Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Finding Peace

John 16:33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

One of the blessings of having a hearing loss is I can put my good ear down on the pillow at bedtime. If people are in the other room talking and I want to get to sleep – I simply place my good ear on the pillow and off to sleep I go. There is a peace and quiet – no matter what is going on around me. It might be why I could fall asleep anywhere as a child – with my parents and others talking up a storm in the same room. I would simply put my good ear down on the floor or a pillow and I could find my happy place – a quiet place to fall asleep. With the rain this morning and my wife out of town – I slept a long time after going to bed early and no one to wake me.

My Facebook feed is normally filled with pictures and stories of folks I know that have found peace in one place or another. A friend – with a foot and lower leg in a cast – shared a picture of him cutting grass on his John Deere – cast in a plastic bag! I know what he meant. With my recent shoulder surgery – I couldn’t wait till I could cut my grass. Something about doing something mindless and in the outdoors – is so stress relieving. Some people share pictures of mountain sunsets – beach sunrises – quiet waters – peaceful golf courses – baby animals – mountain top views and more. People enjoying some relaxing time – some quiet time – away from their work and the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives. Where is your happy place? Where would you go to find peace and quiet? Continue reading

May 5, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Husbands – We’re Called To Love Our Wives

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. NIV

Brothers – do you love your wives? Is loving your wife first and foremost in your mind? I posted something this week on Facebook – the day some women didn’t show up for work. Something I ponder. Why would my wife want to be equal with me? From where I sit that would be a demotion in status on her part! I don’t think of my wife as an equal – she is far above and beyond me – I treasure her.

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church — a love marked by giving, not getting. The Message

Too many people don’t get this far in the passage.  Most folks get stuck with the 22nd verse.

Ephesians 5:22 – Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. Continue reading

March 10, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, 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

Showing Love At A Time Like This

Romans 8:37

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

RayMcDSome of us – the older persons for sure – grew up in an era when men had a hard time showing their emotions.  Even in today’s society it is not unusual for some men to have a hard time saying I love you to their spouse – their children – family – or others. Some women have a hard time as well – but it seems to come more naturally for them. Expressing our feelings – our love and our emotions – shouldn’t be so hard.

Along the lines of some men having a hard time saying they love the ones they do love – it is not uncommon to hear at a funeral for a dad – he may not have said it very often if at all – but I knew my father loved me.

At funerals I often remind people to not wait to say I love you to those they love – because the opportunities might be short – and the end can come unexpectedly. A clergy friend of mine – four years my junior – died suddenly of a heart attack – here one moment and gone the next.  We all know of people who died suddenly – and maybe we had some regrets about not saying we loved them enough – if at all. Same thing for people holding grudges against those they love. It is often heard at funerals – the last time we spoke we had an argument – and then I find out that the argument was months – even years ago at times. Continue reading

February 1, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If My People

2 Chronicles 7:14

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

RayMcDI spent part of yesterday listening to the confirmation hearings for Senator Jeff Sessions. He is the President-elect’s candidate to be our next Attorney General. He fielded questions from all over the room. There were protestors inside and outside of the room and building where the hearings were taking place. I even saw on Facebook some of my colleagues who were protesting at the hearings.

You could tell by the questions which persons were for Senator Sessions and which were not. The hearings will be long and at times boring. The political scene in America is very adversarial these days. Maybe it has always been that way. I recently watched a historical piece on TV – it was during the days when the person running for the President of the United States that got the most votes made President and the next highest total became the Vice President. It was soon changed because it became evident that the parties couldn’t work well together. Continue reading

January 11, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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