Published: Monday, 19 February 2018 20:21
Written by Don Goulding
The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The one who is spiritual discerns all things … But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 (NETFull)
I watch Chinese faces squint in passionate worship and I know why they risk gathering in the underground church. I join Africans in a praise dance, clapping out complex rhythms and shouting between lyric phrases, and I know exactly what's inside their hearts. I overhear a political fracas or gasp after the latest school shooting and a secret knowledge of the cause burns in my soul.
As a Christian, I have clearance for intelligence on the state of two opposing unions. I am briefed on what makes heaven sing and what makes hell screech, but I can’t talk about it openly. Discussions of divine glory and eternal burning appear fantastical to those who have not lifted the lens of Jesus Messiah to their eye. Yet, my revelation is too hot to hold inside.
An agent of heaven is called to apply God’s power to change what he can and commiserate with God on the rest. Jesus bequeaths us with far more authority than our enemy would have us know. We can pray down strongholds, speak the words of God, and be operatives of reconciliation. Every Joe-Christian among us needs to rise up as the spiritual warrior we were meant to be.
There are, however, struggles that are destined to continue until Christ returns. Jesus lamented Jerusalem when he longed to gather her children like a hen gathers chicks under her wings. Paul spoke of holy groaning—a deep inarticulate heartache that we are not home in God’s perfection.
I am moving through an epic tragedy with my best comrade, Jesus. We shout victory after some fights, after others we weep—in everything we are together. Throughout eternity, he and I will retell our adventures under a giddy bond because we lived them—both the heavenly and the hellish—together.
Prayer: Mighty, compassionate friend Jesus, you are in this battle with me.
Published: Monday, 12 February 2018 17:44
Written by Don Goulding
Tell the people of Zion, ʻLook, your king is coming to you, unassuming and seated on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Matthew 21:5 (NETFull)
Let everyone see your gentleness. The Lord is near! Philippians 4:5 (NETFull)
The live green movement attempts to bring health to our planet. It’s an environmentally gentle approach to life that encourages a minimal ecological footprint. That’s a fancy way of saying we limit our use of natural resources. Advertisers apply the slogans of live green and sustainability to everything from light bulbs to automobiles.
There is a way to live green spiritually. The Bible enjoins us to adopt a gentle spirit, which is to say a minimal earthly footprint. Our presence on earth should be weightless, gracious, and a benefit to everything we touch.
Do I have a gentle spirit with my family, my colleagues, my finances—what about with my driving or with my enemies? Am I quick to give and slow to take from others? I am called to leave a verdant path of encouragement, not a thorny trail of criticism.
To live green does not mean I become a spineless patsy. There was no gentler person than Jesus Christ and yet no one has ever had his moxie. Gentleness simply means I sacrifice my temporal existence for the good of others, not for what they may want but for their eternal good.
A wisteria vine sends out a delicate tendril that can later bend steel pipes and break cement foundations. Just so, my life should be tender and fragrant but driven by life-bending conviction. That’s living green.
Prayer: Father, may my footprint be small on earth and large in your kingdom.
Published: Monday, 05 February 2018 18:16
Written by Don Goulding
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they can see my glory that you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the world. John 17:24 (NETFull)
For years I heard Venice, Italy was the most romantic city in the world. Friends spewed about the gondolas, cathedrals, works of art, and blah, blah, blah. Their descriptions and pictures bored me.
Then one year we visited the famous “City of Light” for ourselves. Only when I rode the boats, explored the maze of bridges, watched fireworks drape golden sparkles over St. Mark’s Square, and heard an orchestra bounce music from the walls of an ancient church did I realize how understated the descriptions had been.
Like my difficulty with Venice, I have a tough time gaining a full appreciation for all that Jesus is. The reason I live with doubt, fear, and conflict is because I underestimate the scope of his majesty. If I truly grasped his sufficiency to absolve sin, I wouldn’t worry about how others judge me. If I would fully see the glory God gave to Jesus after his trials, I would rest in what God is doing through my own trials.
Jesus existed before there was time. He currently holds everything together. He is Immanuel (God with us) and I Am (the name God gave himself) and Jesus (which means God saves). He is the Righteous Judge all men are destined to face, the Word of God, and the light in paradise.
But these encyclopedic facts on their own don’t penetrate my heart. Only when I grab his hand over the stony paths of life, and trust his guidance over bridges of change, and see his provision for places of grace do I begin to grasp the breadth of Jesus. It is in the daily experiential union with Christ that the facts about his majesty become real to my heart.
Prayer: Holy Awesome Lord Jesus, let me experience life with you.