Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Suffering Can Advance The Gospel

Philippians 1:21

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Usually this time of the year is a sweet time. I love me some Orioles and enjoy watching them – even staying up late when they are on the West Coast playing late into the evening (or early into the morning). This year – their record has them on the bottom – not just of their division – not just in the American League – but in the whole of Major League Baseball. They are vying for the #1 draft choice it seems for next year. As fans – we are suffering – yet with little hope for the future.

I try to watch or listen to the Birds – but the drive or interest doesn’t seem to be there this year – and it is not because they are losing so much. It has to do with how they are losing – how they are playing – with little hope for the future. I find myself yearning for the Raven’s season to begin. Often – I typically would miss early Raven games if they were on at the same time as the Orioles – but probably not this year. Maybe if the Birds trade some of their veterans and get some young players that will be here for the future – I might watch again. They wouldn’t need to win to get me back – simply have a plan for the future – so that my suffering as a fan had a purpose. Simply show a plan for the future with players who will be here in the years to come. Continue reading

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June 21, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Has A Plan For Us

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

OK – I must admit it – I’m writing this devotion during the halftime of this year’s Super Bowl – and into the 3rd quarter. My team isn’t in the game – as a mater of fact – no team I care about is in the Super Bowl. I would love to watch the Ravens or the Redskins – but that didn’t happen this year. I might enjoy watching some other teams – but the Eagles and the Patriots just doesn’t interest me much. Carol – a member of our church is a diehard Patriot’s fan and Bev – also from the church – is the same for the Eagles – so I watch for them (LOL).

I thought about not watching the game. I haven’t watch many games this year. But it is the Super Bowl and they have great commercials. My wife is a big football fan so we watch together (1st half and the rest of the second half once I put this devotional to bed.

If I had to say who I was pulling for – and of course the game will be over before this devotional comes out – I would say I’m pulling for the Eagles – if pushed to make a decision. I think Tom Brady is the best quarterback of his era. I also think that the Patriots have won enough – let others feel the thrill. Continue reading

February 5, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m So Confused

Romans 7:15

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

I’m so confused! Ever felt like this – confused? I believe most of us have been confused before. I was confused a few weeks ago – when my second NFL team – the Redskins – were winning throughout the game – seemingly had the game in hand – only the lose it in the 4th quarter. This type of confusion returned when I saw my favorite college basketball team blow a 20 point early lead to need a miracle ending to regulation and then some great plays in overtime to win a recent game. Things just don’t as planned – sometimes.

I’m so confused! I am at a loss and very confused by the current political scene. The left and the right – the extremes of both views – seem to be out of control. I definitely lean right my self – but not as far right as some in today’s political world. It seems that neither party wants to think of what is best for America – or even discuss where their views of what is best for America might differ or agree. Continue reading

December 6, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Only Constant Is Change

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Life keeps changing! The only constant in life is change. A number of things in my own life have changed. I’ve been married longer than I wasn’t married (37 years this past summer verses 25 years not married). I celebrated 44 years since I graduated High School this past June. 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 all grown. Two have children (my five granddaughters). My wife and daughters are such a blessing to me along with our granddaughters. I’ve been in ministry for 41 years. I’ve begun to think about retirement (although I hope to have a few more years left – maybe more!).

Life keeps changing! This summer the Nationals have played playoff bound baseball – the Orioles are trying to get in but it doesn’t seem to be a certainty for sure. The Redskins lost their season opening game while the Ravens won – shutting out the Bengals. The Wizards made the playoffs and so did the Capitals. That’s pretty good change for our area and Maryland is 2-0 after two convincing wins.

Continue reading

September 11, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Us Clothe Ourselves With Christ

Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Dear readers – did you have any favorite clothes growing up? I apparently – according to old photos – had a favorite cowboy shirt and a red baseball hat. In my of my childhood pictures from a certain age – that was what I had on. I still have favorite clothes – enjoying the more casual look over anything dressy. When I was a teen I had a favorite hat that was always on my head it seems. I remember when I finally had to give it up – it was old – torn and smelled from years of sweating in it. I remember buying it with my own money at Ocean City one year. I know my girlfriends probably didn’t like it much – but it was a favorite!

As a pastor – I know there are proper times to wear certain clothes. For instance – I have a funeral this afternoon (this was written on Wednesday) and I have my collar and dress jacket to put on before I go. I will return to the office for meetings this evening and will put on my church shirt – a polo shirt with my name and the church’s name on it. I hardly ever wear a tie anymore – using the clergy collar shirt when I need to dress up. Continue reading

August 31, 2017 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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