Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God Heals the Brokenhearted

Psalm 34:18

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

Rays Haircut

My heart is broken today as the news of Ravi Zacharias’ passing sinks into my heart and spirit. As the White House Press Secretary – Kayleigh McEnany – said in an interview – Billy Graham was the great evangelist and Ravi Zacharias is the great apologist. She almost lost it in the interview and I almost lost it listening to her. We will miss Ravi greatly. He had one of the sharpest minds of our age. I wonder how many of our readers have ever experienced a broken heart? Am I alone? You can listen to this interview here.

What breaks your heart? What brings you to tears and beyond? I’m 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. Colour 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

May 21, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Offering Our Gifts to God

Matthew 5:23-24

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

Rays HaircutA historic view might help us understand how important this statement is from Jesus – how eye-opening it was for His hearers. In order to offer a sacrifice – an offering – most people traveled miles upon miles – often over several days. Some were lucky enough to live in Jerusalem and might have come more often – but most only traveled to the Temple a few times a year. After making the trip to the temple – they had to purchase a sacrifice if they hadn’t brought one with them on their long trip. They would have a calf – or a dove – or a lamb maybe or maybe their offering was money. They would probably wait most of the day in a long line to get the chance to offer their sacrifice/offering. It was hot – dry – and smelly with all of the animals in line – not counting the smell from the altar with all of the animals being sacrificed in the temple. They finally got to the altar area and were ready to give the priest their offering and it hits them – they have someone who has an issue with them – it may not even be their fault. This is where Jesus’ words hit – this is the circumstance as the people heard Jesus say: “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Continue reading

May 20, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Family Is So Important

1 Corinthians 12:26

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

img_0063-2I’ve been spending some time lately reading (mostly online and on my iPad) and listening to some as well. I’ve read the following: The Bible – some books (like Nick Vujicic’s Unstoppable) – some sports news (as we are in the midst of the basketball season – the Super Bowl is upon us – and Spring training is just around the corner) – and the Facebook entries of some of my friends. One thing I’ve noticed in many of these venues is the importance of family – connections – and teamwork. One of my Facebook friends puts pictures and posts up – almost hourly it seems – thanking God for their children – their spouse – and where they work. I believe that our family and close friends impact our lives – for the better or for the worst.

I mourn with everyone today at the loss of Kobe Bryant – his 13 year old daughter – and the 6 other persons (as of the writing of this devotional – not yet identified) lost in a helicopter wreck Sunday morning. The sudden – tragic accident – serves to remind us how fragile life is and how precious our moments together should be.

Family and other connections are so very important to our health and well-being. One only needs to read the stories of some who have gone astray to realize that many of them had a giant fail in their family connections. Nick Vujicic – born without arms or legs – praises his parents for showing him unconditional love and attention. He credits this support for much of his ability to struggle through the challenges of life he faced and become a motivational speaker and evangelist. Continue reading

January 27, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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