Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Is The Cost?

Luke 9:23

Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Life ChangeWhat is the cost of being a fan of the Orioles? This past year we had to suffer through 115 losses. In recent history – we suffered through 14 losing seasons in a row. Some of our best players have signed elsewhere – because we weren’t willing or able to sign them. Some of the best players in baseball were traded away (example: Curt Schilling) or allowed to leave in free agency (example: recently honored Hall of Famer Mike Mussina). Maybe – just maybe – the sons of the current owner of the Orioles will be able to bring back some enthusiasm and bring us a winner once again. We can only hope.

What is the cost of living in Maryland? Some of the things that some would call costs – others might call blessings. For instance – the high cost of living makes it tough – but that also means there are plenty of jobs and careers that pay high wages/salaries. The urban areas of Baltimore and DC are seen by some as a high cost of living in Maryland – but – with many people brings much diversity and amazing schools and hospitals – just to name a few things. We have the Orioles as mentioned before and the Ravens along with some DC teams to cheer as well. And some strong colleges in the area. Continue reading

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January 25, 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 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Where Does Our Help Come?

Psalm 121:1-2

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Life ChangeFrom where does our help come? During the government shutdown – from where does our help come? Were we good savers? Do we have a contingency plan in place – having experienced shutdowns in the past. Have our churches come to our aid? Have other family members? Have other agencies of the government? And – of course – the question remains – when with the POTUS and Congress compromise – solve border security – immigration – and open the government again?

From where does our help come? Have we faced tough issues in life? From where did we seek help when we had medical issues? We have some of the best hospitals in the nation right in our backyard. Some of the best doctors and medical schools. But – can we afford health care? Can we afford the best doctors and medical care? From where does our help come? Will we ever get a grasp on health care in this nation? Continue reading

January 24, 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

Is Everyone Welcome?

1 Corinthians 12:26

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Ray 2018At a Bible Study – not too long ago – the discussion on a Psalm went to community and small group connections. We talked about how important our connections as sisters and brothers in faith really are to our spiritual walk. Body ministry is very significant and not to be taken lightly. The church is a place for folks to connect and support one another. We should rejoice with those who rejoice and suffer with those who suffer.

Have you ever heard the phrase – the church is a hospital for sinners? In that statement – the church is trying to say that we are more than a building. The church is the people of God gathered – and we are a safe place for sinners. Why – because the Lord we serve offers forgiveness for sin and we ARE all sinners. I love the old bumper sticker I saw many years ago – it read: Not Perfect Just Forgiven.

Jesus told His disciples He came to live and die – to offer forgiveness to all who sought it. Luke 24:45-48 – 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. Continue reading

September 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Too Is Part Of The Grieving Process

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

This too is part of the grieving process. A few years ago – I wrote this blog post and this morning it came to mind as I was sitting in the presence of God. I miss my dad so much (and mom too). I hope this devotional touches someone. If it doesn’t – it touched me – so it has served its purpose. It brought fresh tears to my eyes and it is part of my grieving process – nearly 6 years later.

– – – – – – – –

As I sit in the hospital room with my dad my thoughts are scattered.  I know I need time to grieve. I know my emotions are on edge. I know that just the sight of my in-laws this morning followed by my father’s brother brought tears to my heart – for them and for me. Did I say I know I need time to grieve? I know that working helps me grieve and helps control my emotions at the same time. I have thoughts like: what will I do without my father? Who will I turn to with my many questions in life? As the oldest son – the oldest patriarch of the family – what does that mean? Why can’t I be strong for the family and friends? Why must I be so emotional? What will my mom do without dad? What about my sister and brother and the grand/great children? What about my wife, my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law? My brother-in-law has been like a son to dad and has cared for him like his own father – and we cried in each other’s arms last night at the hospital! My mind races to the next steps. Should we have a private burial followed by a memorial service? Should we have a fellowship meal? Where will we hold the service? Who would we ask to help – there are so many pastors in the family – pastors dad influenced – pastors that know him and us? What funeral home will we use – we have such a good relationship with so many? Should we call Hospice Care? Is dad really comfortable? Can he still hear me pray with him? How many angels can dance on the head of a needle? These are just a few of the things running through my head. If you have been where I am right now – you know the many thoughts that are going through my mind. Continue reading

July 12, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seeing Jesus Face-to-Face

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

I pulled this message from five years ago. I’ve reworked it some but basically it is the same. My father’s passing five years ago is part of what has me emotionally depleted today.

As I sit in the hospital room with my dad my thoughts are scattered. I know I need time to grieve. I know my emotions are on edge. I know that just the sight of my in-laws this morning followed by my father’s brother brought tears to my heart – for them and for me. Did I say I know I need time to grieve? I know that working helps me grieve and helps control my emotions at the same time. I have thoughts like: what will I do without my father? Who will I turn to with my many questions in life? As the oldest son – the oldest patriarch of the family – what does that mean? Why can’t I be strong for the family and friends? Why must I be so emotional? What will my mom do without dad? What about my sister and brother and the grand/great children? What about my wife, my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law? My brother-in-law has been like a son to dad and has cared for him like his own father – and we cried in each other’s arms last night at the hospital! My mind races to the next steps. Should we have a private burial followed by a memorial service? Should we have a fellowship meal? Where will we hold the service? Who would we ask to help – there are so many pastors in the family – pastors dad influenced – pastors that know him and us? What funeral home will we use – we have such a good relationship with so many? Should we call Hospice Care? Is dad really comfortable? Can he still hear me pray with him? How many angels can dance on the head of a needle? These are just a few of the things running through my head. If you have been where I am right now – you know the many thoughts that are going through my mind. Continue reading

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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