Don Goulding - Blog

Heaven's Postcards

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… these are only the shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ. (Colossians 2:17)

Today, I received a postcard from heaven. Jesus sent it to remind me of his land and his love. The card came in the form of a four-year-old Fijian child who climbed onto my lap, pressed her blonde ringlets against my shoulder, and shared cuddle time. Only a God who is devoted to beauty and peace could have sent such a moment.

Jesus has sent postcards before. Periwinkle skies, levitating symphonies, double rainbows, and spiced mountain air—each one is a declaration of his penchant for life and goodness. While these blessings are glorious, they’re like postcards—flat cardboard facsimiles of the real joys waiting in heaven.

Imagine a cobalt glacial lake reflecting granite spires. We gape in awe as we rub our skin where the sun’s warmth penetrates the alpine chill. The adventurous among us seek an even greater union with the landscape, and go off to scale the peaks.

A heaven dweller would yawn, and say, “That’s nice, but you should see the real version in heaven.”

They’d take hold of the scene, and pull it open to a dimension we’ve never experienced. The lake would effervesce in colors we have yet to know, and the spires would gleam with a spiritual reality we only wonder about. And so it is with every postcard blessing we now enjoy. They’re low dimensional replicas of grander, truer, perfect realities that exist in heaven, away from the effects of sin. Oh, the glory that awaits the redeemed of Christ.

For now, we’re trapped behind enemy lines, groaning under the earth’s curses that come with rebellion against Jehovah. But we’re not without postcards. In fact, they arrive every day if we’ll watch for them.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for reminders of heaven and your love.

Trap Machine

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The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom everything that causes sin as well as all lawbreakers. (Matthew 13:41)

Our world merchandises in gray tones. Between black and white, every shade of impurity is available. The evil of hell swirls through the pure white of heaven. 

In the next era, darkness and light will stand in obvious contrast.

The language of hell—Captive, Fear, Cursed, Lost, Deformed, Hate, False, Bitter, Scream, Ugly, Panic, Weep, Pain, Rejected, Blind, Guilt, Destruction, No.

The language of heaven—Free, Courage, Praise, Light, Dance, Beauty, Perfection, Rest, Laugh, Rainbow, Glory, Blessed, Accepted, Joy, Unity, Wisdom, Kiss, Yes.

With the gray removed, there’s no difficulty choosing sides. But life flings the clay pigeons of right and wrong like a trap machine gone berserk. I can’t keep up with the pace in deciding which ones to shoot down. My old nature confuses my trigger finger. I let bad choices fly, then gun down the truth by mistake.

This trap shoot is no game. Light and darkness are mortal enemies, and ground zero of the combat is in my heart. Get ready, here comes the first test of many today. Word by word, choice by choice—how will I fight? What eternal spoils will I gain this day? Will I choose black or white, curse or blessing, self-will or Jesus?

Prayer: Son of Man, help me win today’s battles.

True Fasting

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Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa and fast in my behalf. Don’t eat and don’t drink for three days, night or day. My female attendants and I will also fast in the same way.” (Esther 4:15-16)

In Zimbabwe, we had difficulty getting water from the wells. In my bumbling attempt to fix the plumbing, I needed a pipe fitting from the shed. The gardener had the key, but he was sulking over a fight, and couldn’t be found. After searching out the begrudging gardener, key, and fitting, I needed a wrench. I scrounged enough fuel to push start the broken motorcycle, rode to the repair shop, borrowed a wrench, then spent thirty minutes looking for a tool to fix the wrench. Compared to western efficiency, the challenges of the third world can be a source of frustration, or hilarity.

The following thirty hours were committed to prayer and fasting. It wasn’t a day off, but my most productive work. After the fast, life at the mission compound blossomed. Relationships healed, tools were in their proper places, and water gushed into the reservoirs.

Before Moses received the Old Covenant laws from God, he fasted. When Queen Esther’s people faced extermination, she fasted. Before Jesus began his ministry, he fasted. When the Holy Spirit told the disciples to set apart Paul and Barnabas, they were fasting. Intercession is our most effective activity, and fasting draws prayers from the middle of God’s river.

Fasting is not manipulation of the Almighty, wherein we convince him to help because he feels sorry for our self-imposed hunger. Rather, true fasting clears the way for our spirit to take primacy, and engage with the Spirit of God in the holy work of praying his will.

Prayer: Father in heaven, let me enter into your prayers through fasting.