Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Memorial Day 2020

Job 31:35

Oh, that I had someone to hear me!

Rays HaircutHave 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 put their lives on the line 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? I know Memorial Day is for those who gave their lives for their country – but all were willing. Those who serve or served – 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 wreaths on graves or simply attending special services for the fallen. Continue reading

May 25, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

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

Renew Our Strength

Isaiah 40:31

…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

This is vacation season for many people. My social media feeds are filled with people heading to the mountains or to the beach or out of town to a vacation destination somewhere. Often people see vacation time as a time to renew their strength – to relax and not be controlled by the day-to-day work schedule. It often allows for more family time than a typical workweek as well. What do we do to relax? What do we do to renew our strength?

An interesting discussion might include these questions and more. What do we do to relax or t be rejuvenated? Time off from work is not always relaxing as many people say they need a vacation to recuperate from their vacation. What relaxes us? What renews our strength?

I’m relaxed when I play golf or cut my grass. These times also renew my strength to face the difficulties of the day. These are times away from the troubles and drama of the world. I also relax watching mindless TV (usually old shows with morals and values that match mine). What brings us renewed strength? Continue reading

August 1, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hope In The Lord!

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.

112015 Ray McDonaldHope in the Orioles! They started the season 7-0 and have a good balance – in such a small sample size – of hitting – power – pitching – and defense. They lost last night for the first time this season and still hold a 2.5 game lead over the second place team 8 games into the new season. They are hitting homers at a record pace and their pitching has been better than they expected. I have hope in the Orioles!

Hope in the Warriors! Possibly the best team in NBA history – last night they won their 73rd win of the season to break the previous record of 72 set by the Bulls in 95-96 season. The Bulls were led by Michael Jordan while the Warriors are led by Stephen Curry. Curry broke his own record for made 3’s in a season. His previous record for an NBA season was 286 and this season he hit on 402 3’s. Hope in the Warriors!

What is it we have hope in these days? Hope in our health? Hope in our wealth? Hope in our marriage? Hope in our children? Hope in our church? Hope in our faith? Continue reading

April 14, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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