Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Using Our Blessings to Glorify God

Luke 12:48b

48bFrom everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Life ChangeWhen I was playing High School football – we often heard this phrase from our coach – Big Al Laramore (from Annapolis High School) – from everyone who has been given much – much will be demanded. I’m not sure our coach knew it was from the Bible – he was a man of faith – but he reminded us and demanded it of us none-the-less!

Pro players have been given much – talent as well as a platform and money. Three baseball players just signed for 300 to 430 million this off-season (all record deals). I wonder if they will use their platforms for Christ’s glory? Players like Chris Davis for the Orioles and Ray Lewis (Hall of Fame) with the Ravens try to give back to the community and to share their faith as well. I went to a recent FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) banquet and met Coach John Harbaugh and former player – placekicker Matt Stover. They have used their position and platform to spread Christ. They have been given much – and they use it to God’s glory. Continue reading

March 22, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giving Our Lives For Jesus

Matthew 10:39

Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

RayMcDYesterday we remembered Martin Luther King Jr. I typically attend a MLK breakfast on that day but had a church member’s funeral service in the morning and a trip to West Virginia for her internment. I did spend some time talking with folks about MLK and his legacy. I also spent some time listening to some of his speeches online. MLK literally gave his life for his cause and his movement – the civil rights movement (he was assassinated on April 4th – 1968 – for his cause).

Others have given their all for their causes. People like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela are people who lived their causes to the brink for what they believed. People like Mother Teresa and Florence Nightingale also gave their all for their causes. I’m sure our readers could think of others as well. Continue reading

January 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When We’re Tired and Exhausted – Where Do We Turn?

Psalm 121:1-2

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from?  2 My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

RayBlogOK – even I’m starting to get tired of all the reports on the upcoming Super Bowl.  They have dissected both the Ravens and the 49ers every which way and have repeated the same reports over and over and over.  Will the Ravens run defense be able to stop the 49ers running attack including their young quarterback?  Will the 49ers’ secondary be able to control the Ravens’ vertical game?  Which brother (John or Jim) will out coach the other?  Will Ray Lewis retire with his second ring?  Which team will feel the confetti falling on them at the end of the game?  The only thing that will release me from my weariness is the game being over I guess.  And I hope it ends in the Ravens win!  That will make Monday morning so nice!

Where do you go when you are tired and exhausted in real life?  When you need rest – where do you turn?  I’ve played basketball (we usually play 6:15 am at a local gym 3 days a week) and when I’ve finished playing for the morning I’ve been tired – and I mean tired.  It takes a few moments to find the energy at times to change my shoes to head home (I mean it).  Once home I take a shower and change into my clothes for the day and usually head out.  A little rest – a nice shower – and then I’m off and running again!

When we are physically tired – we turn to the things that rejuvenate us.  Maybe you like to have a piece of fruit or an energy bar to help pick you up.  While you’re mulling over how you find refreshment from physical exhaustion – when we are spiritually tired – where do we turn?  When we are emotionally distraught where do we turn?  I know people who have been tired and frustrated spiritually.  I’ve known people who have been emotionally distraught as well – completely exhausted.  I have been these people at times – haven’t you?

The church is supposed to be a place where we can turn for support and refreshment when we are tired and drained spiritually and emotionally.  Life in the church is supposed to be a place where we can turn for rejuvenation.  Church is supposed to be a place where we find family and people willing to go the extra mile to help.  Often we turn to our faith and those who walk with us in our faith journey for refreshment and support.  I know I have in the past and I probably will in the future as well.

Now don’t get me wrong – there are hurts in the church as well and not everyone who professes faith has faith.  Not everyone is looking to help others.  You can spend all night in a garage and that doesn’t make you a car – one of my favorite sayings.  You can spend a lifetime in the church and not be a follower of Christ – but many who are in the church are true believers who will help us when we are tired and exhausted.  I know they are there because I have experienced them in the church.

Recently a person in the community asked me where they should turn for support for a concern in their life.  I felt confident in pointing them to several churches in their community.  I try to keep up with the ministries of area churches – like which church sponsors AA or other support groups.  I try to get a feel for what churches seem to express a loving and accepting ministry to the hurting.  I try to find out where someone with certain hurts might turn for support.  If you’re in a church – would you be able to suggest your church or a neighboring church to someone who was tired – hurting and exhausted?

Some churches don’t seem to have the time or desire to help hurting people.  How about us as individuals?  Are we willing to go out of our way to help someone in need?  Who have you reached out to recently that was hurting?  If we know the One who brings rest and healing – in all circumstance mind you – why aren’t we prepared and ready to point the hurting toward Him?  Maybe we are ready!  Maybe we just haven’t stepped out in faith and helped!  I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.  Let’s be ready to tell somebody about Jesus and how He has refreshed us in our hurting and exhausted times of life!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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February 1, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Outreach | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When the Church Works Together Amazing Things Happen

Acts 2:42-47

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

I am amazed as I watch the Baltimore Ravens football team. Since their 2000-2001 Super Bowl season to the present – they have had a dominate defense led by Ray Lewis and other future Hall of Fame players. The defense has often been in the top five in the league. Yet they haven’t been back to the Super Bowl since that one season – mainly because the offense has never kept up with the dominance of the defense. This has also played out in this 2011-2012 season. They have had some close games – like their second loss last week when the defense held the other team to 12 points but the offense could only muster 7 points.

The thing that is really amazing is that the defense doesn’t call the offense out – blaming them for a loss or for the team not winning. They are a team – they win and lose as a team. Even this Sunday – when the Ravens were down by 21 points in the first half – and losing 24-6 at half-time – the Ravens were a team! They eventually won the game 30-27 as the offense came through and the defense held up in the second half. The hope is that they will continue to play as a team and end up in another Super Bowl this year.

This team bonding is not often seen in the church. Pastors and lay persons should see themselves as working together to reach the lost and grow the church – instead of blaming one another when things do not go as planned. If the church were to operate more as a team – standing up for each other as in the early church – we might see more churches being all they could be!

If the church were to see themselves as instruments of God’s grace and work more in unity with each other and with God – we might see more of His glory! Because the early church devoted themselves to God and worked together – the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. If it happened in the early church – it can happen today!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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October 31, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two First Round Hall of Famers

Two players who are guaranteed to be first round Hall of Famers are Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.  They play middle linebacker and safety for the Ravens and we are blessed to have them on our team.  Here they are – pictured in a recent game where Ed intercepted two passes (he is running one back in the picture) and Ray – I believe – recovered two fumbles.

They are two of the best ever at their positions.  The Ravens have other players – that when all is said and done – will probably be Hall of Famers too – but Ray and Ed are first rounders.

The Colts – during an era when I followed the team closing in Baltimore – had several HOF players playing on the same team headed by John Unitas and Raymond Barry.

Are there any other teams that have two guaranteed first rounders playing together currently?

Your thoughts?

January 5, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , | 2 Comments

   

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