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.
Published: Monday, 13 November 2017 18:03
Written by Don Goulding
“Prophesy over these bones, and tell them: ʻDry bones, hear the word of the Lord. This is what the sovereign Lord says to these bones: Look, I am about to infuse breath into you and you will live.’” (Ezekiel 37:4-5 NET_FL)
“Holy God, we claim the space between these trees for your purposes today. We anoint the trunks with oil to represent your Holy Spirit and declare to the heavens that evil spirits and distractions against your truth are not permitted in this place.”
Several African brothers prayed with me to cordon off a meeting area in the middle of a village suffering from demonic attacks. That day, we challenged the tribals, “Burn your implements of witchcraft and see what God will do inside of one week.”
As we preached against charms and fetishes, I spied a chief slipping off his amulet. We then cleansed the village through prayer and God answered. The attacks ceased.
Why did we need to speak the words of God inside that village? Why not pray in silence from the mission station? Why did God take Ezekiel to the valley and tell him to prophesy so the bones would come to life? Could it be that our Father in heaven waits to work through the authoritative prayer warrior?
I get the false idea that prophecy is for guys with wild hair foretelling the future. In reality, to prophesy simply means to proclaim the truth of God against the dysfunction of the world. Every Christian is called to that ministry.
Where there is pain we are to lay hands on dry bones and pray for life. We are to call into existence the eternal healing that Jesus came to give. He could do it alone. Instead, he waits for the prophet to extend a hand, raise their voice, and proclaim, “Hear the word of the LORD. I am about to infuse breath into you, and you will live.”
Prayer: Holy Spirit, show me to whom I am to prophesy today.
Published: Monday, 06 November 2017 16:57
Written by Don Goulding
… though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move about and exist … Acts 17:27-28 (NETFull)
I take my wife by the hand. “Will you dance with me?”
She tips her head to indicate, of course. With her hand on my shoulder, we draw close.
“I’ll meet you again in the left corner, next to band,” she whispers, drops my hand, and meanders off.
I scratch my head as she chats with this couple, then that one, and finally makes her way to the designated meeting place. She shoots a look that says, “I’m waiting.”
I walk over and embrace her once again.
“North side, center square,” she says and walks off.
Anyone watching would say we are the worst dancers they’ve ever seen. There’s no joy in meeting at prearranged locations and then moving as singles around the floor.
That’s how I often treat Jesus. Perhaps I meet with him in the morning and then ignore him all day except for one or two prayer glances.
My actions say, “I’ll see you in church, or at the place of my next crisis, if it comes before Sunday.”
I waltz by myself.
I’m not meant to move through life without Jesus. My waking, employment, and entertainment times can all be spent with the One who is closer than a friend.
“Thank you Lord, I praise you, love you, and I’m filled by your presence.” That’s the sweet dialogue I want in my head.
As my dance skills grow, I’ll also hear him whisper, “Fight those worldly thoughts, I love you, trust me, we’ll get through this together.”
I’m not alone in this brutal mystery of life. Jesus and I glide together, absorbed in the joy of real dancing.
Prayer: Jesus, may I sense your every move this day.