Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Never Will I Leave You

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Do we have any life-long friends? It is unusual to have friends from childhood till death. I have a few friends from my school days – but not many. Most of us grew up and went on with our lives. Because I attended three elementary schools – two junior high schools – and one high school – I haven’t been able to keep in touch with many from my younger days. Facebook has helped some.

My daughters are in the position that most pastors’ children do not experience. They started and finished grade school – middle school – and high school – with the same set of friends. Because we stayed in one church for 24 years – they grew up in the same school system and even today – grown and with families – they have some of the same friends for their school days.

Other than family – most of us don’t have friends from our childhood. For some of us – our 35-55-75 year marriage is the longest running friendship we have known. Some will never know that either – with many marriages not making it that long. Continue reading

April 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Did It Take To Convince You?

Mark 15:39

And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

Some people take a lot of convincing. If we are to be convinced about something – without doubt – we often require certain proofs. For instance – if someone cheats on us – in marriage or in business – it might take quit a bit of time on good behavior to convince us that someone has changed their ways. For some of us – nothing would convince us. Broken trust is not easy to heal.

If someone hurts us – how much time or effort needs to go into an apology and forgiveness? For some of us – there is no turning back. For some – we forgive – depending on the offense – quickly. For others it all depends on the hurt. Some say – hurt me once – shame on you – hurt me twice – shame on me. Continue reading

April 18, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Faithful Stewards

1 Peter 4:10

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

The Baltimore Orioles and every other Major League Baseball team is trying to figure out what 25 players to put on their opening day roster (just a few days away on April 3rd for the Orioles at home against the Blue Jays). Trying to figure out the best 25 players for a team is not easy. Many reporters have discussed in their posts and articles which 25 they think should make the team. There are obvious players who will make the team and then the manager must decide who else will make the team. It isn’t always as easy as picking the 25 best players.

Contracts and options (a player that can be sent to the minors without the chance of losing them through waivers) play a big part in the process. Also having the right number of players in each position is important. An outfielder for instance might be a better all around player than an infielder that makes the team but might be the 5th or 6th outfielder on the depth chart. He might be sent to the minors rather than make the team because there is a need for a certain amount of players to play the infield. The same could be said about some right-handed pitchers when the team might need a few left-handers or starters and relievers. Some players can do most anything – like super-sub Ryan Flaherty for the Orioles. The more positions a player can play the more valuable they are to the team. Yet – most players can only play one position. Everyone can’t pitch. Everyone cannot hit clean- up. It is part of the manager’s decision which 25 players will help him long-term throughout the season and at what position. Continue reading

March 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Serving The Lord

Romans‬ ‭12:11‬
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

There are times we must respond – right away. No hesitation! No delay. The question that might be asked is this – will we be ready to respond when called upon?

Preparing for the unknown is something that some do well and some do not. We’ve all heard the phrase – prepare for the worst and hope for the best – I would imagine. If you are a normal planner – this isn’t hard for you. If you typically fly by the seat of your pants or are somewhat less of a planner – it might be hard.

For instance – one shouldn’t wait until retirement to begin to plan for it. Savings and investments take time. Planning about when to retire and where to live upon retirement take time to plan. Even planning – some – of what you will do in retirement can be a help.

Another example – coming to agreement with your spouse on certain issues before they actually arise. For instance – how many children we would like or even if we want children and when – might be something to talk about and even have some agreement upon before one marries. Continue reading

March 27, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love Never Fails

1 Corinthians 13:7-8

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

This summer my wife and I will celebrate 37 years of marriage. How she has stayed with me this long is only a blessing from God for sure. Her love never seems to fail. There is a standard joke among the women in our family. With the passing of my mom – it came out at her funeral. We would often say – Nan loves her man. My mother loved my father something fierce. Nothing could come between her and her man! (I’m not saying they never had disagreements because they did).

Growing up I had such a good example of a mom and dad – a husband and wife. They had an endearing love that held them together – as the saying goes – through thick and thin. They are finally back together in heaven – without the old bodies that hindered their last years. Continue reading

March 9, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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