Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

This Too Is Part Of The Grieving Process

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

This too is part of the grieving process. A few years ago – I wrote this blog post and this morning it came to mind as I was sitting in the presence of God. I miss my dad so much (and mom too). I hope this devotional touches someone. If it doesn’t – it touched me – so it has served its purpose. It brought fresh tears to my eyes and it is part of my grieving process – nearly 6 years later.

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As I sit in the hospital room with my dad my thoughts are scattered.  I know I need time to grieve. I know my emotions are on edge. I know that just the sight of my in-laws this morning followed by my father’s brother brought tears to my heart – for them and for me. Did I say I know I need time to grieve? I know that working helps me grieve and helps control my emotions at the same time. I have thoughts like: what will I do without my father? Who will I turn to with my many questions in life? As the oldest son – the oldest patriarch of the family – what does that mean? Why can’t I be strong for the family and friends? Why must I be so emotional? What will my mom do without dad? What about my sister and brother and the grand/great children? What about my wife, my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law? My brother-in-law has been like a son to dad and has cared for him like his own father – and we cried in each other’s arms last night at the hospital! My mind races to the next steps. Should we have a private burial followed by a memorial service? Should we have a fellowship meal? Where will we hold the service? Who would we ask to help – there are so many pastors in the family – pastors dad influenced – pastors that know him and us? What funeral home will we use – we have such a good relationship with so many? Should we call Hospice Care? Is dad really comfortable? Can he still hear me pray with him? How many angels can dance on the head of a needle? These are just a few of the things running through my head. If you have been where I am right now – you know the many thoughts that are going through my mind. Continue reading

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July 12, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Do We Struggle The Most In Our Lives?

Romans 7:18

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Where do we struggle the most in our lives? Have you ever felt one way and yet ended up going another way? Silly question – right? We are all human and most know the right thing to do but have succumbed to the wrong way. We often know the right way – and yet yield to the wrong way. We fight temptations and evil – but at times we fail in our struggle. I know I have more times than I wish to remember. And I keep trying to find a way to be faithful to what I know to be right.

Where do we struggle the most in our lives? For some it is with what we put into our bodies. That could mean drugs – or alcohol – or it could mean overeating. Anything we do to excess and can be harmful to us. We know certain things are wrong and harmful – yet some of us continue to abuse our bodies with what we put into them. We try diets – we try to be sober – we try to walk the steps – but – at times – we succumb to what is harmful for us. Again – I have a mirror up as I type this devotional seeing myself! Continue reading

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doing Everything To God’s Glory

 Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I remember when our twins were little ones – it seems like just a few years ago. One of the things they loved to do was watch a show called – Colby’s Clubhouse. One of my fond memories is watching the twins – as toddlers – dancing and singing to the songs on Colby’s Clubhouse. One particular was a song sung about today’s passage.

Here is a very bad copy of the video of the song. Imagine two toddlers dancing in front of their TV singing (or trying to) and giggling as the young people on the TV screen went through their moves. They loved this show and watched it almost daily.

The children learned scripture and they learned music and faith and how to treat one another. We had the show on video tape and they played it over and over. Even today they could probably sing some of the songs and do the dance moves. Continue reading

July 5, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

General Conference 2019 – Part 1

2 Timothy 3:16–17

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God  may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Scripture is the base of our understanding of God. It is often where those who differ in their understanding of God depart from one another. Scriptural authority is often the real issue when presenting issues surface. In the United Methodist Church today – the presenting issue is the nature of human sexuality. The real issue – can the Scriptures be believed and held as authoritative in our lives today.

For the next few days I will include articles written by some leaders in the United Methodist Church concerning the upcoming special General Conference of 2019 (#GC2019). Now that our Annual Conference is over – I want to make sure our readers are informed about the upcoming #GC2019.

Today I include an article written by Rob Renfroe – from the Good News Magazine. You can find his article here if you wish to respond to it directly. I include his article below. You can respond on this blog page if you wish as well. Continue reading

June 5, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Memorial Day 2018

Job 31:35

Oh, that I had someone to hear me!

Have you ever felt alone? Have you ever felt you were fighting the battle with no one in your corner? I wonder how a boxer would feel if they had to fight without someone in their corner? Without someone pulling for them and giving them comfort and even direction between rounds. I wonder how the men and women who came back from Vietnam felt – when they returned to an ungrateful nation (for some that is – not all)? They gave their all for their country and came back to some folks who spit on them and called them baby killers.

Today is Memorial Day. Are there people in your life that have served in the military? Are there folks you know that have served that you could say thank you to today? Those who serve – don’t serve for the thank you – in the military or in the church (at least that is the hope). They serve because it is in their blood or it is their job. Yet – a thank you – even a listening ear – is often appreciated.

One year – when I in Moorefield – WV – for a family vacation – I had a chance to speak with one of my cousins – who served in Vietnam (it was the last time I spoke with him – he died that year between our visits – probably from something that happened to him in Vietnam). He never liked to talk about his experiences in Vietnam – but he appreciated it when people thanked him for serving his country. Memorial Day was special for him as he would serve in reenactments of the Civil War or honor the fallen by placing a wreath on a grave or simply attending special services for the fallen. Continue reading

May 28, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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