Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Life – It Keeps Changing!

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Rays HaircutLife – it keeps changing! A number of things in my own life have changed – and keep changing. This summer I will have been married for 40 years. It has been 47 years since I graduated High School. I saw a picture of me in High School the other day and I do not look the same today. My children – my babies – are fully grown. Two have children (my five granddaughters). My wife and daughters are such a blessing to me along with my granddaughters. Soon my grandson from South Korea will be home (I can’t wait). I’ve been in ministry for 44 years. I continue to think about retirement (although I hope I will still be active in ministry in retirement).

Life – it keeps changing! No baseball yet! Maybe not this season. No basketball yet! They’re talking about using Disneyland. Football is trying to get started soon for the fall. The Ravens had an amazing season last year and I hope they play even better this coming year. Golf is just starting to have live events. NASCAR was the first live sport to come back – if you don’t count cornhole!

Life – it keeps changing! Churches are meeting online and others are talking about reopening their facilities. Things have changed – things we thought would never change.

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June 15, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

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.

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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

Pretend or Real?

Romans 13:14

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

Ray 2019I remember playing pretend as a child. My brother and I would dress up like soldiers and play Combat! It was fun to pretend. I was usually Sergeant “Chip” Saunders – played by Vic Morrow on the show. I even had a plastic machine gun to complete the ensemble. I remember I had an army canteen and an army backpack (for my sandwiches for lunch). My brother and I would make adventures in the sand dunes between our house and our grandmother’s home. It was fun playing make believe. When we got a little older we would play in the woods or even in the cemetery next door to the parsonage. It was great fun pretending.

I remember a recent week of VBS at First UMC of Laurel. The theme that summer was having great adventures – Rolling River Rampage. The children had a blast. They had great adventures on the river and learned about Jesus. They imagined a number of adventures on the river. We collected funds to support those devastated by the rising river in Ellicott City.

They learned that some adventures are imaginary – and some are real – like walking with Jesus can be an adventure – but it is for real! We learned that following Jesus – who died to pay for our sins and to allow us into a right relationship with God the Father – can be a great adventure too. We were also encouraged to tell others of our excitement – being in an adventure with Jesus. Continue reading

December 16, 2019 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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