Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Heaven or Hell – It Is Our Choice!

Revelation 21:1

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

img_0063-2When’s the last funeral you attended? For me – I seem to attend a funeral or more most every week. Some I attend – some I help celebrate the life lived and lost. I recently celebrated the life of a longtime friend who died way too soon. I also have celebrated the lives of much younger persons – spouses and children. Most services are mixed with different emotions. The friend lived a good life – a life of faith – a life with family – a life filled with community and church involvement. She was a wonderful lady and has gone on to her reward with Jesus – yet – sadness was there too because we don’t have her around to talk with – until we meet again.

The others had their stories as well. One was a school teacher – another was a home engineer – still another worked for NSA. Each funeral or memorial service has some sadness and at times – some celebration. Like my mom’s service a few years ago – after she battled with dementia for 6 plus years – it was a blessing for her to transition to be with Jesus – yet it was still hard.

It has been over seven years since my father died – and I still miss him and tear up from time to time thinking about him. He was a man of great faith and a family man all the way. He served others his whole life. Because of dad’s passing – I can better understand the grief of others. My mom’s passing has helped me as well. She too lived well and had a deep faith. Both services were times of mixed emotions. Continue reading

January 13, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Want To Go To Heaven?

Revelation 21:1

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

Pic of Ray 11302014When’s the last funeral you attended? For me it was just last week – I attended the funeral for a good friend’s mom and the week before I celebrated the life of a longtime friend who died way to soon. Both were services mixed with different emotions. The mom lived a good life – a life of faith – a life with family – a life filled with community involvement. She was a wonderful lady and has gone on to her reward with Jesus – yet – sadness was there too because we don’t have her around to talk with – until we meet again. The friend served his whole career helping others as a schoolteacher while also keeping the family farm running. He also was a person of great faith – a family man with a wife and two children who are also schoolteachers. We attended the same elementary school back in the late 50’s and early 60’s. We attended the same church as adults for 20 plus years and played softball and basketball together. His service had mixed emotions – mainly because he was so young on the one hand and was so strong in his faith on the other hand. We are sad for us – but celebrate his going to be with Jesus.

It has been a little over two years since my father died – and I still miss him and tear up from time to time thinking about him. He was a man of great faith and a family man all the way. He served others his whole life. Because of dad’s recent death – I can better understand the grief of others. My mom is still with us – strong of body and struggling with her memory. She too has lived well and has lived her faith. It will be a time of mixed emotions when she goes to be with Jesus. Continue reading

December 1, 2014 Posted by | Advent Thought, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Holy Spirit and the Church!

I look forward to Pastor Jon’s sermon this week on the Holy Spirit as we continue to search the Apostles’ Creed.  It is my belief that many in the church today have little to no understanding about the Holy Spirit.  This needs to change!

Francis Chan—in his booked titled Forgotten God—says: The benchmark of success in church services has become more about attendance than the movement of the Holy Spirit.  I agree with Francis.  I know that Pastor Jon will be using the Bible, Francis Chan’s book and other resources to present some truths about the Holy Spirit this week in his sermon.  I  can’t wait to hear what God will have to say through this young man of God.

What the church often fails to understand—as I said in a recent sermon—is that the Holy Spirit is God with us today.  Without a relationship with the Holy Spirit—our relationship with God is diminished– even stifled.

Jesus—as He was preparing His disciples for His departure and ascension to heaven—shared these words: John 14:25-26—25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  It is the Holy Spirit that will remind us of the teachings of Christ and teach us all things!  Without a relationship with the Holy Spirit we will be missing out on so much!

A phrase we read in Revelation—the words of Jesus—says it all to the church today– Revelation 2:11—He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

I pray that Mt. Oak Fellowship will be a church that is in tune with the Holy Spirit.  I pray in advance for the Word that Pastor Jon will share—that is will encourage some of us and awaken others to a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit—come—set on us—with us—and in spite of us!

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

 

November 18, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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