Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Gratitude

Luke 17:17

Jesus asked, Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?

I imagine every generation has their issues with the previous generation. One area that seems to come up in conversations quite often is a lack of gratitude. Gratitude is defined as – the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

A nation was grateful to the military when they returned from World War II – even calling the men and women who fought to defeat evil in Europe and the Pacific theatre – the greatest generation. But I remember soldiers returning from Vietnam receiving protests and ridicule. A nation – not solidly behind the war efforts in Vietnam – didn’t rally around the returning soldiers – showing them with gratitude. Most of those soldiers had nothing to do with the political unrest surrounding this conflict. Most – like their counterparts in WWII – were merely following orders from those up the command chain. They too deserved our gratitude as a nation. They fought for freedom – they fought instead of many of us – they should have been welcomed home with open arms and gratitude. Continue reading

June 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Praises 18

2 Corinthians 9:15

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

christmas-3During 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.

As a member of First Church, I am especially proud of how our church supports our military and our country.  Every week in our Sunday bulletin there is a Prayer Concerns section for friends and family members serving in the military.  This section contains over 30 names.  Both my sons have served I the military and one still is serving on active duty.  It comforts me knowing that so many are praying for them especially during the Christmas season.

There is so much more than just the prayers of support.  A bright and colorful flag is always flying from our church’s flagpole.  In the narthex is a tribute to individual veterans who have served as well as a stained glass window in their honor/memory.  In the fellowship hall, there still hangs the star banner with over 50 stars of those from First Church who served in WWII.  With God’s guidance, not one lost their life in that war.  First Church has one remaining WWII vet who represents the greatest generation.  Our Choir puts on an Independence Day Cantata and sing-a-long.  On the Sunday nearest Veterans day we honor those who have served and present a flag to one of those vets.  Many of our sons and daughters who have grown up in our church go off to serve.  We were especially fortunate to have an Air Force Chaplain who attended First Church with his family and would bring us a message from the pulpit frequently.  He keeps in touch with many of us via Facebook while he is serving overseas.  May the Lord speak through him to those serving so that they may have Jesus Christ in their lives.

Merry Christmas and God Bless First Church and God Bless the USA.

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 18, 2016 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding Our Self

Matthew 16:25

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

IMG_0301I remember when I was much younger – during the 60’s – a time when young people would leave home – and travel across the county – to find themselves. Some ended up living in communes – some went to massive outdoor concerts – some experimented with drugs – and free (no commitment) relationships – some did all of the above and more. Each generation seems to search for their niche in life – for their identity – finding themselves.  The world is ever changing – some – like the greatest generation as they are called – grew up during wartime and grew up quickly with great responsibilities. Some have so much given to them – it seems – that some feel entitled to life and it’s blessings – with little responsibility.

Have you found yourself (were you even looking)? Do you know your purpose in life? Do you know God’s plan for you and your life? I was talking to a young man the other day. He was so confused. He seemed lost. He had tried on several occasions to take his own life. He had experienced such pain in his life – he couldn’t see what reason there was to continue to live. He had given up on God and on ever finding meaning in his life. Continue reading

August 21, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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