Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Giving Our Faith Rain

Isaiah 40:6

A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.”

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amIt seems like – it doesn’t matter what I do – if I don’t get enough rain – I will lose my front yard. Last summer I lost my front yard.  A combination of lack of water – excess sunshine and a weak root system does it every time. I treated the ground – aerated – seeded with good seed – fertilized with starter fertilizer and winter fertilizer later in the season and most springs I fertilized it again. It often comes up strong and full – but I fully realize that if I can’t figure out a way to water it through the summer heat – it will be gone again. I got an estimate for a sprinkler system – and that is more than I want to pay. I could install a system myself or figure out a way to use my hose and sprinkler more often. I must figure out how to sprinkle through the summer without burning the ground with the hose full of water in the middle of the day.

Even with all of that work each fall – at the start of March – maybe the end of February – my yard looks like most yards – dormant (to a degree). With the wet spring we had this year – my yard greened up and looked great. I hoped it would have time to deepen the roots before the heat arrived. Who would have guessed we would be so dry from July through early October. I cut my grass at the highest setting my lawn tractor with a mulching kit will allow. I cut it twice a week during the peak growing season so I don’t leave behind piles or clumps of dead grass. I would love to have a green lawn throughout the year! I guess everyone would. Continue reading

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

God Is Our Shelter

Psalm 91:1

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Life ChangeLast summer – when I was playing golf – the rains came (I was told it never rained on the golf course). I took out my trusty umbrella – and got beneath its protection. I stayed dry because I was under the protection of that umbrella – which was made to do just what it did. It rained hard for a few holes – and when the rain passed – I put the umbrella up – until it was needed again.

When I was a young lad – living with my parents – my parents were my protection from the world around me. They taught me about life – they did what they could to protect me from hurt and from trouble. Most often – when I listened to their advice – I stayed safe and out of trouble. When I didn’t listen – I often got into trouble.

When we became parents – Carolyn and I found ourselves trying to protect our children from trouble. At times we did a good job – at times we failed. Most times our children listened – there were a few times they did not. Continue reading

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

Let God’s Word Rain Upon Us

Isaiah 55:10-11

10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

RayMcDWe have had plenty of rain this summer. It might just be the most rain we have had during a summer in some time – maybe even historical. I know it has been hard finding the time when the grass wasn’t wet in order to cut it.

Rain falls at different rates. The other afternoon we had a storm at home. The rain came down so hard the ground couldn’t absorb it all. Another time last week it merely sprinkled – barely got the ground wet/damp. No matter how fast or light the rain falls – rain is typically good for the ground – the crops – the flowers – the grass – our wells. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater. Continue reading

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Protection And Care

Psalm 121:7-8

The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

I remember when our oldest was just a toddler. Her mother and I were shopping with her and we were having a great time. My wife was looking at the women’s clothing and I was looking in the men’s section. We each thought the other had our daughter. When we realized no one had her – we panicked. We were frantic and ran all over looking for our precious little one. We had security looking and barring the doors and all we could think of was our little girl being lost and taken by someone. She was outside our protection and care – for the moment – and we were scared-to-death!

Soon we heard over the loudspeaker – would the parents of a precious little redheaded girl come to the clothing counter. We were so relieved and there she was – sitting on the counter – holding court – never realizing the trauma her parents had just experienced. We praised God – thanked God for delivering our daughter back to us – and thanked the salespersons for their care. Needless to say – that never happened again – with her or her twin sisters who came along five years later. Continue reading

July 4, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Our Faith Like The Grass?

Isaiah 40:6

A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.”

A few summers ago I lost my front yard. A combination of lack of water – excess sunshine and a weak root system did it in. I treated the ground – aerated – seeded with good seed – fertilized with starter fertilizer and winter fertilizer later in the season and that following spring I fertilized it again. It came up strong and full. I fully realize that if I can’t figure out a way to water the yard in the summer – it will not be as full later in the year. That year I got an estimate for a sprinkler system – and that was way out of my price range. I purchased some extra hose and have tried – during the dry periods – to water the front yard.

Even with all of that work that fall – just a few weeks into March even – my yard was like most yards – dormant (to a degree). It did remain green through the winter that year – thanks to fertilizers and a mild winter – but it was in a dormant state. With the warmer than normal March that spring – with lots of sunshine and some rain – my yard was ahead of schedule that spring. It had time that spring to deepen the roots and thicken before the summer months. I cut my grass at the highest setting my lawn tractor with a mulching kit would allow. I cut the grass twice a week during the peak-growing season so I don’t leave behind piles or clumps of dead grass. I love a green lawn throughout the year! Continue reading

November 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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