Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God Is Our Refuge – In Him We Trust

Psalm 91:2

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Well – I’m back. I hope you missed me – or at least the week day devotional thoughts. Leave a comment on today’s devotional thought if you missed our devotional thoughts last week. My staycation was OK – although it is never as good as a vacation where you get away. I did accomplish 21 of 29 honey dos on my list. It was a successful week in that regard. I also got to play two rounds of golf – although I am still recovering from rotator cuff surgery and not yet playing up to par (no pun intended).

In today’s political climate – and on the Elder’s page I frequent on Facebook – the debate is over the current immigration process on our southern border. Some are horrified over children being detained separate from those presenting themselves to be there parents – who are trying to enter our country illegally. I say presenting themselves as parents of the children because it has been documented that some are simply bringing children with them to try and get past the border and some are bringing children north for slavery and sex trafficking.

Of course – the policy in place at this time is from previous administrations and needs to be changed – but until it is changed – this administration is trying to enforce the current laws. Some state administrations have ignored the laws altogether. Sounds like the United Methodist Church where some disagree with the laws of the church yet ignore the law.

Some are appalled at children being taken from their parents by this administration – yet didn’t say a word when it was being done by the previous administrations. I’m really trying to not be political. Yet – it seems like you can’t turn on the TV or read social media without someone getting political these days. Continue reading

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June 18, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We Should Be Encouragers

1 Thessalonians 4:17-18

17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Therefore encourage one another. What is it that would encourage us dear readers? When we’re trying to lose weight or put it on – doesn’t it encourage us when people notice and say something? When we are trying to change our shape – exercising more or watching what we eat – it is nice when people notice. Try to notice others and not be so narcissistic – focused on self so much.

Therefore encourage one another. What is it that would encourage us dear readers? Yesterday I played in a golf tournament. I had one of my worst rounds in a long time. I think I was pressing – trying too hard just 12 weeks after rotator cuff surgery. My arm actually started to hurt near the end of the round. I was playing with a couple of friends and wanted to do well. Yet – it wasn’t about me playing well – it was about my friends and our guest having a good time. I began to take my focus off of my golf game and spent most of the day encouraging my partners. I told them how well they were playing (even if that was a stretch at times) and praised their good shots (like the awesome approach shot by one player followed by another player hitting an amazing and hard putt for an eagle). My task for the day was to make sure they had a good time and felt encouraged doing it.

Continue reading

May 25, 2018 Posted by | Build | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rejoice Always – Really?

1 Thessalonians 5:16

Rejoice always

I’m still recovering from rotator cuff surgery – my second one in two years (left should last spring – right shoulder this spring). I head out for Physical Therapy later this morning (this was written on Thursday morning). Being five weeks out from surgery – I’m stating to get some use out of my arm. I’m starting to build it up again. I can’t wait to swing a golf club and shoot some basketball. I can’t wait to be able to cut and split wood for next winter (the fire is going today – it was in the 30’s when I woke but the house is warm and cozy).

How did your week after Easter go? I know some colleagues that took the week off. I know some others that kept at it. What about you dear reader? How’s life treating you? I know some marriages that are in trouble – I’m praying for them. I know some people who have just been placed on Hospice care. I know some folks who are waiting for their first child. I know some folks that are waiting to get married. Ups and downs hit us all. Good times and bad times will fall on us all. Yet Paul calls us to rejoice always. Continue reading

April 6, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy New Year – 2018

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Happy New Year! I’m reworking a past New Year’s Day devotional. I hope that your day – your New Year – got off to a great start. Steve Furtick once tweeted – The way your day starts doesn’t have to be the way your day finishes. We can always make improvements as the day goes along. We can always make improvements as the year unfolds.

This morning I was playing some basketball with some friends. I hit a couple of 3’s and made some nice passes – but didn’t have an exceptional day. But I stuck with it and had a good morning workout – even if I didn’t play very well. Our new years may not always produce the best days – but if we stick to it – stick to our goals – in the end – we might just have a good year.

Typically – on New Year’s Day – some friends and I play golf – 5 degree weather was just a little too cold for me. Continue reading

January 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can God Renew My Strength?

Isaiah 40:31

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

OK – I’m almost 63 and I have to admit that I don’t have the strength I had in my younger years. I mean – in years gone by I was able to dunk a basketball – now I have a hard time touching the net. I was able to finger roll at the rim and now a finger roll has to have a big shove to reach the rim (and I don’t leave the ground very far either these days). My legs have a hard time getting this old and overweight body up and down the court so I’ve had to watch my knees. As a matter of fact – with a torn meniscus in my left knee – I may need to give up on the idea of playing full-out – full-court basketball. My doctor even encouraged me to give it up all together a few years ago! I went to play recently only to see 20 plus young men on the court and so I decided to go the gym and workout instead! So I ask the question I have asked before – can God help me dunk again?

I walked 18 holes once this past summer (I typically use a cart these days). That is good exercise – but on the last few holes I could feel the burn in my legs and I got winded a few times going up hill. My strength is not what I wish it would be or what it once was for sure. My hope is that I can walk the golf course twice a week this coming spring and summer and go to the gym as well during the week to get in better shape – to regain some of my strength. Maybe I’ll ask this question. Can God help me scratch some strokes off my game or help me hit longer drives again? Continue reading

December 15, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Prayer | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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