Published: Monday, 18 September 2017 17:22
Written by Don Goulding
The Levites - Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah - said, “Stand up and bless the LORD your God!”
“May you be blessed, O LORD our God, from age to age. May your glorious name be blessed; may it be lifted up above all blessing and praise. You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, along with all their multitude of stars, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You impart life to them all, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. Nehemiah 9:5-6 (NETFull)
A smell of sour milk wafted into my car window in India long before I could identify the source. Blocks later, I spotted mountains of garbage overflowing a landfill. On top of the layers of plastic bags, broken cement, and roadside filth were dome-shaped hovels made from the same refuse beneath them. And next to the huts were humans walking over the rubbish like ants searching for bits of life.
I approached a family to share the gospel through my interpreter, only to discover they were already Christians. They were chased to the city dump by persecuting Hindus living in the refuge camp.
One fellow stuck in my mind. Besides his ghastly living conditions, his fingers were missing because of leprosy. He used his stubs to sift garbage for any recycling he could sell to salvagers. There he stood, the soil beneath his feet made of human trash, white nubs for fingers, and a toothless grin because he had the joy of the Lord in his heart. The family repeatedly thanked me because I merely stopped to encourage them.
I am relieved that in the kingdom of God the first will be last and the last will be first. That man will be honored through eternity because he stood above his rubbish heap and shined the love of Christ.
What rubbish is beneath my feet? Do I let money problems, health failure, or family grievances pull me down under the garbage? Or do I use this time on earth as my opportunity to stand on top of suffering and grin because I have the love of God in my heart?
This is my time, my moment to put all the smelly broken things of life beneath my feet, raise my head, and sing to God.
Prayer: God my Savior, may I praise you no matter what comes my way.
Published: Monday, 11 September 2017 17:15
Written by Don Goulding
A person who has friends may be harmed by them,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 (NETFull)
My childhood friend came for a visit. We laughed about old times and got somber over shared grief. How was it that I’d left this guy behind? I asked him how long he could stay and he said he’d be with me as long as I needed. I invited him to sleep on the couch and he was grateful.
I needed groceries from the store. I also wanted some unhealthy indulgences.
“Um, would you mind waiting out here?” I didn’t want him to see what went into the bag. “I know right where everything is and it will be quicker this way.”
A twitch of dejection crossed his face.
Next, we stopped to pick up documents from my office. I thought about asking my friend to come see where I worked, but what if we ran into my boss? I knew my friend was too direct for my manager’s tastes. I left him in the car.
That evening, I created a distraction for my friend while I planned an upcoming vacation with some buddies. I sent my childhood pal out to buy ice cream. He returned to see me with a bunch of off-color hooligans and watched without comment.
At the grocery store, I’d made him wait outside like a dog. I kept him out of my work life, vacation plans, and relationships like he was a flea on a dog. Soulmates don’t treat each other like that.
I broke the silence, “I don’t know what I was thinking. I want you with me everywhere I go. I’m sorry, Jesus.”
Prayer: Lord, I invite you into every activity.
Published: Friday, 25 August 2017 16:10
Written by Don Goulding
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. Romans 8:26 (NETFull)
The needle pierced the blanket. “Lord, pull my friend to yourself as she lies under this quilt,” Dani prayed as she worked. She drew the thread up. “Father wrap her in your love.”
Dani spent more than one hundred hours hand-stitching a quilt for an unsaved friend and, as she did, she prayed anointing over the bedcover. I wonder how the Spirit will interpret those many prayers to bring about an answer.
What would I do if someone begged me to prevent the suicide of my child? Would I try to convince my daughter of my love and even die for her? Would I allow temporary financial loss or brief cancer to demonstrate the horror she was bringing on herself? These are the drastic measures God used to prevent my eternal suicide. So when I intercede for others, am I truly ready to pray these extremes into their lives?
I need to lose my shortsighted conception of good wherein I drone anemic prayers like, “Lord bless us with health and prosper the work of our hands.” I need allow the Spirit to pour his symphony of life-altering supplication through me. My prayers should be less about me and the temporal, and more about him and the eternal.
Only as my broken spirit comes into agreement with the Spirit of Christ do I release the radical methods of heaven upon a situation.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, move me into agreement with your bold prayers.