Don Goulding - Blog

Big Crumble

Hole in floor sliderThe fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the wild beasts, all the things that creep on the ground, and all people who live on the face of the earth will shake at my presence. The mountains will topple, the cliffs will fall, and every wall will fall to the ground. (Ezekiel 38:20)

Dani and I lived for a while in the California foothills on top of 370 miles of abandoned gold rush mines. In the neighboring town of Alta, a thirty two year old schoolteacher, Jason Chellew, plunged to his death when a twenty foot sinkhole opened beneath his living room. Imagine sitting in front of the TV when the world groans, then falls away.

At first I thought, this guy must have done something that angered God. Then I realized that what happened to Jason will be my destiny too. According to Scripture the world will fall away for every human, then we will face God.

There are only two ways off of this rock, Jesus returns or we die. Either way, it’ll be a shock to find ourselves before the great white throne. To prepare, as soon as our eyes flutter open each morning, we need to choose where we’ll stand when it all cuts loose. As Jason Chellew knows with certainty, it’s not a decision that can be postponed until we’re tumbling through the air. 

I know some who are relying on a flimsy insurance policy to save them when the floor drops out. Years ago they prayed to receive Christ or were baptized at some point in time. Maybe their signature on that waiver will save them, maybe it won’t. Personally, I can’t live with that uncertainty.

Jesus taught us to pray like the sinning rascal in his illustrative story, “The tax collector, however, stood far off and would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, be merciful to me, sinner that I am!’” (Luke 18:13) The Lord assured us that this man went to his home justified.

Not only do I daily pray, “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner,” but I’m also living that prayer from my heart. God’s faithfulness to answer my plea is what lets me sleep each night. I know when the big crumble hits I will land directly in his arms.

Prayer: Gracious Father, get ready to catch this sinner.

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Superhero

Superman3But David replied to the Philistine [Goliath], “You are coming against me with sword and spear and javelin. But I am coming against you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel’s armies, whom you have defied! (1 Samuel 17:45)

Young, ruddy David ran to the battle camp with food for his brothers. Was he thinking, I will carve my name in history today by cutting off the head of Goliath? No, he was delivering cheese and dodging his bossy siblings while trying to get the lowdown on the foulmouthed, nine foot tall Philistine.

David had no delusions of grandeur as King Saul tried to fit him out with armor. He was a boy who watched sheep. But why would God deliver him from bears and lions when he fought for his sheep and not from this overlarge man who slandered the one true Jehovah? David was merely slinging stones and trusting God’s greatness like he always had.

None of us can plan to be a hero. I can’t conspire to write my own tombstone epitaph about greatness. That would only bring false acclaim from an expiring world. True greatness comes not of commanding leadership or financial success but from the strength of my dependance on Jesus. In the eternal landscape, humble faith eclipses every temporal accomplishment.

If Superman with his repertoire of heroic rescues was to trust Jesus as Savior, only then he would he understand greatness. The same is true for each of us. We all have to face the kryptonite of our dark side which leaves no one who is truly great except for Jesus Christ. The rest of us find grandeur by following him, so childlike faith wins the day.

David’s greatness was not in his skill or his cunning but in his trust of God. No one else in Israel’s army had the boyish faith of David. God turned that humble confidence into a giant victory over a giant man, and his economy works exactly the same today.

Prayer: Lord Christ, living hand in hand with you brings greatness.

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Not a Worm

IMG 0500Consider how the flowers grow; they do not work or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! Luke 12:27 (NETFull)

I am not a flower with velvety petals straining toward the sun, giving my nectar to visiting bees, swaying at the gentlest of winds. I am not a flower that blooms for a lunar cycle only to molder into brown decay. I am not a flower.

People are like a vapor, their days like a shadow that disappears. Psalms 144:4 (NETFull)

I am not a vapor, a mist that wafts above the field when droplets form in a chance gathering. I am not a vapor swirling off to oblivion at the first shift in climate and without a name or a future. I am not a vapor.

Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 41:14 (NIV)

I am not a worm writhing underground, blind to the whole of life above me. I am not a worm tempting every bird, mole and fish to seize and devour me. I am not a worm.

I am a child of God, adopted into his holy family. My mission is to stand against gales of worldly opinion and remain stalwart at every temptation. I breathe that I might never bow to those enemies of Christ—hate, lies and death. I am God’s own eternal warrior.

My Father planned my existence before the stars were born. I am his dream incarnated into a permanent offspring. He appointed works that should fill my timely sojourn on earth.

Because of who my Father is, I am an elevated being. Fear is not my master, it bows to me. I inherit co-ownership of all he possesses. My father gave me dominion over creation and the wisdom necessary for husbandry. I seek his purposes. I embrace his commands.

I am not a flower. I am not a vapor. I am not a worm. I am a loved child as declared by the Lord, my Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

Prayer: Father of mine, may I stand tall beside you.

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