Published: Monday, 15 July 2019 21:52
Written by Don Goulding
So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty pieces of silver. Then David built an altar for the Lord there and offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings. And the Lord accepted prayers for the land, and the plague was removed from Israel. (2 Samuel 24:24-25)
On Mount Moriah in Jerusalem there was a threshing floor belonging to Araunah the Jebusite. On this earthen floor, King David’s heart was threshed like so much grain separated from chaff.
David had lost sight of the fact that God was the source of his military victories and, against the advice of his friends, he sent General Joab to count the fighting men. God responded with a plague that killed seventy thousand Israelites. At Araunah’s threshing floor, David saw the angel of death with a sword raised over Jerusalem. His response defined the rest of his life.
David put on sackcloth, threw himself on his face, and sought God’s mercy. He bought the threshing floor and sacrificed burnt offerings on site. Only a supernatural transference of his guilt to a sacrificial victim could save him and his people. He wholeheartedly embraced the transaction.
Seventeen years later, David bequeathed the real estate of his heart threshing as the site for Solomon’s temple, where God’s glory would fall so powerfully the priests had to vacate.
Like David, I’ve made epic mistakes in my life. Will they remain as places of shameful threshing or become a temple of God’s glory? While God is still in the transformation business, the answer depends on my response. If I follow David, repent in earnest, and fully consign my guilt to the cross of Jesus, then God will convert those dark places into a center of worship filled with more glory than I can withstand.
Prayer: Merciful God, help me boldly repent and praise you.
Published: Monday, 08 July 2019 18:31
Written by Don Goulding
But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death. (James 1:14-15)
When I sin, I feel far away from God, and when I’m far away from God, I sin. The whirlpool goes round, sucking me toward hell’s black hole. Each time I repeat my pet sins—envy, indifference, gluttony, worry—I’m pulled further down.
I begged to get out of the whirlpool of temptation but my heavenly Father had a different plan. He told me that temptation is not sin and I need to learn how to live within its grasp because the fight will make me stronger.
During his sinless thirty-three years on earth, Jesus never left the whirlpool. He felt its tug when Satan baited him in the desert. The whirlpool must have caused his struggle to accept the cross. Our Messiah demonstrated that wholesale escape from temptation isn’t our Father’s purpose for this era.
The vortex froths white and horizontal at the top, black and vertical at the bottom. Down on the funnel’s walls, failure is an eventual certainty. When I dabble in the lower regions and tell myself it’ll never get a complete hold on me, it’s already too late.
The key to success isn’t the removal of temptation but in living near the top. When I replace worldly pastimes with the worship of Jesus, I rise to the empowerment of the outer edge. Up near heaven’s luminance, the downward pull doesn’t overcome me.
For now, I have to live inside the whirlpool but I don’t have to attempt wall surfing.
Prayer: Holy and beautiful Light, I choose to live near you today.
Published: Monday, 01 July 2019 17:15
Written by Don Goulding
A perverse person spreads dissension, and a gossip separates the closest friends. (Proverbs 16:28)
I imagine myself in heaven, racing and twirling through the light of God’s presence. I don’t know if it can happen in that place but, if a negative word against someone else comes to my lips, I think I know what I’ll do. I’ll consider the glorious face of Jesus before me, recall how he suffered for the target of my slander, and I’ll shut my mouth. They don’t gossip in heaven.
I’m certain hell is a place full of ruthless, backstabbing liars. That’s where they curse our God, his paradise, and his people. They probably even badmouth each other. Slander against those for whom Jesus died fills their eternity.
Heaven never gossips and hell never ceases that perversion. Here on earth, while waiting for the great separation of good and evil, which kingdom do I join by way of my mouth?
Words are sacred, instilled with the efficacy to create or to destroy. As beings created in God’s image, we are granted authority to use our words to change the world around us. What am I doing with that power, working with God by using encouragements or serving the Devil through slander?
A benevolent millionaire saw me playing in the mud. I shaped it with the rusty knife of dissension. He gently took away the cursed blade and led me to a playroom full of eternal possessions. Now I’m bouncing through his provision, loved and happy. It’s all mine because I’m all his. If I slip back into gossip, it means I’ve somehow forgotten my Benefactor and his incredible gifts and gone back to the mud.
Prayer: Remind me, oh Lord, to save my tongue for praising you.