Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

This Too Is Part Of The Grieving Process

1 Peter 5:7

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

This too is part of the grieving process. A few years ago – I wrote this blog post and this morning it came to mind as I was sitting in the presence of God. I miss my dad so much (and mom too). I hope this devotional touches someone. If it doesn’t – it touched me – so it has served its purpose. It brought fresh tears to my eyes and it is part of my grieving process – nearly 6 years later.

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As I sit in the hospital room with my dad my thoughts are scattered.  I know I need time to grieve. I know my emotions are on edge. I know that just the sight of my in-laws this morning followed by my father’s brother brought tears to my heart – for them and for me. Did I say I know I need time to grieve? I know that working helps me grieve and helps control my emotions at the same time. I have thoughts like: what will I do without my father? Who will I turn to with my many questions in life? As the oldest son – the oldest patriarch of the family – what does that mean? Why can’t I be strong for the family and friends? Why must I be so emotional? What will my mom do without dad? What about my sister and brother and the grand/great children? What about my wife, my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law? My brother-in-law has been like a son to dad and has cared for him like his own father – and we cried in each other’s arms last night at the hospital! My mind races to the next steps. Should we have a private burial followed by a memorial service? Should we have a fellowship meal? Where will we hold the service? Who would we ask to help – there are so many pastors in the family – pastors dad influenced – pastors that know him and us? What funeral home will we use – we have such a good relationship with so many? Should we call Hospice Care? Is dad really comfortable? Can he still hear me pray with him? How many angels can dance on the head of a needle? These are just a few of the things running through my head. If you have been where I am right now – you know the many thoughts that are going through my mind. Continue reading

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July 12, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t Be Anxious

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Don’t be anxious! Easier said than done. There are so many things that could make us anxious. The economy is one of them. For some – the market rising is a good thing – but so many are not invested in the market. For some – we might be nearing retirement and aren’t sure if we will be able to make ends meet. For some – we may have just lost a spouse and their pension and are having a hard time remaining where we are currently. I could go on and on – the economy could be cause for anxiousness.

Don’t be anxious! Easier said than done. There are so many things that could make us anxious. Our health is one of them. For some – we’ve never felt better. For some – we might be facing a disease that could threaten our life. For some – we might be currently limited in what we can do by our health issues. I could go on and on – health issues could be cause for anxious moments. Continue reading

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seeing Jesus Face-to-Face

1 Peter 5:7

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

I pulled this message from five years ago. I’ve reworked it some but basically it is the same. My father’s passing five years ago is part of what has me emotionally depleted today.

As I sit in the hospital room with my dad my thoughts are scattered. I know I need time to grieve. I know my emotions are on edge. I know that just the sight of my in-laws this morning followed by my father’s brother brought tears to my heart – for them and for me. Did I say I know I need time to grieve? I know that working helps me grieve and helps control my emotions at the same time. I have thoughts like: what will I do without my father? Who will I turn to with my many questions in life? As the oldest son – the oldest patriarch of the family – what does that mean? Why can’t I be strong for the family and friends? Why must I be so emotional? What will my mom do without dad? What about my sister and brother and the grand/great children? What about my wife, my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law? My brother-in-law has been like a son to dad and has cared for him like his own father – and we cried in each other’s arms last night at the hospital! My mind races to the next steps. Should we have a private burial followed by a memorial service? Should we have a fellowship meal? Where will we hold the service? Who would we ask to help – there are so many pastors in the family – pastors dad influenced – pastors that know him and us? What funeral home will we use – we have such a good relationship with so many? Should we call Hospice Care? Is dad really comfortable? Can he still hear me pray with him? How many angels can dance on the head of a needle? These are just a few of the things running through my head. If you have been where I am right now – you know the many thoughts that are going through my mind. Continue reading

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Do Not Be Anxious!

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

RayMcDWhat – if anything – are we anxious about today? Some of my friends have voiced anxiousness about retirement. Will they have enough to last? When should they retire? Should they work after they retire? Should they travel or save?

What – if anything – are we anxious about today? As some of my friends get older – I have heard anxiousness in some of their voices concerning their health. Should they get long-term care insurance? Should they or when should they move into assisted living quarters? Should they find one that is associated with longer-term care?

What – if anything – are we anxious about today? Some of the folks I talk to and some on Facebook have expressed anxiousness about the upcoming elections. Some say they know who they will NOT vote for and some say they will have a hard time voting for either of the main candidates. Some say one candidate doesn’t have the temperament to be President – flying off the handle too many times for them. Some say the other candidate doesn’t have the character to be President – having lied too many times to the public and congress. There are other concerns about both candidates. Continue reading

September 2, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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