Don Goulding - Blog

Renting Life

IMG 0696Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For there is more to life than food, and more to the body than clothing. (Luke 12:22-23)

During our early years of marriage Dani and I lived in rental houses. Later we owned our homes. While owning generally has long-term financial benefits, it also comes with concerns for mortgages, maintenance, and taxes. As a renter I wasn’t anxious about how the neighbor’s abandoned cars lowered my equity, or about fixing the roof. All that was the landlord’s problem.

Living for God makes him the landlord and me the renter. I’m unqualified to handle the worries of owning life. I need a simpler code of existence. I can trade a thousand concerns for one rent payment of pleasing Jesus. Instead of juggling anxieties for friends, health, and job security, listening to the Spirit of Jesus becomes my one uncomplicated payment. Everything else is his responsibility.

Renters travel light. This life is only a brief encampment, and we don’t invest in additions that will be left behind when we move. Instead, we focus on improvements like integrity and charity that can be packed up and taken with us.

Renters also know the equity accrues to the Lord. The assets and resources aren’t ours. Anything achieved in his service belongs to him. It all came from him and it returns to him.

Ownership is too exhausting. I have to fret about the dilapidation in my life and struggle to pay for each mistake. I’d rather admit bankruptcy, then move into his real estate, free of sanctimonious works. His righteousness is a first rate accommodation, and staying in his joy is like living on permanent vacation.

The time I save by not owning life is much better spent praising my Landlord.

Prayer: Jehovah Jireh (God Provides), take ownership of all I am.

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Spirit of Prophecy

shutterstock Ocean WaveWorship God, for the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:10)

A blast of wind slammed the slate-blue sea. A swell rolled forward but no water traveled laterally as the wind’s energy leapfrogged through the liquid particles. The water rose and fell, circled to where it began, then stayed behind as the wave passed on.

New winds pressed its back, and the wave increased to five meters. The great roller ran two thousand kilometers across open sea toward its destiny. As it met the rising ocean floor, for the first time it hurled water in an open breaker. Kinetic energy that began weeks before, now combined with water, foam, and sand to crash against coastal rocks, and die with a hiss.

The spirit of prophecy is a wave pushed up by the breath of the Spirit. This isn't physical but spiritual energy, and so all the more real. It passes through our tangible existence evidenced only by a circle of earthly powers that briefly rise and fall. Prophecies about sin, righteousness, and judgment mount in indestructible power. For thousands of years the wave has rolled toward the shore of end times.

The spirit of prophecy speaking through Isaiah, Daniel, John, and others revealed that the spiritual energy will turn into physical signs and conflicts. In a final effort, the temporal will cast itself against the rock, Jesus Christ. Everything resolves with Jesus.

Even now the wave has reached the upwardly sloping floor of history. I feel the curl propelling me forward, tumbling me over, casting me at the feet of Jesus.

 

Prayer: Unstoppable God, carry me by the spirit of prophecy to Jesus.

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Chosen

IMG 4555 2You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that remains… (John 15:16)

“Many are called, few are chosen,” a nurse said to me when I was nineteen. 

She wrapped gauze around a surfing injury on my foot but said nothing more. Was it a warning against surfing, a prophetic utterance, or not directed at me? 

The nurse quoted Jesus as he finished his parable of the wedding banquet. He lifted a finger and pointed to the simple truth that many are invited to the wedding feast of the Savior but few come.

Forty years of contemplating the cryptic words haven’t resolved the mystery. I still wonder in what sense we choose Christ, as opposed to being chosen by him. Many are my theological betters who have stubbed their toes on this question, and I can happily wait until Christ returns for the answers, but perhaps some outer layers of truth are accessible now.

The majority of the world’s population doesn’t profess Christ, or they don’t display fruit to substantiate their claim. So why me? I’m not smarter, more godly, or less self-serving than many who are not saved. I can’t explain why I’m rescued by Jesus, I only know that I am and so I stand with my mouth open, the drool unchecked.

On the other hand, following Jesus requires every ounce of my energy. The treadmill started slow. Admitting I needed a Savior was all the spiritual exercise I could handle. As I got in shape, the speed increased. It’s exhausting work dying to self. Keeping in step with the Spirit saps every calorie, and yet somehow I know this, too, is from him.

It’s not my effort that brings me salvation. Jesus both died for my sin and empowers me to serve him. The only part I have is to say yes.

Mine is a simple, plain choice. I choose him because he chose me.

Prayer: Lord, your love for me is my greatest joy and most profound mystery.

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