Published: Monday, 05 June 2017 16:01
Written by Don Goulding
This is the solemn pronouncement of the Holy One, the True One, who holds the key of David, who opens doors no one can shut, and shuts doors no one can open … (Revelation 3:7)
For thousands of years, men searched for the key. Music and laughter streamed from under the door, but outside in the stinging cold, judgement waited in darkness.
Abraham, Moses, and David hungered after the key. In Solomon’s day, the door was still shut. He had untold wealth, a thousand beautiful wives, and the finest intellect on earth, but none of those would crack the door. Solomon’s conclusion—“‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Everything is meaningless!’” (Ecclesiastes 12:8) (NIV)
Then, at the perfect moment in history, after men had exhausted every effort to open the lock, the key fell from heaven.
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)
The key slipped into the lock, the tumblers fell into place, and the door swung wide. Death stayed outside. And more than eternal life alone, the Messiah opened purpose and hope, growth and love. Every tumbler of life was released where it engaged Jesus.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in the Son and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross - through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:19-20)
It’s been one hundred generations since the key fell, and now it’s my turn on the timeline of history. What those before me sought with tears, I take for granted. I was born with the key in my hand, so I don’t even bother to fit it into the lock. Apathy is my most infernal curse.
I have the key. The Key! I have access to every answer, all of life is open to me for a twist of my wrist. Solomon with his wealth and brains didn’t have what I have—the key that opens life’s meaning.
But will I turn the lock and go in?
Therefore we must be wary that, while the promise of entering his rest remains open, none of you may seem to have come short of it. (Hebrews 4:1)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, come unlock every part of my life.
Published: Sunday, 28 May 2017 18:36
Written by Don Goulding
Now godliness combined with contentment brings great profit. For we have brought nothing into this world and so we cannot take a single thing out either. (1 Timothy 6:6, 7)
I walked past a line of patients waiting outside our makeshift dental clinic in Zimbabwe. Inside, the dentist aimed a flashlight and a needle into an open mouth. A kitchen chair and some extraction tools completed the operating theater.
In rural Africa there’s no money for prevention or fillings. When a tooth hurts, it’s extracted. After the last patient, the dentist showed me a tub of seventy-nine teeth pulled that day.
Those patients had waited for the rare opportunity when a dentist would help them without full payment. That meant there were many Africans normally living with elevated tooth pain, and yet they were always cheerful when I met them on the bush paths.
This is a primary difference between African Christians and me. They are diligent in spiritual arenas and passive with earthly circumstances. I’m nonchalant about spiritual matters and appalled with physical brokenness. Given the chance to exchange their spiritual wealth for physical prosperity, I believe most native disciples would refuse. They know the importance of what they have and don't have.
I want to go African. I want their perspective. If the poor natives can take their broken circumstances together with God’s promises and thrive, then so can I. Push my heartaches into a pile, then let me clap and boogie around them, African style. Let’s celebrate together because God redeems.
Materialism robs me of the African’s simple contentment. Less is more. I need less entertainment and more Spirit filling, fewer possessions and deeper relationships. But the less must come before the more, and my old nature doesn’t want to accept that order. But maybe I can watch the African and force my flesh to learn.
Prayer: Jesus, teach my heart true contentment.
Published: Monday, 22 May 2017 15:23
Written by Don Goulding
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For there is more to life than food, and more to the body than clothing. (Luke 12:22-23)
During our early years of marriage Dani and I lived in rental houses. Later we owned our homes. While owning generally has long-term financial benefits, it also comes with concerns for mortgages, maintenance, and taxes. As a renter I wasn’t anxious about how the neighbor’s abandoned cars lowered my equity, or about fixing the roof. All that was the landlord’s problem.
Living for God makes him the landlord and me the renter. I’m unqualified to handle the worries of owning life. I need a simpler code of existence. I can trade a thousand concerns for one rent payment of pleasing Jesus. Instead of juggling anxieties for friends, health, and job security, listening to the Spirit of Jesus becomes my one uncomplicated payment. Everything else is his responsibility.
Renters travel light. This life is only a brief encampment, and we don’t invest in additions that will be left behind when we move. Instead, we focus on improvements like integrity and charity that can be packed up and taken with us.
Renters also know the equity accrues to the Lord. The assets and resources aren’t ours. Anything achieved in his service belongs to him. It all came from him and it returns to him.
Ownership is too exhausting. I have to fret about the dilapidation in my life and struggle to pay for each mistake. I’d rather admit bankruptcy, then move into his real estate, free of sanctimonious works. His righteousness is a first rate accommodation, and staying in his joy is like living on permanent vacation.
The time I save by not owning life is much better spent praising my Landlord.
Prayer: Jehovah Jireh (God Provides), take ownership of all I am.