Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Light In The Darkness

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Life ChangeHave you ever been in the dark? Have you ever tried to walk thru your living room or another room in the dark? Do your toes scream to turn on the lights? Have you ever tried to climb the steps from the basement with the lights out because the switch was not in the right condition (you know: the switch is up when the lights are off and you have to change it – LOL)? OK – that last one was just me – I guess.

Next week is Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for in your life? Are you in a relationship with someone? If so – are you thankful for that relationship? Have you ever been without a meaningful relationship in your life? Have you ever been in the dark in a relationship? Wondering if he or she liked you? Wondering if this was the one – your life partner? Have you been burned several times and you’re tired of walking in the darkness? Have you sought a way to throw a little light on your relationships? Maybe even trying to figure out a relationship?

Have you ever wondered about life in general? Have you ever experienced dark moments when you felt depressed? Have you searched for the meaning of life only to come up empty? I imagine a lot of people struggle with understanding life – especially when it doesn’t seem to go as we planned. Continue reading

November 19, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Consistency – We All Need It

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Life Change

Consistency is something most of us look for in our lives. We want to hit the target again and again – being on target in our relationships for instance. In talking with young couples over the years and playing the I Expect Game – consistency is something that often comes up. This game is where I have a couple face each other and go back and forth telling each other what they expect as they enter marriage. Although marriage is not all about our expectations – it is meaningful to hear what your partner-to-be is expecting (or your current partner). Although we cannot always fulfill our partner’s expectations nor should we all of the time – consistency – faithfulness – longevity is something that most couples seek. Continue reading

April 2, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mending a Broken Heart

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (ESV)

Life ChangeI wonder how many of our readers have ever experienced a broken heart? Am I alone? I’m also a hopeless romantic (that is the term I choose to use and I’m sticking with it). As much as I love my wife and wouldn’t trade her for the world – I remember relationships from the past. Smells and songs trigger memories for me. I remember the first girl I ever kissed (I was 9 and we were moving from our church and she was 10 and I kissed her on our last Sunday). She was my first girlfriend – so to speak (it is written in my baby book LOL). I remember the perfume my next girlfriend used (Heaven Scent) and it brings back memories when I smell it.

As I grew older – songs began to play a part of my memories. Stevie Wonder’s You Are The Sunshine Of My Life has fond memories as does Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together. Color My World by Chicago was also a favorite – it was the first song I ever danced to (with someone special).

Let’s Stay Together was a song that brings back not only fond memories but sad memories as well. It was still popular (came out in 1972) – a few years before one of my relationship breakups. As an emotional person – it would bring tears to my eyes remembering that relationship after it was over. Even today I occasionally remember relationships past. I’m listening to some music from the Vietnam era as I type out this devotional and each song brings back memories of my youth. Continue reading

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Of Us Face Hard Times

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Have you ever had a hard day? A hard week? A hard month? A hard year? Maybe even some of us have had a hard life? Things can pile on top of us at times and we can feel the weight of the world upon us.

Some of us have faced hard times – and we were instrumental in them. Maybe the hard time we face is with our health – and maybe we caused it by overeating or smoking or drinking too much or doing drugs. Maybe the hard time we face is with relationships – and maybe our bad habits or personality or idiosyncrasies have played a part in our broken relationships including marriages – friendships – and even family relations.

Some of us have faced hard times – and we had nothing to do with it. Maybe the hard time we face is because of someone drinking and driving – or someone committing a crime like rape or arson or murder. Maybe the hard time we face is because of the choices of others. Maybe the hard times are from the lies of others about us. Maybe the hard times we face are from issues in the home or at work caused by someone else. Maybe the hard time we face is caused by circumstances beyond our control. Continue reading

August 2, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Is All About Relationships

1 Peter 3:9

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

It is all about relationships! The older I get – the more years I have been in ministry (42 full years this summer) – the more life I live – the more I am convinced it is all about relationships.

It is all about relationships! Our relationship with Jesus is not about the dos and don’ts. It is not about how often we attend worship. It is not about what we give to the church. It is not about how often we sin or how little we sin. All of these are measurable things for sure and Christians will strive to lessen sin in their lives. Christians will attend worship – as often as possible – to be in the fellowship of other believers and to praise God (and worship is not just done in the Sanctuary on Sundays). Christians are called to tithe and give even more to the poor and the needy.

It is all about relationships! Our relationship with Jesus is just that – it is about our relationship. Our prayer life is our lifeline – our communication with God. Our devotional life is the foundation of our relationship with Jesus. How much time we spend – and the quality of that time is so important. Continue reading

July 27, 2018 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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