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

Family Is So Important

1 Corinthians 12:26

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

img_0063-2I’ve been spending some time lately reading (mostly online and on my iPad) and listening to some as well. I’ve read the following: The Bible – some books (like Nick Vujicic’s Unstoppable) – some sports news (as we are in the midst of the basketball season – the Super Bowl is upon us – and Spring training is just around the corner) – and the Facebook entries of some of my friends. One thing I’ve noticed in many of these venues is the importance of family – connections – and teamwork. One of my Facebook friends puts pictures and posts up – almost hourly it seems – thanking God for their children – their spouse – and where they work. I believe that our family and close friends impact our lives – for the better or for the worst.

I mourn with everyone today at the loss of Kobe Bryant – his 13 year old daughter – and the 6 other persons (as of the writing of this devotional – not yet identified) lost in a helicopter wreck Sunday morning. The sudden – tragic accident – serves to remind us how fragile life is and how precious our moments together should be.

Family and other connections are so very important to our health and well-being. One only needs to read the stories of some who have gone astray to realize that many of them had a giant fail in their family connections. Nick Vujicic – born without arms or legs – praises his parents for showing him unconditional love and attention. He credits this support for much of his ability to struggle through the challenges of life he faced and become a motivational speaker and evangelist. Continue reading

January 27, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Never Forget! 9-11-01

John 15:18

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amToday – as a nation – we remember 9-11. Where were you on that Tuesday morning 18 years ago? What are your thoughts – today – about 9-11? Is it still etched in your memory? Did you shed some tears this morning remembering that day? I know I did.

Did you know anyone who lost their life on that day? A lot of people lost their lives that day as a result of the radical Islamic terrorist attack on the USA.

I was pastoring at Mt. Zion Church and remember the horror of the day as it unfolded for sure. We had people working in the Pentagon and I remember hearing from some of them and heading out to be with their families. I remember going to the area High School and being with the son of a friend of mine who was in the Pentagon. It was a horrific day – a day I will always remember. Continue reading

September 11, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Sees All Things

Psalm 139:2

You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

I remember playing hide-and-seek as a child. It was fun – hiding from your friends and hoping they couldn’t find you. When we played at my home growing up (the parsonage at Mt. Zion) – we had a cemetery next door and it was always fun to hide there because my cousins and friends wouldn’t come looking in the cemetery. If they did brave the walk through the cemetery – it was easy to get them to run out by making noises like a ghost. I usually won the game because they wouldn’t stay in the cemetery long enough to find me!

I remember playing capture the flag as a youth at Seat Pleasant UMC (now Gethsemane UMC). We would hide in the dark and try to get behind enemy lines. We would crawl along the outskirts of the field and even into the woods – to stay hidden. We would spring up and run for our side of the field with their flag. Continue reading

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

RayMcDThanksgiving comes once a year – as does Christmas – Easter – Pentecost – etc. Yet we don’t have to limit our thankfulness to one day – do we? If your family is like mine – when we gather to give thanks over the bounty on Thanksgiving – we pause to give thanks for something specific – everyone at the table. It is a touching time – and watching our family age before our eyes – year after year – brings a nostalgic note too. Listening to what the girls (and soon the grandchildren) are thankful for always touches my heart.

I’m the crier in the family. An example was when I totally lost it at my wife’s 50th birthday party some years ago. I’m not sure why – other than we were honoring her for the awesome woman of God she has always been. Tears will flow for most any reason from my eyes. With the holidays coming I will shed tears when I watch It’s a Wonderful Life for the 200th time – and even while watching Charlie Brown Christmas – tears will flow. Continue reading

November 24, 2016 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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