Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Anxiety and Depression

1 Peter 5:7

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

Rays HaircutI know a number of people that battle anxiety and depression. I was reading this passage the other day – and even talked recently to some folks about their anxiety and depression. What are we anxious or depressed 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 or depression?

As I reflect back on my life – I can think of numerous things that caused me anxious or depression 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 will celebrate 40 years of marriage this summer if we hang in there). I remember being anxious when my children were being born – the first because she was the first (she is 37 now) – the twins because they were twins (they are soon to be 32). 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

May 22, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gracious Words

Proverbs 16:24

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Ray 2020One thing that the quarantine has given many of us is more time on social media. That is a two-edged sword for sure. It is good that some of us have been challenged to learn more and grow in our ability to connect with folks electronically. It is not so good that more people have an opportunity to share their thoughts and that some are so negative and mean.

Right in the middle of our great divide in our denomination and in our country (the USA) – this pandemic has given way too many who would increase our divide on social media and in the regular media. Negative comments about our President for instance – during a time of crisis – is not helping anyone. For some – the crisis is just a time to make political points. Continue reading

April 15, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 4 of Lent 2020

Mark 11:23

“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

Ray 2020Day 4 of the Lenten reading is a remarkable (did you see what I did there) passage. It holds a number of curiosities for me. I only have time today to deal with the above verse. There is the cursing of the fig tree – the overturning of the tables of the money changers in the temple – the declaration that the house of the Lord was a place of prayer not a ten of robbers – the withered tree – and today’s verse – “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.

I’m sure I could spend a week in this section of Scripture and still not fully unpack it. What the final statement says is that if we believe and not doubt – mountains will be moved to the sea. Now that is a powerful statement.

We need the power of God in our lives today dear readers. We need the power of God to heal our country – our denomination – our world. We need to seek His face and desire His grace – daily! Continue reading

February 29, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Those Who Are With Us Are More

2 Kings 6:16

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

img_0063-2I’ve been spending some time today and over the last year (or even 4 decades) – praying and thinking about the predicament the United Methodist Church finds itself in these days. More and more the minority of the denomination but the majority in the USA have been pulling our denomination away from traditional Scriptural truths. It seems like time and again the left or liberal portion of the Methodist Church has been succumbing to the standards of the world rather than the standards of God’s Word.

Over our history – others have pulled away from the main Methodist group because they believed the denomination was leaving the core Biblical truths. There are many Wesleyan denominations – branching off from the core Methodist Church. Here is a list of some of the Wesleyan/Methodist churches in the USA. There are other branches around the world. African Methodist Episcopal ChurchAfrican Methodist Episcopal Zion ChurchAllegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection (Wesleyan Methodist Church)Association of Independent MethodistsBethel Methodist ChurchBible Methodist Connection of ChurchesChristian Methodist Episcopal ChurchChurch of the NazareneCongregational Methodist ChurchEvangelical Methodist Church of AmericaEvangelical Methodist ChurchEvangelical Wesleyan ChurchFirst Congregational Methodist ChurchFree Methodist Church, The – North AmericaFundamental Methodist ConferenceMethodist Protestant ChurchNational Association of Wesleyan EvangelicalsPrimitive Methodist ChurchSouthern Congregational Methodist ChurchSouthern Methodist ChurchUnited Methodist ChurchWesleyan Church.

As far as I can tell – almost all of these branches of the Wesleyan or Methodist theological strand are more conservative than the current UMC. At some point – each decided to disassociate with the Methodist core or main denomination. Continue reading

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Setting Us Free from Our Things

Psalm 146:7

He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free,

img_0063-2There was a time I heard this a lot – do we own our things or do our things own us? While growing up in America – in a lower middle class family – things were of some importance. My parents worked hard to provide for us some of the finer things of life. Christmas was a big deal because it was a time we got lots of new things. Yet ownership of things is a trap for some if not many. Do our things own us or do we own our things?

With the recent storms – hurricanes – earthquakes – and more – devastation has occurred in our Western Hemisphere. Haiti was a place where much damage of property and loss of life occurred. I spent a week on a mission trip there and know that most of the people of Haiti have very little. It wouldn’t take much to take away all that some families have worked a lifetime to collect. I know that much damage was caused in the USA as well but many families in America have insurance or savings or other support to fall back on (although I realize some families do not and may have lost everything). Again – I ask the question I mentioned earlier – do we own our things or do our things own us? Continue reading

February 14, 2020 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Missions, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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