Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Have You Ever Been Tired?

Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Life ChangeHave you ever been tired? I mean really tired. Like after running a few miles or playing a game of full-court basketball or walking a few miles or expending all of your energy in some physical exercise. Maybe we’re not in as good a shape as we used to be. Maybe it doesn’t take much to tire us out these days. I remember how we used to take honey or oranges just before a wrestling match to give us quick energy. Those three minutes on the mat were very draining – even when we were in top shape. We just might need a renewed measure of energy or rest – at times.

Have you ever been tired? I mean really tired. Like staying up all night to cram for a test the next day. Like spending an all-nighter watching your sick children or being sick yourself. Like pulling an all-nighter at work to make sure a project finishes or catching up for someone else. At times we just need a renewed measure of energy or rest. Continue reading

May 15, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anxious Moments – Again

1 Peter 5:7

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

RayMcDLet me begin by apologizing for not having a devotional post yesterday. I may not have one every day this week. My mom passed on Sunday evening. Yesterday I had a hard time focusing. I found this devotional I wrote just before my father passed and thought I would refresh it for today.

As a pastor I have seen way too many medical issues strike seemingly healthy persons. I’ve mentioned before having a friend die a few feet away from me while playing basketball one morning several years ago. I’ve also seen friends who seemed to be very healthy die a few months after being diagnosed with a sickness like cancer. It is enough to give anyone a few anxious moments. I know I have had my share!

While in Florida on vacation (back in 2012) – my father entered the hospital (remind me to talk to him about his timing later – when he is well and home). Have I told you recently that I love this man! He is 84 and common sense says he is in the last chapters of his life – even if he lives to be 100. While talking to my brother and sister by phone – I heard anxiousness in their voices (and for my brother to be anxious I knew it wasn’t good). I sat in the dark and cried out to God for help and comfort for my dad and family (and me). My wife came out and tried to comfort me – but only God could bring me comfort at that moment. Today’s passage came to mind – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. As I made plans to return home I could only trust in God – because this was something I couldn’t control. I had to place my trust in Jesus – because – well – just because! (My father would die that fall.) Continue reading

February 7, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Said – Come To Me

Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

RayMcDOk – Christmas is coming – ready or not. I mentioned yesterday in the sermon – I already opened my Christmas present from my wife. I love it and we are enjoying it already. She hasn’t opened her gift from me yet. We’ll probably have to install if while she is away after Christmas visiting our daughter.

Have you gotten your shopping done yet? It is easier if you don’t put so much pressure on yourself to buy too much. Remember – Christmas is not about how many gifts you get or give – but about Jesus. It is His birthday celebration – not ours. I urge people every year to not go into debt for Christmas – but to keep it simple and within your means.

Even with Christmas just around the corner – we are First Church have had a rough month or so. We had a number of deaths and a number of accidents (a number of hand injuries and falls). One of our oldest members is it he hospital fighting for his life. Another older member had a fall at home and is home healing. Our Administrative Board chair was among the deaths we have experienced. It has been a difficult time. Continue reading

December 12, 2016 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are We Weary and Burdened?

Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

112015 Ray McDonaldWhen my oldest granddaughter was four-months-old – she entered a stage where she fought sleep (I’m at the age where I love taking a nap and going to bed at night).  She was the best baby I have ever known (all of my grandchildren are for sure).  She didn’t fuss about much of anything – yet she began to fight going to sleep.  I remember babysitting with her and having a hard time getting her to go down for bedtime.

I remember when I was a child my mom would force me to rest – to take an afternoon nap – after hours of playing and lunch.  I’m not sure it was for my good or hers – lol.  But if I laid on my bed long enough – usually about five minutes – I would be sound asleep.  Even today – if I sit still for five minutes I can doze off.  If I’m not in motion – I will become very docile.  I find myself falling asleep most anywhere.

The body needs rest.  I remember my college and seminary days – sleep was something that I did when I really needed it – or I crashed – because there was so much to do and so little time.  Late night study sessions – mainly because I didn’t keep up in my readings like I should – were commonplace.  All-nighters were just the way I rolled back then.  Up until about a two years ago – 4-6 hours of sleep was all I needed – with a 15-20 minute nap mid-day.  At 61 I am starting to need a little more rest to recoup from the day!  Now I find myself needing 7-8 hours a night – still with the 15-20 minute nap during the day. Continue reading

March 21, 2016 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Wants to Give the Weary Rest

Matthew 11:28

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgYesterday I took a different path outside of my home during my walk. I usually walk to the left and cover 1.5 – 2.25 miles. There are some small hills – but the path I take is basically level and relatively easy to walk. Well, yesterday when I arrived at the top of my driveway I decided to turn right. Let me share that the community to the right is very hilly. The road goes down to a low area under the power lines but then it rises to the highest point in the community – and with a very steep climb. As I began the rise to the top of the community – my legs started to tire – and my breathing quickened. Numerous times I thought about stopping – turning back – or pausing long enough to catch my breath. I didn’t – I kept going.

As I arrived at the high point in the community I walked a little further until I came to the end of the road – at which point I turned around and started back. Yesterday the roads were wet from rain and there are leaves on the black top. Going down the steep hill was almost as hard as going up – in a different way. I had to step easy and I could feel my knees holding me back and was very aware of where I stepped. I made it to the bottom of the steep hill and walked level for a while in the low area – only to arrive at the smaller hill climbing to my home. This was an easy hill to walk down – but after the mile plus walk I had just finished – even the small hill took its toll on me. I arrived back home – my shirt soaked from the walk (I had a sweatshirt and a rain jacket on to stay warm and promote sweating – LOL). I was tired! I went inside – changed my shirt – sat down – and drank a protein shake. Continue reading

October 14, 2014 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Theology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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