Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Holy Ground

Exodus 3:5

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

Think for a moment about the places in your life that you consider holy ground. Maybe it is the halls of your high school. Maybe it is the place where you met your spouse. For pastors it might be that first appointment or that appointment where everything seemed to jell in your ministry. What place do you consider holy ground?

Think for a moment about the places in your life that you consider holy ground. For some of us it might be our yard or our gardens. For some it might be our homes. For some it might be that first date or the birth of your first child. What place do you consider holy ground?

Think for a moment about the places in your life that you consider holy ground. Maybe it was the place you met someone famous? Maybe it was the place in time you go back to for your happy place (I still listen to music from the 60’s and 70’s more often than other music). Continue reading

May 17, 2017 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We’re Free – Free Indeed

John 8:36

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

RayMcDI remember playing games as a child. We played games like Freeze Tag. In freeze tag there are usually two sides or teams. The idea of the game is to freeze all of the players on the other team by tagging them. They can be unfrozen by being tagged by a member of their own team. You can tag and freeze a player by tagging them when they are not on their home base. When they are on their home base they are immune from being frozen – they are home free so to speak.

When we played regular tag there might be two or more free spaces or bases. The idea in tag was the person who was it tried to tag someone else who became it. If you made it to a safe base – you were safe and free from being tagged. This game had no real end – we stopped when folks got tired of running around chasing each other. Recently I watched a game of tag where my 3-year-old granddaughter was playing with 10-14 year olds or even older. My granddaughter – try as she might – couldn’t catch the older girls and they were not going to let her catch them either. My pregnant daughter – the 3-year-old’s mother – got upset that they were not letting the granddaughter catch them so she started playing – first letting the 3-year-old catch her and then chasing down (yes several months pregnant – no competitive juices flowing in our family) the teens and pre-teens. Watching her run around the playground – I was just hoping she wouldn’t fall and hurt herself and my next grand baby!

Continue reading

September 1, 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

God Can See Us!

Genesis 16:13

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

RayMcDAnyone reading this blog post old enough to remember the TV show Romper Room? It started airing a couple of years before I was born and was franchised (rather than syndicated) – which means local stars were used wherever the show aired. It began in Baltimore and local talent worked the show.

What I remember most about this show was the Magic Mirror – through which the host could see the many children who were watching. Children were encouraged (parents of course) to mail in first names and the host would say I see Billy – I see Mary – I see Sally – etc. during the show to signify the children watching. I really thought she could see right through her mirror and into my home and I waited to hear my name. Continue reading

August 29, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Slave To Sin?

John 8:34

Jesus replied, Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.

IMG_0301Slavery is a hot subject in America – even in the year 2015. With the current debate over the confederate war banner/flag – thoughts of an evil time in our country has surfaced. There was a Civil War in our country from 1861 to 1865 – and one of the main points of disagreement between the two sides – the north and the south – was over the subject of slavery.

An article found online from Wikipedia – the free encyclopedia – slavery was a main reason for the War Between the States. Here is a portion of that article. In the 1860 presidential electionRepublicans, led by Abraham Lincoln, opposed the expansion of slavery into U.S. territories. The Republican Party, dominant in the North, secured a majority of the electoral votes, and Lincoln was elected the first Republican president, but before his inauguration on March 4, 1861, seven slave states with cotton-based economies formed the Confederacy. The first six to secede had the highest proportions of slaves in their populations, a total of 48.8% for the six. [Outgoing Democratic President James Buchanan and the incoming Republicans rejected secession as illegal. Lincoln’s inaugural address declared his administration would not initiate civil war.

People today – in the north and south – might still disagree on some of the reasons for the War. Some might even disagree over slavery – still – but I would imagine that most people in America today realize that slavery was an evil. Continue reading

August 4, 2015 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Much Do We Love God?

Genesis 22:2

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

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What or who is it that we love more than anything? I love my wife more than anyone else in this whole world – and my daughters too – but my granddaughters are catching up with them. I would most anything for them. Last night is a good example (this is meant to be a funny point folks). My beloved Baltimore Orioles were playing the team from Boston in a tight baseball game. The score was 1-0 in favor of the Orioles. It was the top of the ninth and our closer had already gotten four outs and was trying to close out the game with the final out. He had two strikes on the batter and my granddaughters arrived from New Jersey!

I’m not sure what happened – but I got out of my chair – left the TV room and went to help them as they came into the house. I didn’t run back in to see what was happening until all of their stuff was in from the car and I had one granddaughter in tow around my neck! (He ended up walking that batter but got the next one out and won the game.)

They key point – I left something I enjoy – at a critical moment in the game – to see my granddaughters. I’m not holding that up as any major thing mind you – but as an example of what we do when we love something or someone more than something or someone else! Continue reading

June 10, 2015 Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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