Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Do Not Worry About Tomorrow

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Life ChangeThe 2020 Presidential Elections will happen in less than a year from now. Your candidate will either win or lose – your opinions will either be in the majority or the minority. You may agree or disagree that our nation is headed in the right or wrong direction. Many in the news and on Facebook will try to project the future. They will have mixed projections – and mixed results.

Let’s look at a few things. The stock market has hit all time highs for the last 3 years – yesterday was a new record closing. Are your finances better off now than they were 3 years ago? Some say that people vote according to their personal pocketbook. Will you?

Several of us who are closing in on retirement – say in the next 5-10 years – naturally peek into the future to see what the climate will be as that day approaches. We look at things like the housing market – our debt – the Dow Jones – our savings – the cost of living – and on and on the list might go. Looking to the future is not a bad thing – it is actually a wise thing. Dave Ramsey has many suggestions about savings and retirement. Look up some of his ideas here. The Presidential elections usually have a major impact on the market – on our finances.

We’re told that many if not most of Americans are better off now than ever before. The jobless numbers are down to record lows. The average wage is higher than ever before – and rising in record amounts. But – is it all about our finances?

Continue reading

November 14, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving 2018

Colossians 2:6-7

6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Life ChangeIt feels like snow this morning – although none is called for in our area – at least nothing significant. I’m thinking of firing up the wood stove for some extra heat. I have some gospel music playing and I’m at my desk doing my devotions and writing this devotional thought. What does your Thanksgiving morning look like?

I stumbled onto this passage and it touched my heart.  Let’s look at it in partial context. Colossians 2:6-10 – 6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.  8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. 9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. Continue reading

November 22, 2018 Posted by | Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Stand In The Need Of Grace

Isaiah 64:6

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

When my arm heals – one of the first things I need to do is clean my garage. My wife likes a clean garage. I’ve written this before so not one should be surprised. Argue as I might that a garage is not meant to be clean – she won’t buy it. We have a friend – her name is Nancy – and her garage was always perfectly ordered. My father-in-law’s garage too (that is where Carolyn got the idea of a clean garage I guess – you know – where there are outlines on the wall for EVERYTHING!).

When I clean out my garage – one thing I always come across is some dirty rags. I use old rags for cleaning up most anything and at times they are not thrown away quickly enough for sure. I found one recently that was soaking wet with oil – with dirt – with dust – etc. Whenever I pick up dirty – filthy rags – today’s passage comes to mind.

I am convinced that some of us believe that our sins are not as bad as our neighbor’s sin(s). Some might think that because they go to church – because they may give support to the ministry of the church (time, talent, money, prayers) – they are not as bad as others and not in need of grace like others. When I talk or preach or teach about sin – I always have a mirror in front of my face because I know my sin and I stand in the need of grace! Continue reading

May 8, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Do We Place Our Trust?

Psalm 20:7

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMWhere do we place our trust? As I age I’m starting to get more and more info on retirement (and senior discounts – sweet). I was talking to someone the other day about retirement and they said they hadn’t thought much about it yet (and they were nearly my age). I have been planning for retirement (even though I hope it is 5-10 years off) since I was 25 and first married. I wouldn’t say I put my trust in my retirement plan – but I have one.

Where do we place our trust? In the NFL – my favorite team (the Baltimore Ravens) – has a general manager named Ozzie Newsome. General managers are very important to NFL teams. General managers draft players – sign players – and work out contracts for players. They have others who work with them – but the saying around Baltimore is – in Ozzie we trust. Even when we as fans do not see the merit in a trade or a signing – someone will post in Ozzie we trust. The same can be said about the Baltimore Orioles – I often see in Buck we trust – when he makes a managerial move that we may not understand. Continue reading

July 19, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Root of All Kinds of Evil

1 Timothy 6:10

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Pic of Ray 11302014We’re into the Christmas season (contrary to those who liturgically insist we are in Advent and thus speaking about Christmas – other than to say it is coming – is incorrect). Our people are shopping – decorating homes – putting out the nativity scenes in their yards – etc.

Some folks have already finished all of the above – and will now sit back and enjoy the holidays and all of the parties and gatherings. Somewhere along the way – some – not all – have lost some of what Christmas is all about. Some say happy Xmas – and some see that as taking Christ out of Christmas (even as some say the X is an ancient symbol for Christ). There are other ways to take Christ out of Christmas. One could merely follow the politically acceptable path of wishing people a happy holiday or some other generic phrase.

Another way to take Christ out of Christmas is to focus our time on the gifts given and the gifts received (and I’m not talking about the greatest gift of all – Jesus). We can get caught up in the money and the gifts very easily. Continue reading

December 2, 2014 Posted by | Advent Thought, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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