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

Do We Pray For All People?

1 Timothy 2:1

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—

June 2019Do we pray for all people? Often in worship – over the years – I’ve asked people to pray for the President. What if the President at the time isn’t the one you voted for – does that hamper your ability to pray for them? It shouldn’t. We should pray for our leaders – whether we agree with them or not. We don’t have to like someone to pray for them – praying that their hearts would be touched by God and that they would lead the people according to what is best for the people – rather than for themselves or their political party.

Do we pray for all people? The political scene is dreary these days. At times we are called to pray against evil (as we might define it) and to pray for those who are responsible for that evil (as we see it). For instance – we might be conflicted with what is happening on our southern border (and has been happening for several administrations). We might think our borders should be secure and yet we might feel there are better ways to go about it (several administrations have tried several methods which apparently aren’t working yet). We can pray for those seeking asylum and their well-being while also praying for border security. We can pray for a better way for sure. Continue reading

June 14, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love and Truth

Ephesians 4:15

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Have we ever had a hard truth to tell someone – but rather than tell them the hard truth – we told them something else or didn’t tell them at all? Telling the truth is not always easy. Hearing the truth can hurt some people’s feelings. Some people can’t take the truth – they can’t handle the truth. Some people have a hard time accepting the truth. Sometimes our truth is not the real truth – so we need to be careful. At times our attitude can hamper or block the truth from being heard.

In today’s passage we are called to speak the truth in love. We should never have the attitude that we want to hurt others with the truth. The truth should always be shared in love. In sharing the truth with someone – it should be to help and uplift – not to hurt and diminish. Sharing the truth – as found in God’s Word – should always be for the benefit of the Body of Christ. Continue reading

June 13, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Gentle Answer Turns Away Wrath

Proverbs 15:1

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

June 2019Often – we can tell by the tone of a person’s voice if they are upset or not? Maybe – we can tell if they are upset by the words or phases they use? Maybe we can tell someone is upset by his or her body language. How do we feel when someone is upset with us? How does it impact us? Does it help or hinder our relationship with them? Does it impact our ability to communicate with them? How does it make us feel?

I bet most of us would rather deal with people when they are not angry or upset. I know I would – for sure. I bet others would rather deal with us when we are not angry. But how do we control our anger or the anger of others? How do we keep situations calm and under control? It is not easy for sure. Continue reading

June 12, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Praying for Our Enemies and Others

1 Thessalonians 1:2

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.

Life ChangeSo – in our prayer life – whom do we mention? The typical night-time prayer for a child is – God bless mommy and daddy – God bless my brother and sister – and maybe the child might add – God bless my grandma and granddad and my doggy too. We might add prayers for someone sick – for world peace – for that new job we are starting Monday – and other items on our plate. We might even praise God for simply being God. But what about praying for our enemies or for those whom we disagree with – even on important issues – including politics and theology?

My family has four continuous generations of Methodist/United Methodist pastors. We are heaped in Wesleyan theology and practice. Over the last four plus decades (a time that has encompassed my entire time as an ordained minister) – the divide between the left and the right leaning positions in the church has grown. We have debated the Bible and the Book of Discipline (the two rule books of the church). General Conference after General Conference has dealt with numerous issues where the two extremes have differed. Even as we prepare for yet another battle at the 2020 General Conference – the two sides are opposed to one another and at different places in theology and practice. The future of the unity in the UMC is at stake. We are facing schism and more. Some are outwardly definite to the Bible’s teaching and to the instructions of the Book of Discipline – General Conference rulings – and the Judicial Council of the church. Continue reading

June 11, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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