Don Goulding - Blog

Remade

IMG 0257 1For the creation was subjected to futility - not willingly but because of God who subjected it - in hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. Romans 8:20-21 (NETFull)

The nations will walk by its light and the kings of the earth will bring their grandeur into it [the new Jerusalem]. Its gates will never be closed during the day (and there will be no night there). They will bring the grandeur and the wealth of the nations into it … Revelation 21:24-26 (NETFull)

India is ground-zero in the global war between man and nature. Coconut palms wrestle with pollution while iridescent Kingfishers choke on human rubbish. Hives of auto-rickshaws belch exhaust and putrid rivers are smelled long before they are seen. Even still, the underlying beauty of the land and people shows through the grime of human fingerprints.

India is turquoise beaches and jungle-clad mountains. This is where radiant children and genius technicians live. But the struggle for life is more intense here. In North America and Europe, it’s easy to consider our ordered lives and accept the present earth as a permanent abode. In developing countries I can’t do that. Life too often loses in the struggle against death and so paradise will need a new home.

I long to see India after God re-makes her at the coming of the new heaven and new earth. I envision her mountains and streams in gleaming perfection. I smell the abundance of flowers and feel the spray of waterfalls. Indian Christians, brown and lovely in perfected spiritual bodies, will serve the Almighty Prince with no mark of sin or pain on them.

Next, I see these children of the Most High join with a sea of exotic, completed God-lovers from every culture embracing in the love-light of Jesus.

India will be restored into a flawless virgin bride stunning in her splendor. All the nations will join her as perfected sisters ready to offer their glory as a wedding gift to the ever-deserving Groom of Grooms.

Prayer: Mighty God, present us to Jesus, lands and humans alike, liberated and remade.

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Love Test

ChurchBut I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27-28 (NETFull)

A scarlet ribbon stretched across the doorway of a church thatched with palm leaves in southern India. I was invited to open the new mud wall building by cutting the ribbon. The thirty some Christians living in this hostile village needed encouragement. The previous month, militant Hindus burned their church to the ground. What could I dare preach to these persecuted souls?

“Satan had his way in your village for countless generations. Now Jesus is moving in and you are caught in the middle of a spiritual war. You must choose a side but the weapons you fight with are not the weapons of the world. You must combat your enemies with love, forgiveness, and prayer. Stick to these three disciplines and you will have victory in this test.”

I knew it was the right message. I also knew it was easier said than done. There were smiling friends and a Neighborhood Watch program waiting in my hometown. These desperate believers had to continue living next to enemies who would stop at nothing to see them eliminated.

Even though people don’t regularly attack me, I do have those inside my sphere who are difficult to love. If you are human and you interact with another person, disagreement is inevitable. The grace I bring to an abrasive relationship is the measure of my Christlikeness. And I can’t let the subtlety of my love-test lull me into thinking my response is meaningless in eternity. It matters.

I’m pretty certain my friends in the burned out village church will stand the test and love their way into the hearts of many in their community. But will I do the same in my world?

Prayer:Jesus, help me deeply love everybody you bring to me.

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Hope Diamond

hope unmountedFor 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.

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