Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God Sees All Things

Psalm 139:2

You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

I remember playing hide-and-seek as a child. It was fun – hiding from your friends and hoping they couldn’t find you. When we played at my home growing up (the parsonage at Mt. Zion) – we had a cemetery next door and it was always fun to hide there because my cousins and friends wouldn’t come looking in the cemetery. If they did brave the walk through the cemetery – it was easy to get them to run out by making noises like a ghost. I usually won the game because they wouldn’t stay in the cemetery long enough to find me!

I remember playing capture the flag as a youth at Seat Pleasant UMC (now Gethsemane UMC). We would hide in the dark and try to get behind enemy lines. We would crawl along the outskirts of the field and even into the woods – to stay hidden. We would spring up and run for our side of the field with their flag. Continue reading

July 14, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let Jesus Light The Way

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMHave we ever walked in the darkness? I am one of those people who must have the light switches going in the correct direction (up in on – down is off). With that said – you know I have stumbled through a dark room so I wouldn’t get the light switches in the wrong position. Crazy – right?

Have we ever walked in the darkness? I’m so thankful my cell phone has a flashlight on it. I use it often (see above paragraph) while walking in darkness – inside and outside. I only have one switch in part of my basement and when the light is off and it is dark outside – I need the flashlight in order to walk through till I get to the switch (which is always up for on and down for off). Having a light to shine in the darkness is important for sure.

Have we ever walked in the darkness? Have we ever felt like we were lost – without focus – without a purpose? We can feel that way as an individual or a family or a church or even a country. Yesterday in worship at First UMC in Laurel I spoke a little about broken hearts. When we break up with a significant other – dating or in marriage – we often feel lost – walking in the darkness. Listen to the sermon for some suggestions on how to mend a broken heart (http://fumcl.org/sermons) (because it was VBS Sunday the sermon may not get uploaded until the middle of the week). Continue reading

July 25, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Live as Children of Light

Ephesians 5:8

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light

112015 Ray McDonaldI often tell this story at funerals. When my oldest daughter was old enough to spend the night at a girlfriend’s home – her mother and I gave her the talk – about being on her best behavior and minding her manners. Remember – we told her – you represent your mom and dad – your family.

Of course – she did so well – when the mother reported back all that she did – I wondered if she was talking about my daughter. She certainly lived in a manner that represented her family well.

Sometimes – I ask myself – if I have lived in such a way to be a blessing to others. I think about my father and mother and whether they would be pleased with the life I am living and have lived. I think about my wife and children and the example I have been or failed to be at times. Continue reading

March 22, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Light Shines In The Darkness

John 1:5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

112015 Ray McDonaldHave you ever tried to go from one doorway to another in a room that is without any lights? There is a room in my basement that only has a switch at one door and not the other. If for some reason I go out in the light or someone follows me and turns off the light – I must return in the dark. It is not always easy for sure! Thank God for the flashlight app on my iPhone.

But – I have often gone around in the dark because I like the light switches to be in the right direction (you know – up for on and down for off). If I turn the light on at one door and off at the next – the switches get out of sequence (I know – a little OCD of me for sure). It is my issue – I’m sure I am alone! Continue reading

January 21, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lord is My Light!

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgThe children will be out tonight and tomorrow night – starting at a very dangerous time – dusk. As it gets dark they might have a flash night or they may not. Be careful driving around. I plan to attend our truck ‘n treat tonight at the church – over a thousand children will come through our parking lot. I also plan to walk with one of my granddaughters and friends on Friday night.

I will have a flashlight on both occasions – because I don’t like the dark! I’m OK in the dark – but I would rather have some light – even a little light.

Darkness is often referred to as the absence of God. The Psalmist today wrote – The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? God is our light in a darkened world. Continue reading

October 30, 2014 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , | Leave a comment

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