Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Other Side of the Casket

Philippians 4:12

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

June 2019This verse came to mind almost seven years ago as I sat in the front row at my father’s burial.  For 36 years I had been on the other side of the coffin – trying to give words of encouragement and lifting prayers on behalf of the grieving family. Other than my two grandmothers (both grandfathers died before I was born or when I was an infant) I have not lost anyone close – other than some childhood friends. With my maternal grandmother died I was in the family section – not upfront. I did celebrate my paternal grandmother’s life as her pastor. I have not had a close family member pass since – until my father died. We had both sets of parents – still married to each other and living strong!

I am a pretty emotional person – and I think I held up pretty well through the visitation time and at the funeral (almost broke down once during the sermon and as the coffin was being closed the previous night). There I was – placing the cocoon that held my father into the ground and yet I was an emotional wreck.  I knew it wasn’t my father. I knew he was with Jesus. I knew the story of the butterfly I have told hundreds of times and even shared it at my father’s graveside service – but the emotions of the moment hit me hard. Continue reading

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July 16, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are We Walking By Faith?

2 Corinthians 5:7

For we live by faith, not by sight.

What is it we believe in without seeing it first? What is it we believe in without holding it in our own hands? Not much I would say. We often if not almost always need things proven to us or shown to us.

Have any of us ever taken part in the team building exercise where a person is blindfolded and asked to fall backwards and trust that someone from the team will catch them? I’ve experienced this exercise a number of times. You fall backwards without seeing who might or might not be there – trusting that someone will be. It is an amazing experience. Continue reading

September 26, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Are Our Limits?

Mark 2:11

“I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”

112015 Ray McDonaldHow convinced are we of the things that we believe?  I mean – where are our limits?  We all have limits to our faith?  For instance – few would argue that God calls us to pray – even continuously – yet how many minutes a day do we pray?  Is our limit 5 minutes or 10 minutes or even an hour?  If we wish to grow spiritually – we might need to push that limit some – and spend more time in prayer.  Christ’s example – He often prayed all night long!  He would pray – for long periods of time before making a decision or taking on a challenge.  When is the last time we spent significant time in prayer?  Luke 5:16 – But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Few would argue that the Bible calls us to tithe (giving 10% of our income to the Lord’s work) or  sacrificially give to God’s work – yet – how much do we give?  Is the measure of our giving a limit we need to push back in order to grow spiritually? Tithing is the one are where God says test me.  Malachi 3:10 – Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Continue reading

December 23, 2015 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Faith – Confidence in Jesus!

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

82015 RayWhat is it you are confident in these days? This morning my 3-point shot wasn’t falling – but all in all – I would say I have confidence in my 3-ball. As a shooter – I launch the ball expecting it to go in – most times.

What is it you are confident in these days? Some folks are confident in their ability to accomplish their work assignments. Some folks are confident in their life partners. Some folks are confident in knowledge of certain fields of endeavor. Some folks are confident in their ability to play an instrument – even when sight-reading.

What is it you are confident in these days? Maybe the question could be reversed – and we could ask – what are you not confident in these days? I bet for most of us – many of the things we are most confident in have been things we were least confident in at some time in our life. Maybe a cheating partner changed our confidence in that area. Maybe a bad day shooting – causes our confidence with the 3-ball to wane. Maybe we crashed a project at work and thus our confidence was shaken. All of these and more can shake our confidence – because most of the things we have confidence in are fallible. Our confidence often relies on consistency and most things – even those things that tend to be consistent – are not always so! Continue reading

October 14, 2015 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Faith in the Impossible

Luke 1:18

Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

profileMission Impossible was a TV show – originally shown from 1966 to 1973 I believe.  It was a TV show about a team of agents that took on impossible tasks.  They would receive their instruction by tape player and it would destroy itself shortly after revealing the impossible task.  Of your course you knew they would achieve the task – but it was exciting trying to figure out how they would do it – and – maybe – just maybe – they wouldn’t accomplish it this time.  The show returned for two seasons in 1988 and 1990 and was revived in movies beginning in 1996 to the present.

Have you ever faced something thought impossible in your life?  An old song I loved to sing growing up – Got Any Rivers.  The chorus went like this – Got any rivers you think are uncrossable? Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through? God specializes in things thought impossible.  And He can do what not other one can do.  We use to love singing that song – because it reminded us that God can do anything – even the things thought impossible. Continue reading

September 23, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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