Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Anxiety

1 Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

photo on 6-11-19 at 10.52 amI know a number of people that battle anxiety. I was reading this passage the other day – and even talked recently to some folks about their anxiety. What are we anxious about in life? What is it that causes us to have trouble sleeping at night? What do we think about and can’t seem to stop thinking about – moment by moment? What decisions in our lives have caused us the most anxiety?

As I reflect back on my life – I can think of numerous things that caused me anxious moments. I can remember being anxious when I went out for the High School football team and cuts were being posted (I made the team each year by the way)! I can remember being anxious when I asked my future bride to marry me and wondering if she would say yes or no (she said yes – and we just celebrated 39 years of marriage). I remember being anxious when my children were being born – the first because she was the first (she is 36 now) – the twins because they were twins (they are now 31). I can remember times when I was anxious about my job – about my health – about many things. And on this side of those anxious moments – I can testify that being anxious didn’t help the situations one little bit. As a matter of fact – being anxious made some of them more difficult and didn’t help my health any at all. Continue reading

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September 5, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

As School Begins Yet Again

1 Corinthians 15:33

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

June 2019With school starting last month (college and private schools) and this week (Maryland public schools) – I am reminded of this post from not too long ago. Our children (mostly) are facing the world without us. All of our lessons – we hope – have been instilled in them as they venture out into the world around them. My wife would send our girls off with this ringing in their ears each morning as they headed to school. Make good choices – listen to the Holy Spirit – and be aware of your surroundings. As the years mounted and technology increased – she added – and remember everything goes on YouTube.

Our children are developing their character as they grow. The decisions they make each day puts another building block on their character. Hopefully we have helped to shape their character over the years but our influence is less and less as they get out into the world.

How would you define character? I believe that the best definition I ever heard for character is this – character is what you do when no one is looking. The things we do when we think no one is looking or when we think no one will find out – define our character. Let me give an example.

What is on your computer you wouldn’t want anyone else to see? Ouch – was that someone’s toe I stepped on right there? I’m not talking about your bank account or things like that – but rather your browser history – or your bookmarked sites – or your e-mails – or your Facebook account or other social media account. Who have you been in contact with you shouldn’t have been in contact with lately? If someone had access to your computer – would they see things you wouldn’t want them to see? Think about it? How about your cell phone – your pad or other type of device?

If character is what we would do if no one were watching – is there anything on your personal or work computers or devices you wouldn’t want anyone to know about? If marrieddoes your spouse have your password for your e-mail? For your Facebook account? To even get onto your computer/pad or cell phone? If not – why not? Are you trying to hide something from them? Continue reading

September 4, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving Jesus The Most

Matthew 10:37-39

37Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

The summer is prime family time and it is almost over dear readers! What have we accomplished this summer? Did we have any vacation time? Are we excited that school is almost here or are we wishing for a few more weeks? Do we have anything planned with the family as the summer comes to an end?

With the fall comes the football season. I know there are some who have issues with the NFL right now – but I must confess that I am watching the Ravens in a pre-season game tonight. I hope – if you watch football – that your team (College – Pro or High School) plays well this year (our local High School team needs to have a good year this year). Sports on TV are often a family event in many homes. I know I am blessed by a wife who loves football. We often spend time together watching games.

I’m putting up a small pool for the grandchildren this weekend. I’ve invited them all over the enjoy it – maybe Sunday afternoon. I hope to get it up Friday so the water warms up some by Sunday. Continue reading

August 10, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loving God More

1 John 2:15

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

It’s summer and there are many summer activities. My Facebook page is exploding with people on vacations for example. Some of them are at the beach – some are in Florida – some are out West – some are in the mountains – some are at a lake – some are playing golf – some are spending time with the family in staycations. Others are enjoying being poolside or eating crabs or swimming in the river or creek near their home. Others are boating or going to a baseball game or barbecuing in the backyard.

Most people look forward to the summer – the children are off school – vacations are usually taken – trips to see family or special places take place. Summers make us feel like getting out and doing things. Some of us actually love doing yard work and spending time in gardens and outdoors.

What is your favorite hobby? Where do you like to spend your spare time – if you get any? If you had a week or two in the summer – what would you do with it? What is it that you love in life? What is it in this world you love? Continue reading

August 1, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Golden Rule

Matthew 7:12

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

So – where or when did we learn to behave? For me it was a combination of home life – Sunday School – and my second grade teacher. I must admit it took a village to tame me and even then I’m not sure they got the job done. I have always had a little rebellious streak in me. There are a number of things I wish – in hind sight – I could go back and undo!

At home – in Sunday School – and in School (in my elementary school – Owensville Elementary – we said the Lord’s Prayer along with the Pledge of Allegiance before class began and said Grace before we ate lunch) – I learned The Golden Rule. It has been a standard for behavior – for our morals and values – even for non-religious folks – for as long as I can remember. We’ve all heard our Lord’s words – do unto others as you would have them do unto youeven if we didn’t know they were His words. Many of us were taught the Golden Rule growing up in Sunday School and/or at home. Do you remember it? Continue reading

July 31, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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