Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Father’s Day 2019

Proverbs 1:8

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

My DadI wrote this devotional thought back in 2013. I read it and think it still touches my heart and I hope it touches your heart as well.

This will be a tough Father’s Day for me (June 2013). My father and mentor passed last fall (2012) and it is the first year without him. I have often told folks that the first year – the first holidays – without your loved one will be the toughest. We already experienced some of that when we went to Moorefield for our annual family vacation – without dad.

Recently I viewed my father’s funeral for the first time since the actual funeral. The grieving process is still ongoing – I have not arrived on the other side of grief yet. It may be a long process. Everyone grieves at a different pace and in different ways.

As Father’s Day arrives Sunday – things I will always try to remember are the lessons my father taught me. Centering on Fathers for a moment – today’s passage says – Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction… Continue reading

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June 17, 2019 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Working As Unto The Lord!

Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Life ChangeOK – most everyone is back to work today. January 2nd and a Wednesday – and the work force in America – except the portion of the government shutdown because the President and Congress can’t agree – is back to work. Even if you are retired – you’re probably back to your normal routine today. Our office will open at 9 am after being shut down since December 20th. Of course – a number of the staff at church – including me – has worked since the 20th – but not at the office. I only put in about 60 hours Christmas week – so it was a light load.

So – think for a moment about the new year and your work. Are you a teacher? Do you work in an office? Do you work for the government? Are you in law enforcement or the military? Are you in sales? Are you in the medical field? Do you work for a non-profit? Wherever you work – do you work as unto the Lord or do you work for a paycheck (and only do what is required)? Continue reading

January 2, 2019 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maranatha! Come Lord – Come!

Luke 2:9

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

Life ChangeAs Advent comes to a close in the next few days – for yet another year – do we have a better grasp on its meaning? Advent is more than the period of time that begins with the fourth Sunday before Christmas and runs through Christmas Eve. It is more than merely a time of awaiting the coming of the baby Jesus in the manger. It is more than buying gifts and preparing for Christmas parties.

In the fourth century – when they began to celebrate Advent – it was also a time of remembering and waiting on the Lord’s return. The coming or return of the Messiah. Not just the babe in the manger – but the return of Christ – the ruling King.

Have you ever heard the term Maranatha? If you attend First Church (or any of the churches I have been blessed to serve in 40 plus years of ministry) you have heard it used numerous times in sermons and prayers. It is an Aramaic term that literally means – Come Lord – Come – and was often used to invite our Lord’s return. Continue reading

December 21, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Do You See Jesus 5

Hebrews 1:3

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Life ChangeFor the next few weeks – from time to time – I will be posting comments by our readers. I’d like folks to share with me where they see Jesus this Advent-Christmas Season. Just write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring you joy this Christmas season in your relationship with Jesus and with First Church if this is your home church (or your home church)? I’m also asking where you see Jesus in your church family? Also – what draws you to First Church (or your home church). You don’t have to tackle all of these – but say something about the joy you feel this Christmas.

The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season (we all need some of that – right?). I will share your thoughts anonymously. I will try to post a comment as often as they come in so send your comments. The posts will go up around 9 am each day – just like our regular devotional thoughts. Continue reading

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Serve One Another Humbly

Galatians 5:13

Serve one another humbly in love

Life ChangeSunday ended our week this winter – serving the homeless community – with the warm night shelter program. I’m always impressed by those who participate in this ministry. Many stay up all night and then go to work the next day. I know this is hard – regardless of your age – because I have been doing it one night each year. If the men are calm and sleeping – the hardest part of spending the night is staying up all night and then going to work the next day. From Monday at 6 am till Tuesday at 10 pm I got about 2 hours of sleep and it wasn’t easy. I crashed on Tuesday night and slept in some Wednesday morning. I know others who have worked more evenings than one. I’m not sure how they do it.

Aside from the lack of sleep – the amazing part of the week is getting to know the men who visit the shelter. I usually take the time to sit and eat several dinners with the men – talking with them and getting to know them. Several of the men have jobs. We talked about their work. Several of the men were new to the shelter program this year. Several of the men from years past have found shelter elsewhere. Continue reading

December 19, 2018 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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