Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Running the Race of Our Lives

1 Corinthians 9:26

Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.

Rays HaircutHave you picked your favorite candidate for President in 2020? he election is only 5 plus months away. The two major candidates – President Donald Trump (the current President and Republican candidate) and Mr, Joe Biden (former Vice President the the Democratic candidate) – are facing a difficult campaign season with the Pandemic making typical rallies and campaigning difficult if not impossible. Both believe they would make the best next President of the United States. I’m praying for our country and the next President. I truly hope that the person we elect has a plan and that the other leaders of our country have one too – and that they gel. Our country is in trouble if a plan doesn’t develop that will carry us forward – past this pandemic and to help our economy to recover.

As I type this – basketball and baseball – among other sports – are on hold. NASCAR has returned and I actually saw ESPN running a cornhole contest. The public must be starving for entertainment and sports.

Basketball is talking about a playoff of some sorts. Baseball – Major League Baseball – is talking about playing in July – a shortened season – maybe 100 games rather than 162 with more teams making the playoffs. Continue reading

May 18, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Love Is Good!

Psalm 136:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.

Rays HaircutWe often debate what is good in our lives. For instance – if you asked me a few years ago what was good – I might have said – lemon meringue pie – or peanut butter moose track ice cream. These days I can’t have either (at least I’m not supposed to have them) and have had to turn them down (I’m trying to lose some weight for a variety of reason). Some might say – my marriage is good – or my children are good – or my favorite team is good.

School is out for the remainder of this school year because of the pandemic. Some might say that is good. I feel for the seniors who are missing out on so much.

The NFL just released their full schedule for the 2020-2021 season and some might say that is good. Getting back to sports might help us some. I wonder if baseball will begin around July 1?

What or who do you think is good? Getting back to work? Getting a paycheck? Retiring? Being able to see your family again? I hope your marriage is good – if you are married.

The ultimate good – according to Scripture and the personal experience from many of us – is the love of God. All things we consider good are temporal – they do not last. But the love of God endures forever. Continue reading

May 8, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Should All Be Prayer Warriors

Jeremiah 20:11

But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.

Rays HaircutLamar Jackson was a mighty warrior for the Baltimore Ravens last fall. I hope he is again this year. Last year he thew for more TDs than any other quarterback and ran for more yards than any quarterback in NFL history. His team – our team – the Ravens – had the best record in the league this past year at 14-2. I hope they are as good or better this year.

Lamar would be the first to say that he fell short last year. He has a 20-3 record since becoming the starting quarterback (I think). Yet – with such a good regular season record – his playoff record is 0-2. He is focused on winning playoff games for sure. I hope this coming year is the year the team goes deep into the playoffs.

My dad was always a mighty warrior to me. He stood for Biblical truth – as he saw it – and never in my lifetime wavered from it. He was consistent and reliable and in this day and age when everything is ever changing – that was a solid foundation for me growing up.

We all need a warrior – a prayer warrior in our lives. We all need to mature into prayer warriors ourselves as well. Continue reading

April 23, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Need Some Prayer Warriors – Please

Jeremiah 20:11

But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.

Ray 2019Lamar Jackson – Marlon Humphreys – Marshal Yanda – Earl Thomas – Mark Ingram – Mark Andrews and Marcus Peters – just to name a few Baltimore Ravens – have played like mighty warriors this year. They have won 10 straight games and have won games in very hostile stadiums and in terrible weather. They have won when they have not played their best. They have fought hard – for entire games – not taking off any time during games. They are 12-2 and could lock up the #1 playoff slot in the AFC with a win Sunday against the Cleveland Browns (who beat them early in the season).

Another mighty warrior that I know is my dear friend Norma Floyd. She has been battling cancer for many years. There have been times we all thought she was at the end – only to see her bounce back. Last fall we didn’t think she would see Christmas 2018 and now we are facing the thought that she may not make Christmas 2019. Norma has never wavered from her faith and her love for her children and grandchildren. She has always been a dear friend of mine. In the words of another dear friend – when he found out that Norma was not doing well said – Norma always made you look good Rev. Ray. To which I responded – and that is not an easy task for sure.

My dad was always a mighty warrior to me – he stood for Biblical truth – and never wavered from it. He was consistent and reliable and in this day and age when everything is ever changing – that was a solid foundation for me growing up. He stood for Jesus – even to the very end.

Mighty warriors are not easy to find. Mighty prayer warriors are even harder to find. We need some mighty prayer warriors today! Things are not going well in the world around us.

Continue reading

December 17, 2019 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smile – Someone is Watching

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.

Life ChangeWhat brings a smile to your face? Of course the first answer I would give these days is spending time with my grandchildren (and children). We now have five grandchildren with a sixth on the way. Another answer might be a long winning streak by the Baltimore Ravens or Washington Wizards (even a win would be great at times). Didn’t the Ravens play a great game Sunday? They came up just short in overtime – but all in all – it was a good game against one of the best teams in the NFL. The game brought a smile to my face. I had to miss the ending – one of my grandchildren had a Christmas event at her school and I left the game with a few minutes left in regulation.

Still another reason to smile might be time spent with my wife. I could get very pastoral here (and truthful) and say a smile comes across my face when a person receives Jesus 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). I remember when one of my daughters greeted me 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 – or bacon frying (that one always brings a smile to my face)? Continue reading

December 11, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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