Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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.

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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

He Prayed More Earnestly

Luke 22:44

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Growing up – I remember going to prayer meetings and camp meetings where people prayed with such fervor – nothing like (in my mind) the prayers I heard on a Sunday morning. Often the prayer time at less formal settings allowed for more time and it seemed to help people get into a deeper prayer mode.

Has there been a time when we have prayed with fervor and earnestness? I remember praying long and hard during a prayer vigil held at my church when I was a young teen. I signed up for a half-an-hour every day for a month.

Has there been a time when we have prayed with fervor and earnestness? I remember praying long and hard when the planes were hitting during 9-11. I prayed for such evil to be stopped. I prayed for those who were trapped in the towers. Continue reading

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

Where Do We Place Our Trust – I Place Mine In Jesus

Psalm 20:7

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Where do we place our trust? Planning ahead is something some do and some do not. I’m a planner myself. As I age – I’m starting to get more and more info on retirement (and senior discounts – sweet). I was talking to someone the other day about retirement and they said they hadn’t thought much about it yet (and they were older too). I have been planning for retirement (even though I hope it is 3-10 years off) since I was 25 and first married. I wouldn’t say I put my trust in my retirement plan – but I have one. I am a planner.

Where do we place our trust? In the NFL – my favorite team (the Baltimore Ravens) – has a general manager named Ozzie Newsome. General managers are very important to NFL teams. General managers draft players – sign players – and work out contracts for players. They have others who work with them – but the saying around Baltimore is – in Ozzie we trust. Ozzie is a planner. Even when we as fans do not see the merit in a trade or a signing – someone will post in Ozzie we trust. The same can be said about the Baltimore Orioles – I often see in Buck we trust – when he makes a managerial move that we may not understand. Both Buck and Ozzie are planners too. Continue reading

August 10, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Anxious About Nothing

Philippians 4:6-7

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Today marks five full weeks since my rotator cuff surgery with a torn bicep muscle as well. I had physical therapy (PT) this morning and they are well pleased. They took measurements this morning to report to my surgeon on this Friday. My hope is that he will be pleased and released me from the sling and allow me to begin to use my arm some and build it back up.

The physical therapist said I had nearly 100% movement (compared to my right arm not compared to a young man or a double jointed person – LOL). In some measurements my movement was 100% or even better.

My hope is that by the last weekend in May I will be able to take half swings with my golf clubs – hip to hip. My family takes a vacation every year and we always play golf together. It would be hard to miss that bonding time with my brother and some of my nephews and a niece. If I must simply ride along – I will. Continue reading

May 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prepare The Way For Christ

Matthew 3:3

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ”

Many of us if not all of us have prepared for something important. Maybe it was a job interview. Maybe it was the season of time when we were preparing for college or marriage or a career. We have made plans and prepared for something in life that was important. Olympic athletes prepare a lifetime for their moment in the spotlight as they compete for their countries.

I remember when God laid on my heart the calling to be a pastor. In the denomination where I have served for 41 years – I needed a four-year college undergrad degree and a three-year Masters degree – all at accredited schools. I eventually also earned a Doctor of Ministry degree to further my education. Along with the educational requirements – which continue in the form of continuing education credits – I had to undergo examination after examination it seemed as I was first ordained a Deacon in the United Methodist Church and later ordained an Elder.

Some people my age are planning for or already into retirement. It takes planning and prep work for sure. Questions abound. Can we afford to retire? What will we do in retirement? Where will we live (some cannot afford to live where they lived while they were working and some want to downsize so they can spend more time doing other things)? It takes much prep work to retire. It actually takes a lot of prep work while we are working to make sure we can retire well. Continue reading

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

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