Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

As School Begins Yet Again

1 Corinthians 15:33

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

June 2019With school starting last month (college and private schools) and this week (Maryland public schools) – I am reminded of this post from not too long ago. Our children (mostly) are facing the world without us. All of our lessons – we hope – have been instilled in them as they venture out into the world around them. My wife would send our girls off with this ringing in their ears each morning as they headed to school. Make good choices – listen to the Holy Spirit – and be aware of your surroundings. As the years mounted and technology increased – she added – and remember everything goes on YouTube.

Our children are developing their character as they grow. The decisions they make each day puts another building block on their character. Hopefully we have helped to shape their character over the years but our influence is less and less as they get out into the world.

How would you define character? I believe that the best definition I ever heard for character is this – character is what you do when no one is looking. The things we do when we think no one is looking or when we think no one will find out – define our character. Let me give an example.

What is on your computer you wouldn’t want anyone else to see? Ouch – was that someone’s toe I stepped on right there? I’m not talking about your bank account or things like that – but rather your browser history – or your bookmarked sites – or your e-mails – or your Facebook account or other social media account. Who have you been in contact with you shouldn’t have been in contact with lately? If someone had access to your computer – would they see things you wouldn’t want them to see? Think about it? How about your cell phone – your pad or other type of device?

If character is what we would do if no one were watching – is there anything on your personal or work computers or devices you wouldn’t want anyone to know about? If marrieddoes your spouse have your password for your e-mail? For your Facebook account? To even get onto your computer/pad or cell phone? If not – why not? Are you trying to hide something from them? Continue reading

September 4, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Difference Between Needs and Wants

Philippians 4:12

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

We live in a day and age – probably not unlike many other eras – when there are a number of folks that live hand-to-mouth. These persons live in many communities around us and in our own communities. Living hand-to-mouth means that a person uses every part of their income with no plan for the future. Everything they make they spend.

Some people have had many opportunities – yet still live hand-to-mouth. Some have not had many opportunities and find themselves in the same situation. There are a number of people in our society that may not be able to make ends meet. For these our society tends to help (although many we help – IMHO – have made decisions in life to put themselves in this situation of need).

Part of what leaves many folks living hand-to-mouth is a lack of understanding or discipline when it comes to wants verses needs. Most people (and I have no statistics for this at this time but it is an educated opinion from 40+ years of ministry) live beyond their means because they have mixed up their needs and their wants. This happens at all income levels – for the very poor to the very rich. How many times have we read about professional athletes – who make more money in a 4-10 year career than many of us make in several life-times – only to find themselves living hand-to-mouth in short order? I had an elderly person once tell me they couldn’t live on their social security check. I wanted to tell them that social security was never meant to be the sole income for a person in retirement. A person was supposed to save – to put money aside for retirement. They often have not because they have mixed up their needs and wants. Continue reading

April 5, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Is Our Refuge And Strength

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

I do not like to work alone. I would rather have someone watch me – than to work alone. I have asked my brother and my wife numerous times to just sit and watch – just so I am not alone. I do not like to work alone.

I also like to have someone who knows what they are doing around. I am very good with computers – with cell phones – most of technology. My family calls on me to do those kinds of things. I’m good at cutting grass too (LOL). But hanging pictures – working on cars – doing plumbing – painting – etc. – I am not very good at these and other things. I have even asked a young man I know to build me some removable walls for my utility trailer – because I wouldn’t know how to go about it. Continue reading

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Great Gift

Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

So – what are you getting me for Christmas – LOL? What great gift have you picked out for me? Ask me and I will give you some great ideas.

So what are you getting your children? What are you getting your spouse or special someone? What is on your wish list? Have you shared your wish list with anyone?

I saw on Amazon that vintage Hot Wheels are making a comeback. LEGOs are still a hot item. Robots seem to be selling well. Other electronics like pads for children – the latest cell phone or pad – and virtual viewers are selling well. Clothes are always a welcome gift. Cash or gift cards are always in style (although some call them lazy gifts – I love them). Continue reading

December 12, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hide God’s Word in Our Hearts

Psalm 119:11

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

82015 RayHave you ever played memory games? I remember playing Concentration – I enjoyed that game. I also remember playing other type games that were considered brain games – like finding the hidden pictures in Highlight magazine or finding what was different about two pictures.

Do you remember when we use to memorize dozens of phone numbers? This was before cell phones where we simply name the person and the phone calls them. I could rattle off dozens and dozens of numbers.

Did you ever memorize Scripture? I had a friend that memorized the whole book of James. Continue reading

October 27, 2015 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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