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

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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

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

God Knows All About Us

Psalm 139:3

You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

When I was growing up – I had certain chores – like most of us I assume. One of my chores was to cut the grass. We had just moved into the new parsonage at Seat Pleasant UMC on Addison Road in Seat Pleasant – MD. That church has since been renamed Gethsemane UMC.

The grass was just starting to take root and so it was very thin – sparse. There were rocks in the soil and my dad instructed me to cut the grass with the mower pointing away from the house. This meant I would push the mower up the hill in our side yard and pull it down the hill. It was harder – I thought – than pushing it down hill and pulling it up the hill – so I turned the lawn mower around and did as I thought – rather than as my father had told me. Continue reading

April 10, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Lenten Thought, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where Do We Pray?

Matthew 14:23

After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone,

Photo on 7-6-16 at 3.42 PMI remember when I was a teenager (or preteen maybe) – the church we attended (Seat Pleasant UMC) had a month-long prayer vigil. I signed up for a certain time every afternoon. I remember going to the chapel of our church where the prayer room was set up and spending thirty minutes every afternoon reading my Bible and praying. At first it was difficult – but as the month unfolded before me – it became easier and easier and when someone came to relieve me – I often stayed a few extra minutes to finish what I was reading or what I was on my heart as I prayed. It started for me a regular prayer time.

Where do we pray? This is not a trick question. I know we can pray wherever or whenever. It has been my experience that if we have a time or place to go – we can develop a habit that will bear much fruit. I know some people who start their morning at the kitchen table or during nice weather on their porch or patio soaking in the presence of God and spending time in devotion and prayer. Do we have a time and place? In years gone by – one of my favorite places was in a deer stand – way too early to shoot – and spending that time in God’s presence – praying and listening. Continue reading

July 14, 2016 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Will Uphold Us!

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

112015 Ray McDonaldI love playing basketball (I only wish my 61-year-old knees could still hold up – but the three ball still shows up from time to time). Growing up – basketball was a game I could play by myself – for hours at a time. I still remember – behind the parsonage at Seat Pleasant UMC (now Gethsemane UMC) – the hoop we had up above the garage door. There was a flood light out back and I would play for hours on end – deep into the summer night.

I remember – I was either Earl The Pearl Monroe or I was playing along side him. Wes Unseld was playing too – in my fantasy world – and many others. They would be counting on me to make that last bucket either as The Pearl or as me (I told you it was fantasy time). They would be relying on me to make that great pass – if not the last shot – to uphold them and the team.

In modern times – I was Stephen Curry – I couldn’t miss. Even when I did miss – I would grab the rebound in a crowd and put it back up for the winning points – just a split second before the buzzer would sound. Time and again – the winning basket! In my make-believe world – I was all that and a bag of chips! Continue reading

March 30, 2016 Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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