Don Goulding - Blog

Safe

Frame 03 09 2018 09 23 37The Lord said to Jonah son of Amittai, “Go immediately to Nineveh, that large capital city, and announce judgment against its people because their wickedness has come to my attention.” Instead, Jonah immediately headed off to Tarshish to escape from the commission of the Lord. … The Lord sent a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights. Jonah 1:1-3, 17 (NETFull)

Two weeks before I left for the Middle East, I received a message from the brother arranging my mission trip.

“I am very sorry to let you know there are many problems in Pakistan. Bombing and shooting. It looks very dangerous but do as the Lord leads you.”

It was a heated election season aggravated by volatile politics with Americans.

I went to the Lord and asked if I should make the trip. He let me recall a Bible verse.  But they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. Revelation 12:11

What is safety? Jonah would tell us that hiding in anonymity offers no protection. When he tried to avoid ministry he found himself in his most perilous circumstances—tossed into a killer storm and swallowed by a fish. Only when he finally obeyed God did the umbrella of supernatural protection open above him.

I realized there are far greater dangers than the threat of death or deportation. I could loose my one chance to honor Jesus. Waisting the few earthly hours I’m given on my temporal self is the ultimate in foolish risky behavior.

Safety comes from abiding in the exact spot God calls me to. Even if my health suffers, or my bank account zeros, or my friendships sour—obeying God guarantees my soul is in the center of the safety-nest.

I did go to Pakistan. We had to take precautions such as traveling at night and posting guards, but I learned that serving Jesus makes me soar on wings of angels. For me, it was much better than hiding at home with the stench of a fish belly.

Prayer: Father, help me obey your direction and rest in your protection.

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Small Prayers

Mustard seed blog“… I tell you the truth, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 (NETFull)

The Lord led me to fast and pray for maimed souls in Zimbabwe so I mounted a horse and headed for the highest kopje (hill). For hours I laid on my face in an abandoned foundation. As God’s holiness moved onto the kopje, I was reduced to recounting my own failures.

“How can you use my pathetic prayers against the tide of demonic evil flooding this land?”

The greatness of our God and the smallness of my faith pinned me to the ground. Linear time ceased as I watched specks dancing over the cement. I laid sideways trying to fathom what I beheld. Hundreds of gray bits waltzed within the one-meter tall brick wall. 

In the vista below, natives had set the grasslands on fire to clear the fields and a dozen smoke plumes reached into the sky from three-hundred-sixty degrees around me. Ashes rained into my prayer sanctuary where the breeze swept them in circles. The spectacle redoubled my faith.

The blazes began while I prayed, and just so, God's Spirit put a match to the nonphysical landscape to burn away African ancestor worship. With inclusion I didn’t deserve, the Lord used the dancing ashes to demonstrate angelic rejoicing over repentant hearts to come. He heard my small prayers.

A wondrous time of God’s healing followed in the district. Leaders prayed in unity, churches worshiped together and witchcraft shriveled.

When the prayer of faith strikes the steel of hope, a tiny spark ignites the rocket-blast of God’s power.

Prayer: Listening God, hear my small prayers.

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Soaring Faith

maxresdefaultWhen Jesus heard this he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found such faith in anyone in Israel! … Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; just as you believed, it will be done for you.” Matthew 8:10-13 (NETFull)#

Traveling through rural Pakistan we passed bleak communities lacking any sign of women or children. The Muslims considered it indecent for women to be seen in public so only men sat in clusters or roamed about. Oh the darkness that prevails when humans try to fight evil with their own concocted devices.

Then we arrived at an all Christian village—an island of joy in a sea of repression. I stood on the flat church rooftop and watched yellow, blue, and red kites dance above the mud-coated houses. The ladies inhaled outdoor life, girls ran and giggled, and the boys happily made kites. High over a people freed of their sins flew colorful expressions of a blessed faith.

Faith is the wind that lifts us from the ground. Without faith, my life is grounded on an expiring planet. I was not made to lie on my face but to soar into heavenly adventures, to dance above the common and the temporal. Faith is the only medium that can lift me into the life that God has for me.

Unanchored faith will not do. A kite carried off by the wind will flail and snag in the trees. It must be guided by a flyer with string. Just so, even the strongest of faiths will crash me into hell if it is not attached to Jesus by the string of biblical truth. Faith blows as Jesus anchors me and the result is the soaring life my Pakistani friends celebrated.

Prayer: Mighty Lord, fly me above the world’s pablum.

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