Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Finding Peace

John 16:33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

One of the blessings of having a hearing loss is I can put my good ear down on the pillow at bedtime. If people are in the other room talking and I want to get to sleep – I simply place my good ear on the pillow and off to sleep I go. There is a peace and quiet – no matter what is going on around me. It might be why I could fall asleep anywhere as a child – with my parents and others talking up a storm in the same room. I would simply put my good ear down on the floor or a pillow and I could find my happy place – a quiet place to fall asleep. With the rain this morning and my wife out of town – I slept a long time after going to bed early and no one to wake me.

My Facebook feed is normally filled with pictures and stories of folks I know that have found peace in one place or another. A friend – with a foot and lower leg in a cast – shared a picture of him cutting grass on his John Deere – cast in a plastic bag! I know what he meant. With my recent shoulder surgery – I couldn’t wait till I could cut my grass. Something about doing something mindless and in the outdoors – is so stress relieving. Some people share pictures of mountain sunsets – beach sunrises – quiet waters – peaceful golf courses – baby animals – mountain top views and more. People enjoying some relaxing time – some quiet time – away from their work and the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives. Where is your happy place? Where would you go to find peace and quiet? Continue reading

May 5, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Anxious About Nothing

Philippians 4:6-7

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Today marks five full weeks since my rotator cuff surgery with a torn bicep muscle as well. I had physical therapy (PT) this morning and they are well pleased. They took measurements this morning to report to my surgeon on this Friday. My hope is that he will be pleased and released me from the sling and allow me to begin to use my arm some and build it back up.

The physical therapist said I had nearly 100% movement (compared to my right arm not compared to a young man or a double jointed person – LOL). In some measurements my movement was 100% or even better.

My hope is that by the last weekend in May I will be able to take half swings with my golf clubs – hip to hip. My family takes a vacation every year and we always play golf together. It would be hard to miss that bonding time with my brother and some of my nephews and a niece. If I must simply ride along – I will. Continue reading

May 3, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peace Is Elusive At Times

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

RayMcDA little over a week ago my mom transitioned to heaven. I have an extraordinary amount of peace with this situation. I have confidence that mom is with Jesus and with my dad again. I grieve my loss – but I rejoice in mom’s victory and that brings me peace.

A friend of mine ended a multiple year relationship recently and I am praying peace for him. Another friend is dealing with cancer and treatment and I am praying peace for her. Still another friend is waging a battle against stubborn family members and I pray peace for them.

Peace is elusive at times. Peace is something that most of us seek but few of us find. We live in a day and age when people are struggling to find peace. We even struggle with what is right and what is wrong at times. Our parents and grandparents and so forth probably thought that each generation faced an uncertain world around them and a struggle for right and wrong. They probably thought they lived in a world where others called wrong as right and the right as wrong. Key to this thought is that we don’t all have the same moral values or ideology. We don’t all see the world or truth as the same.

Peace is elusive at times. Racial tension is still high in our society. A call for racial reconciliation – a call to treat persons by the content of their heart rather than the color of their skin – is still being met with opposition. Fifty to sixty years after some tried to awaken our country to racial tensions – these tensions are still alive in some folks and in some areas more than others. There are still those who hate because of skin color – as crazy as that seems.

Peace is elusive at times. There are ideologies today – as there have been in days gone by – where people think the only way to nirvana is to kill all infidels. ISIS (radical Islamic terrorists) is still a threat – killing Muslims – Christians – Jews – and others – around the world because they don’t agree with their ideology. They are creating fear around the world with their understanding of right and wrong. Most agree this is wrong but we can’t seem to agree how to defeat this hatred. Continue reading

February 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Attitude: In General

Proverbs 17:22

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

RayMcDAs we begin a New Year – I felt the need to do a series of blog posts about attitude. I believe we can have all the right programs in a church. We can have friendly faces on Sunday mornings. We can have just the right amount of staff and volunteers. We can have a great facility that is attractive – warm – and welcoming. But I believe if our attitudes are not right – our attitudes will seep through all of the other areas of ministry and eventually they will be seen and will corrupt all that we try to do. We all need to constantly check our attitudes. I’m not sure how long this series will go – but I felt led of God to share it.

You would think that – in the church – good attitudes would abound – maybe even be the rule rather than the exception. Yet in church life – real people are involved and real people have attitudes at times. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years talking about our attitude as Christians. I created a saying some 30 plus years ago that goes like this – Christianity boils down to attitude. Over the year I’ve added a follow-up statement and the saying now reads – Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart. God is after our hearts – God desires a cheerful heart – a heart set on Christ. Let’s look at some passages that speak about the heart. Continue reading

January 2, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Peace Comes From Loving God

John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

RayMcDAre any of us the type of person who would like to know what is coming next? I mean – if we could know the day and time of something in our life – would we appreciate that knowledge or would it freak us out?

What if we could know when we were going to die? What if we could know what will happen next week in our life? What if we had an idea about how we would be treated because of whom we followed?

Dear Christian readers – hear God when God says – the world will hate us because we follow Him. Jesus tried to warn His disciples – His followers – about what was coming – about the hate that we would face in the world we live in today. In the midst of some of His warnings – we find today’s passage –“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Continue reading

November 18, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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