Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

This Too Is Part Of The Grieving Process

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

This too is part of the grieving process. A few years ago – I wrote this blog post and this morning it came to mind as I was sitting in the presence of God. I miss my dad so much (and mom too). I hope this devotional touches someone. If it doesn’t – it touched me – so it has served its purpose. It brought fresh tears to my eyes and it is part of my grieving process – nearly 6 years later.

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As I sit in the hospital room with my dad my thoughts are scattered.  I know I need time to grieve. I know my emotions are on edge. I know that just the sight of my in-laws this morning followed by my father’s brother brought tears to my heart – for them and for me. Did I say I know I need time to grieve? I know that working helps me grieve and helps control my emotions at the same time. I have thoughts like: what will I do without my father? Who will I turn to with my many questions in life? As the oldest son – the oldest patriarch of the family – what does that mean? Why can’t I be strong for the family and friends? Why must I be so emotional? What will my mom do without dad? What about my sister and brother and the grand/great children? What about my wife, my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law? My brother-in-law has been like a son to dad and has cared for him like his own father – and we cried in each other’s arms last night at the hospital! My mind races to the next steps. Should we have a private burial followed by a memorial service? Should we have a fellowship meal? Where will we hold the service? Who would we ask to help – there are so many pastors in the family – pastors dad influenced – pastors that know him and us? What funeral home will we use – we have such a good relationship with so many? Should we call Hospice Care? Is dad really comfortable? Can he still hear me pray with him? How many angels can dance on the head of a needle? These are just a few of the things running through my head. If you have been where I am right now – you know the many thoughts that are going through my mind. Continue reading

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July 12, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Do We Struggle The Most In Our Lives?

Romans 7:18

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Where do we struggle the most in our lives? Have you ever felt one way and yet ended up going another way? Silly question – right? We are all human and most know the right thing to do but have succumbed to the wrong way. We often know the right way – and yet yield to the wrong way. We fight temptations and evil – but at times we fail in our struggle. I know I have more times than I wish to remember. And I keep trying to find a way to be faithful to what I know to be right.

Where do we struggle the most in our lives? For some it is with what we put into our bodies. That could mean drugs – or alcohol – or it could mean overeating. Anything we do to excess and can be harmful to us. We know certain things are wrong and harmful – yet some of us continue to abuse our bodies with what we put into them. We try diets – we try to be sober – we try to walk the steps – but – at times – we succumb to what is harmful for us. Again – I have a mirror up as I type this devotional seeing myself! Continue reading

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, 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

Discussions On Social Media Can Be Destructive

Matthew 7:1

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

Of late – it seems to me – some people have allowed their emotions to inform their political views. Social Media has a lot to do with this because things that might have only been discussed in the home or with close friends can be discussed in the public arena. I’ve gotten caught up in it as well from time to time and once again find myself retreating from Social Media – because I do not want to cause division in the church or among my friends. Discussions on Social Media can be destructive and divisive. I tend to be more conservative than many of my local colleagues and even some of my friends. As tolerant as we might think we are – we seem to have trouble discussing things and being hospitable to those who have a different view.

In the last few weeks – even months – even years – our immigration policy has been debated ad nauseam – it seems – on Social Media. Some colleagues and friends seem to be in favor of open borders – some seem to be in favor of stricter border control. Some want to call folks who are in our country illegally – undocumented – others would simply say they are criminals who are here illegally and should be arrested and returned to their homelands. Some say we should enforce our laws – some say the laws are bad and should be ignored. Some say we should improve or correct the current laws – others say the laws are good – we simply need to enforce them. Continue reading

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Seek First The Important Things!

Matthew 6:33

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Think about this for a moment. What is the most important thing in your life? Think before you answer – and don’t give me what you wish were most important or think should be most important. Someone once said if you want to know what is really important to a person – just look at the person’s checkbook. I’ll add – take a look at their credit card bills and their online spending too! Do we spend more money on things that are really only peripheral things in our lives? Do we own that boat or does that boat own us? Are our hobbies that important to our lives?

The Sunday School answer – of course – would be Jesus! Jesus should be most important in our lives. We have been bought and paid for by the blood of the Lamb and He owns us – 1 Corinthians 6:20 – you were bought at a price. At least – God should own us – but at times we act as if we own ourselves. At times we act as if we are more important than God. Continue reading

May 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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