Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

It Seems Hard To Love One Another

John 14:15

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Life ChangeIt seems hard to love one another. For example – I tried to cheer on the Washington Nationals as they were in the playoffs and eventually won Major League Baseball’s World Championship. Yet – pushback came from National’s fans calling me a pretend fan who was jumping on the bandwagon late. I also took pushback from others – calling me out for rooting for the Nationals – since I’m a diehard Orioles fan – as if I couldn’t root for another local team – simply because my team wasn’t in the playoffs. I could better understand if the Orioles and Nationals were in the same league or division and competing for the same league championship. But the Nationals are my National League team – since I was a young child – I’ve rooted for the local Washington team – back in the day it was the Senators (my dad was a big fan). When I was 12 – I began to root for the Orioles and have stayed with them ever since.

It seems hard to love one another. For example – because I have Facebook friends from all walks of life – we don’t all agree on many subjects. Be it sports (Ravens and Steeler fans – Oriole and Yankee fans) – or politics (Republican and Democrat – Trump and Hillary or now Trump or anyone but Trump) – or theologically (left and right – liberal and conservative – Christian and atheists or others) – my friends are all over the place. We hardly agree on much of anything. As a matter of fact – some have unfriended me because of my beliefs (my theology or ideology). Continue reading

November 8, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking A Nap – Finding Rest

Psalm 121:1-2

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

June 2019The Major League Baseball season is in full swing. We just passed the All-Star game. What team are you rooting for to win it all? I’m rooting for the Houston Astros and the LA Dodgers to meet in the World Series and for the Astros to win it all.

I wish it was the Orioles playing for the World Series – but they are aiming to qualify for the number 1 draft choice in next year’s amateur draft for the second straight year. I am an O’s fan and always will be – even during hard years. I suffered through 14 straight losing seasons several seasons ago. We’re tired – already – of this losing skid and want changes. We hope the changes that are coming will help us win again. But this is not real life! It is a game! (As I type this devotional they have a perfect game against them thru 8 innings – not good.)

Where do you go when you are tired and exhausted in real life? When you need rest – where do you turn? I had a busy week last week with VBS and needing help in the office. Besides working over 70 plus hours – I’ve walked several miles each day. I’ve only gotten about 5-6 hours of sleep each night (one night only 3) and according to my new watch – that sleep hasn’t always been sound. I could use a nap! Taking a nap seemed like a punishment as a child. As an adult it is something I look forward to taking! Who agrees with me? 😇💤 Continue reading

July 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is Holy Ground for You?

Exodus 3:5

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMWhat is holy ground for you? I’ve got a friend who is trying – in his lifetime – to visit all of the Major League ballparks. The endeavor takes him and his son all over the country each summer as they strive to visit all of the parks. It is sort of a holy grail type journey – walking on holy ground – as it were.

What is holy ground for you? Speaking of going to ballparks – I remember the first time I attended a MLB game. Visiting that ballpark – old Griffith Stadium – in DC – as a child with my dad to watch the Washington Senators was exciting. Seeing Frank Howard up close for the first time was eye-opening – because he was so huge! I remember seeing the painted seats in the outfield where Frank’s homers landed. It was hallowed ground if not holy ground. Continue reading

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Run With Perserverance

Hebrews 12:1

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…

As I write this – three of my favorite teams are dealing with different parts of a trying season. The Baltimore Orioles have started well – and after 32 games they have the second best record in Major League baseball. Unfortunately – for now – the team with the best record in MLB is a half game ahead of them in their division. The season is long (162 games) and so they have a lot of games left. If their pitching holds up – their defense as well – and their offense begins to come around it should be a nice season for sure. (By the way – the O’s are facing the Nationals in a series right now and the Nat’s are close behind the O’s in record in the National League.) It takes perseverance to succeed in the long season.

The Washington Wizards are tied up in their second round playoff series with the Boston Celtics – 2 wins and 2 loses. They return to Boston for game 5 and the hope is they win there and win at home in game 6 to move on in the playoffs (they have won the last two games at home). Their guards are leading the way as they combine to score a large portion of their points and play defense against a rising super star on the Celtics. If they win this series they will face the Cleveland Cavaliers for the conference championship and if they win that they will face the Golden State Warriors I imagine. For now – let’s get past Boston. Basketball has a long season as well. It seems they only play the regular season in order to determine the pecking order of the playoffs – the real season. It takes perseverance to succeed in the long season.

The Washington Capitals have come back from elimination and squared the series 3 wins to 3 loses with the Pittsburg Penguins. Game 7 will determine who goes further. It is my humble opinion (and I must say I don’t follow hockey very much) that the winner of this series will win the Stanley Cup. The hockey season is another long season with many games. Again – played it seems to determine the pecking order of the playoffs. It takes perseverance to succeed in the long season. Continue reading

May 10, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Labor As Unto The Lord!

Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

RayMcDToday is Labor Day – the day we celebrate the labor force in America – by giving most everyone the day off. As we look around our congregation – we can see the numerous harvest fields God has given us – even within the confines of our own members.

How many of our readers have been to sporting events? FedEx Field? Camden Yards? If we have attended sporting events – especially professional sports – I assume we have also seen players praying on the field – or motioning toward heaven after making a play.  Some Christians – like the Raven’s Matt Stover – point toward heaven – toward God – whether he makes the right play or not – giving God credit for all he does and for the talent to compete at such a high level (he is the best kicker in the NFL IMHO). Continue reading

September 5, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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