Published: Monday, 04 December 2017 17:22
Written by Don Goulding
Do not judge so that you will not be judged. Matthew 7:1 (NETFull)
Every surface of the cell oozed with self-righteousness. Along with my fellow prisoners, I combed the Scriptures deciding whom to denounce outside our bars. By incremental arguments, we redefined acceptable to mean just like us. We wrote out the names of those we exposed and chanted their infractions. The name of our dungeon was Judgmental.
One morning the door scraped open and a shaft of light cut through the gloom. My grinning Savior strode to the corner with his hand extended.
“All right friend, enough of this nastiness. Let’s get you out of here.”
He led me into a world of glimmering beauty. There were bright skies, pounding waterfalls, and space—open space everywhere. My Lord proclaimed me forgiven and showed me laughter and music.
I knew so little of what free people did that I felt out of place. Seeking the door of my prison, I found my cronies still there. They had my name on their lists. To appease them, I found my old notebook and read some names aloud. But the fetid air began to take its toll and I had to get out.
Tucking the notebook under my arm, I pushed the door until a strong hand stopped it halfway. I peered into the face of my shining Friend.
“Not with that thing you don’t.” He nodded at the list. “You can stay in there to condemn others, or you can live free out here. But what you cannot do is accept my forgiveness, live in my land, and keep that notebook. Not one page or a single accusation, they must all stay behind. Choose.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I choose to let you be the Judge.
Published: Wednesday, 29 November 2017 18:08
Written by Don Goulding
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and it is the glory of a king to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2 (NETFull)
When it was introduced, I was skeptical of the Hubble Space Telescope. Scientists wanted to find out how the universe began—a question already resolved by the Bible. The money was sorely needed elsewhere.
I’m glad no one called me before they pushed the launch button, because now I look at the Hubble photographs and I go limp. New images of the Sombrero Galaxy reveal millions of stars like our sun, spread as white grains of flour over black velvet. My veneration of God jumps.
In the 1800’s we thought our Milky Way Galaxy was the whole universe. In the 1920’s we realized the number of galaxies was tens of thousands, in 1999 it went to 125 billion, and a current estimate is 176 billion and growing. My awe of the Maker keeps stretching.
God doesn’t need me to protect his existence by nay-saying scientific endeavor. I need science to carry me past my undersized notions of God.
There are untold billions of celestial bodies, subatomic structures, life processes, and physical laws that God is anxious for us to discover, for in the reflection of his vast creation is the wonder of him. It is his joy that we reach into both the macro and the micro to explore the breadth of his power.
Science can carry me toward God but, because it only addresses the physical, it dumps me outside his doorstep. I cannot resolve my greatest need with science alone. I need a supernatural removal of sin and that feat is only accomplished through faith in the cross of Christ. Nevertheless, as an increasing number of scientists are discovering, their trade expands my understanding of our breathtaking Creator-Savior.
Prayer: Mighty God, oh the depths of the wonder of you I see about me.
Published: Monday, 20 November 2017 16:07
Written by Don Goulding
Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8
“But he doesn't have anything on," a child announced in Hans Christian Andersen's classic, The Emperor’s New Clothes.
Charlatans had convinced the emperor and townspeople that the cloth of the royal suit was invisible to those who were foolish. No one, not even the emperor, wanted to admit they couldn’t see the clothes. It required the innocence of a child to expose the scandal.
We need a child to expose the con perpetrated today concerning doctrinal knowledge.
When I train foreign pastors they ask many questions. Should we give Christian burial to un-baptized believers? Where did Cane’s wife come from? Was Jesus made divine at birth or at his baptism? Is there a pre-tribulation rapture? Honesty constrains me to admit intellectual nakedness on nearly every topic, except salvation in Jesus. In essentials—like the deity of Christ, the power of his blood, and the indwelling Spirit—we must have unity. In the hundreds of nonessentials, grace prevails.
Can we be child-like, drop the pretense, and admit that none of us is equipped to sort out non-core doctrine? There, I’ve said it—the emperor has no clothes on. We are all intellectually unclothed. On the issues that divide Christian denominations, no human has the acumen or contextual background to stand inerrant. The only recourse is to risk everything on Jesus. That leaves us free to love instead of argue and laugh at ourselves instead of pretend we’re all grown up.
Prayer: Gracious Jesus, thank you for covering my ineptitude.