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’s Streamline Our Lives

1 Peter 2:1

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

I’m the type of person who likes change in my work environment. I would change my office at home and at work every year or two – to give me a different look and feel. This has become harder in our current home and in my current office because of a mounted TV at work and the windows in my home office (along with the internet hookup). Because I can’t change my desk position much anymore – I’m making a plan to streamline my office at home (giving away some books and such since most everything is online now). I have a nice sound system that needs to find a good home because I listen to music at home on my computer and at work on my Smart TV. The hope is that a more streamlined office will give me more flexibility and less of a confined feeling.

Carolyn and I want to streamline our home now as well – not wanting to leave (in 30 years or so) that task to our children when we’re gone or unable to do it. Like many – we have things stored in the house that we haven’t used for 20 years or more and we should give them away or recycle them. Less stuff will give us a streamlined feel to our home. It will make it easier for the children eventually too. Continue reading

July 6, 2017 Posted by | Daily Devotion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are We A New Creation?

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Today’s passage should be very familiar to us. If you have heard me preach or teach for any length of time – you have heard this passage used. I wonder if we give it much thought.

It may be painful – but try to remember if we can – if we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior – what it felt like before we made the decision to follow Him. I made the decision as a youth – but I can remember the feeling after I made the decision more than the feeling beforehand. I mean – I grew up in the church – and although a sinner – not a really bad person. I did think I was a Christian beforehand – thinking that because I went to church I was a Christian. But soon after giving my heart to Jesus – I knew what it was like to be a new creation. I felt like flying – I felt free – I felt relieved and blessed.

I have talked to some who received Christ later in life and they have similar reports – but with a deeper memory of their life prior to Jesus. Some walked in drugs or alcohol. Some lived lives of crime. Some didn’t grow up in the church. Can we remember? What is our story? Continue reading

June 28, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God, Have Mercy On Me, A Sinner

Luke 18:13

‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

It seems so easy for some – maybe even for most – to point out the sins or wrongs performed by others. Little children learn to tattle on their siblings to mom and dad at a young age. It is easy to point a finger at someone else and report their mistakes.

I remember being told as a child that when I point a finger at someone – I have three fingers pointing back at me. I also remember this passage of Scripture. Matthew 7:3–5 – 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

In the news these days are report after report from media sources of perceived wrongs of the current administration while at the same time reports are being made that previous administrations did the very same things. Wrong is wrong – whether someone else did it before us or not – just saying. But when we have a penchant toward picking out the mistakes of others before correcting our own mistakes – we leave ourselves open for ridicule and judgment. Continue reading

May 30, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Cleanses Our Sin

Zechariah 3:4

The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”

Growing up I can remember times when I got my clothes pretty dirty. We had sand pits in the backyard and my brother and I would play in them and get pretty dirty. We also had woods need our home and I would run through them. In the sand pits or in the woods – I would play soldier or cowboy – always carrying my air rifle.

Mom would say we were a sight and have us take off our clothes. She would wash them as we bathed ourselves and I remember seeing my favorite clothes (a Roy Roger’s cowboy shirt) hanging on the clothesline outside. Clothes always smelled so fresh when they were air-dried.

We would put them on and begin the whole process over again the next day. If I wasn’t playing cowboys (riding my stick horse around) I was playing soldier Combat! was a popular TV show when I was 7 and older). Continue reading

May 25, 2017 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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