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

Trust Is Something We Desire

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Trust is something we desire. We want to trust people. We strive to be trustworthy.

Have any of us ever had someone tell us they had our best interest at heart? Did we believe them? Is it only me or do others have trouble believing someone who says they have your best interest at heart? I tried to convince my granddaughter the other day that I had her best interest at heart – and I really do – but I’m not sure she bought it!

I was talking to a salesperson the other day – and they used the line – if it were me. If I trust someone – I might ask them – what would you do if you were me? That line doesn’t work with me from a total stranger. How about you?

Continue reading

August 24, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Plan For Our Lives

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.”

112015 Ray McDonaldI’m a planner. I use an app that sets reminders for my to-do-list. My wife and I use an app to tell each other what we need at the grocer (it actually works when she remembers to check it). 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. I allow my office manager 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 planed – 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 plans 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. Continue reading

April 6, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do We Feel Forsaken By God?

Matthew 27:46

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

112015 Ray McDonaldRecently the news has been filled – as usual it seems these days – with tragic reports. Record-breaking rains in Chennai – India – followed by massive flooding – people losing everything and some losing their lives. Recently in Missouri – heavy rains and flooding have hit the Mississippi banks and the prediction is the Mississippi delta area near the Gulf of Mexico will once again be hard hit. Lives and homes have been lost. Hundreds of migrants drowned when the ship they were on sank – as people fled Libya – over 1,000 people were crammed onto a boat that couldn’t hold 500. An earthquake hit Nepal this year and killed over 9,000 people. In our area – near Smith Mountain Lake in Moneta – Virginia – two reporters were killed on the air. And – although this is not an all-inclusive list of tragic moments this past year – the Refugee Crisis has hit the news often. In 2015 five boats sank in the Mediterranean Sea – which killed around 1,200 refugees coming mostly from Syria – Afghanistan – and Eritrea. I believe the child – a 3-year-old boy – who washed upon a beach – was from those who died in this event. Lastly – ISIS – radical terrorists – is running amuck and no government seems to be ready to take them on.

I bet these tragic moments make us feel bad for the times we have complained about our circumstances. Yet there are times when we do feel like the world is caving in around us I’m sure. Some of us have lost loved ones – face life threatening disease – been unfairly treated in our workplace or by the government – and more. Think of a time or times when you were mistreated. Did we ever feel like God had turned His head away and decided to not care? Have we ever cried out – like Jesus – My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Continue reading

January 5, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

profileSome things are hard to understand in life.  I just experienced my 40th High School reunion last weekend and some of us have aged – lol.  Hard to understand how it has been 40 years since we walked the halls of High School together.  Talking with some of my classmates – life has taken some turns for the good and for the not so good.  Some of our classmates didn’t make it to this 40th reunion – already having their journey on earth ended.  Some things are hard to understand – even when we spend a lot of time trying to understand.

In 35 plus years of ministry I have had to help a number of people understand that our understanding is not all that and that we should rely on a higher power for sure.  When a child is born with a special need – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  When a person has taken their life – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  When a marriage fails – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  When a child dies unexpectedly in a crib at night or from a disease – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  When a young mother or father succumbs to a disease – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  When called in the middle of the night because a young person was just lost in a car accident – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  And I could go on and on.  When I have or someone else has yielded to the same temptation – again – I have understood that my understanding is not very deep.  Life has some difficult moments and being in ministry – I have experienced much of it with folks and with my own family. Continue reading

August 14, 2013 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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