Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Thanksgiving Day Is Coming!

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

fullsizeoutput_ffeThanksgiving comes once a year – as does Christmas – and Easter. Yet we don’t have to limit our thankfulness to one day – do we? If your family is like mine – when we gather to give thanks over the bounty on Thanksgiving – we pause to give thanks for something specific – everyone at the table. It is a touching time – and watching our family age before our eyes – year after year – brings a nostalgic note too. Listening to what the girls have shared over the years and now what the grandchildren will share has been and is a blessing. We are always thankful for the way God touches our lives.

I’m the crier in the family. An example of my inability to hold back my tears can be seen in most any family gathering. I remember at a special birthday for my wife – as others were sharing – I tried to share my heart and the tears flowed. Tears will flow for most any reason from my eyes. With the holidays coming I will shed tears when I watch It’s a Wonderful Life for the 200th time – and even while watching Charlie Brown Christmas – tears will flow.

Thanksgiving is a family time for our family and we will gather once again – the Lord willing. Holidays are especially hard for me now that mom and dad have gone to be with Jesus. Dad loved Christmas so much – that holiday is especially difficult for me these days. Continue reading

November 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Day After The Elections

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. NIV84

fullsizeoutput_ffeThis is a reworked devotional thought from 2016 after the Presidential elections. Yesterday was the mid-term elections – and when this devotional was reworked – every vote had not been counted yet. It appears that the Dems will take the house. It appears the GOP will increase their hold on the Senate. It also appears that the GOP will pick up some important Governorships. We will see what all of that means.

Over the years we have heard loads of catch phrases. Phrases like what – me worry or don’t worry – be happy have graced our airways over the years. The world knows all about worry and how many of us suffer with it. What is it that we are spending time worrying about today? Are we worries about the economy? Are we worried about the elections? Are we worried about where our next meal with come?

Another translation of this today’s passage reads this way – Matthew 6:34 – “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ESV Apparently worry and anxiousness are akin. Continue reading

November 7, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

As Iron Sharpens Iron

Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

RayMcDIf you ever played a team sport – you know that practicing with your teammates often improves your game. The better the teammate(s) – the better you will become – because you are competing against the best in practice. Offenses that practice against strong defenses – often say they improve their game. They often say it makes game day easier – because they have been practicing against a top 10 defense all week or against an All-Pro in certain positions – and they often play a lesser defense or player on game day. Going against a future Hall of Fame player every day in practice has to improve your game.

Do you remember growing up – and being influenced by your peer group – your close friends? Parents typically spend a lot of energy trying to influence us about the people who influence us – because it really does matter. The old saying – one bad apple spoils the whole barrel – is so true at times. Most of us are not leaders – most of us are followers. We are more easily swayed by others than we sway them. Continue reading

August 23, 2018 Posted by | Bring, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, 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

What Are We Feeding Our Spiritual Bodies?

John 6:35

Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

RayMcDSix guys from our church have joined together to lose weight. We support one another. We text and e-mail one another. We weigh in on Sunday mornings at church. It is working. As of our last weigh in the six of us have lost a combined 69 pounds. One brother has lost 17 pounds. Two others are in double digits. And reports from home scales indicate we will have a new combined total this Sunday – well into 70+ pounds.

We set goals of losing 5% of our body weight by Labor Day (we began on July 15th). We have additional goals of 8% by Thanksgiving and 10% by Christmas (for a man weighing 280 pounds that would be a 28 pound lose by Christmas). Two brothers have already met their 5% goals – and another is very close – they are working toward their 8% goal already with a couple of weeks to go on Labor Day. We may need to adjust the goals. Continue reading

August 16, 2018 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

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