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

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

Trust in the Lord!

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

I love this passage and hope it is one of your favorites too.  Too often we think we can handle things – we can deal with thing.  Some of us seem to only turn to God when we have tried everything else and have failed and so – why not go to God seems to be the thought.  Have you ever found yourself in that situation?

We should go to God with all things – with everything – and I mean everything.  After all – our lives have been bought and paid for by Christ – so we no longer own ourselves but are owned by God.  1 Corinthians 7:23 – You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.  Having said that – someone will say – “so I should ask God what color shirt to wear each day” – trying to be foolish.  Well – maybe we should ask God what we should wear each day – because some of us don’t seem to know what modest is or even how to coordinate colors (lol).

Here are two things I believe.  1) Everything we will ever face in life the Bible teaches about and we can find God’s wisdom concerning everything in the Bible and 2) God is much smarter than we will ever think of being.  Since everything is covered in the Good Book and God’s wisdom is greater than ours – shouldn’t we go to God more often – even with everything?  Here are some passages that help me in my understanding.

Romans 11:33-36 – 33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

1 Corinthians 1:25 – For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

1 Corinthians 3:18-20 – 18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”

Seek His face and desire His grace.  Seek after God in all ways and at all times and you will not go wrong my friends!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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August 31, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , , , | Leave a comment

It Is All About Grace

Ephesians 2:8-9

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

In my blog entry for Thursday – September 8th – we looked at Proverbs 3:5-6 – 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  If we rely on ourselves – we are in a world of trouble.

Today’s passage reminds us again – that it is by God’s grace that we are forgiven and made right with God.  We live in a society of people who think they have pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps – or the other extreme – that someone owes them.  We think way too highly of ourselves and we need to face reality.  Left to our own thoughts and doings – we would be lost for eternity.

A portion of Isaiah 64:6 says –  all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Basically – the best among us – the good-hearted – the kind – the moral – if we can find any – would still be lost without Jesus.  It is by grace we have been savedit is the gift of God.

So what do we do with this?  We strive to follow Christ – walking in His righteousness while realizing that it is ultimately all about Jesus.

A computer saying goes like this – garbage in – garbage out.  I think that applies to our lives as well.  What we fill ourselves with – secular TV – radio – what we hear wand what we think – is what we will live – most likely.  Filling ourselves with God’s Word – corporate and private worship – Godly relationships – will produce godly behavior in us.  But – we must always realize that ultimately – it is all about God’s grace.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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September 9, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , | Leave a comment

Seeking After Jesus

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

I love this passage!  Trusting in my own understanding will almost always get me in trouble – because I am a sinner saved by grace.  My heart or desire – as a sinner – is set on carnal things – things that please me – rather than the things of God.  I think we are all like this – if left to our own understanding.

It is for this reason I must constantly reflect upon the things of God – stay in the Word – keep in prayer – seek the fellowship of other believers – attend corporate worship and spend time in private worship.  Seeking after Jesus is the only way I can please Him – by acknowledging Him in all my ways.

Anyone with me or is it just me?

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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September 8, 2011 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | | Leave a comment

   

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