Don Goulding - Blog

Mood Chameleon

chameleon on branchFor I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18)

Many years ago Dani was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She recently underwent another MRI scan and the doctor called to discuss the results. There was no sign of the disease as recorded on previous tests. The mailed copy of the report confirmed this, and we were torn between celebration and confusion over the continuing symptoms. 

About three days later a second report arrived. The first result applied to the neck and the second to the brain, where the disease showed itself plainly. I was ecstatic with the first diagnosis and grieved by the second.

I’m a chameleon that changes moods according to the events in my life. God tries to mature my fickleness. “Don’t blend with the pleasures, or the problems of the world. Adapt to the blessedness you have for eternity.”

But it’s difficult to adapt to blessedness while I’m fighting my way through life’s jungle. What I need is a bird’s eye view of my situation. Looking down on my tiny life, I comprehend trials in the context of eternity. God doesn’t cause pain, he offers the remedy, he uses it for refinement, and he limits it to but a few of the years on my unending timeline. All that said, I still don’t like suffering while I’m in the chaos, but I will later because of the gains it brings.

If I’ve sworn allegiance to Jesus, then forgiveness, eternal healing, and glory are the backdrops for my life. They are my unchanging realities. When my attitude turns gray, I need to focus on my backdrops, and change my color to razzle-dazzle-yellow.

Prayer: Everlasting Father, help me adapt my mood to paradise with you.

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Love Deeply

Sol Islnds PoolNow that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22) (NIV)

It was a simple scene—a dilapidated mobile home, a dying tree, and a rope-swing. The Holy Spirit used these three elements to expose a rotting cavity in my soul. 

Lightening had shattered the top half of the tree until it looked like a hunched man. Any decent arborist would have cut the thing down.

But what about the swing? There must have been a child that treasured the stumpy oak. The rundown house hinted that the tree-swing may be the kid’s only solace. He or she would grow up with fond memories of the dear bent trunk—the eyesore I would’ve removed.

My fixation with perfection leaves a void in my heart. If a tree isn’t symmetrical, I want it chopped. If a human isn’t beautiful or rational, I want them to change. When a disciple backslides, I disregard them. I only love God’s creation when it measures up to my judgmental standards.

My heart needs to repent because real love doesn’t care if the recipient has value. It simply overflows the goodwill it receives from God, without regard to where the overabundance spills.

While serving in the Solomon Islands, Melanesian boys led me to their favorite hiking destination in the jungle. An emerald pool overflowed crystal water down a waterfall and into another fern-laced swimming hole.

From the purity of God’s being his love overflows my heart. For me to look down and decide the next pool is undeserving goes against every natural law. It dams up the river that I would drink from in heaven.

Prayer: Jesus, help me pour love into whomever you put beside me.

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Know Your Enemy

World Flesh Devil

So then, brothers and sisters, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh (for if you live according to the flesh, you will die), but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. (Romans 8:12-13)

 

Of the three enemies that plague me—the world, the flesh, and the devil—the most dangerous is my old nature that craves self-rule. Satan and the world are menacing to be sure, but neither of them can touch the real me in my spirit. Only my own flesh can drag my whole being into hell.

I am my enemy. The battle of life is against my own carnal nature. I fight human injustice, and I’m zealous to attack Satan, now it’s time to stop shaking in the knees before my flesh.

Today, I admonish myself—know your failures. Study your weaknesses then diminish their territory. Don’t compromise with your darker self. If you lose a battle, don’t wave the white flag of surrender, but pick up your weapons and resume the war. The danger is far too perilous to quit.

Most importantly, deploy the nuclear bomb that demolishes temptation—the filling of the Holy Spirit. The world, the flesh, and the devil all melt in the presence of the Spirit of Jesus.

On this battle ground you will be made or destroyed. Be strategic. Be bold. Rout the enemy before he overtakes your eternity.

 

Prayer: Present Holy Spirit, help me in today’s mighty battle against myself.

 

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