Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Being Amazed!

Mark 4:41

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

I’ve been amazed a few times in my life. The first time was when I realized that Jesus loved me enough to die for me and to cover my sins. That just amazed me because I’m not worthy of such love.

Another time had to do with amazing love as well. It was when my wife said she would marry me. I was so amazed that a woman of her qualities would marry a man like me and – after 37 years – still stayed married to me.

Another time I was amazed was when my three daughters were born. To watch them come into the world and know that Carolyn and I had just given birth to three amazing girls – now that was amazing.

Another time I was amazed in my life was when Eddie Murray stood out in the rain in his expensive leather jacket to sign an autograph for me at old Memorial Stadium (after a game was canceled because of the rain). Continue reading

November 2, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Joy of the Lord!

Nehemiah 8:10

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

RamonBlogThe Joy of the Lord!  I’m going to do something I don’t normally do in a devotional thought.  I usually try to show where a passage comes from – what the context of the verse is all about.  Today I simply want to take a verse out of context – not completely – but to simply focus on one verse and what it says to me this morning and said to me this Christmas season.

I have faced the holidays this year with so many emotions.  Many readers know that my father died at the age of 84 this fall.  He fought Parkinson’s disease and other physical problems.  He had a clear mind right up to the end which made it good and bad for sure.  I often run over the last months in my mind – like so many have told me at the end of their parent’s life – asking myself what more could I have done for him.  Dad was not only my father – but was my mentor in ministry – a PK himself.  Our family currently has four generations in a row that have served as Elders in the United Methodist Church or a previous form of the denomination.  I had to leave our family Christmas party once – going outside to tend the fire on the patio – to grieve and cry alone.  It was not easy.

Some of our readers also know that our family had the grief of losing a granddaughter this fall.  Mariah was ours for 24 hours – and we thought God had brought her to us – only to have the birth mom change her mind after signing all the papers and our children taking Mariah as their own.  On several occasions I have lost it emotionally remembering this sweet little girl – which we loved so much in such a short time.  I pray for her and my children (her parents for 24 hours) often and often shed tears.

A few of you may have read in previous posts of my near death run in with a tractor-trailer.  I was clipped from the rear and ended up being t-boned by a tractor-trailer going 50 plus MPH on a local road.  I truly though I was headed to meet Jesus face-to-face as that truck pushed me down the road for what seemed like forever.  God delivered me from certain death and the police officers were amazed I walked away from the accident.

Word_JoyThere are other things going on in my life – I’ve probably bored some of you already with these examples of the stress in my life this Christmas season.  I would imagine that our readers could share some stressful things going on in their life as well.  This has been one of the hardest Christmas seasons for me and my family.  I have tried to let Jesus shine through the stress.

I was doing a word search in my Bible program the other day – looking up the word joy.  One of my favorite sayings is happiness is circumstantially driven while joy is spiritually derived.  I know that the Bible tells us to rejoice in the Lord.  I read that like this – have joy and then re-joy again in the Lord!  A friend (a musician in a previous church) and I used to play/sing that chorus – rejoice, rejoice and again I say rejoice – in the middle of our worship services.

Today’s passage came up and I read for the joy of the Lord is your strength.  I was reminded that no matter how tough the day might be – no matter how difficult the day at hand – my strength – our strength – is the joy of the Lord.  I didn’t even do a deep search for what the joy of the Lord might be – I only know that those simple words brought me a measure of peace during a difficult Christmas season.

This may not be a very theologically sound devotional thought.  It may not be a very good commentary on today’s passage either.  But like the blind man responded when asked who healed him and how – I can’t answer all your questions – all I know is I was blind and now I see.  I was having a hard time with Christmas this year – and I read these words and I was strengthened.  I hope it helps someone else as well.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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December 27, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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