- 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.
- 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.
- Written by: Don Goulding
The spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has chosen me. He has commissioned me to encourage the poor, to help the brokenhearted, to decree the release of captives, and the freeing of prisoners … to strengthen those who mourn in Zion, by giving them a turban, instead of ashes, oil symbolizing joy, instead of mourning, a garment symbolizing praise, instead of discouragement. Isaiah 61:1-3 (NETFull)
Olive was a Chinese flower with a loser-stalker boyfriend. When she accepted Jesus, he claimed to convert also, then she discovered he was married to another woman. During our underground church service, the scoundrel sent twenty text messages to keep his claws in Olive.
The wonder of the gospel is that it not only saves but it also transforms human suffering. I have yet to encounter a form of agony the cross cannot redeem. Ashes change into crowns, mourning becomes joy, discouragement turns to praise. Allow me to demonstrate.
The house church put Olive in a chair and placed their hands on her shoulders and head. Because all Christians are called to the work of intercession, we anointed her forehead with oil and prayed.
“By the power of Jesus, we pronounce this unholy love nailed to the cross. We break the emotional ties and exchange infatuation from a lying human for the pure love of Olive's greatest admirer, Jesus Christ.”
In response to our invocation, the Holy Spirit set a barrier in Olive’s heart that her ex’s words no longer penetrated. At the same time, he flooded her awareness with the cherishing love of Jesus. Cleansing tears steamed to her petite chin.
Life hurts. It gouges, bruises, and scars. We are licensed to perform the great exchange on every wound. There is nothing hell can throw at us that heaven can’t convert into victory. We are anointed into this ministry and, for every day God allows us to remain on earth, this is our mission.
Prayer: Spirit of the Sovereign LORD, let me place a crown of beauty on the maimed.