Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Sins Are Blotted Out

Isaiah 1:18

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

We haven’t had much snow this winter. I for one – really like snow – and not just a little bit. If it is going to be cold (which it has been this winter) and snow (which it has done very little this winter) – I say let the snow come down! I loved the years when we had storms of 12 – 24 – or more inches in one storm. Enough to slow down the area and allow for some home time. I also would like to see some significant snow this winter so I can really get some use out of my new snow blade for my lawn tractor (a John Deere of course – nothing runs like a Deere). I would also like to use my 4-wheel drive some!

One thing I really like about snow – its ability to cover up (blot out) whatever is in the yard. It covers all of the sticks and leaves and if there is any trash – it covers that up too. There are few things better – to me – than getting up early in the morning after a snow – before anyone has walked on it. The whole yard is so peaceful and beautiful – everything covered with a layer of snow. I have a couple of pictures of our home in the snow – and everything is so nice. Continue reading

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February 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Rebuke My Sinful Nature

Romans 7:18

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Have you ever felt one way and yet ended up going another way? Silly question I guess – since we are all human and most know the right thing to do but have succumbed to the wrong way. We often know the right way – and yet yield to the wrong way. We fight temptations and evil – but at times we fail in our struggle. I know I have more times than I wish to remember.

Where is it that we struggle the most? For some it is with what we put into our bodies. That could mean drugs and it could mean overeating – both are harmful to us – and we know it – yet some of us continue to abuse our bodies with what we put into them. We try diets – we try to be sober – we try to walk the steps – but – at times – we succumb to what is harmful for us. Again – I have a mirror up as I type this devotional seeing myself! Continue reading

January 23, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

As Far As The East Is From The West

Psalm 103:12

…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

My wife and I have worked our whole adult lives staying out of debt. We have been married for 37.5 years and we have tried to never be in more debt than we could pay off (paying off credit cards when they came due each month). Of course – buying cars and a home mortgage have been exceptions to the general rule until most recently. We have always paid off all of our credit cards each month when they have been due (which was hard when we were younger – trying to establish a home and staying within our budget or means). It has produced fruit as both my wife and I have great credit ratings – never really felt like we deprived ourselves – and have a good start on the next season of our life (retirement). We had a plan and we stuck with it! We paid back all of our debt. If we couldn’t for a short season – we worked hard to do so – at times holding down two and three jobs at a time. Hard work and good financial planning have produced good fruit. I understand some have had a plan and have not been as blessed. We have been blessed – even as we have worked hard. Continue reading

January 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Darkness Cannot Overcome The Light – Jesus

John 1:5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Have you ever tried to go from one doorway to another in a room that is without any lights? There is a room in my basement that only has a switch at one door and not the other. If for some reason I go out in the light or someone follows me and turns off the light – I must return in the dark. It is not always easy for sure! Thank God for the flashlight app on my iPhone. It has helped me avoid stubbing my toe many times.

But – I have often gone around in the dark because I like the light switches to be in the right direction (you know – up for on and down for off). If I turn the light on at one door and off at the next – the switches get out of sequence (I know – a little OCD of me for sure). It is my issue – I’m sure I am alone! Walking in the dark is no fun I must say. Continue reading

January 8, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advent Is The Season Of Waiting

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Advent is the season of waiting. I made the mistake the other day of going near the Mall in Annapolis. Mind you I wasn’t going to the Mall in Annapolis – just near it for something. I sat through three lights changing because only a few cars could get through at one time because the cars before them hadn’t gone very far and blocked them from moving further.

Advent is the season of waiting. During this season we will do lots of waiting. We will wait in lines at the Malls and Shopping Centers – we will wait in traffic going here and there – whether we are headed where everyone else is headed or not – and we will wait for Christmas parties and activities (and more). Waiting is not new – we have been waiting for Christ’s return for over 2,000 years.

Advent is the season of waiting. Have any of us ever wondered why it has taken over 2,000 years for Christ to return? Talk about waiting! Today’s passage gives us some insight into the love of God and why we are still waiting. Here is today’s passage in partial context. It is a great teaching about the Advent – the waiting on Christ’s return! Continue reading

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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