Don Goulding - Blog

Small Prayers

Mustard seed blog“… I tell you the truth, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 (NETFull)

The Lord led me to fast and pray for maimed souls in Zimbabwe so I mounted a horse and headed for the highest kopje (hill). For hours I laid on my face in an abandoned foundation. As God’s holiness moved onto the kopje, I was reduced to recounting my own failures.

“How can you use my pathetic prayers against the tide of demonic evil flooding this land?”

The greatness of our God and the smallness of my faith pinned me to the ground. Linear time ceased as I watched specks dancing over the cement. I laid sideways trying to fathom what I beheld. Hundreds of gray bits waltzed within the one-meter tall brick wall. 

In the vista below, natives had set the grasslands on fire to clear the fields and a dozen smoke plumes reached into the sky from three-hundred-sixty degrees around me. Ashes rained into my prayer sanctuary where the breeze swept them in circles. The spectacle redoubled my faith.

The blazes began while I prayed, and just so, God's Spirit put a match to the nonphysical landscape to burn away African ancestor worship. With inclusion I didn’t deserve, the Lord used the dancing ashes to demonstrate angelic rejoicing over repentant hearts to come. He heard my small prayers.

A wondrous time of God’s healing followed in the district. Leaders prayed in unity, churches worshiped together and witchcraft shriveled.

When the prayer of faith strikes the steel of hope, a tiny spark ignites the rocket-blast of God’s power.

Prayer: Listening God, hear my small prayers.

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Soaring Faith

maxresdefaultWhen Jesus heard this he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found such faith in anyone in Israel! … Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; just as you believed, it will be done for you.” Matthew 8:10-13 (NETFull)#

Traveling through rural Pakistan we passed bleak communities lacking any sign of women or children. The Muslims considered it indecent for women to be seen in public so only men sat in clusters or roamed about. Oh the darkness that prevails when humans try to fight evil with their own concocted devices.

Then we arrived at an all Christian village—an island of joy in a sea of repression. I stood on the flat church rooftop and watched yellow, blue, and red kites dance above the mud-coated houses. The ladies inhaled outdoor life, girls ran and giggled, and the boys happily made kites. High over a people freed of their sins flew colorful expressions of a blessed faith.

Faith is the wind that lifts us from the ground. Without faith, my life is grounded on an expiring planet. I was not made to lie on my face but to soar into heavenly adventures, to dance above the common and the temporal. Faith is the only medium that can lift me into the life that God has for me.

Unanchored faith will not do. A kite carried off by the wind will flail and snag in the trees. It must be guided by a flyer with string. Just so, even the strongest of faiths will crash me into hell if it is not attached to Jesus by the string of biblical truth. Faith blows as Jesus anchors me and the result is the soaring life my Pakistani friends celebrated.

Prayer: Mighty Lord, fly me above the world’s pablum.

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Spiritual Fission

atom splitting in nuclear fission 587169643 5792680a3df78c1734990723Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Romans 8:8-9 (NETFull)

Every Tuesday was bulletin day for our pastor. He tapped out articles on a master stencil in his typewriter and then hand-cranked his worn mimeograph printer. I was aghast at his archaic method and volunteered to set up a word-processing system for him.

It was an act of bravery for someone who grew up with horses and gaslights to take computer lessons. My pastor wrote notes on each step from switching on the machine to printing a document, but his rote learning never allowed him to intuit the programer's logic. Years later, he called me whenever he'd navigated the screen menus into a corner and couldn’t figure out how to get back.

In the same way, disciplining my corrupt mind with rote laws doesn’t keep me out of corners of sin. The change won’t penetrate deep enough for me to understand God or please him. I need his heart and not just the rules. That’s why he made me the new temple of his Spirit. The forgiveness and eternal life offered through Christ are huge but they are only the doorways that make it possible for the Spirit of the Most High to move in and guide me forever.

True faith bubbles up from within. Jesus compared it to yeast, wind, and an artesian fountain but it’s also like nuclear fission. Fission causes an unstoppable chain reaction of splitting atoms. We can no more stop a Spirit-filled believer from sacrificial obedience than we can contain an atom bomb once fission has begun. There will be a joyous, God-pleasing explosion of loving kindness.

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit and burst out from within me.

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