Published: Monday, 22 October 2018 15:25
Written by Don Goulding
For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered; in days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die! Eccl. 2:16
My great grandfather came west in a covered wagon and lived the adventure of developing a raw land. When I was a boy, great granddad’s homestead in the California desert was sold and subdivided. The new owners knocked down the barn and put up apartments. Great granddad is gone—a whole life is as though it never was. I don’t even know his first name.
There are currently more than seven billion people on earth, and at least another fifty billion have come and gone. That’s fifty-seven billion sets of life experience all forgotten or marginally remembered. As soon as the present becomes the past, my efforts and dreams get piled on the heap of decomposing ancestors. I don’t despair, however, because I possess an indestructible treasure that will outlive even the end of time.
I own the hope diamond. Not the one in the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. but the real hope diamond. The one in the museum should be called the Hopeless Diamond. Discovered in India, it was fashioned into the eye of a Hindu idol and, when it was later stolen, a curse supposedly brought grief to everyone who owned it, including the beheaded Marie Antoinette. That hope diamond has a bitter past and a bleak future in the final blaze.
The hope diamond I own is the bright, translucent love of Christ. It sits atop the dark pile of human endeavors and shines indigo rays of beauty. My hope is my one legitimate reason for joy. It is because of my hope, and not some evaporative legacy, that I will live my brief span with abounding optimism. And because of my hope, even my name lives forever in heaven.
Prayer: Resplendent Lord Jesus, your love is my bright reason for living.
Published: Monday, 15 October 2018 02:21
Written by Don Goulding
Are God's consolations not enough for you, words spoken gently to you? Job 15:11 (NIV)
A coffee-skinned, forty-something woman came trembling after my sermon in Pakistan.
“I had a daughter fourteen years ago, but never any boy. I am useless.” She wept from under her pink shawl.
Pakistani culture dictated she produce a male heir for her family. The poor soul had convinced herself that some great curse was on her. Her body convulsed as she pressed her palms together and begged for prayer to conceive a boy.
The Holy Spirit broke in on the moment and I found myself in a difficult position. This dear sister needed to let go of her obsession for a boy and be fulfilled by Jesus. I squirmed, then passed a note with Job 15:11 written in Urdu. It was a hard message, but the condition of that precious woman’s heart was more important than the fruit of her womb.
I am often sharp as a knife when ministering God’s truth to others and dull as a stone when it comes to applying it to my own faults. After we helped the Pakistani, Jesus worked on my heart.
“Is my love enough to make you let go of lesser blessings? Am I enough?”
I held secret dissatisfaction with certain cards life had dealt me. By my attitude, I had said to the lover of my soul that I wanted, that I deserved, more than him. I wanted Jesus plus an easy life, and please add a little popularity with some fun mixed in, thank you. The consolations of Christ had not been enough for me and his question exposed my insincerity.
I sorely needed to listen to my own preaching because the condition of my heart is more important than the fruit of the world.
Prayer: Lord, I have been a fool with your love. It is enough.
Published: Monday, 08 October 2018 14:24
Written by Don Goulding
Sinners are afraid in Zion; panic grips the godless. They say, ʻWho among us can coexist with destructive fire? Who among us can coexist with unquenchable fire. (Isaiah 33:14 NET_FL)
To die to self and live for Christ is like jumping into a volcano. Nevertheless, I was so disillusioned with the world’s alternatives that I volunteered for the plunge.
My knees flexed ready to spring out but then I led with my head instead of my heart. I was scuffed and slid down on my rear. When you make your leap, don’t hesitate. It only makes the descent painful. Jump into the middle.
Now I’m falling inside the volcano, and yet, I’m more alive then ever before. The heat intensifies as one plummets and holy fire chars impurities at each temperature gradient. Once I grew accustomed to the tolerable loss, I realized the joy of the cleansing outweighs what I suffer. It feels beautiful to soar free of those encumbrances.
At first, I worried my identity would melt into oblivion, but that’s impossible. Whatever is yielded to the blaze is instantly remade as a new and fireproof me—the real me.
Another observable phenomenon is that the deeper I fall, the more transparent the world appears while the things of the Spirit are increasingly real. Those questions we used to discuss on the rim—is God in our details, does the Spirit still do miracles—in here, all that’s obvious.
I’m not there yet but I can see the core is made of molten love. By the time I fall into its radiant heart, there will be less of the old me to burn. I’ll be impervious to heat, as the love-lava passes through my spirit in perfect completion.
I can’t wait to get there.
Prayer: Holy Creator, let me fall into white-hot love with you.