Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Alive To God In Christ Jesus

Romans 6:11

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

I had a young person in my office recently. This young person was having a battle with an addiction and was asking for my recommendation on how to overcome the addiction. When they were in the midst of their addictive behavior – they would feel the Holy Spirit pricking their heart – yet they enjoyed the addiction – so they often pushed the Spirit aside. It was a real struggle – a struggle many of us have battled before and will battle in the future.

I know a person who has battled addiction for many decades. They have suffered much. Their family has suffered much as well. They seemingly had defeated the addiction for a long period of time only to have it rear its ugly head again. Addiction is never gone – it is always one day at a time. Our victory is only a needle – a bottle – a porn site away. Addiction can at times make us seem powerless to control ourselves. Continue reading

Advertisements

July 12, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 21

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

christmas-18During 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.

As Christmas approaches I am reminded of my family. My personal family and my church family are very special to me. I see Jesus in my family. I enjoy being with my family. I visit with my personal family several times a year. I visit with my church family day-by-day. I enjoy the way our pastor preaches God’s Word, he doesn’t pull punches or water it down. I appreciate the music and atmosphere our worship service offers. I feel drawn into the presence of God each time I step into our church building, whether in the early service or the late service. As Christmas approaches I am getting more and more excited. First Church is such a a blessing to me. 

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 21, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 14

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

christmas-14During 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.

Rev. Ray, Christmas for me has always been a time of remembering. I remember times past shared with family, some long gone. I remember the warm feelings I get during this season. The special music, I’m glad we sing Christmas songs during Advent, at First Church always blesses me. First Church is like most families, we have good days and not so good days. First Church is where I feel the Spirit of God. First Church is my family away from my biological family. I especially like the circle we make at the eleven o’clock Christmas Eve service as we light the candles while singing Silent Night. It wouldn’t be Christmas for me without that service. My prayer this Christmas is for our church to draw closer together and to serve our Lord in our community. I see Jesus in each smile and desire for us to pull together for Jesus.

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 14, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Holy Spirit, Outreach, Personal | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 6

Hebrews 12:1b–2

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

christmas-6During 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.

This past Sunday, just as I was entering what my wife lovingly calls my “ba-humbug” season, a joyful thing happened. Through the announcements during the service, I was wonderfully reminded of what the real reason for the season is.

I was overwhelmed (in a good way) with the many opportunities to share the hope and love of Jesus Christ with others, here, at First UMC. Food donations to be raised during the Christmas Cantata; community service projects in conjunction with the Advent Potluck meal; donations of socks for the men in the homeless shelter; collecting men’s and women’s winter clothing for winter shelter; providing gifts and food through Angel Tree, to children and families impacted by a loved ones incarceration.

So thank you, First UMC, for encouraging and nurturing me in my discipleship with Christ during this Christmas season. Every one of you has a positive influence in my growing through Christ.

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 6, 2016 Posted by | Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Leadership, Marriage, Missions, Outreach, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

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?

RayMcDThanksgiving comes once a year – as does Christmas – Easter – Pentecost – etc. 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 (and soon the grandchildren) are thankful for always touches my heart.

I’m the crier in the family. An example was when I totally lost it at my wife’s 50th birthday party some years ago. I’m not sure why – other than we were honoring her for the awesome woman of God she has always been. 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. Continue reading

November 24, 2016 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: