Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Grief Needs To Be Processed

Genesis 25:8

Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people.

I ran across today’s passage again this week. It reminded me of my father who was 84 and although I would have liked to have had him around another 16 years or so – he was at a good old age when he died five years ago. Before he died he told me he was ready to meet his Maker – even though he would have loved to stay around to be with a family that he loved and who loved him. One of the comforting thoughts I cling to is that as much as he loves us – he wouldn’t trade a moment of heaven for another moment with us. He is in God’s glory!

As I processed and dealt with my father’s passing – over the next 4 plus years my siblings and I faced the passing of our mom as well. Dealing with death is not easy dear readers. I ran across the five stages of grief according to the Kubler-Ross model. Those five stages are 1) Denial, 2) Anger, 3) Bargaining, 4) Depression, and 5) Acceptance. A link to more information about these five stages of grief can be found here. Continue reading

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

Hurt People Hurt Others – There Must Be A Better Way

1 Peter 3:9

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.

Over the weekend hatred reared it’s ugly head once again in our nation. Satan had a field day as 3 people died and at the last report 35 others were injured. And a nation – leaders – and others – are picking sides and blaming each other for the violence – deaths – and injuries. Folks are also wagging fingers at others for not seeing things their way and condemning the other side with the words they see appropriate.

A radical hate group – some have even called them a homeland radical terrorist group – a group of white supremacists – who believe they are better than others because of the color of their skin – clashed with another group in Charlottesville – Virginia. I stand opposed to any group that represents themselves as a neo-Nazi movement. I stand opposed to any group that believes they are better than others because of the color of their skin.

The protests soon became an angry confrontation – between two differing sides of a point of view (I’m not trying to minimize their difference). Hatred – on both sides – as evidenced by the video clips – erupted. Innocent people – standing up for their view and rights are often caught up in the hatred of others. Apparently – and we will know more when the investigations conclude – a member of the white supremacy group ran a vehicle into a crowd of protestors – killing one person and injuring many others. When the local and national investigation is complete – we will probably find guilt on both sides. Yet the evil – sinful – premise that some people are better than others because of the color of their skin or their nation of origin is an evil we cannot ignore and bares the brunt – IMHO – of the responsibility for the violence. This is not a view that can be or should be supported in American! Continue reading

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Our Conversation

Colossians 4:6

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

We all need to read and hear this passage today – especially the first part – let our conversation be always full of grace. Our conversations are probably not always up-lifting. They are probably – at times – not positive and helpful.

We have probably all heard this one – if you can’t say something good about someone – say nothing at all. Many of us – if not all of us – need to spend more time and effort when it comes to our conversations. We need to take care that what comes forth from out mouth is a blessing and not a curse.

There are a number of passages about our talk – about the way we present ourselves through our conversations. Here are a couple of them.

Matthew 12:36–37 – 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. Continue reading

August 8, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Father – Forgive Them

Luke 23:34

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Forgiving people is not easy. We have all sinned. We have all hurt people. The old saying – hurt people – hurt people is so true. When we hurt or when others hurt us – forgiveness is not easy. We tend to hold grudges. We tend to seek revenge for the hurt. We tend to get angry and at time we close down when we are hurt. At times we even strike out at others when we are hurt – even to those closest to us – even when they had nothing to do with the hurt we feel.

What are some hurts we have experienced? My heart goes out to those who have experienced the death of a child – at the hands of someone – be it an accident or intended. I feel for those who have lost children or other loved ones in drive by shootings in some of our urban areas. The chemical attack by Assad on his people brought many images into our living rooms. Such pain in my heart watching babies gasping for a breath. I’ve talked to persons who have had hurt from abusive parents – from ugly divorces – from false accusations. These and other images and experiences beg the question – can we really forgive those who do evil in our world? Continue reading

April 12, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Showing Love At Christmas

James 4:1

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?

RayMcDHave any of us ever seen a child throw a temper tantrum? Maybe it was because they didn’t get what they wanted or what they thought they deserved? Maybe they were in the grocery store and wanted a certain box of cereal they had seen on TV. Maybe it was Christmas morning or at a birthday party and the gift they wanted wasn’t there or the gift they got disappointed them somehow. I pick on children because they haven’t learned to hide their emotions like many of us have (some of us haven’t yet). They let that raw heart-felt emotion show many times.

Adults are not innocent here my friends. I have seen grown adults – in church meetings no less – throw temper tantrums – throwing down a clip board – pulling power plays to gain an upper hand in a discussion – and more. Do we ever sit back – after an outburst by someone (or by ourselves) and wondered – where did that come from? James asks that question today – What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? Continue reading

December 20, 2016 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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