Published: Monday, 14 November 2016 20:53
Written by Don Goulding
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the one who was proclaimed among you by us - by me and Silvanus and Timothy - was not “Yes” and “No,” but it has always been “Yes” in him. For every one of Godʼs promises are “Yes” in him… (2 Corinthians 1:19-20) (NETFull)
God asked man to love him above all else, and man said no. That no reverberated through time, bouncing noes into every crevice of life.
Is nature healthy? No. Will you live forever? No. Are you whole without God? No. No is the harshest, most devastating word in any language. It condemns us to temporal and eternal punishment.
Jesus came to give our no-infested world a second chance to answer God’s question. “Will you love me above all else, through my Son?”
When we say yes, anything a purified imagination dreams is granted with a laughing, all-powerful yes. God, do you love me? Yes. Do you forgive me? Yes. Are you with me? Yes.
Say yes to God through Christ, and he will say yes to you through eternity. That sounds easy, but it’s not. This world slams no into our face with such violence and frequency that we loose hope in the word yes. Rejection is a no. Loss of health and income are more noes. The noes pile up until it’s difficult to see a yes coming straight at us.
God’s yes is so resounding it redeems our heap of noes. As we turn each no over to him, trusting in his comfort and recompense, he converts them to eternal glory. The bumper sticker that said, “he who dies with the most toys wins,” is wrong. He who dies with the most noes wins, because he will be the most rewarded in heaven.
In Christ, life is yes. Even our temporary noes are transformed into eternal yeses.
Prayer: Father in heaven, I rest in your yes.
Published: Monday, 07 November 2016 19:42
Written by Don Goulding
Then the angel said to me, “Write the following: Blessed are those who are invited to the banquet at the wedding celebration of the Lamb!” He also said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 19:9) (NETFull)
“What are those children doing in the harvested fields?” I said.
“They’re the youngest of their families.” Our host navigated her Jeep down a dusty African road. “In times of starvation, the older members eat first. Those little ones are trying to club mice for food.”
I could hear pain in the reply coming from a missionary who gave her life to help orphans, and saw no end to the need.
The children in their rags stared at the dry billows behind our car. We had what they wanted.
I’m hungry, too, but mine is soul hunger. My table is meditation, my fare is Scripture, prayer, and God’s voice. I indulge in dessert of inspirational music.
In spite of this intake, I’m never satisfied. I chew a promise, it spikes a rush of joy, is digested and gone. I’m still hungry, craving more.
Jesus has his eye on the children of the field. Still, many of them will depart this earth with their hunger.
I’ll depart this earth with my hunger. Together with the children, we’ll ask God to fill us. We’ll appear before the King to feast and drink aged wines. We’ll break into song, dance around the throne, and absorb God-love. Filled in every way, we’ll fall into a laughing tangle and bellow through our hysterics, “No more pain, emptiness, or hunger.”
Then we might get up and revel again—not because we’re hungry, but because of the overabundance from the Lamb, who promised, “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.”
Prayer: Jesus, fill me and the children at your banqueting table.
Published: Monday, 31 October 2016 22:18
Written by Don Goulding
As he said this, he called out, “The one who has ears to hear had better listen!” (Luke 8:8)
Woe to the over-churched. That was me. God saw me sitting in the pew, wrote a razor-sharp message, and handed it to the Spirit. The Spirit breathed into my pastor’s sermon and it flew from the pulpit. The words arced through the air, hit my eardrum, and bounced onto the floor.
I’d been practicing A.S.D. (Auditory Selective Dullness) for years. Raised in the pews, the effervescent words of life were poured over me before they had meaning. Jesus is the blah, and the blah, blah, blah. It’s a malady I fight today.
As I got older, I determined God was for retirees and recluses, and I reached for the highest numbers on the fun-o-meter. But such living never brought joy. My truest desires weren’t greeted at the door, let alone invited in to satisfaction.
Behind the temporal games I hid a longing to touch the Progenitor of life. I wondered if the enormous life in Christ lay in grasping the true meaning behind all those churchy phrases—washed in the blood, dead to sin, sanctified by grace. They were so much white noise in a preoccupied head.
One morning I woke and there beside me lay the instruments needed to open the tired phrases—a Bible, prayer, and a desperate heart. With the tools, I pried the trampled walnuts until they burst open to reveal emeralds of hope, fire-blue sapphires of love, and diamonds of truth. ‘Christ in me’ was no longer a ho-hum by-line, it was my oxygen. The words were the same, but the power exploding out of them woke me from the stupor I’d called life.
From time to time I still feel over-churched, but I attend so I can squeeze the old terminology for all the brilliant reality it will yield.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, dynamite my crusty heart with fresh understanding.