Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God Is Our Refuge and Strength!

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.

Life ChangeI want to use an event from the past to make a point today. Can you remember a tough time in your life? Can you remember – when you were caught off guard by something that happened?

For instance – where were you when the earthquake of 2011 hit our area (just 7 short year ago)? Depending on the report you listened to or read after it happened – it was measured somewhere between a 5.8 and 6.0 on the earthquake scale. So where were you – what were you doing – and more important – how did it impact you? What were your thoughts during and after the quake?

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

Immediately – the staff was outside – looking first for what had caused the building to shake. We had road construction at the time and we thought it was one of the large trucks working near the building that shook the office. 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 with the staff and we stayed outside a little bit longer. Continue reading

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January 14, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friends: We All Need Them

1 Corinthians 12:26

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

fullsizeoutput_ffeI’ve been spending some time lately reading (mostly online and on my iPad). I’ve read the following: The Bible – some books (like Nick Vujicic’s Unstoppable) – some sports news (as we are in the early stages of the NBA and College Basketball season) – and the Facebook entries of some of my friends. One thing I’ve noticed in many of these venues is the importance of family – connections – and teamwork. One of my Facebook friends puts pictures and posts up – almost hourly it seems – thanking God for their children – their spouse – and where they work. I believe that our family and close friends impact our lives – for the better or for the worst.

Family and other connections are so very important to our health and well-being. One only needs to read the stories of some who have gone astray to realize that many of them had a giant fail in their family connections. Nick Vujicic – born without arms or legs – praises his parents for showing him unconditional love and attention. He credits this support for much of his ability to struggle through the challenges of life he faced and become a motivational speaker and evangelist. Continue reading

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Please – Don’t Worry About Tomorrow

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

fullsizeoutput_ffeThe 2016 elections are over (even though some are still talking about it). The 2018 mid-term elections have almost concluded (the are still counting in Florida and in other places). Your candidate either won or lost – your opinion was either in the majority or the minority on the questions on the ballot. You may agree or disagree that our nation is headed in the right or wrong direction. Many in the news and on Facebook have tried to project the future – with mixed projections. The market dropped dramatically right after the 2016 elections and has been on a roll for two years – reaching heights never before reached. It has been bumpy the last month or quarter – but we are still higher than anyone could have imagined. Some have predicted – or tried to predict the elections impact on the market. Some make a living looking into the future and trying to gauge how the elections impact the market.

Several of us who are closing in on retirement – say in the next 10 years or so – naturally peek into the future to see what the climate will be as that day approaches. We look at things like the housing market – our debt – the Dow Jones – our savings – the cost of living – and on and on the list might go. Looking to the future is not a bad thing – it is actually a wise thing. Dave Ramsey has many suggestions about savings and retirement. Look up some of his ideas here. Continue reading

November 15, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Day Is Coming!

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

fullsizeoutput_ffeThanksgiving comes once a year – as does Christmas – and Easter. Yet we don’t have to limit our thankfulness to one day – do we? If your family is like mine – when we gather to give thanks over the bounty on Thanksgiving – we pause to give thanks for something specific – everyone at the table. It is a touching time – and watching our family age before our eyes – year after year – brings a nostalgic note too. Listening to what the girls have shared over the years and now what the grandchildren will share has been and is a blessing. We are always thankful for the way God touches our lives.

I’m the crier in the family. An example of my inability to hold back my tears can be seen in most any family gathering. I remember at a special birthday for my wife – as others were sharing – I tried to share my heart and the tears flowed. Tears will flow for most any reason from my eyes. With the holidays coming I will shed tears when I watch It’s a Wonderful Life for the 200th time – and even while watching Charlie Brown Christmas – tears will flow.

Thanksgiving is a family time for our family and we will gather once again – the Lord willing. Holidays are especially hard for me now that mom and dad have gone to be with Jesus. Dad loved Christmas so much – that holiday is especially difficult for me these days. Continue reading

November 14, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Prudent Hold Their Tongues

Proverbs 10:19

…the prudent hold their tongues.

fullsizeoutput_ffeHave you ever had something happen in your life – and you felt compelled to say something or write something about it – only to have your words come back to haunt you? I know it has happened to me a number of times. I know many of us want to respond to folks on social media as they exclaim their victories or losses from the mid-term elections. The sky is falling for some and for others – our team won! I have pledged to stay out of it – at least for November (maybe forever).

I don’t believe in jinxes – but I have tweeted during a game – when my team was up and on the way to a win – only to see them lose the game in the closing minutes. A number of times I have tweeted things that later I had to erase. At times my fingers type faster than my brain thinks. Some of my Facebook friends might say the same thing for themselves. I mean – have you seen some of the things folks have posted during this election season? There seems to be no filter for some folks. Continue reading

November 8, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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