Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Do Not Worry About Tomorrow

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Life ChangeThe 2020 Presidential Elections will happen in less than a year from now. Your candidate will either win or lose – your opinions will either be in the majority or the minority. You may agree or disagree that our nation is headed in the right or wrong direction. Many in the news and on Facebook will try to project the future. They will have mixed projections – and mixed results.

Let’s look at a few things. The stock market has hit all time highs for the last 3 years – yesterday was a new record closing. Are your finances better off now than they were 3 years ago? Some say that people vote according to their personal pocketbook. Will you?

Several of us who are closing in on retirement – say in the next 5-10 years – naturally peek into the future to see what the climate will be as that day approaches. We look at things like the housing market – our debt – the Dow Jones – our savings – the cost of living – and on and on the list might go. Looking to the future is not a bad thing – it is actually a wise thing. Dave Ramsey has many suggestions about savings and retirement. Look up some of his ideas here. The Presidential elections usually have a major impact on the market – on our finances.

We’re told that many if not most of Americans are better off now than ever before. The jobless numbers are down to record lows. The average wage is higher than ever before – and rising in record amounts. But – is it all about our finances?

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November 14, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2020 – A Year of Change

Psalm 46:10

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Life ChangeAs we enter the last 6 or so weeks of 2019 – I have been giving us warning that 2020 could be a year of major change for many of us. The United Methodist Church seems on the brink of a split – officially or otherwise. This change may impact many of us. If it is an official split or some other split – conferences – churches – and members will need to decide where they will worship moving forward. This could being as early as January 1 – 2020 – as the 2019 Special General Conference approved churches withdrawing from the denomination. It could happen as we move toward the 2020 General Conference in May – shortly thereafter – or as soon as any changes take place.

The 2020 Presidential Election in November could continue the current Presidential leader or elect a new President. The Congress could change hands or solidify one party in leadership. Will one party of the other hold the President’s office and both houses of the Congress or will there be divided leadership? Will we continue along the same lines of leadership or will there be a change? How will the economy react to this election? How will the election impact you and your family? Continue reading

November 13, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Should Let Our Light Shine

Philippians 2:15-16

15 Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.

Life ChangeHave you ever looked out into the night sky and watched the stars? If you live in an urban area – this might be a little hard – but if you live in a rural area like I do – it is a sight to behold. The stars shine brightly in the clear night sky. When I was a teenager – I used to love sitting on the roof top of our family home – just outside my upstairs bedroom window – watching the sky (my room had a window that opened onto the roof and I slipped out there some nights – my parents didn’t know – I think – unless my brother ratted on me – we shared a room).

Let’s look at today’s passage in partial context. Philippians 2:12–18 – 12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”  Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. Continue reading

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Seems Hard To Love One Another

John 14:15

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Life ChangeIt seems hard to love one another. For example – I tried to cheer on the Washington Nationals as they were in the playoffs and eventually won Major League Baseball’s World Championship. Yet – pushback came from National’s fans calling me a pretend fan who was jumping on the bandwagon late. I also took pushback from others – calling me out for rooting for the Nationals – since I’m a diehard Orioles fan – as if I couldn’t root for another local team – simply because my team wasn’t in the playoffs. I could better understand if the Orioles and Nationals were in the same league or division and competing for the same league championship. But the Nationals are my National League team – since I was a young child – I’ve rooted for the local Washington team – back in the day it was the Senators (my dad was a big fan). When I was 12 – I began to root for the Orioles and have stayed with them ever since.

It seems hard to love one another. For example – because I have Facebook friends from all walks of life – we don’t all agree on many subjects. Be it sports (Ravens and Steeler fans – Oriole and Yankee fans) – or politics (Republican and Democrat – Trump and Hillary or now Trump or anyone but Trump) – or theologically (left and right – liberal and conservative – Christian and atheists or others) – my friends are all over the place. We hardly agree on much of anything. As a matter of fact – some have unfriended me because of my beliefs (my theology or ideology). Continue reading

November 8, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is Our Cross to Carry?

Galatians 5:16

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Life ChangeIn sermons – we are often called to take up our cross and follow Jesus. We often wrestle with the question – what is our cross? We often look at the cross of Jesus – which He began to carry from time eternal. His cross to carry wasn’t just from the courtyard to Golgotha. Jesus began to carry His cross from before the creation of the world – denying Himself – His rightful place in heaven – knowing He would suffer and die at the very hands of a humanity He loved enough to die to redeem. I always stand amazed at His love for us.

So what is our cross? What is the cross we are called to carry? We often suggest that denying self is the cross we are called to carry. We often talk about mature Christians thinking more about how we can be used of God to feed the righteously hungry. We can hear sermons on carrying our cross – and feel good about our understanding of such a sermon – yet – do we really walk out that message? Do we really understand what our cross is we are called to carry? Continue reading

November 7, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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