Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Be Strong and Courageous

1 Chronicles 28:20

David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.”

Life ChangeMemorial Weekend is a time in our family’s history – when we visit with family. In the past – pre-arson on our West Virginia home – we would go home to my mom’s home town – where mom and dad met. There is a family reunion – with mom’s side of the family. We haven’t gone the last two years because our home is missing – and it wouldn’t be the same.

I did spend a great deal of time thinking about my mom and dad and our family history. We spent time with our local family – over at my nephew’s home on Sunday afternoon and my daughter’s home on Monday afternoon. We spent time with family.

I also spent time yesterday and even all weekend – thinking about those who gave their all so that we could spend a weekend spending time with family. Phrases like freedom is not free and Home of the Free – Because of the Brave – reminded me of Memorial weekend. I also appreciated a meme that said – Stand for the flag and kneel for the Cross – and one that reminded me that Armed Forces Day is for those currently serving – Veteran’s Day is for those who once served – and Memorial Day is for those who served and never returned home. Too often folks get them mixed up. Continue reading

May 28, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Father Knows Best

Matthew 6:8

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Life ChangeI was thinking about my dad this past week. He was an awesome dad. Do you remember the Television Show that aired from 1954 to 1963 titled Father Knows Best? It starred Robert Young (Jim) – Jane Wyatt (Margaret) – Elinor Donahue (Betty) – Billy Gray (Bud) – and Lauren Chapin (Kathy) – as the Andersons. The show won six Emmy Awards and was a consistent Top 10 show in the Nielsen Ratings. It was based on a patriarchal model that was popular in the 50’s on TV and in American life. By the way – Elinor Donahue (Ellie Walker) also played the part of a female druggist and a flame for Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show (1960 to 1968) for a few seasons.

The premise of the show – Father Knows Best – was that the family would have all sorts of trouble – only to turn to their father (Jim Anderson) for help. He would often give sage advice and would make things all right in the end. He always seemed to know best – of course that was very idealistic – but for the show it worked. We know that not all fathers are so wise and not all families turn to their father for help – often turning to mother as well – and even others inside and outside the family. Continue reading

April 26, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Open Arms Of Our Heavenly Father

Luke 15:20

So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

I miss my father – my earthly father. I really relied on him and trusted him and loved him. His absence from my life has left a huge hole that I just can’t seem to fill. I may never fill it. I imagine I feel a little like those who have lost relationship with their heavenly Father. Hell is described by some as eternity outside of the presence of God. Being outside the presence of my earthly father – I know I don’t like that feeling and so I know I wouldn’t like to spend eternity or anytime outside my heavenly Father’s presence.

When I first read today’s passage as a child – I couldn’t imagine doing what the younger son did to his dad. Luke 15:11–12 – 11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Most of us realize that we don’t get our inheritance – if there is any – until after our parents have passed. What the younger son was saying to his father was – you are dead to me so give me what I have coming to me now. My earthly father died nearly 6 years ago and my mom just over a year ago. I could never imagine telling my parents – you are dead to me so give me what I have coming to me now. That would destroy me – it hurts just thinking about it. Continue reading

April 30, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Love One Another

John 13:35

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Do we have a hard time loving others or showing love to others? I know some men who have a hard time showing love – or even say I love you to family members.

Typically it is easier to say I love you to those who love you back or do nice things. If someone is nice to us or shows us respect – it would seem easier to love them – right?

Loving others is not as easy command from Jesus. In today’s passage Jesus says that others will know we are His followers – His disciples – if we love one another. Think for a moment – are there folks we have a hard time loving?

Here’s today’s passage in partial context. John 13:34–35 – 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Continue reading

October 10, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Knows All About Us

Psalm 139:3

You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

When I was growing up – I had certain chores – like most of us I assume. One of my chores was to cut the grass. We had just moved into the new parsonage at Seat Pleasant UMC on Addison Road in Seat Pleasant – MD. That church has since been renamed Gethsemane UMC.

The grass was just starting to take root and so it was very thin – sparse. There were rocks in the soil and my dad instructed me to cut the grass with the mower pointing away from the house. This meant I would push the mower up the hill in our side yard and pull it down the hill. It was harder – I thought – than pushing it down hill and pulling it up the hill – so I turned the lawn mower around and did as I thought – rather than as my father had told me. Continue reading

April 10, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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