Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Mending a Broken Heart

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (ESV)

Life ChangeI wonder how many of our readers have ever experienced a broken heart? Am I alone? I’m also a hopeless romantic (that is the term I choose to use and I’m sticking with it). As much as I love my wife and wouldn’t trade her for the world – I remember relationships from the past. Smells and songs trigger memories for me. I remember the first girl I ever kissed (I was 9 and we were moving from our church and she was 10 and I kissed her on our last Sunday). She was my first girlfriend – so to speak (it is written in my baby book LOL). I remember the perfume my next girlfriend used (Heaven Scent) and it brings back memories when I smell it.

As I grew older – songs began to play a part of my memories. Stevie Wonder’s You Are The Sunshine Of My Life has fond memories as does Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together. Color My World by Chicago was also a favorite – it was the first song I ever danced to (with someone special).

Let’s Stay Together was a song that brings back not only fond memories but sad memories as well. It was still popular (came out in 1972) – a few years before one of my relationship breakups. As an emotional person – it would bring tears to my eyes remembering that relationship after it was over. Even today I occasionally remember relationships past. I’m listening to some music from the Vietnam era as I type out this devotional and each song brings back memories of my youth. Continue reading

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude

Luke 17:17

Jesus asked, Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?

I imagine every generation has their issues with the previous generation. One area that seems to come up in conversations quite often is a lack of gratitude. Gratitude is defined as – the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

A nation was grateful to the military when they returned from World War II – even calling the men and women who fought to defeat evil in Europe and the Pacific theatre – the greatest generation. But I remember soldiers returning from Vietnam receiving protests and ridicule. A nation – not solidly behind the war efforts in Vietnam – didn’t rally around the returning soldiers – showing them with gratitude. Most of those soldiers had nothing to do with the political unrest surrounding this conflict. Most – like their counterparts in WWII – were merely following orders from those up the command chain. They too deserved our gratitude as a nation. They fought for freedom – they fought instead of many of us – they should have been welcomed home with open arms and gratitude. Continue reading

June 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Memorial Day 2017

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Arlington

Arlington Cemetery

Today is Memorial Day 2017. It is a day we remember those who gave the greatest sacrifice – those who gave their lives for our nation – for our freedoms. It is a day that we remember that freedom is not free. Pictures of Arlington Cemetery reminds us of the number of folks who have served and died. It is an amazing experience to visit one of our veteran’s cemetery’s.

I use to walk to and from school past the Annapolis Veteran’s Cemetery and would often say a prayer of thanks for those who have served and died. I remember a few years ago attending a service for my cousin who served in Viet Nam and most likely died of something he was exposed to in Nam. He didn’t die in Nam but may well have died early because of Nam. Not all veteran’s died during war time – but they all were exposed to life and death as they served our nation. Continue reading

May 29, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feeling Alone?

Job 31:35

Oh, that I had someone to hear me!

profileHave 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 gave their all 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? Those who serve – 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.

Last year when I was in Moorefield – WV – for a family vacation – I had a chance to speak with my cousin – who served in Vietnam (it was the last time I spoke with him – he died this 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 a wreath on a grave or simply attending special services for the fallen. Continue reading

May 26, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Living at Peace With Everyone

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

RevRaypeaceI was born in the 50′s and remember a lot about the 60′s and 70′s.  I remember the peace movement surrounding the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement.  I remember the protests on college campuses all over America about the war and the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King.  Unfortunately – some of those asking for peace didn’t give it very well as veterans from Vietnam came home to anger and hatred that shouldn’t have been aimed at them.  These young people – many who wanted nothing but peace so they could come home – were not welcomed home with much peace!  It seems that peace is not as easy as we might think.

Think for a moment.  Is there someone you have a hard time dealing with these days?  Someone you have a hard time being at peace with these days?  Is someone giving you a hard time?  Maybe it is your ex-spouse who is giving you trouble with your divorce settlement or with their child support.  Maybe it is someone at school who seems to enjoy being a bully.  Maybe it is someone at work who always seems to pick on you.  Maybe it is someone who just won’t leave well enough alone.  Is there anyone like that in your life?  Reading today’s passage you might say/ask – and God wants us to live at peace with these persons? Continue reading

May 1, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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