Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What God Has Prepared for Us!

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Life ChangeI’m a planner. I use an app that sets reminders for my to-do-list. It syncs to my phone and my other devices. My wife and I use an app to tell each other what we need at the grocery store (it actually works when she remembers to check it – lol). I use a program that keeps all of my important info or data (no secrets or deep treasures) available to me wherever I am. I plan out future sermons well in advance. I try to give as much information to the worship team as possible – as far out as possible. I allow our office assistant to review and even edit my work calendar. I have my work & personal calendar and several other calendars on my devices. My wife and I have planned – financially – for our retirement (we have a target figure and conditions we wish to achieve before we retire). In other words – and I could go on and on – I plan and try to execute my plan(s).

Are you a planner? Do you make plans or do you fly by the seat of your pants? One of my favorite saying is – if we aim at nothing – we are bound to hit it. Making plans is important for most of us. Carrying those plans out is what we should all aim at – allowing for adjustment of our plan(s) as things develop. For instance – the Orioles plan to win their division and thus make the playoffs. If during the season that doesn’t seem possible – the next target would be to make the playoffs by being a wild-card team. If that doesn’t workout – the next thing is to improve to the point where next year (or soon) – they will be able to compete for their goals. Continue reading

May 8, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology, Vision | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Is Limiting Us Today?

Matthew 14:17

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

Life ChangeWhat is limiting us today? What is keeping us from achieving our dreams and aspirations? What is it that is standing in our way? As we reach for the stars – what keeps us grounded rather than allowing us to fly? A favorite saying of mine goes like this – if we aim at nothing – we are bound to hit it.

What is limiting us today? What is keeping us from achieving our dreams and aspirations? What is it that is standing in our way? As I near retirement age (I just turned 64) – I keep telling my wife – my life-partner – I won’t retire until I know what I’m retiring to. I don’t want to retire from active full-time ministry until I know what God has for me in the next chapter of life. I have some dreams and aspirations – and I’m waiting to see what God has in store for me.

What is limiting us today? What is keeping us from achieving our dreams and aspirations? What is it that is standing in our way? How many new year’s resolutions have we made over the years? We’re into the 3rd month of 2019. Are we still holding to our resolutions for 2019? If not – what has limited us? What has blocked us from achieving the things we imagined for this year? Continue reading

March 6, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What – Me Worry?

Matthew 6:27

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Life ChangeWhat – Me Worry? I wish I could say that and feel good about saying it. I tend to worry at times – do you? People worry about loads of things.

People worry about their finances. They often don’t do much about it – but they do worry. For instance – currently some in our area are experiencing the government shutdown. Since 1980 there have been shutdowns in 1980 – 1981 – 1984 – 1986 – 1990 – 1995-96 – 2013 – and the current shutdown. If I were a federal employee – I think I would plan to have an emergency fund saved up for a shutdown – because they will happen. I believe for all of these shutdowns – the impacted employees received their back pay.

People worry about their finances. I’m a big believer in budgets. We’ve had one in our marriage from the start. After 38 plus years of marriage we still have a budget. I’m a firm believer in the following statement. Aim at nothing – and you are bound to hit it! If we don’t budget or have a plan for our finances – we should not complain when we face financial difficulties. Even putting a small amount away each month will add up to a safety net for future unplanned expenses. Continue reading

January 10, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Goals and Aspirations

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Life ChangeWe have five – soon to be six – grandchildren. There are a lot of things we wish for them as they grow up. For one – we hope they develop goals in life. We hope that we can help them reach some of their goals. Maybe through some of our hard work we can share some wisdom with them about their goals and aspirations.

Our children – their parents – have goals – even dreams and aspirations for our grandchildren – their children. One of the goals we have for our grandchildren is for them to succeed at whatever they attempt. We also want them to know Jesus and to be happy. Their parents and grandparents hope to give them all the tools they will need to meet their goals and aspirations.

Unfortunately – as most of us know – some of our goals – dreams and aspirations tend to not come to fulfillment. It may be that some of our dreams are unrealistic. For instance – dreaming of being a professional athlete might be pushing the odds. Even if we have the genetics to be a professional athlete – one internet source said that there are only 4 million professional athletes in the world (all sports) and that this number is 1.3% of the world’s total population. Yet many of us will press toward this dream or goal – trying as we might to succeed. Continue reading

January 3, 2019 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy New Years 2019

Philippians 3:12

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

January 1st is here – Happy New Year. What will you do with the new year? Do you have a plan for the days ahead? Remember what I wrote yesterday – If we aim at nothing – we’re bound to hit it. I hope that we didn’t party too much last night (I know I was in bed early). I hope that we have a plan for the new year. What about some deepening of our faith? What about healing some relationships? What about losing some weight and getting into better shape?

January 1st is here – Happy New Year. Did you make any resolutions? Have you held to them for this day? Or have you broken some of your resolutions already? I listed some of mine yesterday. They include – I plan on losing more weight. I plan on reading more in the Word of God. I plan to increase my prayer life. I plan on spending more time with my family. I plan to take all of my vacation and days off. These are just a few of my 2019 goals. What are yours?

Continue reading

January 1, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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