Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

These Are Trying Times

John 14:9

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.

Rays HaircutThese are trying times. This pandemic has given us reason to pause. Some have been isolated in their homes for months now – it seems like longer. Some have been continuing to work – wondering where the rest of us have been (LOL). I pray constantly for our members – family and friends – and for the whole world indeed. In our state – Maryland – our governor has given good leadership during these trying times. Many are calling for him to run for POTUS in 2024.

These are trying times. With the recent death at the hands (knee) of a police officer in Minnesota and the multiple deaths of police officers and others by rioters across the nation – our society seems to be on the brink. Many are blaming or pointing the finger at those from the opposite political party. Racial unrest is nothing new. A solution would be something new. A people who worked together for the good of all people would be good.

These are trying times. Finances are an issue for some. For some – this is not a pandemic issue. The stimulus check helped some – but it was not enough for others – who are not back to work yet. Continue reading

June 5, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Is Our Refuge and Strength

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Rays HaircutHere we go – yet another week dealing with this pandemic. I continue to urge us to encourage one another. We never know when a word of encouragement or even our presence online with someone in need will be a memory that will get them through some difficult times in the future as well as that moment.

We connect every weeknight at 7 pm on Zoom – and some of our folks make it every night. Would we rather be face-to-face – of course we would! Would we rather be able to hug our children and grands – of course we would! But – being present as we are able – is still so essential in our relationships.

Today – I found this Psalm very encouraging. The Psalmist reminds us that God is our refuge and strength – an ever-present help in times of trouble. So – what are you facing this week? Another week of being parent – provider – teacher and all-around help? Are you trying to juggle your work at home and at your workplace (even if that is also at home as well)? Is it harder than normal? Continue reading

April 20, 2020 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

Being An Encouragement and Strength

2 Timothy 4:17

But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.

Rays HaircutDuring this pandemic – I urge us to be there for one another. We never know when a word of encouragement or even our presence online with someone in need will be a memory that will get them through some difficult times in the future as well as that moment.

We connect every weeknight at 7 pm on Zoom – and some of our folks make it every night. Would we rather be face-to-face – of course we would! Would we rather be able to hug our children and grands – of course we would! But – being present as we are able – is still so essential in our relationships.

Paul had been encouraged by our Lord being by his side. Timothy was encouraged by Paul. Who encourages us? Whom do we encourage? Continue reading

April 17, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 40 of Lent 2020

Romans 6:3

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

Ray 2020Today is day 40 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you have stayed with us during this journey as we have carried on with our reading plan this Lenten Season. Tomorrow is Easter. But today is silent Saturday. It is the full day that Jesus was in the grave (partial day on Friday and partial day on Sunday). How will you spend your day? Will it be just another day or will you spend some time thinking about Jesus and His Disciples – so many years ago?

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny self – to dig deeper into our walk with Jesus. How have you been doing? Today we continue to look at a passage that will lead us to the cross and later to the resurrection. Let us focus on Jesus this week – more than usual. For those of us who have received Jesus as Lord and Savior – we have been baptized into Christ and into His suffering – into His death. We share with Him and He shares with us.

Spend some time today – praying and meditating on the story of Christ. Today is the day He was in the tomb before being raised in the morning (tomorrow). Our Lenten season has been different this year. Our Easter will be different. But – the Tomb was still empty and the Lord still reigns. Continue reading

April 11, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 39 of Lent 2020

Isaiah 49:1

Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.

Ray 2020Today is day 39 of the 40 Days of Lent reading plan. I hope you have stayed with us – this is the final week – the final two days. It is Holy Week – Easter is this Sunday. Today’s passage is another about the Servant of the Lord. This could be about Isaiah – it could be about Jesus – it might even be about us. Read it and let me know what you think.

Lent is typically a time to give something up – to stop a bad habit – to deny self – to dig deeper into our walk with Jesus. Today we begin to look at some passages that will lead us to the cross and to the resurrection. Let us focus on Jesus this week – more than usual. Let us identify with the walk and the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us. Jesus came to earth – voluntarily – to walk to the cross. Can we imagine how we would face our last week on earth? How we would face out death – when we had the power to avoid it?

Am I the only one having a hard time remembering what day it is during this pandemic? I have to remind myself each day. It seems like a groundhog day repeat. What we do know – without a doubt – is that each and every day – Jesus is the King and wants to be our Lord! Continue reading

April 10, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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