Don Goulding - Blog

Eye of the Needle

blue thread going through needle eye close up 82633877 5808d5e33df78cbc288127bf

“In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard this said, “Then who can be saved?” He replied, “What is impossible for mere humans is possible for God.” (Luke 18:25-27 NET_FL)

Trembling and in tears, a pregnant woman came after the Sunday service in Ranipet, India. She had converted to Christianity and wanted prayer for protection from her husband and neighbors. Her community would do anything to prevent her from leaving Hinduism, including beating her and abducting her coming child.

I’ve also seen extreme persecution in communist China, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and southern Mexico. Every country has an eye of the needle—some significant obstacle to dependence on Christ. In wealthy countries, it’s materialistic complacency that will keep the majority out of heaven.

Given the incredible obstacles it seems impossible, like no one can make it to Christ, yet in every land God brings some through their needle. There’s not a hostile or hedonistic culture I have ministered in where I didn’t also find a thriving branch of the Christian family.

79,000 people convert to Christ each day somewhere in the world. 79,000 times a day God makes the impossible possible. No wonder Jesus tarries in his return. To him these are not statistics but individual eternal children. He celebrates as each one reaches beyond their antagonistic culture to crossover from death to life.

Prayer: Holy God, bring me through my impossible barriers.

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Grow Up

giraffeLike newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. I Peter 2:2, 3

Large black hooves attached to spindly legs emerged from the giraffe’s birth canal. Soon a snout, then a long neck dangled out as the mama walked in circles. Three hours later, the calf tumbled unceremoniously onto the savannah grass. Within thirty minutes the baby was up and walking, an apricot and blonde patchwork masterpiece.

Eagles fly at twelve weeks of age, baby elephants follow their herd when they are three days old, and dolphins communicate with chirps, squeals, and clicks from birth. Comparatively, we humans have a long childhood. Some even suggest we are born too soon because of a mistake in evolution. We would have a higher survival rate, they say, if gestation were twenty-one months instead of nine. Try telling that to a pregnant mother. There is no mistake here, it is by design that we take longer to mature. God loves children. He delights in keeping us in the innocence of childhood for as long as possible. Nevertheless, we all need to eventually grow up.

I’m slower maturing spiritually than physically. I’m still underdeveloped and wobbly. It’s taking me a number of years to figure out that the glory we share with Christ in heaven will be proportional to what we allow him to do in us on earth. Therefore, maturing in our faith becomes as important as our birth into it. So I have only begun to use grace for something more than salvation and appropriate it into the process growing up.

Spiritual progress is the reverse of physical development. The older I get in Christ, the more dependent and childlike I should be in my faith. I am to return to the source of my life, suckle his nourishment, and hide in his protection thereby creating less dependence on me and the world and more on Jesus. That is a maturity I can strive for.

Prayer: Father above, grow me into union with you.

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Ride Again

20160711 133636 2Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other as well … (Luke 6:27-29)

The one called Faithful and True rode a magnificent white stallion. I entered Christian ministry and a white horse was given to me also. Its name was love. 

I rode behind the King as he trampled injustice and comforted the oppressed. Joy awoke in my heart.

Christian coworkers came alongside and I was thrilled at the camaraderie. I hailed and they returned greetings. Then one of the smiling riders knocked me to the ground.

What was that? He was a coworker on a white horse the same as mine. I nursed my aches and muttered.

Jesus drew up his steed and chuckled. Did that laugh mean this was some kind of game?

I remounted and tried to stay near his great stallion. He was a perfect horseman and I soon fell behind.

More white-horsed riders came alongside, grinning. I grew to trust them. Once again, I was unhorsed and thrown to the mud.

I am slowly acquiring the secret rules of Christian ministry. To some, it’s a sort of game to knock others down.

To Jesus, ministry is no game at all but it does have rules. 

Rule number one—riding close to Jesus is a primary objective. It yields great spoils in eternity.

Rule number two—Unhorsing another rider disqualifies rewards.

Rule number three—The greatest of all prizes goes to those who are knocked down, then forgive, remount and ride again.

 

Prayer: Conquering Savior, help me forgive and love again.

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