Published: Monday, 20 April 2020 16:11
Written by Don Goulding
“For indeed the day is coming, burning like a furnace, and all the arrogant evildoers will be chaff. The coming day will burn them up,” says the Lord who rules over all. “It will not leave even a root or branch. But for you who respect my name, the sun of vindication will rise with healing wings . . .” (Malachi 4:1, 2)
A fire came. I heard its roaring but wasn’t afraid. Those who were unprepared fled. While it was not my place to sever the bond between body and spirit, still, I called, “Come, holy fire, come.”
Two combustions swirled together. The first was of heat, oxygen, and fuel. The second was of holiness, love, and redemption. The white-hot wall raced forward, sucking atmosphere, matter, and people into its power. On my right, a mountain exploded and sank into a molten flow—on my left, a house, a tree, and a man writhed.
With a single wince of pain, my old body vaporized. Relief swept my being. A three ton burden lifted. I sprang to the Savior, and left everything corrupt, ill, or sinful in ashes.
The fire has passed and the new era has begun. The garden is cool and peaceful. The redeemed are magnificent to look upon. Every impurity was burned to release the living me. Before the incineration, I was trapped with death inside the coffin of my old form. But when the fire raced by, Grace hid my spirit beneath his wings and healed me into a spirit body.
I’m not the same type of human. My Savior even gave me a new name. I’m still me. I recall the old blessings and most of the laughter, but darkness and drudgery are gone forever.
My previous form couldn’t bear to look upon the fire of God’s holiness, but since the day of healing, it has become my playground. I soar through his brilliance, absorbing love and righteousness, and culminate in his light.
For those who ignored Jesus, the destruction continues—but for me, there’s only burning joy.
Prayer: Lord Redeemer, hasten the final blaze.
Published: Wednesday, 15 April 2020 01:53
Written by Don Goulding
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21)
Rory Ervine had great stories about the African war, piloting planes in the bush, tracking game, and playing professional cricket. As we settled with our rooibos tea under his thatched veranda in Zimbabwe, he launched into one of his best sagas.
“Jude and I had a tough decision to make. We farmed tobacco, but the Lord convicted us about contributing to addictions. The banks wouldn’t loan money for anything except growing tobacco. We obeyed the Lord, but lost the farm.” He ran his hand across his tan forehead. “Right after that, the corrupt government confiscated white owned land.”
Judy added, “We sold the farm before it was forced out of our hands for nothing, and the Lord replaced it with this ministry.” She swept her arm to include the orphanage, its farm that Rory managed, and the clinic she headed as a nurse.
Many thousands of whites were forced off their homesteads in bitterness, but, to the Ervines, letting the farm go was part of God’s plan to protect their hearts.
Rory and Judy made me see that voluntarily giving up what we can have, often leads to greater contentment. Using worldly assets to buy kingdom treasure opens a pathway directly to Jesus.
To occupy myself with toys, possessions, and comforts is to stop climbing toward God and stay on my plateau. I confess I spent considerable time there. But the grand life in Christ is higher up.
Now I’m pushing manmade treasures off the edge by simplifying what I own. If I have material distractions around, I’ll be tempted to climb back down to the plateau, and I really want to live up where Rory and Judy are.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, help me push out the debris.
Published: Monday, 06 April 2020 17:21
Written by Don Goulding
Sarah said, “God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” (Genesis 21:6)
The first time I conducted a funeral, the mortician told me to wait until the music stopped, then begin the service. Wearing my new black suit, I faced the grieving audience, but couldn’t think how to begin. I finally chirped, “How is everybody this morning?”
The mourners shot horrified glances toward the family, and it occurred to me that those were not the most appropriate words.
Life would be a lot more fun if I’d learn to laugh at myself. In heaven, they must chuckle at earthly blunders. To join the humor of paradise, I need a deeper understanding of how grace frees me from a need to project the right image. The reality is that I’m completely accepted because of Christ’s work, and I don’t need any image at all. I’m so radically free that laughter is precisely the correct response.
Why not enjoy more of heaven’s laughter now? There is a time for serious contemplation, and there’s nothing funny about rebellion against God. Moreover, the glory of the Lord shuts my mouth to superfluous utterances. But when it comes to infighting over nonessential theology, or opinions on how mankind can solve his problems, or concern about my self-important reputation, I need to see my life from eternity’s perspective and laugh.
Even better than derisive laughter, there is a richer, truer humor in which I can abandon my heart. What God has done for me—taken a worthless sinner and anointed me with a perfect future—is so outlandishly wonderful that I have to laugh from deep within.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I’m laughing in delight over my rescue.