Don Goulding - Blog

Sacrifice of Thanks

IMG 1599 1Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, acknowledging his name. (Hebrews 13:15)

“Please, will you pray for my friend?” 

A woman stopped in my path as thousands of people dispersed after an evangelistic festival in Red Hills, India.

“She’s been lame since childhood polio.” She pointed to a twenty-year-old girl with her legs braced rigid and wearing a lime-green sari.

I asked the Lord how to minister to the girl, but it turned out that she would minister to me.

Because of her disability, this bent girl had an opportunity to present a sacrifice of praise to God. Her peaceful smile and a short conversation told me she lived in thankfulness in spite of personal suffering. Not a trace of bitterness tainted her soul. It was the most holy and true form of life worship. 

“When we go home forever,” I said, “you’ll be rewarded above me, because you learned to praise God while crippled.”

The Spirit led me to pray over her with confirmation that her heart was in the right place, which would lead to ultimate healing in eternity.

When I again see the green-sari-girl in heaven, I plan to tell her that I wanted to give her physical healing. Instead she gave me an example of heroic joy that is especially rare in my culture. She sacrificed her claim on earthly blessings to prove her trust in God.

Her gift to me was more valuable than what I wanted to give to her.

Prayer: Saving God, may I offer you the sacrifice of thanks in everything.

 

 

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The Gate

IMGP7978And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment, so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation. (Hebrews 9:27-28)

I first saw the gate when I was a boy. It looked like a dark speck on the horizon, but I couldn’t be sure. It was far away.

During grade-school, I came to understand I’d have to go through the gate. A few said it wasn’t necessarily dark, it might open to light. I chose light, and from that time, if I stared long enough, I thought I saw a silver glow.

As a teenager, I realized most people playacted like the gate wasn’t there. If they had to talk about it they whispered, but to be polite no one looked that direction.

We used to run toward the far off speck, but then it got too close. So we tried to move away, or ignore it. Still it got bigger. Old or young, everyone was pulled to the gate, and we pretended otherwise.

One crazy day, I faced the gate. Yes, a silver glow, silver and gold. It wasn't the dark void, it was the entrance to life. I couldn’t recall why we feared it. True, we shouldn’t rush through, but rest, let it draw, and don’t be afraid. The gate wasn’t the end, it was the beginning.

Now I’m aging and up close the shining portal consumes my horizon. Wondering, I stare through the opening into an airy expanse. It secretly thrills me. But I have to remember, don’t talk about it. It’s not polite.

Prayer: God my Savior, I’ll not fear death.

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Crossing Fences

232911 fenceFor God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. (John 3:17)

“Bothell, has anyone ever told you that you’re a strange Christian?” Rupert said over his white picket fence.

“I’m a strange Christian? What do you mean?” Bothell thought about the other fence that divided them.

“Most people shun Georgi and me, they don’t want our type in the neighborhood. If you know what I mean.” Rupert nodded toward another house. “But you’ve been a real friend. Not that I’m complaining, but it’s not what we’ve come to expect.”

Bothell smiled at Rupert’s florescent yellow and pink robe. He sent a silent prayer up, Lord give me the right words.

“When I read my Bible I don’t see that Jesus condemned anybody except the self-righteous. He was a friend of sinners like me.” Rupert seemed to be tracking. “I hope what you see in me is a little of the real Jesus. You and Georgi are loved.”

“Oh, you are just so sweet.” Rupert reached over the fence with a hug and a flutter of pats.

“Rupert, on behalf of Christians I apologize that we’re judgmental. It’s very wrong. We’re all sinners who need forgiveness and second chances to do better. That’s why Jesus came.” 

Rupert’s eyes moistened and Bothell knew the fence between them was dissolving.

Prayer: Savior of the world, lead me across fences.

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