Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Our Time Is Short

Ephesians 5:16

[make] the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

The older I get – the more I realize that our time on this earth is short. I’ve lived 63+ years and if I live to 84 like my father I have 21 years left. If I live as long as my mother – I have 26 more years (although her last 2-4 years were not pleasant). If I live as old as my paternal great-grandfather – I have 39 more years. Even that seems like a short time left on this earth. Our time is short.

We measure things in time. For instance – I will retire sometime between 2 and 9 years. My youngest daughters are 33 years younger than I am and in 3 years they will be half my age. School is out for the summer and in 2 months or so students will be headed back to class (sooner if they have summer school or play fall sports). Our time is short.

We’re to use each and every moment serving God. We never know when our last moment may be present. We never know how long we have left on earth – so use every moment to God’s glory. Our time is short. Continue reading

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June 22, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Faithful To God

Ruth 1:16

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”

In a couple of months – my wife and I will celebrate 38 years of marriage. They have mostly been fantastic years (she might say otherwise). Our oldest just turned 35 and our twins will be 30 soon. Our oldest grands are 5 and there are two that are 3 and one that is 1. More might be coming in the years to come. I would hope that as a family we will stick together thru thick and thin. Two daughters lived out-of-state for a season of time and that was hard – especially on their mother. We are now all together in Maryland. I pray that God will keep us all together in some fashion as we age and continue to live and be a blessing to each other and to others. All have a deep faith and trust in God and that is a blessing. I pray – as a family – we will remain faithful to God.

Soon I will finish my 42nd year in ministry (37th in ordained ministry – 38th under appointment). Time flies – let me tell you. A number of the interns I have been blessed to serve with have already retired or left the active ministry. Some are still at it. It has been mostly a blessing. Retirement isn’t too far off. Yet – we will remain faithful to God and God’s Word – and serve Christ and His church somehow – even in retirement. I pray I will always be faithful to God. Continue reading

May 30, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Mankind Will Come And Bow Down Before God

Isaiah 66:23

“all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord.

I grew up the son and grandson of Methodist pastors. I was raised on Wesleyan theology – which is not Calvinist or Arminian exactly – but for me a mixture of the two (the best parts of each). I was raised during a time when we were told to date within our denomination – because it would be easier raising the children – better for a unified home. I didn’t always follow that path – dating a Catholic girl – a Baptist girl – an Episcopal girl – a non-denominational girl and a few others. I also dated a few Methodist girls. I eventually married a Methodist girl (young woman) – who would love to be non-denominational I think. All were Christian – just from different branches of the faith.

I raised my daughters to marry boys who were Christian – the denomination was secondary. I told them they should look for three things in the young men they dated – 1) a strong Christian faith – 2) a strong love for them – and 3) a strong work ethic. Although I was still biased toward those who thought Wesleyan theology was on the right path – I believed that most Christian faiths could have the core beliefs that would create a strong marriage and family. Continue reading

May 16, 2018 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

The Rest Of Our Lives

Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. I wonder – have we ever heard that before now? We cannot change anything about yesterday or the days – weeks – months – or years in the past. We might be able to make restitution for something that happened in the past. We might be able to correct something done in the past. We might be able to improve on something in the past. We might even be able to build upon something done in the past. But the past is just that – the past.

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Recently my wife and I had a conversation about what we’d like to do in the year and years ahead of us. We both have some hobbies we’d like to develop. We both have family that would require travel to visit. We both have ministries we would like to invest in and visit. The list continues. We cannot change what we have done – but we can focus on what we would like to do in the future. Continue reading

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Difference Between Needs and Wants

Philippians 4:12

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

We live in a day and age – probably not unlike many other eras – when there are a number of folks that live hand-to-mouth. These persons live in many communities around us and in our own communities. Living hand-to-mouth means that a person uses every part of their income with no plan for the future. Everything they make they spend.

Some people have had many opportunities – yet still live hand-to-mouth. Some have not had many opportunities and find themselves in the same situation. There are a number of people in our society that may not be able to make ends meet. For these our society tends to help (although many we help – IMHO – have made decisions in life to put themselves in this situation of need).

Part of what leaves many folks living hand-to-mouth is a lack of understanding or discipline when it comes to wants verses needs. Most people (and I have no statistics for this at this time but it is an educated opinion from 40+ years of ministry) live beyond their means because they have mixed up their needs and their wants. This happens at all income levels – for the very poor to the very rich. How many times have we read about professional athletes – who make more money in a 4-10 year career than many of us make in several life-times – only to find themselves living hand-to-mouth in short order? I had an elderly person once tell me they couldn’t live on their social security check. I wanted to tell them that social security was never meant to be the sole income for a person in retirement. A person was supposed to save – to put money aside for retirement. They often have not because they have mixed up their needs and wants. Continue reading

April 5, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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