Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Grass Grows and Withers

Isaiah 40:6

A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.”

Life ChangeA number of summers ago I lost my front yard. A combination of lack of water – excess sunshine – and a weak root system did it in. I treated the ground – aerated – seeded with good seed – fertilized with starter fertilizer and winter fertilizer later in the season and that following spring I fertilized it again. It came up strong and full. I fully realize that if I can’t figure out a way to water the yard in the summer – it will not be as full later in the year. That year I got an estimate for a sprinkler system – and that was way out of my price range. I purchased some extra hose and have tried – during the dry periods – to water the front yard. It did OK.

Even with all of that work that fall – just a few weeks into March even – my yard was like most yards – dormant (to a degree). It did remain green through the winter that year – thanks to fertilizers and a mild winter – but it was in a dormant state. With the warmer than normal March that spring – with lots of sunshine and some rain – my yard was ahead of schedule that spring. It had time that spring to deepen the roots and thicken before the summer months. I cut my grass at the highest setting my lawn tractor with a mulching kit would allow. I cut the grass twice a week during the peak-growing season so I don’t leave behind piles or clumps of dead grass. I love a green lawn throughout the year!

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April 16, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Delight in the Lord!

Psalm 37:4

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

RayMcDIn what do we take delight? The baseball season is heading toward the end of the regular season and the playoffs. My Orioles are fighting for the worst record in team history – and maybe the number one draft pick next year. As I type this devotional I am switching between the Orioles and the Ravens. The football season is soon to arrive. Some are excited about it and some are not. There is so much politics involved in the game it seems.

In what do we take delight? I have joined five brothers from church in trying to encourage one another in losing weight. We have lost over 70 pounds together since July 15th. We delight in the camaraderie and encouragement we share. Most all of us are in double digits with our weight loss. We’re trying to get to 5% before Labor Day – 8% by Thanksgiving – and 10% by Christmas. Two brothers have met the 5% by Labor Day already and two others are very close. One brother is nearing his 8% total already. We delight in our weigh-ins and supporting one another. Continue reading

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

Is Our Faith Like The Grass?

Isaiah 40:6

A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.”

A few summers ago I lost my front yard. A combination of lack of water – excess sunshine and a weak root system did it in. I treated the ground – aerated – seeded with good seed – fertilized with starter fertilizer and winter fertilizer later in the season and that following spring I fertilized it again. It came up strong and full. I fully realize that if I can’t figure out a way to water the yard in the summer – it will not be as full later in the year. That year I got an estimate for a sprinkler system – and that was way out of my price range. I purchased some extra hose and have tried – during the dry periods – to water the front yard.

Even with all of that work that fall – just a few weeks into March even – my yard was like most yards – dormant (to a degree). It did remain green through the winter that year – thanks to fertilizers and a mild winter – but it was in a dormant state. With the warmer than normal March that spring – with lots of sunshine and some rain – my yard was ahead of schedule that spring. It had time that spring to deepen the roots and thicken before the summer months. I cut my grass at the highest setting my lawn tractor with a mulching kit would allow. I cut the grass twice a week during the peak-growing season so I don’t leave behind piles or clumps of dead grass. I love a green lawn throughout the year! Continue reading

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

Do Not Love The World

1 John 2:15

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

It’s summer and there are many summer activities. My Facebook page is exploding with people on vacations for example. Some of them are at the beach – some in the mountains – some at the lake – some playing golf – some are spending time with the family in staycations. Others are enjoying being poolside or eating crabs or swimming in the river or creek near their home. Others are boating or going to a baseball game or barbecuing in the backyard.

Most people look forward to the summer – the children are off school – vacations are usually taken – trips to see family or special places. Summers make us feel like getting out and doing things. Some of us actually love doing yard work and spending time in gardens and outdoors.

What is your favorite hobby? Where do you like to spend your spare time? If you had a week or two in the summer – what would you do with it? What is it that you love in life? What is it in this world you love? Continue reading

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

Looking For A Little Shade?

Psalm 121:5

The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand…

RayMcDIt has been a hot summer. Not extremely hot – but hot none-the-less. We’ve only had one day over 100 in our area – but a number of days in the upper 90’s for sure. I’ve had to work in the heat some (nothing like those who work in the heat every day or on roofs in this heat) and it can get to you after a while [I’ve also played some golf in the heat in the afternoon and that is hard too :)]. Finding shade is usually a relief in heat like this summer has produced. Finding a tree or a tall building or even an umbrella seems to bring some relief – a break from the scorching sun. Even wearing a hat with a nice brim brings some relief.

Life at times is hard. I know – for some that is an understatement and for some – even most of us in the Western Hemisphere of our world – we don’t fully understand just how hard life can be at times. But I repeat myself – life is hard at times. We all need rest and peace. We all need down time – shade from the heat of a hard day if I might go there. Some of us take power naps (a good 15 minutes and I’m good for the rest of the day). Some of us take numerous coffee breaks (and drink lots of coffee to help us get through hard days). Some of us live for the clock to strike the end of a hard day at work. Our shade is often returning home – while some have it hard at home as well. Continue reading

August 11, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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