Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Never Forget! 9-11-01

John 15:18

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amToday – as a nation – we remember 9-11. Where were you on that Tuesday morning 18 years ago? What are your thoughts – today – about 9-11? Is it still etched in your memory? Did you shed some tears this morning remembering that day? I know I did.

Did you know anyone who lost their life on that day? A lot of people lost their lives that day as a result of the radical Islamic terrorist attack on the USA.

I was pastoring at Mt. Zion Church and remember the horror of the day as it unfolded for sure. We had people working in the Pentagon and I remember hearing from some of them and heading out to be with their families. I remember going to the area High School and being with the son of a friend of mine who was in the Pentagon. It was a horrific day – a day I will always remember. Continue reading

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September 11, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anxiety

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amI know a number of people that battle anxiety. I was reading this passage the other day – and even talked recently to some folks about their anxiety. What are we anxious about in life? What is it that causes us to have trouble sleeping at night? What do we think about and can’t seem to stop thinking about – moment by moment? What decisions in our lives have caused us the most anxiety?

As I reflect back on my life – I can think of numerous things that caused me anxious moments. I can remember being anxious when I went out for the High School football team and cuts were being posted (I made the team each year by the way)! I can remember being anxious when I asked my future bride to marry me and wondering if she would say yes or no (she said yes – and we just celebrated 39 years of marriage). I remember being anxious when my children were being born – the first because she was the first (she is 36 now) – the twins because they were twins (they are now 31). I can remember times when I was anxious about my job – about my health – about many things. And on this side of those anxious moments – I can testify that being anxious didn’t help the situations one little bit. As a matter of fact – being anxious made some of them more difficult and didn’t help my health any at all. Continue reading

September 5, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Loves Us

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

June 2019Tuesday night at VBS – today’s passage – was the passage of the evening. We were telling the children that God loved them – each of them – individually. We started on Sunday night with stories of God’s love. on Monday night we talked about God loving everyone. Tuesday night we talked about God loving us individually – and today’s passage was the main passage.

If you watch golf at all – you are well aware that at many golf tournaments – someone will probably have a sign behind the golfers (where the cameras catch it) that reads John 3:16. This passage hit home with me this week as I watched the national and the international scene unfold around me. I’m wrestling with the needs of others and the need to secure our borders. I’m trying to understand the need to protect our people from terrorists and other threats. I listen to the debates about building a wall – denying certain people entrance into the USA – and the need to keep track of certain people. It can be very confusing at times and very mind blowing. All people are God’s children – even those who do not obey Him or even believe in Him. Yet – in society we have boundaries and borders and nations.

As Christians who are from a certain nation – we are often caught dealing with our national interests and our Christian global interests. Christ died for the whole world (although all will not accept His free gift of salvation). Christ died for the people we are trying to keep out of our nation – even the criminal elements. It is a hard place at times. It is tough taking a stand because there are arguments on both sides of most discussions. I tried this week to ask for thoughts on a clergy page and all I received was one offer to talk person-to-person (not doable at this time) and pushback for the way I presented my question. If even clergy cannot discuss this issue – how can we expect others to do so? Continue reading

July 11, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Pray For All People?

1 Timothy 2:1

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—

June 2019Do we pray for all people? Often in worship – over the years – I’ve asked people to pray for the President. What if the President at the time isn’t the one you voted for – does that hamper your ability to pray for them? It shouldn’t. We should pray for our leaders – whether we agree with them or not. We don’t have to like someone to pray for them – praying that their hearts would be touched by God and that they would lead the people according to what is best for the people – rather than for themselves or their political party.

Do we pray for all people? The political scene is dreary these days. At times we are called to pray against evil (as we might define it) and to pray for those who are responsible for that evil (as we see it). For instance – we might be conflicted with what is happening on our southern border (and has been happening for several administrations). We might think our borders should be secure and yet we might feel there are better ways to go about it (several administrations have tried several methods which apparently aren’t working yet). We can pray for those seeking asylum and their well-being while also praying for border security. We can pray for a better way for sure. Continue reading

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

National Security vs. Christian Faith

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

If any of us watch golf at all – you are well aware that at many golf tournaments – someone will probably have a sign behind the golfers (where the cameras catch it) that reads John 3:16. This passage hit home with me recently as I watched the national and international scene unfold around us. I understand nationalism and I think I understand our need to protect our boarders and our people from terrorists and other threats. I listen to the debates about building a wall – denying certain people entrance into the USA – and the need to keep track of people as they enter our nation. It can be very confusing at times and very mind blowing. The times – they are a changing. Things aren’t the same as years gone by when people crossed borders with no thought.

As Christians who are from a certain nation – we are often caught dealing with our national interests and our Christian global interests. Christ died for the whole world (although all will not accept His free gift of salvation). Christ died for the people we are trying to keep out of our nation – even the criminal elements. It is a hard place at times. It is tough taking a stand because there are arguments on both sides of most discussions. Continue reading

June 4, 2019 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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