Don Goulding - Blog

Enter That Rest

For the one who enters Godʼs rest has also rested from his works, just as God did from his own works. Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest… (Hebrews 4:10, 11)

Trash, tumbleweeds, and the smell of excrement blew across the new foundation. It was the end of the first day, and the cement encrusted teens admired their work. This would be the hardest of the four workdays—I knew because it was my seventeenth trip to build homes for poor families in Mexico. We were bone tired, with no prospects for a real shower for another week. So why did I return each year? Because it was the one place where my soul rested.

Real rest doesn’t come from sleep, entertainment, or vacation. Those things may rest the body and never reach the mind and spirit. I only find serenity when responsibility for life has been transferred to Jesus.

Each year, for the week I spent in Mexico, my agenda was shelved and knew I was where God wanted me—seven back-to-back days of dependence on him and release from me. There was finally some quiet in my heart.

It’s a nervy step to shut down the chugging of my self-reliance generator and switch onto God’s grid. I’ve known the racket of that tired machine all my life. The noise and fumes of a hundred worries evaporate as God’s peace flows in.

After creating the universe, God sat back and said, “It is very good.” Then he blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Through trust in Jesus for every facet of my life, I’m invited to enter his blessed, holy Sabbath, and join him in deep rest.

Prayer: Sovereign King, let me enter your Sabbath rest.

Singular Reality

After these things I looked, and there was a door standing open in heaven! …a throne was standing in heaven with someone seated on it! And the one seated on it was like jasper and carnelian in appearance, and a rainbow looking like it was made of emerald encircled the throne. (Revelation 4:1-3)

Then I saw standing in the middle of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the middle of the elders, a Lamb that appeared to have been killed. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. (Revelation 5:6)

Open the portal between our dimension and heaven and a singular reality presents itself—the Lamb before the throne. Jesus stands before God as the sacrificial Lamb who removes divine judgment from treacherous offspring. Surrounding this epicenter of life is a crystal sea, four celestial beings, twenty-four elders, and a myriad of angels. Everything bows to worship God and his Lamb. It’s a sight so breathtaking that John couldn’t find words to describe his vision. He made do with jasper, carnelian, rainbow, and emerald.

The glory of this reality doesn’t eclipse who I am—rather, it shines eternal significance onto my life. Jesus holds the right hand of God, and, incredibly, in his other hand is mine. I’m attached to the radiant source of existence. His life beams to me, and my worship reflects on him. I’m irrevocably connected through heaven’s singular reality.

Because of my connection, temptations convert into holy opportunities. Hold an eternal being on corrupt earth, then tie him to his own sinful nature and see if he still worships God. When he overcomes, the praise such a creation brings his Creator is multiplied sevenfold beyond all the bowing in heaven. How I handle my trials is a most important part of the adoration surrounding the throne.

When I’m down here on earth feeling small, I need to look beyond the physical, to what John saw—the Lamb before the throne. That singular reality changes who I am, and binds me—body, mind, and spirit—to the throne of all dominion. 

I’m not so small after all.

Prayer: To the One seated on the throne and to the Lamb, be praise, glory, and honor.

In His Shoes

I have become all things to all people, so that by all means I may save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22)

“What right had we to tell them that we knew a better way… We knew we must earn that right. We must live with them, love them, try to understand them, and above all, demonstrate to them what we meant by eternal life: a new kind of life, not simply a longer one.” (Elliot, The Savage My Kinsman). 

Elizabeth Elliot lived with the Ecuadorian Indians that murdered her husband, and her words stuck in my heart. I was moved to get out of our mission station, and stay with the natives of Zimbabwe. The Lord soon opened an opportunity to visit Pastor Ringo Pio and his family in the bush.

Ringo’s wife, Spiwe, cooked our cornmeal mush and beans. In mid reach for a pot, she flicked a stick further into the fire as deftly as any American homemaker might tweak the knob on her stove. We ate outdoors and talked above the cricket song.

My hosts asked me to join them for evening prayers, then pointed me toward a roofless hut with straw on the floor. They retired to their thatched hut, and I fell asleep to snatches of drum music carried on the breeze.

At first light, Spiwe heated a bucket of water and left me in an open aired enclosure made of grass fence. Like a giraffe, my head poked above the wall as I washed with a chunk of blue soap. It was as refreshing as the shower at a five-star hotel.

On Sunday I preached while Ringo interpreted to a congregation sitting on the flattened savannah grass. God was there. Thirty-four repented and were baptized.

The Lord showed me there is great ministry success through incarnational love. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did for me? He came down, walked in my shoes, then said, “Follow me home.”

Prayer: Sweet Savior, draw my heart into the lives of those who need your love.