Published: Monday, 25 January 2021 17:43
Written by Don Goulding
The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom everything that causes sin as well as all lawbreakers. (Matthew 13:41)
Our world merchandises in gray tones. Between black and white, every shade of impurity is available. The evil of hell swirls through the pure white of heaven.
In the next era, darkness and light will stand in obvious contrast.
The language of hell—Captive, Fear, Cursed, Lost, Deformed, Hate, False, Bitter, Scream, Ugly, Panic, Weep, Pain, Rejected, Blind, Guilt, Destruction, No.
The language of heaven—Free, Courage, Praise, Light, Dance, Beauty, Perfection, Rest, Laugh, Rainbow, Glory, Blessed, Accepted, Joy, Unity, Wisdom, Kiss, Yes.
With the gray removed, there’s no difficulty choosing sides. But life flings the clay pigeons of right and wrong like a trap machine gone berserk. I can’t keep up with the pace in deciding which ones to shoot down. My old nature confuses my trigger finger. I let bad choices fly, then gun down the truth by mistake.
This trap shoot is no game. Light and darkness are mortal enemies, and ground zero of the combat is in my heart. Get ready, here comes the first test of many today. Word by word, choice by choice—how will I fight? What eternal spoils will I gain this day? Will I choose black or white, curse or blessing, self-will or Jesus?
Prayer: Son of Man, help me win today’s battles.
Published: Monday, 18 January 2021 18:16
Written by Don Goulding
Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa and fast in my behalf. Don’t eat and don’t drink for three days, night or day. My female attendants and I will also fast in the same way.” (Esther 4:15-16)
In Zimbabwe, we had difficulty getting water from the wells. In my bumbling attempt to fix the plumbing, I needed a pipe fitting from the shed. The gardener had the key, but he was sulking over a fight, and couldn’t be found. After searching out the begrudging gardener, key, and fitting, I needed a wrench. I scrounged enough fuel to push start the broken motorcycle, rode to the repair shop, borrowed a wrench, then spent thirty minutes looking for a tool to fix the wrench. Compared to western efficiency, the challenges of the third world can be a source of frustration, or hilarity.
The following thirty hours were committed to prayer and fasting. It wasn’t a day off, but my most productive work. After the fast, life at the mission compound blossomed. Relationships healed, tools were in their proper places, and water gushed into the reservoirs.
Before Moses received the Old Covenant laws from God, he fasted. When Queen Esther’s people faced extermination, she fasted. Before Jesus began his ministry, he fasted. When the Holy Spirit told the disciples to set apart Paul and Barnabas, they were fasting. Intercession is our most effective activity, and fasting draws prayers from the middle of God’s river.
Fasting is not manipulation of the Almighty, wherein we convince him to help because he feels sorry for our self-imposed hunger. Rather, true fasting clears the way for our spirit to take primacy, and engage with the Spirit of God in the holy work of praying his will.
Prayer: Father in heaven, let me enter into your prayers through fasting.
Published: Monday, 11 January 2021 19:16
Written by Don Goulding
I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
For years I thought my life dream involved running through sugary sand, hand in hand with my soul mate, into a cove of turquoise water. What my spirit truly desires, though, is not the place, partner, or sensual experience, but the urgent life that lies behind the things of pleasure.
Heady electricity sparks inside each of us by way of God’s touch at creation. Whether your secret desire is an alpine meadow circled by tiger lilies, snuggling into the love of the perfect family, or skiing off a granite face into crystal powder, there is a hunger for joy that needs to be fulfilled in each of us.
The yearning I suppressed for so long, as though it was sinful, is actually holy. God put my desire in me. He is a passionate God, and, by creating me in his image, he forged passion into me.
Then Satan came along to poison the wine. First, he laced it with the lie that created things satisfy. When I discovered they don’t, he tried a second lie. He said, “Passion itself is corrupt.” The antitoxin for his lies is that God gave me passion, and only God can fulfill my passion.
God is not prim church ladies scolding children for their noisy laughter. God’s hand is not full of repression and rules. God is life—throbbing, shocking, deluging life. Regardless of the unique shape of the passion planted in my heart, only Jesus brings me to satisfaction.
It’s heartbreaking that most humans forfeit total life. They don’t have enough passion to stretch after it. I often think I, too, will give up my banquet of joy for the crumbs of earth. Then, I lift my gaze to the One who went before me. I see how he ran toward the sacrifice of this life to gain the joy to come. And I think, maybe, I too, can make it to real life.
Prayer: Passionate Jesus, lead the way to abundant life.