Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Turn To Jesus Daily

Ephesians 3:20

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amDear readers – have you ever been down? Being down doesn’t mean you are depressed – but it does mean that some things are not going your way. It can lead to depression if not headed off for sure.

If you’re a sports fan – maybe you get down when your favorite team loses (like a Redskin fan this year or the Raven fans the last two weeks). If you work outside the home – maybe you get down when you have a hard day with work or those you work with or serve. If you work from home – maybe the children have had a bad day and that gets you down or some other issue has arisen.

Have you ever been down? As a pastor I try to help people when they are down. I have worked with addicts who are battling for sobriety – and at times that can get us down. I have worked with folks in broken relationships – and we all know that can get us down. I have worked with fellow pastors who have had trouble in their places of service – and I know what that feels like and believe me – it can get you down. I know that I have had times of near depression or maybe even depression – while working on my own issues or helping others work on their issues. Continue reading

September 30, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grief is Real

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.

Yesterday I went with a family – some friends from younger years at another church – to spend some time with the body of their 30 year-old son who died Sunday – on Mother’s Day – in a car accident. As I stood with the family and tried to hold back the tears – my thoughts went to my nearly 30 year old daughters and eventually to my mom and my dad’s passing.

I was reminded of today’s passage – as I thought of my dad’s passing nearly 6 years ago. When dad passed – my dad was 84 – he would have bene 90 this summer. I would have loved to have had him around another 16 years or so – yet he was at a good old age when he died. 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 even today 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! Continue reading

May 17, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

Christmas Praises 15

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

christmas-15During the month of December I have asked some members and friends of our church to write a paragraph or so describing some of the things that bring them joy this Christmas season in their relationship with Jesus and First Church? They were asked where they see Jesus in their church family? They were asked what draws them to First Church. The reason for this is to stir up some joy and excitement this Christmas Season. I told them I would share their thoughts anonymously – but I am keeping their e-mails for sure. I will try to post a comment a day for December so obviously I need 31 comments. The posts will go up around noon each day.

My father passed away many years ago a few weeks after Christmas.  I took his passing very hard.  Before then, Christmas was all about presents, parties and bright lights.  After Dad died, I realized how much I needed a church family, and joined First Church, as my former church was so far away that I didn’t go to it often.  It felt good to be welcomed into a church family when my own family was in so much pain.

For many years after Dad died, it was hard to celebrate Christmas without experiencing deep sorrow from missing him.  As I’ve gotten older, I have come to realize that Dad lives in me all the time and that he would want me to enjoy the spirit of Christmas again.  I still get sad, but I also try to make the holidays bright for everyone around me.  Between going to church services in several churches with friends, enjoying activities like the wonderful Cantata, cheerfully greeting everyone I encounter and donating my time and money to help others in need, I have once again found a way to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Christmas really isn’t about the presents.  It’s about being present and being helpful.  It’s about loving everyone, and doing what Jesus would want us to do.  Merry Christmas.

I praise the Lord for the testimony. I hope that it brings those who read it great joy. Merry Christmas to one and all.

December 15, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Have You Ever Been Down?

Ephesians 3:20

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMDear readers – have you ever been down? Being down doesn’t mean you are depressed – but it does mean that some things are not going your way. It can lead to depression if not headed off for sure.

If you’re a sports fan – maybe you get down when your favorite team loses. If you work outside the home – maybe you get down when you have a hard day with work or those you work with or serve. If you work from home – maybe the children have had a bad day and that gets you down or some other issue has arisen.

Have you ever been down? As a pastor I try to help people when they are down. I have worked with addicts who are battling for sobriety – and at times that can get us down. I have worked with folks in broken relationships – and we all know that can get us down. I have worked with fellow pastors who have had trouble in their places of service – and I know what that feels like and believe me – it can get you down. Continue reading

August 4, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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