Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

My Memory – God’s Grace

Psalm 103:11-12

as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

My memory is not the best. For instance – I forgot to put out today’s devotional. Before I hear a rousing chorus of amens from the peanut gallery about my memory – let me explain. I’m not sure if it is age – my Tourette Syndrome – my A.D.D. – a male thing – early Alzheimer’s disease or dementia – or simply who I am. I can leave my office and walk to Cathy’s desk and forget why I was going there. I can even at times get into my car and forget where I was headed. It’s my issue – among others – but today it reminded me of God’s grace.

You might ask how I got from my short term memory loss to God’s grace? Well – I’m going to tell you. Continue reading

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May 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anxious Moments – Again

1 Peter 5:7

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

RayMcDLet me begin by apologizing for not having a devotional post yesterday. I may not have one every day this week. My mom passed on Sunday evening. Yesterday I had a hard time focusing. I found this devotional I wrote just before my father passed and thought I would refresh it for today.

As a pastor I have seen way too many medical issues strike seemingly healthy persons. I’ve mentioned before having a friend die a few feet away from me while playing basketball one morning several years ago. I’ve also seen friends who seemed to be very healthy die a few months after being diagnosed with a sickness like cancer. It is enough to give anyone a few anxious moments. I know I have had my share!

While in Florida on vacation (back in 2012) – my father entered the hospital (remind me to talk to him about his timing later – when he is well and home). Have I told you recently that I love this man! He is 84 and common sense says he is in the last chapters of his life – even if he lives to be 100. While talking to my brother and sister by phone – I heard anxiousness in their voices (and for my brother to be anxious I knew it wasn’t good). I sat in the dark and cried out to God for help and comfort for my dad and family (and me). My wife came out and tried to comfort me – but only God could bring me comfort at that moment. Today’s passage came to mind – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. As I made plans to return home I could only trust in God – because this was something I couldn’t control. I had to place my trust in Jesus – because – well – just because! (My father would die that fall.) Continue reading

February 7, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Listening to Our Parents

Ephesians 6:1-4

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

82015 RayRecently I had a conversation with a young adult about what Scripture says about listening to or obeying our parents. We talked about the difference in Scripture – concerning young children obeying their parents and the passage that calls all of us to honor our parents – regardless of age.

Lets dig a little deeper into today’s passage.  After telling young children – possibly children still under their parent’s care and nurture – verse 2 reads – “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”  Paul quotes one of the commandments here from Exodus 20:12 – Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Continue reading

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Will Not Forget Us (Baltimore)

Isaiah 44:21

Pay attention, O Jacob, for you are my servant, O Israel. I, the Lord, made you, and I will not forget you.

IMG_0301I am a child of a parent who is battling with full-blown dementia. At times she seems to know me. At times she has no clue. I have been called every name in the family and outside the family – at times she hits on my name. At times she thinks I am her husband. At times I am her father. At times I am a stranger. Rarely am I her son. At times my mother’s behavior is far from the women I have known all my life. It is frustrating and painful and brings tears to my eyes and breaks my heart.

Believe me it is very painful watching someone who has always been strong – decay right before your eyes. My sister and brother-in-law have taken the brunt of mom’s care – and I know it is taking a toll on their quality of life for sure. My brother and I help some – but it is very hard! My nieces help some as well.

Losing dad 2½ years ago was rough – one of the hardest things I have faced in my life – but losing mom – even though she is still here – is tougher – IMHO. My heart goes out to anyone who is dealing with a parent or parents or anyone battling memory issues like dementia – Alzheimer’s – or other such diseases. Continue reading

April 28, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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