Published: Monday, 11 March 2019 16:25
Written by Don Goulding
But you must return to your God,
by maintaining love and justice,
and by waiting for your God to return to you. (Hosea 12:6)
An Australian electrician took his annual holiday in the nearby Fiji Islands. He met a pretty seventeen-year-old minor named Joy and promised to marry her. When the girl became pregnant, he ran back to Australia without further contact.
A year later the electrician returned to Fiji for another holiday of parties. He tried to hook up with a friend of Joy’s by using his old lines.
The two girlfriends confronted him. “This baby is yours and you know it. The least you could do is help with food and diapers.”
The electrician denied responsibility and left the young mother to her tears and poverty.
Dani and I tried to get justice for Joy. We met with legal counsel, waited in courtrooms, and attempted service of the summons for a paternity test and trial. While the electrician hid from the summons, the judge berated Joy for bad decisions until she broke down in tears and gave up. No amount of counseling motivated her to pursue justice. Joy was done getting emotionally pummeled.
In professional sports, the moment a ball goes out of bounds a referee blows a whistle or a flag goes down. I go bonkers when life doesn’t work the same way and victims can’t get immediate justice.
The truth I often forget is that while we live in a universe of absolute justice, it is delayed justice. That Australian electrician didn’t get away with anything and neither do I when I sin. Every misdeed is written into the books John saw in Revelation 12. We are accountable for every moment.
Joy taught me a vital lesson. She knew when to release her perpetrator into God’s hands. Where the human judicial system failed her, Jehovah’s great white throne will prevail. The biblical promise that every action will be judged frees me from tracking the guilt of others. I can focus on repenting from my own sins.
Joy and I have a huge advantage over the electrician. Every sin we commit is transferred to the cross of our Savior. “Unjust,” some would cry. Indeed, it is unjust that innocent Jesus suffered for guilty us. That’s the only injustice permitted by heaven.
Prayer: Jesus my righteous Judge, I rest in your justice.
Published: Monday, 04 March 2019 17:09
Written by Don Goulding
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38)
The Hungarian countryside was like those repeating backgrounds in cartoons. In a hamlet of tile roofed houses, we negotiated a horse plodding before a cart heaped with manure. Regaining the open road, we passed a farmer and his smock clad wife pitchforking compost around verdant crops. Then the scenes repeated with humorous predictability.
The key to Hungary’s agricultural triumph is organic fertilizer. While other countries spew chemicals over crops, Hungarians have mastered the art of repurposing animal waste. It’s an art because spread too thinly the plants starve, whereas an application that is too thick burns vegetables under the potency.
Raising up a crop of salvation is much the same. It needs harvesters armed with fertilizer. In Hungary, and in other places, I’ve witnessed the impact of fertilizing the spiritual harvest field with monetary resources. If insufficient funds are given, the gospel starves and souls languish toward hell. If money is indiscriminately heaped on, the gospel burns under materialism.
Sadly, I found the fields infested with harvesters who’s first priority was physical comfort. Then I also had the joy of meeting missionaries to their own countries like Rufus in India and Dave in Zimbabwe. These servants were so consumed with bringing others to Christ that seeking daily sustenance was often ignored as a nuisance.
Not too thin, not too thick simply means that in addition to sending finances, I roll up my sleeves and hoe a few rows alongside missionaries. Time spent in their world should not become micromanagement but merely an opportunity to reveal those true artists of gospel fertilizer whom I am to support with finances, prayer and relationship.
Prayer: Lord of the harvest, what a privilege to pray and pay for workers.
Published: Monday, 25 February 2019 18:11
Written by Don Goulding
Jesus replied, “You say that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world - to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37)
I woke inside our tent and heard the rippling of the Zambezi River. On the other side of the nylon fabric, large molars crunched food and strong breaths rushed from a heavy chest.
A territorial hippo, an elephant, maybe those lions we heard roaring earlier?
I was nervous about my first camping trip in Africa and sounds grew ominous in the black of night. Everything was on the menu for something else. By morning light, the spore (nice word for poo) confirmed our nocturnal visitor was only a vegetarian eland. I was relieved that nothing had been hungry enough to eat sour, old white guy that night.
Among humans there are differences in appetite for truth. Some only want truth when it brings earthly gain. Others crave truth no matter the cost to temporal self. We range from animalistic snackers to Spirit hungry gorgers.
In the Gospels, Jesus speaks shocking truth that I often waterdown with my interpretations. I take “carry your cross,” “lose your life,” and “turn the other cheek,” and make them into irrelevant metaphors. Read as literal commands they’re too potent for my delicate palate. I prefer diluted half-truths.
Jesus is the grand champion of truth. He not only speaks absolute truth but he also absorbs my falsehood into himself for destruction on the cross. Because he takes my punishment, I can stop watering down Scripture. I can let the poignance of God’s Word expose the fallacies hidden in my heart without fear of judgement.
The work of Jesus changes my spiritual diet. I no longer have to mix my fare with the world’s filler. I can feast in the Bible, savor the most potent truths, and swallow them full strength into who I am.
Prayer: King Jesus, make me a truth eater.