Don Goulding - Blog

More Than Everything

Mtn Top 1When Christ (who is your life) appears, then you too will be revealed in glory with him. Colossians 3:4 (NETFull)

It began when I was a boy and knew I had sinned. I needed the forgiveness offered through Jesus. I was baptized at age eleven and every life challenge since nudged me further into  relationship with Christ. Somewhere along the way, he became my everything.

Jesus is the Divine who planted the seed of eternity in my heart. I didn’t do that, he did. He is also the gardener who waters and weeds around his seed so it might grow. Looking at the fruit of good deeds on my branches, I know he is the sap running in my veins that creates the miracle.

Jesus is the medicine for my raging dysfunction. He is the doctor who slips my dislocated life into place and the mortar that holds me together. He is the music that transforms my spastic twitching into dance. When opinions differ and minor doctrines divide, Jesus quells the fear we must get everything right. If health fails or friends abandon, he is the sunshine that fills the icy crevasse. He is my freedom, my peace, and my hope.

Imagine you’re in the vacuum of outer space. In panic, you try to draw breath but there’s nothing, only reflexive gulping of emptiness. That’s what it’s like to live without Jesus. Take him out of the equation and you no longer have life, only a shell like a clam with the creature missing or a cocoon with the butterfly gone. No life, just empty, dark existence with fading memories of the concept of light.

Jesus is more than everything. He is more existent than me. I’m only here because of his love. He is the cause, I am the effect. Though my faith in him began as a tiny seed, it has grown into an unmovable tree. By the power of his Spirit, my branches stretch toward him and they won’t be deterred. I will be united with my everything.

Prayer: Oh, Jesus, you are everything I want from life.

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Orphans of Chennai

IMGP8122See that you do not disdain one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:10 (NETFull)

On the last day in India our team visited an orphanage in Chennai. Fourteen freshly bathed children met us at the gate and handed a rose to each of us. The grade-schoolers pled, “Uncle, come sit by me.” “Aunty, over here, please sit between us.” They pumped love into us from their eyes.

The day before there were fifteen children but one was sent to the terminal care center. These were AIDS orphans and they knew they had little time on earth. They were shunned by their community, lived in faith for their next meal, and had their life expectancy hacked short.

It didn’t matter to the orphans that the world had robbed them of life. They were connected to the face of their heavenly Father and amply supplied with what really mattered. We had first-world wealth, experiences they couldn’t imagine, and education on a host of subjects—and they gave to us. These were spiritual giants, magnates of unlimited resource who tossed out fortunes of goodwill as though it cost them nothing.

The words of Jesus shouted from the pages of Revelation, … you say, “I am rich and have acquired great wealth, and need nothing,” but do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. He says that about me and the people I live among, not about the orphans of Chennai. 

The kids were a living motto—Joy for what is without a care for what is not. I need that level of trust in my life. It all made me realize that from my place of impoverishment I must look up to the shining orphans of Chennai.

Prayer: Father of the fatherless, make me rich in spirit like them.

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Monkey Fist

IMG 3206Command those who are rich in this worldʼs goods not to be haughty or to set their hope on riches, which are uncertain, but on God who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment. 1 Timothy 6:17 (NETFull)

The monkey watched from the safety of his high branch as an African man chained a clay jar to a tree. The man hid something colorful inside the jar and left. The monkey caught a sugary scent. He climbed down and reached a nimble hand to the candy. The mouth of the jar was too narrow to withdraw his closed fist so he dragged the pot toward the safety of his own tree with his arm inside.

The chain clinked taut.

The monkey clamped his fist tighter around the candy and howled. The noise attracted the man who slowly pulled the chain and the monkey toward a cage. The little animal refused to abandon his sweet prize, instead, he screamed in panic. In that situation, what else could a monkey do?

“Let go,” the Lord says to me. “Open your hand from the things of the world and live in freedom.”

Jesus would have me be smarter than the monkey, and yet, I keep mental fists around popularity, health, comfort, my bank account—the list goes on. Like the monkey, I clamp down on my expectations of what I think I should get.

The devil’s chain is not long. While I grip temporal gifts, Satan draws me toward eternal imprisonment. The only breakable link between me and his hellfire is where my own palm seizes earthly privileges. My one hope is to open my hand.

My heavenly Father has a better supply program in mind. He watches over me to provide for all of my needs and some of my wants but, not all, so I’ll learn to discern between the sacred and the superfluous. This is the way life is supposed to work, me looking to my Provider and him looking after me. Simple, dependent gratitude with no debasing monkey fist.

Prayer: Giving Father, I will thank you for each bite of life.

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