Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We Live In Troubling Times

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

We live in troubling times. North Korea is a nuclear threat. There is unrest – once again – with Russia. China is also a super power threat. Not to mention the unrest in Iran – Iraq – Afghanistan – Nigeria – Syria – Pakistan – Yemen and Somalia. World peace seems only a dream for the uninformed.

We live in troubling times. I personally know of several married couples that have given up or are on the verge of giving up. Some are recently married and some have been married for some time. Some of the couples have children – even young children. Even some of the married couples I know who might not be in trouble – have troubles. It seems like happily ever after is just a pipe dream in many cases. The peace that some seek in a lifetime commitment is not experienced by many. Continue reading

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November 21, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Saint’s Day 2017

Psalm 116:15

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

Early this morning I was watching the news. The news is very rarely good. Today they were reliving the terror attack in New York yesterday. When will we protect our boarders and keep such radicals out of our country? I know that is not an easy subject – but we need to do something to keep our shores safe – if that is possible in this day and age. I don’t mean to be political – but something needs to be done!

Later today I will help to celebrate the life of a lifetime friend – Doris. She was a special lady for sure. One I fondly remember from my days as a child and later as a pastor – serving the church where she attended. I have many memories of Doris. Most of them are good! I will share some of them today at her service of celebration. I especially remember how she loved her Jesus!

All Saint’s Day of late – always reminds me – of my dear departed father and now my mother. They loved Jesus with all their hearts. They knew and experienced God and they now rest in peace with Jesus. I have confidence in this fact – it is part of my faith – part of my walk with Jesus. Do we know Jesus? Is Jesus our personal Lord and Savior? Do we have a personal relationship with Jesus? All of these are good questions. What are our answers? Continue reading

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

Keep In Step With The Spirit

Galatians 5:25

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

I remember growing up – trying to keep in step with my dad. One time I remember going out in the snow to get wood for the fire. I tried to step where he stepped (the snow was deep). I tried to make his strides but because the snow was so deep I fell over trying to make his huge strides. But I got up and tried again and again.

I was cutting the grass over the weekend and one of my granddaughters wanted to come out and ride the tractor with Pop. She apparently made a fuss to do so because on one pass I saw Carolyn holding her and her holding out her arms to Pop. I couldn’t resist and pulled over. She helped me cut the remainder of the front yard – at one point clinging to her Pop because she was so tired. She wanted to help Pop. Continue reading

October 23, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

August 4 – Baseball Season – 2 Months Left

1 Corinthians 9:24

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

OK – lots of posts on this blog are about significant theological issues. We have written about the United Methodist Church’s policies and doctrines. We have talk about church drama and operation. We have written about grace – peace – assurance – salvation – sin – Jesus – conviction – repentance – and more.

Today I want to focus just a few thoughts on this baseball season. As today’s passage suggests – athletes will strive to achieve the victory in their sport. In order to do so – they must practice – workout – and strive every day for their goal.

Recently I met two coaches from the Orioles and had a chance to talk with them about this season. The team will not give up and they have most recently (not counting last night because this was written before the game) won 5 straight and gotten within 3 games of the playoffs and 5 games from the division lead. Continue reading

August 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding Peace

John 16:33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

One of the blessings of having a hearing loss is I can put my good ear down on the pillow at bedtime. If people are in the other room talking and I want to get to sleep – I simply place my good ear on the pillow and off to sleep I go. There is a peace and quiet – no matter what is going on around me. It might be why I could fall asleep anywhere as a child – with my parents and others talking up a storm in the same room. I would simply put my good ear down on the floor or a pillow and I could find my happy place – a quiet place to fall asleep. With the rain this morning and my wife out of town – I slept a long time after going to bed early and no one to wake me.

My Facebook feed is normally filled with pictures and stories of folks I know that have found peace in one place or another. A friend – with a foot and lower leg in a cast – shared a picture of him cutting grass on his John Deere – cast in a plastic bag! I know what he meant. With my recent shoulder surgery – I couldn’t wait till I could cut my grass. Something about doing something mindless and in the outdoors – is so stress relieving. Some people share pictures of mountain sunsets – beach sunrises – quiet waters – peaceful golf courses – baby animals – mountain top views and more. People enjoying some relaxing time – some quiet time – away from their work and the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives. Where is your happy place? Where would you go to find peace and quiet? Continue reading

May 5, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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