Published: Sunday, 24 April 2016 12:36
Written by Don Goulding
So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living person”; the last Adam became a life- giving spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:45 NET_FL)
So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.” And after he said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21-22 NET_FL)
I turned 360 degrees, analyzing each piece in the modern and contemporary art pavilion of the Seattle Art Museum. Above me cars tumbled through the air, beside me boxes of breakfast cereal rested on silk inside a glass case, and around me thought-fragments were regurgitated onto canvas then hung under lights for examination.
Art touches our emotions and the effect that room had on my feelings was shock. I was shocked how easily I identified with chaos, and sickened that we put a frame around our fractured reality and extol it. It didn’t matter that the collection was housed in a bedazzling skyscraper, or that the expenses were underwritten by the richest man on the planet (Gates), it was a brazen display of mankind’s brokenness, and without a remedy in sight.
No human or institution can return what we've forfeited since Eden. Only Jesus will do that. The first Adam received life when God breathed into him, now the last Adam breathes a second chance at life into us. Jesus breathes out, and I breathe in with childlike faith. When we both do our part, peace floods my squirming mind, my world makes sense, I know why I’m here, I’m ready to be sent out.
The choice is re-made with each new day. I can join the world’s homage of our disfunction, or inhale the breath, words, and life of Jesus. What will it be for today?
Prayer: Spirit of Jesus, breathe your cure into me.
Published: Sunday, 17 April 2016 10:26
Written by Don Goulding
Give us today our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11 NET_FL)
The biographies of Hudson Taylor and George Muller planted a bomb in my heart. These revolutionary Christians took God literally about depending on him for daily bread. I couldn’t ignore the ticking—I had to confront my own lack of trust.
Transportation was a good place to start. For thirty years, when I wanted to go somewhere, I never depended on supernatural intervention. I jumped in my car and went. This would be my experiment of radical trust.
I sold my snazzy yellow truck and bought a bicycle. Whenever I needed to go beyond the range of my bike, I prayed. God answered, and with bonuses.
An arranged ride left me waiting in front of the church. Then a family confrontation exploded around a dear friend and he randomly fled to the church. There I was sitting on the curb. We prayed. He healed. With a car I would have missed that divine appointment. My ride came and we got to our destination to find the people there were behind schedule. So we were right on time.
A few days later, I realized there was an important meeting the following day.
“Well, Lord, I guess this is your sign I need to get wheels of my own,” I prayed.
Not ten minutes after the amen, I discovered a note from my wife. If you need my car tomorrow you can use it because I’m working from home.
Every time I pray I get one of two results. Either A) I don’t really need the trip or, B) a means of transportation is available.
Rather than defuse the bomb, my transportation experiment made it tick louder. What other areas in my life have I missed seeing God’s provision? Now that I know it’s possible, I have to find new ways to trust.
Prayer: Father, lead me to the next level with you.
Published: Sunday, 10 April 2016 10:29
Written by Don Goulding
For our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. (2 Corinthians 4:17 NET_FL)
“Tell them for me. Tell people what happened,” ten-year-old Tanaka rasped out her dying wish.
At age four, Tanaka was sold by her mother as a prostitute. When she was eight, she was rescued to a Zimbabwean orphanage. The fair-skinned girl died of AIDS two years later.
My dog had a better earthly life than precious, beautiful Tanaka. So how do I reconcile the hell-infested existence of a four-year-old daily rape victim to my soft life of ease? To pretend suffering is not real, or to think God ignores it, is to misunderstand reality. Pain is not initiated by God nor is it permitted in his ordained future for his followers. It’s an aberration conjured by Satan and fallen humans.
God, however, is not bested. He transforms our earthly misery into opportunities for eternal glory. Jesus experienced both the pain of suffering and the glory of paradise and the two did not compare. Crucifixion pushed him down an inch, resurrection lifted him up a mile. The same exchange is planned for us.
Our God deals in justice and equity. Tanaka suffered in the strength of Jesus and now she is rewarded a thousand-fold. God never forgot her torment, instead he used it for her glory and his. Hallelujah!
Prayer: Merciful Father, honor the downtrodden throughout eternity.