Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

These Are Trying Times

John 14:9

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.

Rays HaircutThese are trying times. This pandemic has given us reason to pause. Some have been isolated in their homes for months now – it seems like longer. Some have been continuing to work – wondering where the rest of us have been (LOL). I pray constantly for our members – family and friends – and for the whole world indeed. In our state – Maryland – our governor has given good leadership during these trying times. Many are calling for him to run for POTUS in 2024.

These are trying times. With the recent death at the hands (knee) of a police officer in Minnesota and the multiple deaths of police officers and others by rioters across the nation – our society seems to be on the brink. Many are blaming or pointing the finger at those from the opposite political party. Racial unrest is nothing new. A solution would be something new. A people who worked together for the good of all people would be good.

These are trying times. Finances are an issue for some. For some – this is not a pandemic issue. The stimulus check helped some – but it was not enough for others – who are not back to work yet. Continue reading

June 5, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lent Is Coming Soon!

Matthew 26:35

Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

img_0063-2Lent is coming soon. It begins on Wednesday – February 26th – Ash Wednesday. That morning we will be making the sign of the cross on the foreheads of those who come into our parking lot from 6-7 am (with ashes). We will also offer a blessing. This is a great way – throughout your day – to witness your faith to others. Last year there were a couple of dozen cars who came by. Join us on your way to work or as you begin your day. If you come after 7 am – come into the office – I will be there! (You might need to wake me – LOL)

Lent – according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is defined as – a period of 40 days before Easter during which many Christians do not eat certain foods or do certain pleasurable activities as a way of remembering the suffering of Jesus Christ.

Today’s passage is about Peter and the disciples saying they would not deny Christ – that they would actually die with Jesus if need be. Here is today’s passage in partial context. Matthew 26:30-39 – 30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same. 36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Continue reading

February 17, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Helping Our Marriages

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

June 2019This is an oldie but a goodie. I have written about marriage many times and because I’m having a busy week – I pulled this post from the archives and reworked it some to post today. I thought this post might begin some conversations in our homes and enlighten us concerning ways to help our marriages. It is targeted at men for sure but was useful the first time I used it and I bet it will be this time too. Women can learn too!

I found an article online, by Paul Peterson. The article listed six ideas for husbands to improve their marriage. I thought they were pretty good so I will list them and then see if our readers can come up with additional things a husband can do. I’m still trying to find an article that would help women be better wives. Maybe it hasn’t been written yet because they are perfect (LOL) – I know my wife is!

Some of these items might seem outdated – but – believe me – many of them are still good ideas in many marriages. Adapt them to your context and make additions too.

Here is the list I found:

#1 Date your wife every week.

Just do it. Turn off the TV, say “no” to your buddies, find a babysitter and date that lady! Date her just like you did BEFORE you married her! Continue reading

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quiet Time With God

Mark 6:31

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

June 2019OK – we prayed a few years ago for our children and grandchildren to come home – two grandchildren and parents were living in New Jersey while three grandchildren with parents were living in California. We are so glad to have them back home. It is good to have family close. It was special having almost the whole family together for the 4th of July celebration at my brother’s home. Yesterday was a wonderful time being with family.

Having said that – quiet times around the McDonald home are few and far between these days. Carolyn and I have not had our home to ourselves yet very much in our married life – with children moving back home (we loved it) and my brother-in-law (and dog) living here the last 4 plus years. Being so close to our children and grandchildren – you know they are over often (again – we love it). They all love each other – yet like siblings and cousins – there are times they battle as well. I am not complaining – but finding a quiet moment is not easy – even early in the morning. Yet we realize how important – even essential – quiet time can be for us. My quiet time is often my ride to and from work (about 35-40 minutes one way most days). I listen to music – but – I often listen to podcasts and sermons – soaking in the Spirit and in the Word of God. Continue reading

July 5, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love Deeply

1 Peter 4:8

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

The 1st year anniversary of my mother’s passing was just a couple of days ago. It was a sad day for me – I shed more than a few tears. Mom always showered her children with love. She loved her children deeply – but she loved her man – my father – even more so. She gave of herself in every way so that we would feel cared for and loved. At times I would even say she suffered for us.

In a few months I will remember my father’s passing 6 years ago. Dad loved mom and his children deeply. He worked several jobs – at a time – to provide for his family. He worked hard to show his deep love for his family. At times I would even say he suffered for us.

This summer my wife and I will celebrate 38 years of marriage – if she stays with me till August (LOL). We’re already talking about what we will do to celebrate our 40th. My wife loves her children and her husband deeply. We also love our grandchildren deeply. At times we suffer for them all. Continue reading

February 8, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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