Don Goulding - Blog

Rx of Praise

It is fitting to thank the Lord, and to sing praises to your name, O sovereign One! It is fitting to proclaim your loyal love in the morning, and your faithfulness during the night. (Psalms 92:1, 2)

I was skiing much faster than prudence and my meager ability would advise. My body, skis, and poles exploded into a cloud of white powder. The crash dislocated a shoulder, and my world went upside down with pain. Dani raced me to the hospital. The moment the doctors reset the humerus into its socket, relief swept my being.

I sometimes fly my spiritual life out of control. I leave my Bible unopened, and fail to draw on Jesus. Then an unexpected enticement tumbles me into sinful failure. The bones of my soul are knocked out of joint, and dysfunction taints every part of life.

I’m grateful the remedy is always available. It’s a cure that resets my dislocated spirit into rightness. The Rx is praise. Whenever I administer a dose of praise, my soul is swept with relief.

No life activity is truer than to extol God. The Lord is the definition of goodness, and when we praise him, we push aside all things defiled by imperfection to identify with ultimate good. In heaven and earth alike, created beings synchronize with the deepest reality when they glorify their Maker.

My ego convinces me my time is too important to waste in idle praise. Pride says, “God needs action and results.” Silly Pride, he forgets that Jesus already completed all the work on my behalf. While good deeds that bubble over from gratitude are vital, any time spent trying to earn God’s love would be far better invested by reposing on my bed in joyous praise.

Prayer: It is good to praise the LORD, O Most High, to proclaim your love.

Face of Blessing

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26) (NIV)

One by one, the African pastors of each denomination pressed through the crowd to take a turn at praying for revival. A man, wearing a red and white clerical dress over his clothes, popped free of the crowd. He bowed in humility with a genuflect-like hand gesture, and began praying. Intercession gushed out to flood God’s feet with his pleas. His language was unintelligible to me, yet I knew heaven devoured every syllable.

The fact that this warrior was dressed as Alice in Wonderland did not soften his face. His brow was a bulwark, jutting forward in strength. Rock steady eyes drilled heaven from where they were set above flared nostrils and exotic cheekbones. His mouth was more than a hole with lips—it was a living organ that visibly shaped words as a potter throws clay. I sat transfixed by this fierce black face, engaged in the holy warfare of prayer.

The face is the portal for our being. Perception and stimuli flow in, and expression and conviction pour out. Here is the epicenter of life energy. It’s no wonder Moses was told that no man could see the face of God and live (Ex. 33:20). Who could endure an encounter with the nuclear reactor of so much glory? The hurricane of purity that blasts from the face of God sweeps away every debris of evil. What hope do I—with evil stirred all through me—have of standing before the face of God?

There is only one being in the universe capable of the following feat—He grabs hold of the face of the Almighty and says, “Father, please look at my friend.” He turns God’s face to gaze on me, and, as long as Jesus holds his Father’s face, beams of grace blend with the consuming light of glory. I don’t melt. Rather, I’m saturated with blessing under the stare of the Holy God.

Prayer: Father, through Jesus I revel in the worship of your face.

Fragrance of Gratitude

So you too, when you have done everything you were commanded to do, should say, ‘We are slaves undeserving of special praise; we have only done what was our duty.’” (Luke 17:10)

“Everybody else gets to rest at the end of their day,” I muttered as I climbed into the car and headed out to minister to a family that could only meet in the evening. 

Then the words of one of my own sermons broke through, “Remember from where you have been delivered.”

If it weren’t for Jesus taking away my sin, my thought life alone would be enough to convict me to hell for eternity. Then I must add selfish behavior, faultfinding, willfulness, laziness, and lust, to name a few current defects. Why I’m adopted to inherit paradise is beyond me. My bellyaching is pathetically out of touch with the reality of all I have in Christ.

You would think me an unsavory character if I won a multimillion dollar lottery, then growled about riding the bus to collect my windfall. I’m worse than that. I have inherited blissful union with the Creator of the universe, and I whine about petty things, like going out at night to pray over a hurting family.

My expectations need to be lowered to reality. If I expected the Christian life to be the ease of royalty, I was mistaken. Paul, Silas, Watchmen Nee, and Corrie Ten Boom never expected anything but hardship and prison, so they passed by disappointment and never looked him in the eye. 

Why should I expect anything but the punishment my sin warrants? A pewter-blue twilight, a child’s giggle, my next breath—these are blessings that go far beyond what I should receive. When I add up all I have now, never mind heaven to come, and compare it to what I deserve, it’s over the top ridiculous how blessed I am.

By the time I pulled up to the house for my visit, the stench of self-pity was flushed out of the car by the fragrance of gratitude.

Prayer: Gracious Father, forgive my ingratitude.