Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

My Grass Needed the 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.”

A number of summers ago I lost my front yard (it happens more often than I would like to admit). A combination of the lack of water – excess sunshine – and a weak root system does it in about this time each year. After losing my yard – in the following fall – I treat the ground – aerate – seed with good seed – fertilize with starter fertilizer and winter fertilizer later in the season and that following spring I fertilized it again. It usually comes up strong and full. I fully realize that if I can’t figure out a way to water the yard in the heat of the summer – it will not be as full later in the year. I’ve gotten an estimate for a sprinkler system – and that was way out of my comfortable price range. I purchased some extra hose and have tried – each summer – during the dry periods – to water the front yard. It did OK this summer and the rains we are getting lately have helped.

Even with all of that work each fall – my yard was like most yards – dormant (to a degree) or dead in spots. Most years it remains green through the winter – thanks to fertilizers and mild winters. When we have a warm and wet spring – my yard looks great each spring and into the summer. During these growing seasons the roots deepen and thicken before the summer months. I cut my grass at the highest setting my lawn tractor with a mulching kit will allow. I cut the grass twice a week during the peak-growing season so I don’t leave behind piles or clumps of dead grass. I love a green lawn throughout the year! One of these days – it just might happen.

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August 5, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There Are Eyes All Around

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.

Rays HaircutI often ask this question. What brings a smile to your face? Of course the first answer I would give these days is spending time with my grandchildren (and children) (although I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like with this pandemic). We now have five grandchildren with a sixth on the way (sooner rather than later we hope) (adoption in process).

Another thing that would being a smile to my face would be the opening of the golf courses in the area. And as always – long winning streaks by my favorite teams (the Baltimore Ravens – Washington Redskins – Baltimore Orioles – and Washington Nationals). Didn’t the Ravens play great last season – except for the playoffs? The Nationals went all the way and won the World Series. That was great to watch. I hope we get to see the Orioles winning again on a regular basis like when I was growing up. You know what would bring some smiles to area fans? If the Orioles could make improvement each year – that would bring a smile to our faces.

Still another reason to smile might be time spent with my wife. She is the very best people. I don’t deserve her for sure. I definitely married up.

I could get very pastoral (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

May 5, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, 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

Do Not Love The World

1 John 2:15

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

It’s summer and there are many summer activities. My Facebook page is exploding with people on vacations for example. Some of them are at the beach – some in the mountains – some at the lake – some playing golf – some are spending time with the family in staycations. Others are enjoying being poolside or eating crabs or swimming in the river or creek near their home. Others are boating or going to a baseball game or barbecuing in the backyard.

Most people look forward to the summer – the children are off school – vacations are usually taken – trips to see family or special places. Summers make us feel like getting out and doing things. Some of us actually love doing yard work and spending time in gardens and outdoors.

What is your favorite hobby? Where do you like to spend your spare time? If you had a week or two in the summer – what would you do with it? What is it that you love in life? What is it in this world you love? Continue reading

June 26, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Is By Grace!

Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

profileI’ve got good news and not so good news. The not so good news is that – on our own – we will NEVER get to heaven! We cannot do enough good to offset the bad we have done – the sin we have committed. The good news is that we do not have to try and earn an audience with God when we die – it is a free gift – offered by God called grace.

The Good News is that the Father made a way for us to come into His presence – through His Son – Jesus the Christ. It is by grace!

Grace covers all our sins – as if we had never sinned! It is amazing and such a gift! Today’s passage in partial context reads like this – Ephesians 2:6-10 – 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Love me some grace! Continue reading

October 31, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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