Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

The Difference Between Wants and Needs

Philippians 4:12

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Rays HaircutWe live in a day and age – probably not unlike many other eras – when there are a number of folks that live hand-to-mouth. These persons live in many communities around us and in our own communities. Living hand-to-mouth means that a person uses every part of their income with no plan for the future. Everything they make they spend. They live hand-to-mouth.

Some people have had many opportunities – yet still live hand-to-mouth. Some have not had many opportunities and find themselves in the same situation. There are a number of people in our society that may not be able to make ends meet. For these our society tends to help (although many we help – IMHO – have made decisions in life to put themselves in this situation of need).

Part of what leaves many folks living hand-to-mouth is a lack of understanding or discipline when it comes to wants verses needs. Most people (and I have no statistics for this at this time but it is an educated opinion from 40+ years of ministry) live beyond their means because they have mixed up their needs and their wants. This happens at all income levels – from the very poor to the very rich. How many times have we read about professional athletes – who make more money in a 4-10 year career than many of us could make in several life-times – only to find themselves living hand-to-mouth in short order? I had an elderly person once tell me they couldn’t live on their social security check. I wanted to tell them that social security was never meant to be the sole income for a person in retirement. A person was supposed to save – to put money aside for retirement. They were not to spend all they made. They may have mixed up their needs and wants. Continue reading

May 26, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2020 Election Is Coming Near

Matthew 6:34

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

Rays HaircutIn November 2012 – I write most of the following post. In the middle of the current election year and the pandemic – I believe some of the things from the past can help us deal with the present.

Eight years after the 2012 election – we are still a divided nation and we still have issues that cause some anxiety and unease. Some of our concerns are political – some are emotional – some are faith based concerns – and some are health issues and maybe more. Here’s the old article with a few updates.

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The election is over (2012’s) and the results are mostly in by now. Your candidate either won or lost – your opinion was either in the majority or the minority on the questions on the ballot. You may agree or disagree that our nation is headed in the right or wrong direction. Many in the news and on Facebook have tried to project the future – with mixed projections. The market dropped dramatically yesterday and some speculate about the election’s impact on it – and where it is headed. Some make a living looking into the future and trying to gauge how today will impact tomorrow.

Several of us who are closing in on retirement – say in the next 10-20 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. Continue reading

May 6, 2020 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anxiety – We Can Live Without It

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Ray 2019What – if anything – are we anxious about today? Some of my friends have voiced anxiousness about retirement. Will they have enough money to last? When should they retire? Should they work after they retire? Should they travel or save? When should they start taking Social Security? Again – will they have enough money to last? I hear anxiety in their voices.

What – if anything – are we anxious about today? As some of my friends get older – I have heard anxiousness in some of their voices concerning their health. How long will they live – post retirement? What will their health be like? Should they get long-term care insurance? Should they or when should they move into assisted living quarters? Should they find one that is associated with longer-term care? I hear anxiety in their voices.

What – if anything – are we anxious about today? Some of the folks I talk to and some on Facebook have expressed anxiousness about the upcoming elections. Some say they know who they will NOT vote for and some say they will have a hard time voting for any of the current candidates (I’m struggling too). Some complain about the current President. Some complain about the candidates on the other side. I know 2020’e Presidential elections will bring many moments of anxiousness for some. Some haven’t gotten over the 2016 election. I hear anxiety in their voices. Continue reading

November 29, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Youthful and Mature!

1 Timothy 4:12

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Life ChangeHolidays are times when many of us will spend more than usual time with family. Can we remember when we were young? I had a dream one night not too long ago about when my wife and I first met – back when we were dating. That following Sunday – we sang a song that we sang in the Soul Searchers at Eastport UMC – back in the day. I’m pretty nostalgic so the memory brought nice feelings – even some tears in my sleep.

Can we remember when we were young? As we age – memories from our younger days can bring back good or not so good memories. If we had a good childhood or young adult years – our memories might be good. I remember being in great shape when I was younger. I officiated sports year round and all of that activity kept me in good if not great shape. If I could return to the 1970’s – that would be one thing I would tell myself – to keep officiating sports or at least to remain active. That activity burned lots of calories. I even had a chance to be a profession baseball umpire.

Can we remember when we were young? Can we remember when we started working? I was 13 I believe when I had my first real job. I was a Soda Jerk at a local pharmacy. I was able to purchase my first stereo with my earnings at Hecht Company when it was on West Street in Annapolis. It felt really nice to have something I earned myself. Continue reading

November 26, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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