Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The 4th of July – Independence Day

1 Timothy 2:1-4

1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Today is not a day to think Republican – Democrat – or Independent. Today is not the day to be the resistance or to be a member of Trump’s troops. It is not a day to attack each other – or to attack those whose ideology is different than ours. Today is a day to celebrate our freedom as a nation. It is Independence Day. It is the day our nation declared its independence from the Old Country and decided to begin a new as a new nation.

Too many people – thinking themselves wise and even some thinking themselves prophetic – have attacked our current President and our current Congress (and other leaders as well). We have the freedom to express ourselves. For one day – please – let us put our differences behind us. Today is a day to be united and to thank God for His mercy and grace on our nation. To thank God for America – with all of our warts and scares. We are still the greatest nation in the world IMHO. Continue reading

July 4, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 18

2 Corinthians 9:15

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

christmas-3During 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 a member of First Church, I am especially proud of how our church supports our military and our country.  Every week in our Sunday bulletin there is a Prayer Concerns section for friends and family members serving in the military.  This section contains over 30 names.  Both my sons have served I the military and one still is serving on active duty.  It comforts me knowing that so many are praying for them especially during the Christmas season.

There is so much more than just the prayers of support.  A bright and colorful flag is always flying from our church’s flagpole.  In the narthex is a tribute to individual veterans who have served as well as a stained glass window in their honor/memory.  In the fellowship hall, there still hangs the star banner with over 50 stars of those from First Church who served in WWII.  With God’s guidance, not one lost their life in that war.  First Church has one remaining WWII vet who represents the greatest generation.  Our Choir puts on an Independence Day Cantata and sing-a-long.  On the Sunday nearest Veterans day we honor those who have served and present a flag to one of those vets.  Many of our sons and daughters who have grown up in our church go off to serve.  We were especially fortunate to have an Air Force Chaplain who attended First Church with his family and would bring us a message from the pulpit frequently.  He keeps in touch with many of us via Facebook while he is serving overseas.  May the Lord speak through him to those serving so that they may have Jesus Christ in their lives.

Merry Christmas and God Bless First Church and God Bless the USA.

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 18, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Nation – People – Under God

John 15:5

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgToday is the 4th of July – Independence Day for our nation. One truth we learn from our history is that we were founded as a nation of faith in God – even as we allowed a variety of expressions of that faith. We didn’t mandate a certain form of faith – there was no state church per se – but our constitution quotes the King James Version of the Bible in places.

National prayer was a part of our society during our years of forming and for generations. Presidents and other officials of the state openly prayed and called the people to pray for our nation. Our nation turned to God and sought His face while desiring His grace.

In recent history we have seen a detailed and even planned effort to move our nation away from God. From removing prayer from our schools to the removing of the Ten Commandments from government offices to out and out persecution of people of faith by our society. A nation that turns from God will fall. A nation that turns their heart away from God will tumble. A people who do not rely on God – who are not tied into God as today’s passage indicates – will fall. Continue reading

July 4, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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