Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Anxiety and Depression

1 Peter 5:7

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

Rays HaircutI know a number of people that battle anxiety and depression. I was reading this passage the other day – and even talked recently to some folks about their anxiety and depression. What are we anxious or depressed about in life? What is it that causes us to have trouble sleeping at night? What do we think about and can’t seem to stop thinking about – moment by moment? What decisions in our lives have caused us the most anxiety or depression?

As I reflect back on my life – I can think of numerous things that caused me anxious or depression moments. I can remember being anxious when I went out for the High School football team and cuts were being posted (I made the team each year by the way)! I can remember being anxious when I asked my future bride to marry me and wondering if she would say yes or no (she said yes – and we will celebrate 40 years of marriage this summer if we hang in there). I remember being anxious when my children were being born – the first because she was the first (she is 37 now) – the twins because they were twins (they are soon to be 32). I can remember times when I was anxious about my job – about my health – about many things. And on this side of those anxious moments – I can testify that being anxious didn’t help the situations one little bit. As a matter of fact – being anxious made some of them more difficult and didn’t help my health any at all. Continue reading

May 22, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Help Me to Forgive

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Rays HaircutIn today’s passage – John describes Jesus – the Word becoming flesh. I am struck by yet another difference between Jesus and myself! Jesus was and is full of grace as John writes – and I am not always filled with grace – and at times the church is not as well. I am not – by nature – a mercy person – yet as a pastor I am called to show mercy – maybe another name some use for mercy is compassion. The church is called to show mercy and compassions as well.

In a broadcast on the web I was listening to they were talking about grace – and restoration – in the church. Amazingly – their stories were that even in the church – there weren’t a lot of people who knew how or were even willing to show grace. Those who have been shown grace – who have been shown mercy – by God – should be the first ones willing t show mercy – forgiveness to others. God’s grace should be evident in our lives. God’s grace is poured out on us and we should share it with others. We should be ready to forgive and show grace and compassion to the hurting people of our communities. Continue reading

May 7, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Man of God Refreshed

2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Rays HaircutThis pandemic has – this isolation and quarantine – has impacted us all in different ways. As a pastor – I cannot visit my sick and elderly (or any) members. Even family is not allowed to visit if their loved one is in a nursing home/rehab center or a hospital. For some – those last days or hours will be spent – often – alone – without loved ones and friends with them. Some are taking their loved ones home so they can be with them during those last days.

As the rain fell Friday morning – and I was catching up with some friends and others on social media – I began thinking about my father. This fall it will be 8 years since he passed. I found a devotional I wrote days before his passing and I thought I would share it again today. It spoke of my pain and feelings. I miss dad more than I can express in words. A friend posted this today: Wouldn’t you love to step back in time and take a walk with your dad” – and that got me to thinking about dad. Continue reading

May 4, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can We Live in Peace With Others?

Romans 12:18

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

img_0063-2I was born in the mid 50′s and remember a lot about the 60′s and 70′s. I remember the peace movement surrounding the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement. I remember the protests on college campuses all over America about the war and the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unfortunately – some of those asking for peace didn’t give much peace when the veterans from Vietnam came home. These veterans faced anger and hatred that shouldn’t have been aimed at them. These young people – men and women – many who wanted nothing but peace so they could come home – were not welcomed home with much peace – respect or dignity! It seems that peace is not as easy as we might think – nor is it as easy as a protest march.

Think for a moment. Is there someone we have a hard time dealing with these days? Someone we have a hard time being at peace with these days? Is someone giving us a hard time? Has someone hurt us? Maybe it is our ex-spouse who is giving us trouble with our divorce settlement or with child support? Maybe it is someone at school who seems to enjoy being a bully? Maybe it is someone at work who always seems to pick on us or take credit for something we have done? Maybe it is someone who just won’t leave well enough alone? Is there anyone like that in your life today? Reading today’s passage we might say/ask – and God wants us to live at peace with these persons? Continue reading

February 10, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Is Your Super Hero?

Psalm 42:8

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amI mentioned this before and I mention again – here. I grew up reading comic books. I had many first editions and full series. I enjoyed the ones that were mild mannered people in day-to-day life but when trouble arose – they would become super heroes. One of my favorites was mild mannered Clark Kent becoming Superman. I wouldn’t miss an episode and even today try to catch the old TV show when I can. I enjoyed reading Superman comic books and watching the TV show (1952-1958) (I probably remember the reruns more than the original airings since I was born in 1955 – but maybe some lasting memories from those early years). By the way – my brother was a fan of Batman!

I must admit – I don’t watch much TV these days – other than some really old shows (like The Adventures of Superman and The Andy Griffith Show) – sports and the news (you can guess which news program I watch the most). Some of the shows I tape and try to watch are the ones about super heroes. I like the supernatural! Continue reading

October 16, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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