Don Goulding - Blog

Doubt Monsters

Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) 

 
Dear Brittany,
 
It’s good you’re questioning whether God really exists. He doesn’t want namby-pamby followers who accept everything fed to them. Faith should be the result of an informed intentional choice. I say it’s okay to wrestle the doubt monsters. Let me tell you about a few of mine.
 
One beast growls about how foolish I am to disagree with the majority. Most people, he says, know how pointless it is to ask questions about origin and purpose. I shrink in defeat but I can’t stop thinking about where we came from. I poke the monster’s nose with that question. He throws the usual scientific mumbo jumbo at me but he never has an answer for where matter first came from.
 
Another monster leans into my face, “How could a God of love allow so much suffering?” 
 
I pinch my nose and point an inquiring finger into the Bible, to where Satan introduced pain into the world and not God. Mr. Stinky Breath’s question is changed from, where is God when there is pain?, to, where are men when God offers a solution? That brut goes limp too.
 
A third monster reminds me that believing in God will mean I’m accountable. He thumps my chest and says I’d better drop the God stuff and do what I want.
 
This is where I use my secret ninja move, throw him under me, and say, “And pretending to hide from accountability is the dumbest kind of stupid.”
 
Brittany, seeking God is not the popular road. Please don’t give up because so much is at stake. I know the doubt monsters are strong but I hope you beat them because heaven will not be the same without your precious smile.
 
Prayer: Savior God, I pray for more faith for Brittany, for myself, and for all the doubters like us.
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Threshing Temple

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty pieces of silver. Then David built an altar for the Lord there and offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings. And the Lord accepted prayers for the land, and the plague was removed from Israel. (2 Samuel 24:24-25) 

On Mount Moriah in Jerusalem there was a threshing floor belonging to Araunah the Jebusite. On this earthen floor, King David’s heart was threshed like so much grain separated from chaff.

David had lost sight of the fact that God was the source of his military victories and, against the advice of his friends, he sent General Joab to count the fighting men. God responded with a plague that killed seventy thousand Israelites. At Araunah’s threshing floor, David saw the angel of death with a sword raised over Jerusalem. His response defined the rest of his life.

David put on sackcloth, threw himself on his face, and sought God’s mercy. He bought the threshing floor and sacrificed burnt offerings on site. Only a supernatural transference of his guilt to a sacrificial victim could save him and his people. He wholeheartedly embraced the transaction.

Seventeen years later, David bequeathed the real estate of his heart threshing as the site for Solomon’s temple, where God’s glory would fall so powerfully the priests had to vacate.

Like David, I’ve made epic mistakes in my life. Will they remain as places of shameful threshing or become a temple of God’s glory? While God is still in the transformation business, the answer depends on my response. If I follow David, repent in earnest, and fully consign my guilt to the cross of Jesus, then God will convert those dark places into a center of worship filled with more glory than I can withstand.

Prayer: Merciful God, help me boldly repent and praise you.

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Whirlpool

But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death. (James 1:14-15) 

 
When I sin, I feel far away from God, and when I’m far away from God, I sin. The whirlpool goes round, sucking me toward hell’s black hole. Each time I repeat my pet sins—envy, indifference, gluttony, worry—I’m pulled further down.
I begged to get out of the whirlpool of temptation but my heavenly Father had a different plan. He told me that temptation is not sin and I need to learn how to live within its grasp because the fight will make me stronger.
During his sinless thirty-three years on earth, Jesus never left the whirlpool. He felt its tug when Satan baited him in the desert. The whirlpool must have caused his struggle to accept the cross. Our Messiah demonstrated that wholesale escape from temptation isn’t our Father’s purpose for this era.
The vortex froths white and horizontal at the top, black and vertical at the bottom. Down on the funnel’s walls, failure is an eventual certainty. When I dabble in the lower regions and tell myself it’ll never get a complete hold on me, it’s already too late.
The key to success isn’t the removal of temptation but in living near the top. When I replace worldly pastimes with the worship of Jesus, I rise to the empowerment of the outer edge. Up near heaven’s luminance, the downward pull doesn’t overcome me.
For now, I have to live inside the whirlpool but I don’t have to attempt wall surfing.
 
Prayer: Holy and beautiful Light, I choose to live near you today.
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