Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Following God’s Example

Ephesians 5:1-2

1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

So who stands out in our lives as an example we follow? As a child and a youth – I had favorite ballplayers I followed. Boog Powell – Brooks Robinson – Frank Robinson – were players I liked in my youth. They played for my home team Baltimore Orioles. Eddie Murray – Cal Ripken – and others were baseball players I followed later in my life. In basketball some of my favorites were Wes Unseld – Earl “the Pearl” Monroe and Walt Frazier (from the Baltimore Bullets). In football I liked Johnny Unitas – Raymond Berry – Tom Matte. They were football players – Baltimore Colts – that I followed.

In school I had my favorite teachers – did you? I had my favorite singing groups I followed as well like James Taylor – Cat Stevens – Stevie Wonder – 3 Dog Night – Diana Ross and the Supremes and more. I had men and women who I looked up to in church and in other circles. I looked up to my dad the most. Continue reading

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July 13, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mending a Broken Heart

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (ESV)

RayMcDI wonder how many of our readers have ever experienced a broken heart? Am I alone? I’m also a hopeless romantic (that is the term I choose to use and I’m sticking with it). As much as I love my wife and wouldn’t trade her for the world – I remember relationships from the past. Smells and songs trigger memories for me. I remember the first girl I ever kissed (I was 9 and we were moving from our church and she was 10 and I kissed her on our last Sunday). She was my first girlfriend so to speak (it is written in my baby book LOL). I remember the perfume my next girlfriend used (Heaven Scent) and it brings back memories when I smell it.

As I grew older – songs began to play a part of my memories. Stevie Wonder’s You Are The Sunshine Of My Life has fond memories as does Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together. Color My World by Chicago was also a favorite – it was the first song I ever danced to (with someone).

Let’s Stay Together was a song that brings back not only fond memories but sad memories as well. It was still popular (came out in 1972) during one of my relationship breakups. As an emotional person – it would bring tears to my eyes remembering that relationship after it was over. Even today I occasionally remember relationships past. Continue reading

October 27, 2016 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

Sincere Love

1 Peter 1:22

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMCan you remember the first time you used the word love? I can’t remember the first time – because – like my grandchildren – it was probably to a relative – like my mom or dad – when I was a wee lad. I love it when they say – I love you Pop.

Can you remember – in your teen or older years – the first time you used the word love? Maybe it was in reference to a singing group or singer? Something like – I love Stevie Wonder or the Beatles. Maybe it was in reference to a TV or movie star? Something like – I love Elvis Presley or John Wayne (I’ll let our younger readers have a moment to Google the above mentioned persons and group).

Can you remember – in your teen or older years – the first time you used the word love? Maybe you can remember the first time you told someone you really liked that you loved them? It might have been your first encounter with the opposite sex. It may have been short lived or lasted even till today or a lifetime. Continue reading

July 20, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Remember The Good Old Days?

Acts 2:46

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,

112015 Ray McDonaldOriole BirdDo you remember the good old days? Do you remember back in 1966 when the Baltimore Orioles won 97 regular season games and went on to beat the LA Dodgers in 4 straight games in the World Series? I was 11 years old that summer and it was my second year of really following the team. The team was fairly young with players like Frank Robinson (30) – Brooks Robinson (29) – Boog Powell (24) – Davey Johnson (23) – Paul Blair (22) – Mark Belanger (22) – Jim Palmer (20) – Dave McNally (23) – and a mixture of other players older and younger. Some of them were the core players to several great teams through the 70’s. It was the good old days.

Do you remember the good old days? On Pandora you can create your own listening channels. My wife wonders why I listen to James Taylor – Stevie Wonder – Motown – Randy Travis – Chicago – Harry Chapin – Rod Stewart – Neil Young – Bob Dylan – 70’s Lite Rock – and others. It is the type of music I grew up on and I enjoy listening to it. It was the good old days. Continue reading

April 18, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Training Our Children

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

RevRayAs I put this daily thought to bed – I am in my home office listening to some Third Day – as they sing Revelation – on Pandora Radio.  I spend a lot of time listening to music as I work on sermons and devotional thoughts.  Basically I like to listen to music while I do most anything.  I spent much of the morning (up since 4:15 am) seeking His face, while desiring His grace while listening to music.  I have always listened to music while I work.  My dad could never understand how listening to Steppenwolf or Stevie Wonder for example could help me study – but music has always helped me focus.

I’ve mentioned a few times recently that I have two granddaughters.  They are a new joy in my life – Justice most recently but Vyrie was born during a very tough time in my life with the death of my father among other things.  Her smile and joyous spirit have comforted me during a time when I needed it.  I know Justice will as well as she grows into her personality.

This passage came to mind as I was thinking of my granddaughters – These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Continue reading

June 18, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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