Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Quiet Time Is Essential

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.”

OK – we prayed 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.

Having said that – quiet times around the McDonald home are few and far between these days. Three of the grandchildren are staying with us as the family prepares their home. Being so close to the other two grandchildren – you know they are over often. They 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 as easy as it was when it was just the wife and I. Yet we realize how important – even essential – quiet time can be for us. Continue reading

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

Northing Can Separate Us From God

Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

RayMcDNothing – and I mean nothing – can separate us from God. I love the blessed assurance of this passage. Paul was convinced that NOTHING could come between him and the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. I love having that sweet blessed assurance.  At times it may be all we have to cling to in our lives.

Storms will come in our lives – this is a fact.  As the East Coast braces other storms that may follow the most recent one – some changes will happen. Like life has changed for those in West Virginia – in Ellicott City – in New Jersey – and in other places. If the change is merely working from home (because power at work is out) or maybe the children are home from school – there will be some changes in our lives because of the storms that come. Some will face major changes like our first responders – who may be asked to go out into the storm in life threatening situations. Whatever the change – we will all be impacted by the storms that come our way.

As part of my calling as a pastor I have been talking with people over the last few months with some major life situations facing them.  Some are battling cancer – some have marriages on the rocks – some have children who are making extreme decisions – some are still battling events from the past in their lives – some are battling addictions – while others are faced with economic struggles in these times. I’m sure I could continue with the list – and still not hit every storm that we all are facing – outside the weather. Some are even facing demonic attacks – I believe that Satan and his demons are busy at work – trying to steal our joy in Christ – I know this firsthand – and others do as well. Continue reading

September 7, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Great Love

1 John 3:1

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

112015 Ray McDonaldI have four fantastic grandchildren. I mentioned them a couple of days ago in my devotional thought and I have mentioned them before. All four of my grandchildren live out-of-state. Two live in New Jersey and two live in California. Let me tell you – FaceTime is one of the best inventions ever. Also free long distance on our cells to talk to our daughters and sons in far off places! It has made the distance seem less.

Two of my grandchildren are visiting with us this weekend. It is amazing how fast they grow. It hasn’t been that long since they visited last – but they are doing more and growing. At times I wish I were retired so I could visit with them more and spend more time with them when they visit – but that is another story all together.

The reason I mention them again today is the title and base Scripture of today’s devotional. I find myself feeling a great love for them. They are blood of our blood – children of our children – and we love them with a great love. I cannot explain how I feel when I see them or when I get to hold them and cuddle with them. I feel warm inside and cherish being with them. It is an amazing love for sure. Continue reading

March 5, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Changes Your Countenance?

Exodus 34:29
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.

82015 RayWhat brings a smile to your face? Of course the first answer I would give these days is spending time with my grandchildren (and children) (see my granddaughter Scarlett on the Radio Flyer). Another answer might be a long winning streak by the Baltimore Ravens or Washington Redskins (even a win would be great).  Still another might be time spent with my wife (we IMG_0416have the children and grandchildren in our home this weekend (minus a couple of husbands).  I could get very pastoral here and say a smile comes across my face when a person receives Christ – when the light comes on for them in their personal relationship with Jesus. Other things bring a smile to my face as well (like when my friend makes a good shot in golf and gets excited about it). When we see someone with a smile on their face we usually think something just happened and we tend to be curious.

How about when people notice you have lost weight?  Better yet – when they say something encouraging to you (if losing weight was what you were after) (my daughter from New Jersey greeted me last night with a hug and she said – getting skinny dad – as she wrapped her arms around me? What about someone saying something about your new hairdo or your new dress (or suit)? How about the smell of your favorite food – or freshly baked bread (go Mark) – or bacon frying (that one always brings a smile to my face)? Continue reading

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Build, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Much Do We Love God?

Genesis 22:2

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

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What or who is it that we love more than anything? I love my wife more than anyone else in this whole world – and my daughters too – but my granddaughters are catching up with them. I would most anything for them. Last night is a good example (this is meant to be a funny point folks). My beloved Baltimore Orioles were playing the team from Boston in a tight baseball game. The score was 1-0 in favor of the Orioles. It was the top of the ninth and our closer had already gotten four outs and was trying to close out the game with the final out. He had two strikes on the batter and my granddaughters arrived from New Jersey!

I’m not sure what happened – but I got out of my chair – left the TV room and went to help them as they came into the house. I didn’t run back in to see what was happening until all of their stuff was in from the car and I had one granddaughter in tow around my neck! (He ended up walking that batter but got the next one out and won the game.)

They key point – I left something I enjoy – at a critical moment in the game – to see my granddaughters. I’m not holding that up as any major thing mind you – but as an example of what we do when we love something or someone more than something or someone else! Continue reading

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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