Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God Will Meet Our Needs

Philippians 4:19

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

We’ve talked a lot during the Christmas season this year about our wants and our needs. I mentioned in a couple of sermons that most of us live in the world of our wants rather than in the world of our needs. Most of us have all of our needs met. Many of us have many of our wants satisfied as well.

We’ve talked about wants and needs a number of times. I mentioned that I couldn’t think of anything I needed for Christmas – and even had a hard time thinking of anything I wanted (that I didn’t already have for sure).

Most of us are wealthy compared to the world’s standard. Some of us are wealthy compared to the state or communities standard as well. The worldwide median income is less than $10,000 a year according to gallup.com. The average income in America is $56,810. I know those are two different measurements – the medium and the average – but they are still a good comparison. The median income in Maryland is $75,847. Continue reading

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January 4, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas 2017

Isaiah 9:6-7

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Merry Christmas dear readers! Today’s Scripture is a very familiar one to most I’m sure. As the prophet Isaiah was writing – God gave him this prophetic word about Jesus’ birth – some 740 years beforehand. Isaiah 9:6-7 – 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

So what will fill our Christmas this year? Will there be lots of food – lots of gifts – given and received? Will there be lots of travel to visit with as many people as possible? Will it be a sad Christmas – without a family member for the first time? Will it be a happy Christmas – with a new family member for the first time? Will it be a time where we actually spend time praying for peace on earth and goodwill toward all? Will it be a time to celebrate the greatest gift ever given – for to us a child is born, to us a son is given? Continue reading

December 25, 2017 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Heart Is Revealed

James 4:1

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?

Have any of us ever seen a child throw a temper tantrum? Maybe it was because they didn’t get what they wanted or what they thought they deserved or were entitled to for some reason? Maybe they were in the grocery store and wanted a certain box of cereal they had seen on TV. Maybe it was Christmas morning or at a birthday party and the gift they wanted wasn’t there or the gift they got disappointed them somehow. I pick on children because they haven’t learned to hide their emotions like many of us have (some of us haven’t). They let that raw heart-felt emotion show many times. Our heart is revealed – often – by our actions.

Adults are not innocent here my friends. I have seen grown adults – in church meetings no less – throw temper tantrums – throwing down a clipboard – pulling power plays to gain an upper hand in a discussion – and more. Do we ever sit back – after an outburst by someone (or by ourselves) and wondered – where did that come from? James asks that question today – What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? Our heart is revealed – often – by our actions. Continue reading

December 22, 2017 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Is Able To Deliver Us

Daniel 3:17

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.

Is there anything we are going through today that is too much to face alone? I know some folks – myself included – who will face Christmas this year without a parent for the first time (my mom passed this year after my father passed 5 years ago). I know some folks who have some major medical issues – and at times they seem to compound – one on top of another. I know some folks who are facing broken marriages this Christmas. I know some folks that are out of work this Christmas.

What are some of the difficult things we are facing this year? The economy is doing amazingly! The market is higher than it has ever been – gaining 5,000 points in a calendar year for the first time ever. Yet some are not invested in the market – even with their retirement funds. Joblessness is the lowest it has been for decades. Yet there are still folks who haven’t planned well or haven’t had the opportunity to do so – and their economic state is not what they would wish. Some folks are still living paycheck to paycheck or social security check to social security check. Continue reading

December 21, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Came To Seek And Save The Lost

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

One Christmas – when our oldest daughter was just a young toddler – we were shopping in a store in the old Parole Shopping Center in Annapolis. It was a nice family time – my wife – my daughter – and I – shopping together for Christmas. For a split moment Carolyn and I thought the other one was watching Shelly and she got out from under our eye. We panicked. We starting telling people to lock the doors – no one was to leave – we were scurrying around – frantically looking for our little redheaded child. It was the biggest scare we ever experienced. Nothing in all the world was more important at that moment than finding our lost daughter.

As we were frantically looking around – over the loudspeaker at the store came our relief. Would the parents of a precious little redheaded girl come to a certain sales station? There was our precious Shelly – sitting on the counter – talking to all who would listen – telling them her parents were lost (LOL). We never had a more horrific moment or such a moment of joy – so closely wrapped into the same event. Continue reading

December 20, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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