Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

This Is The Day The Lord Has Made

Psalm 118:24

This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. (NLJV)

Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast and caused a lot of damage. Loss of some lives and a lot of property damage has been the result. Hurricane Irma is hitting the Caribbean and will soon hit the Florida Keys and the US mainland. Already Irma has taken life and has caused and will cause much damage.

President Trump has been president for 7 plus months and for some this is the worst thing that our country has ever faced. For some this is the best thing that could have happened.

We recently lost the oldest member of our church family – a woman nearly 102 years of age. In the weeks just past I have celebrated the funeral for folks in their 30’s – 40’s – 50’s and this weekend – in their 60’s (born just days after me). Continue reading

September 8, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 12

Psalm 118:24

The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

christmas-12During 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.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year, because most people demonstrate a spirit of happiness and giving. 

This Christmas season, however, is very different than years past. Throughout the year I have experienced several losses of loved ones, financial hardship, ministry challenges, employment reductions, and seen a large spike in violent crimes in our community. With all the telltale signs of the end times, most would agree that we may be in them or steadily approaching them. That does not stop us from serving Christ in the capacity he wants us to. We often use our struggles and hardships to learn things and Christ uses them to help others in need.

The true meaning of Christmas is often lost though. The worldly version we are familiar with equals giving presents, having large meals, spending time with family and demonstrating a cheerful attitude.  The Christ portion of it is downplayed in the spirit of the holiday. Whether we use the prophetic name Emmanuel or the word in flesh name Jesus—the holiday is about his birth.

Every year, I feel honored to participate in Warm Nights—shelter for the homeless, Angel Tree—gifts for children with incarcerated parents, Food drive—stocking the LARS food pantry, and many other mission related events. Not only do I get great joy out of helping others,  but I see it as my spiritual gift—Faith and Deeds. 

Church is not a building or location—it is each individual who makes up a community of believers who gather together to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. Good, bad, or indifferent that is what we do as a collective spiritual body.

As my favorite author wrote: 


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 12, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rejoice and Be Glad!

Psalm 118:24

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Today is the 4th of July – our nation’s Independence Day.  Each year we are called to remember our freedom as a nation.  We celebrate with fireworks each 4th of July.  Most of us get a day off work!  It is an important day in the life of our country.

But – in the scope of things – I would like to suggest that every day is a special day in our lives.  Each day we draw breath is a day to help someone find eternal freedom (if we have already found salvation through Jesus Christ ourselves).  How much better would it get if today – I mean TODAY – God worked in you – through you – and in spite of you to help bring someone to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  No matter how today finds you – celebrating the 4th or dealing with circumstances that would make most of us crumble – let God use you today to serve His purposes.  Remember happiness is circumstantially driven, while joy is spiritually derived.  Whatever your circumstances today – let it be a day of joy – rejoice and be glad in it.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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July 4, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | | Leave a comment


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