Monday shopping online? Now they call the whole time – throughout the week – Cyber Week – so if we missed the one day – we were able to catch up throughout the week (maybe even the whole month). Have any of us hit the Malls yet? Have we baked some cookies? Have we planned our parties and the ones we will attend? Have we picked out that perfect gift for our loved ones? Continue reading

December 10, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Does The Supernatural

Jonah 1:17

Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMThe Bible is filled with stories that skeptics have a hard time believing. There’s the one about feeding 5,000 men (not counting the women and children in one report) with a two fish and five loaves with 12 baskets leftover after all had eaten their fill. There’s the one about a small boy slaying a giant of a man with a slingshot and a stone. There’s the one about a man thrown into a den with hungry lions all-night and surviving. There’s the one about the man dead for several days and being summoned from his tomb by Jesus. I could go on and on.

Just so we are on the same page – Jesus believed in these stories – because He speaks of them as He is quoted in the Gospels. Jesus is quoted as speaking about the Great Flood and Noah and He is quoted as speaking about today’s passage – and miracle. There’s that word – miracle. A miracle is something thought impossible – like the Miracle Mets of 1969 when they played my beloved Baltimore Orioles in the World Series and won in five games. Some believed the ’69 Orioles to be one of the finest teams to ever play the game! Continue reading

September 24, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Time Flies

Psalm 39:4

Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.

Time flies. I’ve had a few dreams of late – really sound sleep and the dreams come when I sleep soundly. Some of them have been about the past – about some of the good and not so good times in my life. The main point I’ve taken away from them is that time flies. We do not have very long on this sphere we call earth. We need to use every day to the best of our ability and try to take good care of our bodies so God can use us for His purposes while we are here.

Today’s passage tells us that life is fleeting. Our days are numbered and life is fleeting – here on earth. Life is short here – but eternal with God or without God. We must yield to God here in order to live eternally with Him in heaven. Continue reading

April 18, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Are Called To Reach The Lost

Luke 15:10

In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

My father concluded his active ministry as an evangelist. He preached in revivals all over the east coast and some in some other states like Ohio – West Virginia – Minnesota – and Indiana. He loved sharing the Gospel with folks. He loved when folks would open their hearts to Jesus and receive Him as their Lord and Savior. I love being a pastor of a local congregation – but the times I have preached revivals for other churches has given me a glimpse of what dad shared in those twilight years of his active ministry. I too love it when the lost come to know Jesus and receive his free gift of salvation.

Revivals seem to be a thing of the past. It seems that many pastors today don’t believe in hell or Satan and his demons. It stands to reason that the belief in hell and Satan would fade for those who don’t believe they are real. For eight years I served on our conference Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) and have served many terms on the District Committee of Ordained Ministry (DCOM) as well. I often ran into pastoral candidates who were Universalists – persons who simply believed that all persons went to heaven. There were times – during examinations – candidates (many who eventually were ordained) couldn’t clearly define salvation because they couldn’t explain what the alternative would be. Continue reading

April 10, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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