Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We’re Not Working Alone!

John 14:15-17

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

Life ChangeI’ve always liked to work with someone rather than alone. I could work all day if my dad was helping (or rather I was helping my dad) – yet if I was working alone – it was hard to stay on task. Even when dad gave me clear instructions – it was hard to stay on task with no one to help me.

I’m the same way today – work better with someone helping me. I would even invite my brother over to watch me work so I had someone present.

My wife and I cleaned the garage and painted a wall in the garage Monday. We cleaned up a couple of tool boxes and moved two to the basement. We threw a bunch of stuff out and straightened things up. My wife even claimed part of the basement as hers and wouldn’t let me store any of my stuff there – nothing goes near my motorcycle – she said. It was hard work – but it was fun work – working with her all morning before we went over to a daughter’s home for family time. Continue reading

May 29, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving Our Neighbor

Mark 12:31

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment outsiders greater than these.”

Life ChangeI just left the home of a farmer in South County. His mom is nearing the end of this life. As we sat and talked – names were being mentioned that I remember from my time living and serving in SoCo. We talked about folks that I have known my whole life. Names that ring true in Southern Anne Arundel County lore. It was good to talk about them – some now with Jesus and some still with us. Many of them were my neighbors at one time or attended the church I served or simply lived in SoCo when I did.

Neighbors – at least old school neighbors – in SoCo – would be there and some still are – whatever comes our way. I’ve seen farmers harvest crops for a neighbor when health or personal concerns impacted their ability to do it themselves. I’ve seen brothers working side-by-side. I’ve seen three and four generations working a farm together. I’ve witnessed neighbors that didn’t really know one another come to the aid of one another. I remember the way it used to be – and in some ways – still. Continue reading

May 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Being God’s Friend

John 15:14

You are my friends if you do what I command.

Life ChangeIf you’ve ever helped raise children – you know the heart of every parent is for their children to listen to them and grow to make good decisions. We train and discipline them to behave properly. We spend their lifetime trying to equip them to have good morals and values – to trust in God and follow His teachings. Every morning – as our girls were headed to school – my wife told them – make good choices – watch your surroundings – and listen to the Holy Spirit. Wise words to guide your life.

I was listening to Andy Stanley this morning and he was talking about treating his children well. If anyone didn’t treat them well – he was their enemy. The Papa Bear came out in him when his children were mistreated – and look out for Sandra – his wife – because she was a very protective Mama Bear. Continue reading

April 19, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obedience – Listen and Do

Deuteronomy 5:33

Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

Life ChangeObedience – compliance with an order – request – or law – or submission to another’s authority. Do we remember growing up and having a parent or parents or guardian trying to get us to be obedient to their rules? I know I remember. I remember my dad giving me explicit instructions concerning several tasks over the years. I remember him telling me to follow his instructions and it would go well for me (meaning I would accomplish the task not get paid – lol – or punished).

Obedience – compliance with an order – request – or law – or submission to another’s authority. Do we remember rearing our children and trying to get them to obey our rules and regulations? Did we remember what it was like as a child to have our parent(s) giving us instructions? Did we learn anything – or change anything – or did we follow their example (and it could have been a good example)? Continue reading

March 5, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, 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

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