Published: Monday, 23 July 2018 16:48
Written by Don Goulding
He made the large basin of bronze and its pedestal of bronze from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance of the tent of meeting. Exodus 38:8 (NETFull)
“You there, stop. Moses said no more donations,” a tribal leader shouted at his people.
A mound of gold earrings and jewelry stood at the temple site and the people were restrained from giving more. It was a high point in Israel’s devotion. They were caught in a wave of revival and on the crest were the godly women who served as temple concierges. They melted their bronze mirrors to make the basin used for washing in front of the altar. Their hearts were redirected from self-worship to cleansing before God.
Those who spend a lot of time before the mirror miss the point of life. So I asked the Lord to show me what mirrors I have in my heart, where I am more focused on me than on him. A few things surfaced.
I worry about how to make what comes next in my life pleasant. The days I have remaining should be about honoring Jesus, not about staring into my comfort. So that’s a mirror.
Then there are the cravings of my old nature—over-indulgence, distraction, laziness. Surely those are mirrors of self-interest.
Finally there is my work. To the extent that I make my vocation about what I do instead of about what God does through me, it’s another mirror.
To melt these reflectors of vanity I have to do what the women at the temple did. As I redirect into praise of the Holy One—lying facedown, pressing my adoration heavenward—flames melt my concerns about self. Homage generates heat that recasts the object of my devotion into the washbasin of Christ.
Prayer: Beautiful God, melt these mirrors into worship of you.
Published: Monday, 16 July 2018 16:28
Written by Don Goulding
On that same occasion Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your gracious will.” Luke 10:21 (NETFull)
Our daughter, Ashley, had a growth in her ear canal that caused minor discomfort for two years before she had it examined. The doctor feared it was a tumor and referred her to a specialist. Ashley decided to go to her own specialist first—to Jesus. After an anointing prayer by her church, she went to the recommended doctor. He found nothing and the pain was gone. It was a miracle of God’s response to prayer.
When I relayed the event to an American Christian, he typified our worldview by saying, “She probably had a plant seed that fell out between examinations.”
Jesus sent out seventy-two disciples with authority to heal, cast out demons, and preach. They returned jumping with excitement over God’s power. Jesus said the miracles they experienced were hidden from the wise and learned. Only those with childlike faith can see what God is actually doing.
The problem is not the rarity of God’s interventions but the jadedness of our faith. I wait for physical manifestations of spiritual realities, which is like waiting for a bird to fly past before I’ll accept that there must be air around me. Back when I was a child, I used to know that our tangible life is only a byproduct of God’s spiritual realm.
If I want to rejoice as Jesus did, I have to go back to innocent trust. Cold, mute cynicism will never get me there. I have to ask, then reach up for God’s touch like a three-year-old. No doubt or fear, just eager expectation that I’ll see all that made Jesus celebrate in the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Father, give me childlike eyes for the unseen.
Published: Monday, 09 July 2018 16:16
Written by Don Goulding
If you have known me, you will know my Father too. And from now on you do know him and have seen him. John 14:7 (NETFull)
I wondered if a guy I knew in Bible college would have any interest in our friendship after thirty years. Oceans of life had pushed our continents apart. He was a pastor at a mega-church, I was a struggling missionary. Did we even know each other anymore?
Over the phone, I heard the same cheerful voice I knew in college. Of course I know this guy—this is my old friend, Dave. We’d both changed but within seconds I recognized the one-of-a-kind heart in my old friend.
In Luke thirteen, Jesus compares heaven to a house and makes it clear that entrance is conditional on knowing the master. He said some will knock and the owner will reply, “I don't know you or where you come from.”
His words ignited a question for me. Do I know Jesus? I’ve never seen him or audibly heard his voice as some have. I certainly believe in him and think I feel his Spirit from time to time, but do I know him?
As a new Christian I imagined maturity meant I would see and hear God like Moses and Paul. Now I realize that, instead of mere sensory experience, the Lord draws me into something more profound.
To know Jesus I must press my inmost being into union with him. I must subordinate my will to his and exchange my pettiness for his love. I should hunger to be righteous as he is, enjoy his people with him, and lament by his side over the brokenness of the world. I need to relish his words and try to assimilate them into my life regardless of temptation and failure.
It is in reaching for Jesus that I come to realize he is my truest friend. My fingertips may never make contact but his love is so solid it changes everything.
As quickly as I connected with my old friend, Dave, I also recognize the blessed heart of Jesus. And by knowing his heart, according to his own words, I know the Father, too. And knowing them is everything.
Prayer: Awesome Spirit of Jesus, thank you that we know each other.