Don Goulding - Blog

Been With Jesus

Don 1When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and discovered that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized these men had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)

I get recharged by spending time among green, brown, fur, and feather. I’ll choose an hour in the woods over electronic entertainment every time. The energy and serenity of the outdoors changes who I am. Others can tell by my demeanor when I’ve been with nature. 

The same is true about time with Jesus. The most beautiful personalities I’ve met were made that way by spending time in the presence of Jesus. Self-help schemes, and even formal learning, are paint over rust and rot. They don’t reach the core person.

Dawn Christmas was a elderly believer with a dead husband and a deranged son. She had every reason for bitterness, but, true to her name, she was one of the most festive, Christ-like people I ever met.

When Dawn wasn't reading her Bible, she was shuffling down the street toward some gathering of the saints at nearby churches. She had no interests except more time with Jesus and his people.

Sweet communion with the Master is the only agent for real improvement. The more Jesus that’s inside me, the more I effervesce his beauty. 

When a bee visits a flower it leaves pollen that changes the bloom into fruit. I need my encounters with Jesus to leave me changed and fruit-bearing. Time with him is not about more knowledge, it’s about fertilizing my character for new birth.

Prayer: Holy King, may others recognize I’ve been with you.


Beyond Me

HAnds“Indeed, my plans are not like your plans,

and my deeds are not like your deeds,

for just as the sky is higher than the earth,

so my deeds are superior to your deeds

and my plans superior to your plans.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

“Go ahead son, let go. You can trust me,” Dad said. 

My feet dangled from a walnut tree, just beyond his reach. I shook my head and clutched the branches. A skinny six-year-old would have been an easy catch, but I wouldn’t make the leap. Something in my juvenile reasoning concluded that if I couldn’t catch a falling person nobody else could either, not even my strong father.

Read more: Beyond Me


Emancipated Caveman

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But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

“Sallie, you come away from that light. Come on, Baby-girl, we stay down here where Master can’t find us.”

Maroons, they were called, runaway slaves who hid in the swamps during the U.S. Civil War. Pattin and his wife were examples. They bore fifteen children inside a cave they dug from the earth. Imagine those kids living underground, in constant fear, not feeling sunshine on their skin until after the war when they were teenagers.

Like the Pattin children, we are born into a world system that’s as unnatural as a cave. We grow up slaves to the darkness of wealth, appearance, and acceptance. We are created to live in the sunshine of God’s love, but our earthen cravings keep us blind to the fulness of life.

When I was eleven, Jesus called me out of the cave. For a while I lived free above ground, delivered from the counterfeit life. But in my teen years, my cave-dulled senses couldn’t handle the radiance of unlimited love. I crawled back into the pit.

Now, I’m a part-time caveman. I dance in the sweet air of liberation, but then sneak back down the tunnel to slavery. The problem is I misunderstand my identity.

I am not a caveman, a mole hiding his fear and shame from the light of truth. I’ve been chosen for freedom, made into a royal prince, adopted into a holy nation of people belonging to God Almighty. At great expense to Jesus, I’m emancipated. That’s who I really am—not a cave-dweller. I don’t want to spend any more of my years in that half-existence.

Prayer: Savior, thank you for calling me out of darkness into your marvelous light.


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