Published: Monday, 23 April 2018 17:29
Written by Don Goulding
… you are a letter of Christ, delivered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on stone tablets but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:3 NET_FL)
The tablet of my heart seems like an impossible medium for Christ’s grand communication. How can he write anything in this infinitesimal space? My heart is a mere speck, a bit of grime stirred from the dust of the world and not fit to herald the King’s message.
Mote that I am, I hover in the radiance of Christ’s glory. It’s a testament to his grace that the Lord seeks out flecks like me. He converts a dust floater into a museum-quality object of beauty. Onlookers gasp in awe. The wonder is not in the speck but in the light that strikes it. Laud the white-hot pure light, seen where it ignites the lint.
That a grand-sized heart reflects the wonder of Jesus is a given but that I can—tiny me with my warts and hang-ups—is a miracle. After years of chasing purity, I realize the ugliness of sin is still in me and all the beauty of Jesus is there too. The coexistence of these polar extremes shouts a declaration.
The message God squeezes onto my minuscule heart tablet is this, “No one can possess the love you see here unless they have supernatural aid. It’s my Son, Jesus, who beams love onto this heart you are reading and we long to do the same for you.”
Prayer: Spirit of the living God, may everyone I meet today see you on my heart.
Published: Monday, 16 April 2018 22:37
Written by Don Goulding
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. Matt. 11:12 (NIV)
Seven thousand Hindus sat before the stage in Ranipet, India to hear the Americans. An Indian pastor grabbed my head and rattled my brain as he prayed in Tamil for anointed preaching. The interpreter and I got into a groove until I proclaimed something inflammatory.
“None of the Hindu gods have died for your sins.”
He went silent and shook his head. That statement may have incited a riot that would have prevented the gospel from going out to the two hundred souls that later responded to the invitation.
The gospel is like dynamite. It must be strategically placed to do the most good. Deployed at the right time and place, it blows apart unholy attachments. Jesus put it this way, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword.”
My faith is inspired by those who suffer the temporal devastation of gospel dynamite, and still, they light fuses. The family of an acquaintance in Nigeria was abducted for being Christians, and he preaches the good news. I was adopted by a Pakistani village that was burned down, and they proclaim Christ to their hostile countrymen. On a subsequent night at the Ranipet festival, my interpreter was struck by a rock. He rubbed the cut on his forehead and pressed on speaking to one thousand children gathered around us. Persecution only strengthens these immovable disciples.
Following Christ is not a sappy, weak-willed affair. The gospel is dangerous. Its power shatters earthy relationships. Only fearless people lay hold of it and blast their hearts free to worship Jesus alone.
Prayer: Lion of Judah, explode whatever weakens my faith.
Published: Monday, 09 April 2018 02:01
Written by Don Goulding
When you find honey, eat only what is sufficient for you, lest you become stuffed with it and vomit it up. Proverbs 25:16 (NETFull)
As we dined on New York steaks with furloughed missionaries to Mozambique and Tibet, the conversation turned to strange baths we’ve had in remote places.
“We don’t usually get a bath but every few weeks. I like it when I can get it but I’m okay doing without,” said a Tibetan missionary.
Her attitude is vital to a true missionary spirit. God gives special grace to endure hardships while in his service but we have to go into it with the understanding that the rescue of human hearts is more important than creature comforts. I think I’ll make that my motto—I like it when I can get it but I’m okay doing without. It fits most everything in life.
In Zimbabwe, Dani and I were privileged to have dinner with orphans. The staple is corn mush called sudza. Try as we might, we couldn’t master the African technique of rolling sudza balls so all the bits remained intact. The children giggled as the paste covered our hands and worked its way up our wrists.
The good things of the earth are sticky. They are provided for our sustenance and enjoyment, yet, if not handled correctly, bits and pieces adhere to our soul and make a mess of us. Everything from food to sex and sports to family must be enjoyed within the context of declaring God’s glory. I must continually roll each gift in thanksgiving or it will begin to stick until I can no longer say, “I like it when I can get it but I’m okay doing without.”
There is only one thing I can’t live without and that is the Spirit of Jesus.
Prayer: Jesus, my everything, help me enjoy your gifts and remain clean.