Published: Monday, 03 June 2019 18:42
Written by Don Goulding
Your words are sweeter in my mouth than honey! (Psalms 119:103)
A cooking fire smoked up the inside of the dirt floored restaurant in Nigeria.
“What’s that?” I pointed at the morsels remaining in the serving bowl.
The Africans consulted one another about how to convey the answer in English. “The goat’s … testicles.”
As a missionary, I’ve been served all kinds of delicacies—caterpillars, chicken feet, fish eyes. Some of it went discreetly to a neighbor and some went into my mouth.
I recall a long day in Fiji when we finally got to eat raw sea urchins in lime juice and coconut milk. It was marvelous, like the strong food of royalty. Proof that when I get hungry enough, anything tastes good.
My hunger for God’s word operates the same way. When ease fills my life, prayer and Scripture often confuse and bore me. When my life is in the grip of trials, I fall to my knees and plant my face into every word from God. These appetite extremes only level out if I admit that the ongoing pettiness in my heart means I need to ingest grace every day.
Jesus said he is the bread of life because we need bread anew each day. Yesterday’s portion no longer fills me. I’m famished for new grace, fresh words from him, today.
Ahh, the sweet word of God. When sin’s guilt gnaws in my gut, nothing is more delicious than spooning one of David’s psalms about forgiveness into my mouth. Or when I’ve felt a void of direction and God pushes just the right message from the letters of Paul or the red inked words of Jesus past my lips, nothing else satiates. Whatever hunger attacks, Father holds out the comb dripping with the amber honey of his truth spoken to me.
Prayer: Sustaining Jesus, may I taste your words today.
Published: Monday, 27 May 2019 09:00
Written by Don Goulding
You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, along with all their multitude of stars, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You impart life to them all, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. (Nehemiah 9:6)
Thump, thump, our cat charged across the floor after an imaginary mouse and I couldn’t repress a grin. It was a comic burst of life from an otherwise inert pet.
Thank you, God, for frisky cats. A lot of smiles would disappear from the earth without them.
“Ooh, ahh.” A friend peeled swaddling to reveal her newborn baby. The ruby mouth stretched into a yawn all of one inch across. The elixir of life was doubly concentrated in this tiny infant.
Hallelujah, thank you, God, for babies. We’d be so much less without them.
A spray of water shot from the emerald sea near our boat in Alaska—the exhale of a thirty ton humpback whale. After several breaths, her tail fluke, with a deep vee on the left side, rose then slipped under the surface. The creature returned to a forest of kelp and sardines where she thrives with her calf.
God, you didn’t have to create lifeforms in such wild diversity but you did and it is glorious. Thank you for whales that play beneath the waves. I can’t imagine our oceans empty of those mammal cousins.
On par with God’s incalculable gift of life was his second gift of reclaimed life. His initial invention was too brilliant to let it go after mankind despoiled it. It’s true that nature lies defaced but the heartbeat yet pounds and Jesus has come with a plan for renewal.
My participation in the gift of life doesn’t have to end here. I’m given a window of time to align myself with God’s solution. Cats, new babies, all creation will be remade, very soon. Until then, heaven and earth watch to see if I’ll worship God for his two most mind-boggling gifts—birth and rebirth.
Prayer: Blessed Creator, thank you for the gift of life, and for your plan to reclaim it.
Published: Monday, 20 May 2019 17:07
Written by Don Goulding
Since all these things are to melt away in this manner, what sort of people must we be, conducting our lives in holiness and godliness, while waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God? Because of this day, the heavens will be burned up and dissolve, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze! But, according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness truly resides. (2 Peter 3:11-13)
I’m angry. The Garden of Eden was snatched out of my hands and I’m left in a sick, broken world. God created me to live in paradise, to see his face and to dance with angels. Instead, my brothers fight, my body hurts and I’m not at home. I’m not where I’m supposed to be. An heir of the Most High King trapped behind enemy lines in a foreign land, that’s what I am.
I can’t direct my outrage at God. He’s not the one who ruptured the world. Fellow humans aren’t my targets either, because I, too, chose sin. Satan might bear the guilt but he only aided and abetted what my wicked nature wanted. Mostly, I’m mad at me, mad at sin, mad at rebellion against Father God.
This place isn’t any kind of permanent home and I won’t accept its dysfunction. I was not made for this fallen existence just as I was not made for hell. I’m angry enough to slap away the sticky paws of temptation and walk out the gate. Jesus said he is the gate and whoever enters through him will be saved. Jesus Christ is the way out of this clinging darkness. I’m running through him and straight for home.
This life is proof enough for me, I don’t need to go to hell for conversion. I’m convinced that self-rule is disastrous, both now and eternally. So I’m committed to the holiness of God and ready for the fire of his wrath against everything that causes sin and all who do evil. The wickedness in my own heart needs to be the first to go and the burning has already begun.
I can’t take life sitting down. I am driven to action. I’m up, shaking off the darkness, rushing toward the gate.
Prayer: Saving Lord Jesus, get me out of here.