Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Keep Watch With Me!

Matthew 26:38

Then he said to them, My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.

RayMcDThe Cubs won the World Series in baseball. It has been a long time since that was last typed. This ended a 108-year drought – a period longer than any other Major League Baseball team.

There are Cub fans that haven’t experienced a winning season very often much less winning the title. Yet many Cub fans are diehard fans – win or lose (and they often lost) – they supported their team. Around here the Orioles went 14 seasons without having a winning season and many fans departed and haven’t come back – even though they have started to win again and have been to the playoffs recently. The Nationals have been favorites before the season a few times to win the World Series (on paper) and when they didn’t achieve those lofty goals – some fans departed. Let’s not get started on the Redskins or the Ravens around here or Maryland Football/Basketball.

At times – things won’t go our way. At times – things will actually go wrong. How will we deal with the tough times? Will we stay strong – win or lose? Will we follow the cause – no matter what happens? Will we run the race and fight the fight? Will we stay the course? Continue reading

November 4, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Still – And Know That God Is Present

Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

112015 Ray McDonaldHow’s your Prayer/Fast going? If you began on the first day of the Revival (2/7) – you’d be on day 17 of a 49 day Prayer/Fast. Any stories to share?

I remember – seems like a lifetime ago – we use to sing Be Still My Soul in worship – often. It was a favorite hymn it seemed.

Lyrics go like this – 1. Be still, my soul: The Lord is on your side; Bear patiently the cross cross of grief or pain. Leave to your God to order and provide; In every change God faithful will remain. Be still, my soul: your best, your heavenly friend Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end. 2. Be still, my soul; your God will undertake To guide the future as he has the past. Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake; All now mysterious shall be bright at last. Be still, my soul; the waves and wind still know His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below. 3. Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on When we shall be forever with the Lord, When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone, Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored. Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past, All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

It is an old hymn – written by Katharina von Schlegel – 1752 and transposed by Jane Borthwick – 1855. It is in our hymnals and we still sing it from time to time. Continue reading

February 23, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Keep Our Eyes On God!

Psalm 77:12

I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

112015 Ray McDonaldSo – how’s your Prayer/Fast going? Leave a comment or two!  Mine has had ups and downs.  I’m doing well with the fast from sodas.  I’m spending more time with Jesus.  My devotional life is going well – but I’m still battling some things.  I keep praying about them and I encourage you to lift me in your prayers!

I mentioned my father-in-law and my father in a recent post and thought I would again – it just seemed appropriate. In today’s passage – the author informs us – that he considers all of God’s works and meditates on all of God’s deeds. I often remember the things my father and father-in-law did in their lives and taught me. Is there someone in your life – whose teachings and deeds you remember?  I pray there is!  If not – maybe you can be that someone for someone else!

Today’s lesson is from a Psalm that begins with the following two verses. Psalm 77:1–2 – I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. 2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. Continue reading

February 22, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Commandments on Our Hearts

Deuteronomy 6:6

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.

112015 Ray McDonaldHow’s your Prayer/Fast going? I would love to read what God is telling you through your increased time in prayer. Leave a comment or two! Or direct message me.

My father-in-law just passed and my father just three-plus years ago. These two men have taught be so much – one for 58 years of my life and one for 36 years of my life (I’m not discounting the impact of my two mothers folks – just talking about my fathers in this devotional – partly because they have passed).

My fathers taught me much – about being a man – about being a Christian – about being a husband – about being a father. They both taught me about golf and my father taught me about being competitive. He played high school sports and was in the Navy. They both had a great work ethic and I hope that I have modeled well both of them. Continue reading

February 18, 2016 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Humble Ourselves

Matthew 23:12

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

112015 Ray McDonaldHow’s your Prayer/Fast going?  I hope you are enjoying a Lenten reading plan on http://www.youversion.com or somewhere.  As the Word of God walks us through some of the events in Jesus’ life – as He walked to the cross.

Today’s reading reminds us to be humble for sure.  If we are followers of Christ – we need to walk as He did – with humility.  For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.  How are we walking in humility this Lenten season?

Being humble is not an easy thing for most of us. As a matter of fact – it is downright difficult – yet we are called by God to be humble in order to follow Christ.  Most of today’s devotional is a Scripture reading – please take the time to read it all. Continue reading

February 17, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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