Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

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

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

May We Only Boast in the Cross

Galatians 6:14

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Life ChangeDid your team win the National Championship in Division 1 basketball? Virginia won for the men. My cousin Mac went to Virginia and he was very happy. Did your team even make the dance? If so – how far did they go? My team – Maryland – made the dance and made it to the second round – but fizzled out. Did any of us boast on social media about our team? How about at work or in other conversations?

Did our team win their opening game in Major League Baseball this week? The Orioles usually do but didn’t this year. Which team will win their division this year – the league championship – the World Series? If our team is playing well – will we compare them to other teams and boast a little in our circles? The Orioles started out real well and had a few good games – but are losing as of late.

I saw some parents posting on Facebook about their children’s spring teams and some about their children’s scholastic achievements. I’m so proud of our youth and the youth I know. Some High School seniors I know are busy preparing for college or careers. Our new favorite college team might just be where our child attends – even if we never saw ourselves rooting for them before! Continue reading

April 12, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology, Worship | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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