Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Do We Feel Forsaken By God?

Matthew 27:46

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

112015 Ray McDonaldRecently the news has been filled – as usual it seems these days – with tragic reports. Record-breaking rains in Chennai – India – followed by massive flooding – people losing everything and some losing their lives. Recently in Missouri – heavy rains and flooding have hit the Mississippi banks and the prediction is the Mississippi delta area near the Gulf of Mexico will once again be hard hit. Lives and homes have been lost. Hundreds of migrants drowned when the ship they were on sank – as people fled Libya – over 1,000 people were crammed onto a boat that couldn’t hold 500. An earthquake hit Nepal this year and killed over 9,000 people. In our area – near Smith Mountain Lake in Moneta – Virginia – two reporters were killed on the air. And – although this is not an all-inclusive list of tragic moments this past year – the Refugee Crisis has hit the news often. In 2015 five boats sank in the Mediterranean Sea – which killed around 1,200 refugees coming mostly from Syria – Afghanistan – and Eritrea. I believe the child – a 3-year-old boy – who washed upon a beach – was from those who died in this event. Lastly – ISIS – radical terrorists – is running amuck and no government seems to be ready to take them on.

I bet these tragic moments make us feel bad for the times we have complained about our circumstances. Yet there are times when we do feel like the world is caving in around us I’m sure. Some of us have lost loved ones – face life threatening disease – been unfairly treated in our workplace or by the government – and more. Think of a time or times when you were mistreated. Did we ever feel like God had turned His head away and decided to not care? Have we ever cried out – like Jesus – My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Continue reading

January 5, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving Our Neighbors

Matthew 5:43-45

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

112015 Ray McDonaldAt Christmas time – love is felt by many but not by all. I remember the little girl next door to us when we lived in Seat Pleasant – who didn’t seem to have anyone to love on her and how my dad would welcome her to play with us or eat a meal with us. My dad would even buy her some Christmas gifts as I remember. Dad showed love to others – his heart was as big as the whole outdoors.

Who will we show love to this Christmas? It is easy to love those who love us back. Here is today’s passage in partial context. Matthew 5:43–48 – 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Continue reading

December 18, 2015 Posted by | Advent Thought, Bring, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Big Is Our God?

Psalm 46:1-3

1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

112015 Ray McDonaldCan you remember the earthquake of 2011?  Where were you when it hit?  Depending on the various reports we heard on the news – it was measured somewhere between a 5.8 and 6.0 on the earthquake scale.  So where were we – what were we doing – and more important – how did it impact us?  What were our thoughts during and after the quake?

I was in my church office at the time – working on a sermon when the building started to shake.  Nothing fell – and I have lots of knick-knacks on my shelves – but the old home our offices were in shook and rumbled for sure.

Immediately the staff was outside – looking first for what had caused the building to shake.  We had road construction going on and our first thought was that one of the large trucks working near the building shook the place.  I ran back into the office and checked my computer and people were tweeting and posting on Facebook that we had just had an earthquake.  I shared the information and we stayed outside a little longer. Continue reading

December 17, 2015 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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