Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Have We Learned To Be Content?

Philippians 4:11

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

Life ChangeThink about this question for a moment. Have we ever been content? Have we ever had enough? Have we ever been satisfied? When is enough – enough? How much do we need? Are we storing up more than we need?

Have we ever been content? At times – being content might take away our drive – our desire – to accomplish more. But the contentment that Paul is writing about in today’s passage has to do with things – learning to be content with the things we have or don’t have.

One church I served went to Appalachia each summer. A friend – 92 – who just died this week – went for many of those years. We sent teams to ASP (Appalachia Service Project) each summer. We learned just how much we had and how much we take for granted. It really helped us think about things in a different way. We had way more than almost everyone we served – and yet they were happy and often content.

I remember working on a coal miner’s shack in the mountains of Tennessee. That family had made their home out of this old minor’s shack. The outside boards had big gaps between them and the Tennessee winter winds and cold made it very hard to keep the shack warm. They had a pot belly wood stove in the middle of this shack and the ceiling above it was black from how hot they had to keep the fire to offset the winter cold. In this home we studded out the walls, installed insulation and put drywall up. Our efforts were to help them stay warmer in the winter. It was a small help – yet they were very appreciative of our efforts. I know they were warmer that following winter. Continue reading

October 29, 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

The Grass Grows and Withers

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.”

Life ChangeA number of 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. It did OK.

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!

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April 16, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Sins Are Blotted Out

Isaiah 1:18

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

We haven’t had much snow this winter. I for one – really like snow – and not just a little bit. If it is going to be cold (which it has been this winter) and snow (which it has done very little this winter) – I say let the snow come down! I loved the years when we had storms of 12 – 24 – or more inches in one storm. Enough to slow down the area and allow for some home time. I also would like to see some significant snow this winter so I can really get some use out of my new snow blade for my lawn tractor (a John Deere of course – nothing runs like a Deere). I would also like to use my 4-wheel drive some!

One thing I really like about snow – its ability to cover up (blot out) whatever is in the yard. It covers all of the sticks and leaves and if there is any trash – it covers that up too. There are few things better – to me – than getting up early in the morning after a snow – before anyone has walked on it. The whole yard is so peaceful and beautiful – everything covered with a layer of snow. I have a couple of pictures of our home in the snow – and everything is so nice. Continue reading

February 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant!

Matthew 25:23

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

profileAs I write this devotional thought on Tuesday morning for Wednesday – I look out my office window and you guessed it – snow is falling. I believe winter has been heard from this year in our area for sure.  If this snowfall measures an inch or two – it will be our 14th weather related situation this winter I believe – maybe more. One might say – well done, winter while some might say some things I couldn’t print here.  I saw a picture of a snowman on its back in my doctor’s office recently with knives stuck in it with the caption – Die Winter, Die. You get the frustration some have for winter this year.  It is spring already and we’re still dealing with snow!

As winter has done a good job – I found this passage this morning – and wondered if we were doing a good job – by the Spirit’s leading – serving and witnessing for Jesus?  The Master in this story was traveling a great distance and decided to leave responsibility for his business to his servants.  Two of the servants did well with their responsibilities.  Today’s passage was a reply to one of them – Matthew 25:23 – His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

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March 26, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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