Don Goulding - Blog

Entwined Faith

prayer warriorThen Jesus said to him, “ʻIf you are able?ʼ All things are possible for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the boy cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:23-24)

I performed a gospel slight-of-hand trick before wide-eyed children at an evangelistic day-club in Slovakia. An eight-year-old volunteer assisted as we sliced a one meter length of rope in half.

“Satan uses sin to cut our innocence in two,” I said. “But Jesus can make us whole again.” We tied the ends back together.

I wound the repaired rope around my hand and reached in a pocket for some invisible Holy Spirit dust.

“When we wrap our life around him, he makes our sin disappear.” The cord was unwrapped with a flourish and, voila, it was in one piece without a knot in sight.

Oohs and aahs rippled through the young audience.

I wanted the Slovakians to know I wasn't using magic so I revealed the secret. The loop that was sliced and re-tied was actually at one end of the cord. I hid that fake end in my pocket as I pretended to retrieve dust. No wizardry, just a knowledge of how to fold, cut, and stash the knotted end. The kids were no longer amazed.

Jesus promised that if we ask and have faith miracles will be done for us. I read these statements and shake my head. The supernatural seems impossible. But maybe it’s time to reveal the mystery shrouding answered prayer.

I’ve known prayer warriors who regularly ask for, and receive, God’s intervention. They’ve learned the secret that faith to access God’s power must accompany an understanding of his heart. They don’t believe in miracles so much as they believe in the Father.

That’s what I want from my prayers—to be so entwined with the heart of God that, like Jesus, I see what Father is doing and I’m used of him to call it into the natural.

Prayer: Father, help my unbelief—help me ask for what you want.

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Band-Aid Baby

baby bandaidIf your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell. (Matthew 5:30)

I forced the blade of a utility knife through a plastic bucket, slipped, and stabbed my own leg. A friend used duct-tape to wrap the wound until we could finish the project.

Later, a nurse prepped for stitches but she left me to remove the tape from my hairy leg. After twenty minutes, she found me tugging in feeble increments. She grabbed the silver tape and ripped it free in one motion. Her method really didn’t hurt. I had prolonged the agony by my lack of resolve.

I’m a spiritual Band-Aid baby, too. I attempt to put my old nature to death slowly when Jesus wants to shorten the pain with a ripping campaign.

Sin cuts. It doesn't matter if I stab myself or if someone else injures me, either way, wrong choices cause wounds. The Spirit of Christ offers to enter the laceration for healing. But I clutch over my hurt and apply Band-Aids—those easy fixes that never address root problems. 

Over time, my temporary bandages become a permanent part of my corrupt nature. I fear that if I remove them, I’ll lessen who I am. But I was never meant to assimilate crusty distractions to wholeness.

True healing can’t happen until I’m honest about the depth of my injury. Habits will smell and anger will fester until I force my hands down, expose my heart, and let Jesus in for surgery. He has to use the light of prayerful meditation to perform a miracle of reconstruction.

But first, my Band-Aids have to go. So grab hold of vague acknowledgements and rip.

Prayer: Go ahead, Savior, tear away excuses and heal me deeply.

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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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