Published: Monday, 16 April 2018 22:37
Written by Don Goulding
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. Matt. 11:12 (NIV)
Seven thousand Hindus sat before the stage in Ranipet, India to hear the Americans. An Indian pastor grabbed my head and rattled my brain as he prayed in Tamil for anointed preaching. The interpreter and I got into a groove until I proclaimed something inflammatory.
“None of the Hindu gods have died for your sins.”
He went silent and shook his head. That statement may have incited a riot that would have prevented the gospel from going out to the two hundred souls that later responded to the invitation.
The gospel is like dynamite. It must be strategically placed to do the most good. Deployed at the right time and place, it blows apart unholy attachments. Jesus put it this way, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword.”
My faith is inspired by those who suffer the temporal devastation of gospel dynamite, and still, they light fuses. The family of an acquaintance in Nigeria was abducted for being Christians, and he preaches the good news. I was adopted by a Pakistani village that was burned down, and they proclaim Christ to their hostile countrymen. On a subsequent night at the Ranipet festival, my interpreter was struck by a rock. He rubbed the cut on his forehead and pressed on speaking to one thousand children gathered around us. Persecution only strengthens these immovable disciples.
Following Christ is not a sappy, weak-willed affair. The gospel is dangerous. Its power shatters earthy relationships. Only fearless people lay hold of it and blast their hearts free to worship Jesus alone.
Prayer: Lion of Judah, explode whatever weakens my faith.
Published: Monday, 09 April 2018 02:01
Written by Don Goulding
When you find honey, eat only what is sufficient for you, lest you become stuffed with it and vomit it up. Proverbs 25:16 (NETFull)
As we dined on New York steaks with furloughed missionaries to Mozambique and Tibet, the conversation turned to strange baths we’ve had in remote places.
“We don’t usually get a bath but every few weeks. I like it when I can get it but I’m okay doing without,” said a Tibetan missionary.
Her attitude is vital to a true missionary spirit. God gives special grace to endure hardships while in his service but we have to go into it with the understanding that the rescue of human hearts is more important than creature comforts. I think I’ll make that my motto—I like it when I can get it but I’m okay doing without. It fits most everything in life.
In Zimbabwe, Dani and I were privileged to have dinner with orphans. The staple is corn mush called sudza. Try as we might, we couldn’t master the African technique of rolling sudza balls so all the bits remained intact. The children giggled as the paste covered our hands and worked its way up our wrists.
The good things of the earth are sticky. They are provided for our sustenance and enjoyment, yet, if not handled correctly, bits and pieces adhere to our soul and make a mess of us. Everything from food to sex and sports to family must be enjoyed within the context of declaring God’s glory. I must continually roll each gift in thanksgiving or it will begin to stick until I can no longer say, “I like it when I can get it but I’m okay doing without.”
There is only one thing I can’t live without and that is the Spirit of Jesus.
Prayer: Jesus, my everything, help me enjoy your gifts and remain clean.
Published: Tuesday, 03 April 2018 02:47
Written by Don Goulding
But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a huge millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the open sea. Matthew 18:6 (NETFull)
God is dangerously protective of children. I didn’t want to mislead any of the eight hundred black-haired cherubs who sat before our stage at a primary school in India. They nested against each other in a long narrow room—rows of bright eyes amidst a sea of blue gingham uniforms. The pure face-energy put me beneath God’s throne and I knew without a doubt he guarded these innocents.
Our evangelism team leader concluded the program with an invitation to receive Christ.
“Stand if you want Jesus,” he shouted. “One, two, three.”
Every head jerked about to see what they were supposed to do. At first no one stood, then, after more translation, everybody stood. The principal told them all to sit while another teacher tried to get only those who wanted Jesus to stand. But it was a Christian school and they all wanted Jesus or already had him and still wanted him so were they to stand or sit?
I was still transported to the throne room and felt heaven’s mirth at our situation.
Jesus paid a horrible price at the cross to save us from consternation over the right way to return to God. Stand for Jesus, say a prayer, turn around three times—it doesn’t matter as long as we come through Jesus. To say otherwise is to doubt Christ’s sufficiency and God’s ability to see into the heart. The fact is, God is holding a wide-open Jesus-fest and all are welcome.
Prayer: Lord, keep me from the sin of complicating the gospel.