Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Quiet Time With God

Mark 6:31

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

June 2019OK – we prayed a few years ago for our children and grandchildren to come home – two grandchildren and parents were living in New Jersey while three grandchildren with parents were living in California. We are so glad to have them back home. It is good to have family close. It was special having almost the whole family together for the 4th of July celebration at my brother’s home. Yesterday was a wonderful time being with family.

Having said that – quiet times around the McDonald home are few and far between these days. Carolyn and I have not had our home to ourselves yet very much in our married life – with children moving back home (we loved it) and my brother-in-law (and dog) living here the last 4 plus years. Being so close to our children and grandchildren – you know they are over often (again – we love it). They all love each other – yet like siblings and cousins – there are times they battle as well. I am not complaining – but finding a quiet moment is not easy – even early in the morning. Yet we realize how important – even essential – quiet time can be for us. My quiet time is often my ride to and from work (about 35-40 minutes one way most days). I listen to music – but – I often listen to podcasts and sermons – soaking in the Spirit and in the Word of God. Continue reading

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July 5, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

Easter Is Everyday!

Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Life ChangeEaster has come and gone for another year. Churches were packed Sunday from sunrise services through regular and extra worship services. Some of my colleagues had to hold Easter services off-sight for a variety of reasons. Some wanted to reach the unchurched and thought off-site might be the best way to do this.  Some would have had to hold so many services in their current facilities that it made sense to go off-site to a larger facility. Some for both reasons and maybe some others as well. I imagine that some saw larger crowds than they will see all year until Easter next year – April 12th.

If their attendance was anything like I have experienced over the years – although there were some visitors – like family visiting for the long holiday weekend – folks looking for a church or simply the C&E folks (Christmas and Easter) – mostly the higher attendance is a product of the regular folks all attending on the same Sunday. Sadly – studies show that regular for some means once or twice a month – something less than most every Sunday. When attendance on a regular Sunday is say 75 and on Easter it blossoms to 125 with only 10 visitors – that suggests that if your regulars were more regular – your normal attendance might be closer to 115 than 75. Continue reading

April 23, 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, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being God’s Friend

John 15:14

You are my friends if you do what I command.

Life ChangeIf you’ve ever helped raise children – you know the heart of every parent is for their children to listen to them and grow to make good decisions. We train and discipline them to behave properly. We spend their lifetime trying to equip them to have good morals and values – to trust in God and follow His teachings. Every morning – as our girls were headed to school – my wife told them – make good choices – watch your surroundings – and listen to the Holy Spirit. Wise words to guide your life.

I was listening to Andy Stanley this morning and he was talking about treating his children well. If anyone didn’t treat them well – he was their enemy. The Papa Bear came out in him when his children were mistreated – and look out for Sandra – his wife – because she was a very protective Mama Bear. Continue reading

April 19, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s NEVER Too Late

Philippians 1:9

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,

Life ChangeIf you’re a parent – you probably had or have dreams for your children. I know I had and have dreams for our three girls. Dreams about their physical – emotional and spiritual growth. Dreams about their athletic abilities – and their maturity – and about their walk with Jesus. They have surpassed most of my dreams for sure. They are amazing young women (young is always a relative term). Their mother and I are very blessed by them. The men in their lives are also a blessing. Our five granddaughters are a new generation to pray over and invest in for sure. It is NEVER too late to take corrective action though – if our dreams and prayers have not been met.

If you’ve had or have dreams for your life – you probably have succeeded in some areas and fallen short in some areas. As I look back at my life – there are things I would do differently – of course – but – overall – I’m pleased with my life. I may not have reached all of my goals – but the ones that are most important – my walk with Jesus and my family – are a blessing. I wish I could lose another 50 pounds. I wish I could still dunk a basketball (yet I can still light it up from the 3-point arc). I wish my ministry had reached more people for Jesus. I wish I had spent more time with my family – and less time working. I wish I hadn’t spent so much money on cars as a teen and young adult. OK – the list could go on and on – but – most of my dreams have come true and some are still in reach. It is NEVER too late to take corrective action though – if our dreams and prayers have not been met. Continue reading

April 4, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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