Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Anxiety – We Can Live Without It

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Ray 2019What – if anything – are we anxious about today? Some of my friends have voiced anxiousness about retirement. Will they have enough money to last? When should they retire? Should they work after they retire? Should they travel or save? When should they start taking Social Security? Again – will they have enough money to last? I hear anxiety in their voices.

What – if anything – are we anxious about today? As some of my friends get older – I have heard anxiousness in some of their voices concerning their health. How long will they live – post retirement? What will their health be like? Should they get long-term care insurance? Should they or when should they move into assisted living quarters? Should they find one that is associated with longer-term care? I hear anxiety in their voices.

What – if anything – are we anxious about today? Some of the folks I talk to and some on Facebook have expressed anxiousness about the upcoming elections. Some say they know who they will NOT vote for and some say they will have a hard time voting for any of the current candidates (I’m struggling too). Some complain about the current President. Some complain about the candidates on the other side. I know 2020’e Presidential elections will bring many moments of anxiousness for some. Some haven’t gotten over the 2016 election. I hear anxiety in their voices. Continue reading

November 29, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Youthful and Mature!

1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Life ChangeHolidays are times when many of us will spend more than usual time with family. Can we remember when we were young? I had a dream one night not too long ago about when my wife and I first met – back when we were dating. That following Sunday – we sang a song that we sang in the Soul Searchers at Eastport UMC – back in the day. I’m pretty nostalgic so the memory brought nice feelings – even some tears in my sleep.

Can we remember when we were young? As we age – memories from our younger days can bring back good or not so good memories. If we had a good childhood or young adult years – our memories might be good. I remember being in great shape when I was younger. I officiated sports year round and all of that activity kept me in good if not great shape. If I could return to the 1970’s – that would be one thing I would tell myself – to keep officiating sports or at least to remain active. That activity burned lots of calories. I even had a chance to be a profession baseball umpire.

Can we remember when we were young? Can we remember when we started working? I was 13 I believe when I had my first real job. I was a Soda Jerk at a local pharmacy. I was able to purchase my first stereo with my earnings at Hecht Company when it was on West Street in Annapolis. It felt really nice to have something I earned myself. Continue reading

November 26, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, 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

Love God With All Our Heart

Matthew 22:37-38

37 Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

Life ChangeI thought of this passage the other day. I heard a pastor once ask – the question isn’t the one we typically hear – how much of the Holy Spirit do we have? The question should be – how much of you have we allowed the Holy Spirit to have? He also reminded us that the Holy Spirit comes to transform us – to change us – to make us holy.

As I think about today’s passage I begin to think – how committed are we to God? We talk about being saved – but are we only after someone to save us from Hell? Isn’t Jesus also our Lord – our Master? If the Holy Spirit dwells in us through this salvation – what difference are we allowing Him to make in us – in our lives?

I know some Christians who have made radical changes in their lives. Some have stopped smoking when they came to Christ. Some have cleaned up their language – no longer sounding like sailors. Some have turned from drug and/or alcohol addictions. Some have turned from pornography. Some have turned from same-sex relations or extra-marital relations. Some have made radical changes in their lives because of Christ in their lives – because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Continue reading

November 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Can’t We Just Get Along?

Philippians 2:10

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth

Life ChangeIt seems that it is getting harder and harder to live at peace with folks. From politics to religion to sports to how we raise our children – people differ in their opinion and seem to have a hard time expressing themselves without anger and attitudes. On top of that – some people seem to have a hard time dealing with a differing opinion. We’ve lost the art of debate and disagreement. It seems many among us cannot disagree without being disagreeable. Why can’t we just get along?

This seems to be the case in the political world for sure. After eight years of a President popular with one segment of the country and hearing the other side complain – I can’t remember the same venom I am hearing today with the current President. The previous President could do no wrong – it seemed – with the media. This President cannot seem to do anything right – according to the reports in the media (most of the media). I have witnessed families and friends have issues because of which way they voted in the 2016 Presidential elections. The country is very divided – red and blue – right and left – ideologically. We’ll see what 2020 brings. Why can’t we just get along?

This same thing is happening in our denomination – with some not being able to accept a differing view (I understand that at times the differences are so great it is hard if not impossible to harmonize the differences – but we shouldn’t be angry or hateful toward those that hold a differing view). The far left has one theology and the far right has another – and not only can they not agree on their theology – we’re having a hard time agreeing on pastoral ministry. We’ll see what 2020 brings. Why can’t we just get along? Continue reading

October 31, 2019 Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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