Published: Monday, 04 February 2019 17:15
Written by Don Goulding
Consider how the flowers grow; they do not work or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! Luke 12:27 (NETFull)
I am not a flower with velvety petals straining toward the sun, giving my nectar to visiting bees, swaying at the gentlest of winds. I am not a flower that blooms for a lunar cycle only to molder into brown decay. I am not a flower.
People are like a vapor, their days like a shadow that disappears. Psalms 144:4 (NETFull)
I am not a vapor, a mist that wafts above the field when droplets form in a chance gathering. I am not a vapor swirling off to oblivion at the first shift in climate and without a name or a future. I am not a vapor.
Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 41:14 (NIV)
I am not a worm writhing underground, blind to the whole of life above me. I am not a worm tempting every bird, mole and fish to seize and devour me. I am not a worm.
I am a child of God, adopted into his holy family. My mission is to stand against gales of worldly opinion and remain stalwart at every temptation. I breathe that I might never bow to those enemies of Christ—hate, lies and death. I am God’s own eternal warrior.
My Father planned my existence before the stars were born. I am his dream incarnated into a permanent offspring. He appointed works that should fill my timely sojourn on earth.
Because of who my Father is, I am an elevated being. Fear is not my master, it bows to me. I inherit co-ownership of all he possesses. My father gave me dominion over creation and the wisdom necessary for husbandry. I seek his purposes. I embrace his commands.
I am not a flower. I am not a vapor. I am not a worm. I am a loved child as declared by the Lord, my Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
Prayer: Father of mine, may I stand tall beside you.
Published: Monday, 28 January 2019 18:20
Written by Don Goulding
Woe to them! For they have traveled down Cain’s path, and because of greed have abandoned themselves to Balaam’s error; hence, they will certainly perish in Korah’s rebellion. Jude 1:11 (NETFull)
The largest facet on top gleams with pristine silver light. Two of the planes show color. One is mountain sky blue, the other holds a rainbow spanning yellow to fuchsia. Each of the eight triangle cuts is razor-clean, forming the tapered cylinder of the perfect diamond.
Beware, oh lover, don’t be deceived dear bride, that rarest of gems symbolizing a sacrificial vow may well be a counterfeit made of cubic zirconia. Zirconia looks, cuts and sparkles like diamond but it’s manmade. Naturally occurring diamonds are much rarer and therefore truly expensive.
Cain brought produce from the ground as an offering to the Lord. He invented his own sacrifice without seeking what God approved. Balaam intended on cursing the Israelites but his donkey refused to continue because it had more respect for God than did Balaam. Korah decided his approach to God was as good as Moses’s and his coup of the high priesthood was swallowed into a shortcut to hell.
Cain, Balaam, and Korah all tried to pass cubic zirconia off as diamonds. They offered manmade worship instead of inquiring about God’s terms of devotion. Zirconia worship construes God as we want him to be, while diamond worship lets God reveal himself as he is. Behind the first form of adoration is a preoccupation with me, while the second holds God as primary.
As I talk with people about God, I find the world rife with folks who want the benefits of posing as holy, engaging the supernatural, and going to heaven, but they don’t want to encounter the real God. It’s no wonder because the only path there takes me through the swamp of my sinfulness and who wants to wade in that stench.
To avoid the trap of Cain, Balaam and Korah, I must answer a question—Does my worship source from human imagination or am I pursuing the genuine God as revealed in the Christian Bible?
Prayer: Let me worship the real one true God.
Published: Monday, 21 January 2019 19:42
Written by Don Goulding
You study the scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same scriptures that testify about me, but you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life. John 5:39-40 (NETFull)
When I was working in Albania, a small boy couldn’t reach the table from his chair. I slid a thick Bible under the lad to boost him a few inches.
“How dare you use the Word of God to sit on,” an Albanian missionary said with wide eyes.
Sufficiently rebuked, I replaced the Bible with a pillow. It made me wonder which was more sacred, the paper, ink and leather of the Bible or the child who sat on it. I recalled that the living word of God, Jesus, allowed children to sit on him.
The Bible is the complete and inerrant written word of God and as such its truth must govern my faith. However, I must not allow the Bible to become something it is not. It is not a lucky talisman and it is not the object of my adoration. The truth the Bible contains is to be cherished, not the textual media itself.
Coming from a culture in which we tout our degrees of advanced learning, I catch myself idolizing bookish knowledge about Jesus instead of Jesus himself. He wants so much more than my head learning or rote obedience. He wants to saturate me to the very core.
On close examination every book in the Bible points to Jesus Christ. Genesis promises one to come who will crush Satan. That’s Jesus. The books of the law introduce the need for a sacrificial lamb—Jesus again. All the poetry, prophets, and of course the New Testament speak, at least symbolically, of Jesus. The Bible is a miraculous blessing because the Holy Spirit uses it to carry me to Jesus who is the true and full word of God.
The best way I know to respect Bibles, crosses, angels and whatever else points to Jesus is to not stop short at worship of them, but to go all the way to Jesus himself so that I may have life—full, eternal, really fun life.
Prayer: Jesus, Holy Word of God, consume me.