Don Goulding - Blog

Passion Fulfilled

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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.

Defense Against Demons

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For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. (Ephesians 6:12)

Oliver lies on his deathbed, pulling in his final breaths. To his gathered loved ones, this passing appears serene. But, on the other side of the veil, demons grope for a permanent hold on the soul they have deceived so long. The sulfurous pack hushes to witness the final moment. Three, two, one—the victim’s spirit slips from his body, and into demonic talons. They screech in victory as another human joins them in judgment, eternal gnashing, and weeping.

We are at war. It’s a devastating engagement, and untold millions of souls will die before it is over. The stakes are far higher than the loss of life or freedom. Losing your country is one thing, but losing God is entirely worse. Over the first loss we lament mere years—with the other loss the bitterness rages through eternity.

Earth’s most dangerous terrorists look like Bambi next to our unseen enemies. Each day, fallen evil spirits patiently release hundreds of pollutants to haunt our minds. It’s a war of subtlety. We are nudged away from salvation, one unholy thought at a time. These haters of God’s children want to tip the scales away from dependence on Jesus. They ease wickedness onto the balance pan in single gains—pride, anger, fretfulness, and the most insidious, apathy.

There’s a powerful defense that sends our adversaries shrieking. Nothing demonic can assault me while my mind is absorbed with the love of King Jesus. Adoration of Jesus—it’s simple, it’s effective. Worship keeps demons at bay because their vileness comes through a single point of entry, my mind. I am the temple of the Lord, and as long as there’s a praise service underway, darkness is barred from entry.

The battle is too significant to trust in any defense other than a life lived in worship of Christ.

Prayer: Lion of Judah, help me to wear the armor of worship of you.

Best

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But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things, but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the best part; it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41, 42)

Icy frost covers the lawn. Not without struggle, I will myself out of bed and into my beanbag chair for devotions. Wrapped in a comforter, and with my Bible in front of me, I’m set for an encounter with the Living God. 

Then it hits. A really good sermon topic pops into my mind. I scramble to get it on paper before it evaporates. An hour later, I realize I’ve been suckered. I could have touched the presence of Yahweh, but instead, I drafted a sermon. The enemy of the best is the good.

The sun has gone to bed, and I am rubbing my brow while contemplating the day. It was good, jammed with kingdom productivity. I answered my calls and messages. I counseled a couple, cleared the mail, made it to the bank, fixed the toilet, and survived an elders’ meeting. But, not once can I recall listening for the love of God. I’ve been ripped-off, again. The enemy of the best is the good.

Making dinner for her Lord was a good gesture, but it was not the best. Martha’s sister was doing the best. Mary was sitting goo-goo eyed at Jesus’s feet, absorbing his presence and truth. That was the best. 

Our sly enemy uses the good to derail us from the best. I’m not going to fall for it. I’ll not accept anything but a red hot, spirit tingling, impassioned relationship with Jesus. There are thousands of substitutes, and many of them are quite good. But they don’t shoot out sparks like a connection with the Spirit of Jesus.

I choose what Mary chose. I refuse good enough, and press on to hovering in the tangible awareness that I’m cherished by God in Christ. That’s the best event of any day, and I wouldn’t trade it for all the good in the world.

Prayer: Savior, keep me from the busyness that prevents fellowship with you.