Don Goulding - Blog

Best Friends

I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father. (John 15:15)

During the Christmas break of my junior year of high school, my family moved to a new town. I walked across the school quad at lunchtime like a salmon making a last exhausted run at the waterfall. I had already passed several times through the clique gauntlet. If I didn’t find a group to sit with on this pass, I’d be swept down the friendless teen river.

I believed in Jesus, but I didn’t know how to be friends with someone I couldn’t see. Then we found ourselves on the same team in life’s tug-of-war. When you have a friend from a different social class you eventually see past the differences. After several years, I forgot Jesus was invisible to me.

How cool is it that the Creator of the universe is my inseparable pal? I finally have a soulmate who understands my dysfunction and still loves me. He doesn’t blindly accept whatever I say or do. He challenges me, rigorously, and I accept his correction because he always has my best in mind.

I could be intimidated in Jesus’s presence, what with him being Jehovah God and all. But I know he too was tempted and he questioned our Father’s will. He understands weakness and so coming to him is as comfortable as pulling on a favorite sweatshirt.

No mortal can complete me. I have to stop expecting the impossible from humans who are as flawed as I am. Jesus is the only soulmate who truly gets me, is always ready to hang out, and never pushes too much or too little. Yes, he’s still invisible, but so much more present than anyone.

I only wish I had known in high school what I know today.

Prayer: Jesus, my best friend, you make me whole.

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Faith Wolves

Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheepʼs clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

Yellow eyed wolves stalked a flock of sheep, measuring each animal’s weaknesses. Converging on their chosen victim, they made a show of curling their lips and growling just out of reach of the ram’s lowered horns. It was a ploy of distraction. The real killer stealthily crept behind, pounced on the haunches, and pulled the sheep down.

I met a sweet, gray haired grandmother who practiced the blackest of treacheries. Her victim was a dear friend of mine named Ann. Near the end of life, Ann became a follower of Christ. This supposed friend tried to drag sister Ann into heresy. She was sly. She never mentioned Satan or spoke against Jesus but painted him as one of many friendly spirits they could call upon. With candles, crystals and chants she invoked her spirit guides. This was a faith wolf.

Faith wolves stalk those with a weak or deformed knowledge of Christ. While the majority of the pack howls about atheism, the real killer sneaks up behind with false teachings about Jesus. The devils behind these lies know that missing faith and misapplied faith have the same result—eternal separation from God.

Having faith is not enough. It must be a sincere faith based on the real Jesus. Thankfully, we’re not abandoned to the human conjectures that are so rife in the world. The Bible objectively records the advent of Christ, while the resurrection validates his authority to save. To know the real Jesus, we have only to examine Scripture.

The ordeal served to refine sister Ann’s faith. She realized her one hope against faith wolves was to hide behind the true Shepherd defined in the Bible. She rejected the sorceress, told her never to return, and wrote a homily to be read at her own funeral. Her powerful message convinced at least two others to follow Ann into paradise through the real Jesus.

 

Prayer: Strong Shepherd, protect me as I dedicate myself to knowing you.

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Condemnectomy

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) 

I was sick. Sin festered in my condemnation which threatened my whole being. Cancerous tumors grew on the inflamed organ and spread inoperable tendrils of darkness. The second death was near—spiritual death spent in eternal agonies separated from my Creator.

Jesus volunteered to perform a radical surgery—a condemnectomy. I agreed and he took out my organ of guilt and tossed it on the rubbish heap. I no longer have the nasty condemnation that collected every mistake and kept them inside me. It was all removed with one skilled incision.

Now when I sin, it passes right through. There is no place for it to stick as a permanent part of my being. Past and future mistakes don’t affect me, not anymore. I don’t even have an organ of guilt, a place where somebody could point and make accusations.

I still make bad choices but, thanks to my condemnectomy, I no longer have to brood over my mistakes. I confess and move on to doing things right. My whole life focus has shifted. There’s no longer a list of rules to follow in an effort to prove myself acceptable. Instead, I live according to love.

I tell all who will listen about my operation. I explain exactly where they can have their condemnation removed and how the surgeon himself will pay all the bills. It’s an elective procedure that I beg everybody to undergo because a radical condemnectomy is the only procedure effective against the second death.

Prayer: Blessed Jesus, thank you for removing every accusation.

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