Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Giving Our Faith Rain

Isaiah 40:6

A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.”

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amIt seems like – it doesn’t matter what I do – if I don’t get enough rain – I will lose my front yard. Last summer I lost my front yard.  A combination of lack of water – excess sunshine and a weak root system does it every time. I treated the ground – aerated – seeded with good seed – fertilized with starter fertilizer and winter fertilizer later in the season and most springs I fertilized it again. It often comes up strong and full – but I fully realize that if I can’t figure out a way to water it through the summer heat – it will be gone again. I got an estimate for a sprinkler system – and that is more than I want to pay. I could install a system myself or figure out a way to use my hose and sprinkler more often. I must figure out how to sprinkle through the summer without burning the ground with the hose full of water in the middle of the day.

Even with all of that work each fall – at the start of March – maybe the end of February – my yard looks like most yards – dormant (to a degree). With the wet spring we had this year – my yard greened up and looked great. I hoped it would have time to deepen the roots before the heat arrived. Who would have guessed we would be so dry from July through early October. I cut my grass at the highest setting my lawn tractor with a mulching kit will allow. I cut it twice a week during the peak growing season so I don’t leave behind piles or clumps of dead grass. I would love to have a green lawn throughout the year! I guess everyone would. Continue reading

October 11, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meeting God Face-To-Face

Exodus 33:22

When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amHave you ever met someone that put you into awe mode? I’ve met some famous people over the years – and I’ve felt honored to meet them. I personally met several ball players over the years. I’ll name a few – and some of our younger readers might not know some of them – Johnny Unitas – Jim Palmer – Boog Powell – Eddie Murray (I remember him standing in the rain to give me an autograph) – Brooks Robinson – Harmon Killebrew – Frank Howard – Raymond Berry – Frank Robinson – Wes Unseld – Earl Monroe – Paul Blair – Don Buford – Al Bumbry – Justin Tucker – Matt Stover – and others. I once refereed a basketball game at old Andover High School where the visiting team was made up of Oriole ball players and others. I remember giving a technical foul before the game began – to Al Bumbry – for dunking in warmups – yes – I was a sticker for the rules back in the day.

Have you ever met someone that put you into awe mode? Maybe – with how close we are to Washington – you have met some politicians – like Presidents or others. Maybe – some of my friends who work with FCA have met some current players. I know I attended a dinner recently and met Coach Harbaugh along with some players. Continue reading

October 9, 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

Who Guides Our Thoughts and Actions Each Day?

Galatians 5:25

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amWho guides our thoughts and actions each day? Do we rely on our own abilities or thinking? Do we follow other’s thinking or even consult a horoscope (please don’t say yes to a horoscope)? How do we determine things like – who we vote for in elections – how we vote in our congregations or denomination – whether to marry or not and to whom? Who do we turn to when discussing starting a family – what job to take – whether to relocate for work – when to retire – whether to buy or rent and in what community? All important decisions for sure. Do we rely on our skills – on our spouse – on our parents – on our friends – on the world around us – on some online teacher?

Who guides our thoughts and actions each day? How do we decide what is right or wrong – what is beneficial or detrimental in our lives? Where do we turn to discern the path in life we should walk? If it hasn’t been God – if it has only been God for a few things – how’s that working for you? I know for me – the times I have made my own decision – it has been hit or miss – but when I have turned to God – God is batting 100%. Continue reading

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

Happy New Years 2019

Philippians 3:12

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

January 1st is here – Happy New Year. What will you do with the new year? Do you have a plan for the days ahead? Remember what I wrote yesterday – If we aim at nothing – we’re bound to hit it. I hope that we didn’t party too much last night (I know I was in bed early). I hope that we have a plan for the new year. What about some deepening of our faith? What about healing some relationships? What about losing some weight and getting into better shape?

January 1st is here – Happy New Year. Did you make any resolutions? Have you held to them for this day? Or have you broken some of your resolutions already? I listed some of mine yesterday. They include – I plan on losing more weight. I plan on reading more in the Word of God. I plan to increase my prayer life. I plan on spending more time with my family. I plan to take all of my vacation and days off. These are just a few of my 2019 goals. What are yours?

Continue reading

January 1, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2019 – What Are Your Goals?

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Life ChangeToday is New Year’s Eve – 2018. What will you do today or tonight? Do you have plans to spend time with friends until the ball drops and we begin 2019? Are you going to a party or like our church – a game night tonight? Are you heading to New York or DC or Annapolis? What are your plans for tonight? Sometimes I stay up – sometimes I go to bed early. My wife is babysitting some of our grands – I may be alone. I could be in bed by 9 pm or stay up. We’ll see how much I do during the day and how tired I am tonight. Maybe an afternoon nap will help me stay up till the New Year.

Tomorrow is January 1st – New Year’s Day – 2019. What are your goals for 2019? Remember – one of my favorite sayings – aim at nothing and you’re bound to hit it! Spend some time today – if you haven’t already – planning some goals for 2019. In the message yesterday – I mentioned a few things. Did any of those goals fit your eye? Let’s spend some time discussing some goals for 2019. Continue reading

December 31, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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