Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Life Led By the Spirit

Romans 8:14

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Rays HaircutI was thinking about my dad this week. I miss him so much. What brought him to mind is the health concerns of Ravi Zacharias. Ravi is a man of faith – a man of God – like my father. I looked up to my dad and I look up to Ravi. My father was my hero and Ravi is a spiritual giant himself – and a hero of sorts.

A year ago – a sport’s writer and MASN personality – a friend of mine – wrote about his father’s passing in a recent post. You can read about it here. His father was his hero – someone who guided his life – someone who led him in life. I could so identify with his article/post. He wrote – He read this blog every morning before his newspaper and kept checking it throughout the day, scrolling through all of the comments. I’ll keep telling myself that he’s reading this one, his eyes moistening because the former offensive guard at Ford City High School and Indiana State in Pennsylvania softened as he got older. The hugs hello and especially goodbye kept getting tighter. The old guard called for holding.

Roch Kubatko grew up in Anne Arundel County – just north of where I grew up. I knew of him when he was in High School and I was officiating sports in High School and College. He wrote about his dad – his hero – and I thought I was reading an article/post I had written six years ago about my dad. We were both so blessed to have dads in our lives that meant so much to us. Continue reading

May 14, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Man of God Refreshed

2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Rays HaircutThis pandemic has – this isolation and quarantine – has impacted us all in different ways. As a pastor – I cannot visit my sick and elderly (or any) members. Even family is not allowed to visit if their loved one is in a nursing home/rehab center or a hospital. For some – those last days or hours will be spent – often – alone – without loved ones and friends with them. Some are taking their loved ones home so they can be with them during those last days.

As the rain fell Friday morning – and I was catching up with some friends and others on social media – I began thinking about my father. This fall it will be 8 years since he passed. I found a devotional I wrote days before his passing and I thought I would share it again today. It spoke of my pain and feelings. I miss dad more than I can express in words. A friend posted this today: Wouldn’t you love to step back in time and take a walk with your dad” – and that got me to thinking about dad. Continue reading

May 4, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Following God’s Voice

Isaiah 30:21

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Photo on 9-10-18 at 11.09 AMI’ve mentioned several times before that as a child – I tried to follow in my father’s footsteps. I could ALWAYS trust that dad would not lead me wrong. He was a man of God and if I followed his example – I knew I would be walking after God – seeking His face and desiring His grace. Of course – he told me on several occasions that I should follow Christ – not him. That was because he was a humble man for sure.

Have you ever wondered about the path God has for your life? Did you or are you praying for God’s guidance as you walk thru life – seeking His face and desiring His grace? I encourage people to pray over all decisions. I especially urge them to pray about the big ones such as – who to date – what school or training to seek – what career to pursue – whether to marry or who to marry – whether to purchase or rent a home or a vehicle – whether to have children and how many – where to worship – etc. If we don’t include God in our decisions – why would we go to Him for help after we make mistakes? Go to God before decisions are made and I bet – if we are listening to His voice – we might just make fewer mistakes. Think about it – doesn’t that make sense? Continue reading

September 26, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Seeing Jesus Face-to-Face

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

I pulled this message from five years ago. I’ve reworked it some but basically it is the same. My father’s passing five years ago is part of what has me emotionally depleted today.

As I sit in the hospital room with my dad my thoughts are scattered. I know I need time to grieve. I know my emotions are on edge. I know that just the sight of my in-laws this morning followed by my father’s brother brought tears to my heart – for them and for me. Did I say I know I need time to grieve? I know that working helps me grieve and helps control my emotions at the same time. I have thoughts like: what will I do without my father? Who will I turn to with my many questions in life? As the oldest son – the oldest patriarch of the family – what does that mean? Why can’t I be strong for the family and friends? Why must I be so emotional? What will my mom do without dad? What about my sister and brother and the grand/great children? What about my wife, my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law? My brother-in-law has been like a son to dad and has cared for him like his own father – and we cried in each other’s arms last night at the hospital! My mind races to the next steps. Should we have a private burial followed by a memorial service? Should we have a fellowship meal? Where will we hold the service? Who would we ask to help – there are so many pastors in the family – pastors dad influenced – pastors that know him and us? What funeral home will we use – we have such a good relationship with so many? Should we call Hospice Care? Is dad really comfortable? Can he still hear me pray with him? How many angels can dance on the head of a needle? These are just a few of the things running through my head. If you have been where I am right now – you know the many thoughts that are going through my mind. Continue reading

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Man of God

2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

You might hear this passage read at funerals from time to time.  I tend to not use it very often for various reasons.  I was thinking about this passage on Thursday evening as my dad battled for his life in the hospital.  I was talking to my sister and brother (I was in Florida on vacation) on the phone and heard in their voices the urgency of the situation.  I sat in the dark that night weeping my eyes out at the thought of losing a man who not only gave me life but whose life I have tried to model the best I could.  I made immediate plans to return home and by 4:30 am on Friday morning I was traveling home.

As Thursday evening and Friday morning unfolded – I began to contact pastors to minister to my dad and family.  Here was a man that had spent his whole life ministering to others and now he and his family needed someone to minister to them.  I contacted his District Superintendent and mine – and several other pastors.  A number came and others offered to come if needed.  My brother’s pastor came – my sister’s too.  Mom and dad attend both of these churches on some Sundays.  A former intern and longtime friend came to visit – someone dad has mentioned when talking about his own funeral some day!  A number of pastors and friends left words of encouragement on Facebook, through e-mail and text.  It was all so surreal.  I had been on the giving ministry side of this equation for 35 plus years as a pastor – now I was on the side of receiving care.  Thanks to all!

As I flew home Friday morning I was reading the Bible on my iPad on the plane and this passage came back to mind.  2 Timothy 4:7 – I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  If my father had passed – or when he does some twenty years from now – I will have this passage used because he certainly has run a good race and fought a good fight.  My dad is more than just a dad to me.  He is a model of what a man of God and a pastor should look like!  I have fallen short of God’s glory many times – and have fallen short of my father’s example as well.  But the model of Christ and the model of my dad are still there for me to strive to measure my life against (thank God for His grace).

As of Sunday night my dad is holding his own and improving some.  He is not out of the woods so to speak – but doing better.  Thanks for all the prayers and words of encouragement shared by so many.  Those who know my father – know him to be a man after the heart of Jesus.  His nurses have remarked at how peaceful he has been – even as he clung to life.  A model for all of us to strive to follow!  We have shared our faith even as dad was showing his faith to all who would ask or listen.  Are we all striving to be men and women of God?

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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September 3, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor | , | 1 Comment


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