Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Puts A Smile On Our Face?

Exodus 34:29
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.

Ray 2019What brings a smile to your face? Of course the first answer I would give these days is spending time with our children and grandchildren. We now have five grandchildren with a sixth on the way (eventually – an adoption from South Korea). Another answer might be this long 9 game winning streak by the Baltimore Ravens – which put them into the playoffs and currently the #1 seed in the AFC. Currently – the playoffs come through Baltimore. Another answer might be a late comeback by the #3 ranked Maryland Terp basketball team.

The Ravens have won the last two games – against two very good teams – by very close margins. They proved that they can win the close games against some very good teams. Of the current 11 playoff teams not the Ravens – the Ravens have beaten 6 of them – and some of those games were not even close.

I was smiling when the Terps came back from double digits down to win their opening Big10 game this week. The last second 3 pointer and and 1 of 2 free throws (the second missed on purpose with only 2.1 seconds remaining) had me cheering – loudly.

Still another reason to smile might be when my wife ran a 1/2 marathon. Another smile came across my face yesterday when several persons received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and others re-confirmed their faith. Other things bring a smile to my face – like when a friend makes a good shot in golf and gets excited about it. When we see someone with a smile on their face we usually think something just happened and we tend to be curious.

How about when people notice you have lost weight? Better yet – when they say something encouraging to you (if losing weight was what you were after). I remember when one of my daughters greeted me with a hug and she said – getting skinny dad – as she wrapped her arms around me? What about someone saying something about your new hairdo or your new dress (or suit)? How about the smell of your favorite food – or freshly baked bread – or bacon frying (that one always brings a smile to my face)? Continue reading

December 9, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christ Came To Save Sinners

1 Timothy 1:15

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.

It won’t be long and March Madness with be upon us. I’m not certain my favorite college team – the Maryland Terps – will be in it this year. They have not played very well of late.

The competitive juices begin flow in almost everyone during March Madness. Even if a person doesn’t like or follow sports in general – they often get excited in the office place (and on Facebook) for their alma mater (go Terps!).

I wonder – have we ever had a competitive spirit about following Christ? I mean – have we ever thought of giving our very best effort – spending a day or a lifetime – seeking His face and desiring His grace? Have we ever gone out of our way to connect with others around our faith? With numerous Lenten season events happening at First UMC in Laurel – it would be a great opportunity to invite someone to join us. Continue reading

February 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Our Light So Shine

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

112015 Ray McDonaldJust a personal note – today is my birthday!  I’m 61 today and thankful that God has allowed me to live this long.  I also want to thank my parents – family – and friends for putting up with me all of these years (or as long as you’ve known me.

OK – I must admit it up front – I am an Orioles’ fan – I mean it – even when we suffered though 14 straight losing seasons – I love me some O’s.  They have returned to some winning of late and now we have gotten use to it again. Ever since I was a young lad – in 1966 when they won the World Series and I was 11 years old collecting baseball cards – I have followed the O’s.  I remember the time I met Eddie Murray – it was a highlight for me.

I follow them closely – I listen to their games – even those on the West Coast late at night (just ask my wife).  I have an O’s jacket – some hats and other items.  I have baseball cards of some of the O’s greats of old like Brooks Robinson – Boog Powell – Frank Robinson – Mark Belanger – Jim Palmer – Paul Blair – Dave McNally – and more.  I’m excited about my O’s – the coming season – and I let others know it.  I really think they will go far this year – even though some think they will be in last place in their division.  They have won more games than any American League team since 2012 I think. Continue reading

March 4, 2016 Posted by | Bring, 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

Always Give Yourself Fully

1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

112015 Ray McDonaldHere we are – the first Saturday of our Prayer/Fast. How’s your Prayer/Fast going?

We’re getting close to March Madness and our local college team – the University of Maryland Terps – both the women’s and men’s teams are ranked high with high expectations. I wouldn’t be surprised if both teams make the final four or at least the Elite eight. And wouldn’t it be great if both came away with championships!

In most team sports – as we just witnessed in the Super Bowl – where the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers – team work plays a big part and giving your all does as well. Peyton Manning – perhaps playing in his final NFL game – put everything on the line – working his way back from serious surgery and injury – to help his team win. There were players on both teams giving their all – fully. Some players – at times in the game – seemed to back away from giving their all. One play – late in the game – when the game was still on the line – a Panther player seemed to back away from contact when a fumble was on the ground. It may have costs his team a chance to take the lead. Continue reading

February 13, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Desire God

Psalm 73:25

earth has nothing I desire besides you.

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgWhat do you desire? For instance – if you were going out to dinner – what would you desire to eat? Are you a meat and potatoes type of person? Would you rather have seafood? Are you a surf and turf kind of person? Do you not eat meat? Would rather have a delicious salad?

What do you desire? For instance – if you were going to go to a ball game this year – would it be football – basketball – hockey – or baseball? Would it be a local team like the Orioles – Ravens – Nationals – Redskins – Caps – Wizards? Are you a professional sport’s fan or college? Are you a fan of Navy – Maryland – Georgetown – Towson – Morgan State – or Bowie State?

What do you desire? For instance – if you had an afternoon off – how would you spend it – playing golf – taking a nap – playing with your children – reading – or spending time with your spouse? What type of music do you listen to these days – oldies – pop – rock – soul – jazz  – gospel – or country? Continue reading

June 9, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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