Don Goulding - Blog

Go African

DCF00017 1Now 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.

Renting Life

IMG 0696Therefore 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.

Spirit of Prophecy

shutterstock Ocean WaveWorship God, for the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:10)

A blast of wind slammed the slate-blue sea. A swell rolled forward but no water traveled laterally as the wind’s energy leapfrogged through the liquid particles. The water rose and fell, circled to where it began, then stayed behind as the wave passed on.

New winds pressed its back, and the wave increased to five meters. The great roller ran two thousand kilometers across open sea toward its destiny. As it met the rising ocean floor, for the first time it hurled water in an open breaker. Kinetic energy that began weeks before, now combined with water, foam, and sand to crash against coastal rocks, and die with a hiss.

The spirit of prophecy is a wave pushed up by the breath of the Spirit. This isn't physical but spiritual energy, and so all the more real. It passes through our tangible existence evidenced only by a circle of earthly powers that briefly rise and fall. Prophecies about sin, righteousness, and judgment mount in indestructible power. For thousands of years the wave has rolled toward the shore of end times.

The spirit of prophecy speaking through Isaiah, Daniel, John, and others revealed that the spiritual energy will turn into physical signs and conflicts. In a final effort, the temporal will cast itself against the rock, Jesus Christ. Everything resolves with Jesus.

Even now the wave has reached the upwardly sloping floor of history. I feel the curl propelling me forward, tumbling me over, casting me at the feet of Jesus.


Prayer: Unstoppable God, carry me by the spirit of prophecy to Jesus.