- Written by: Don Goulding
For I decided to be concerned about nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2)
The clouds below looked like cotton balls. Perhaps if our team jumped from the airplane, we’d only bounce. We were flying home from a missions trip in Hungary. Staring out the window, I was in the same spiritual funk I had experienced after my previous twenty-five foreign trips. We hadn’t changed the people. Our leaders had changed, the teens in our group matured, but we hadn’t penetrated the hearts of Eastern Europeans. We’d bounced.
At the beginning of the trip, on the flight across the Atlantic, I’d held a different attitude. I’d assumed I had much to give. After all, I had a heritage of spiritual freedom, years of biblical exposition, and cutting edge technology. In a word, I had pride—the sworn enemy of the Gospel.
Staring into the clouds after that twenty-sixth trip, I realized my way of living is no more significant than others. Affluence doesn’t equate to fulfillment. In fact, in the qualities of life that truly matter—trust, relationship, love—I lag behind.
My culture—the way I eat, speak, dress, even the way I worship—is nothing but a glass that holds the water of truth. The glass is not the truth, it’s merely the culture through which I hold and view truth. A cultural glass of some shape and coloration is necessary, but pride in that culture will disappear as I’m filled with truth.
The only pure culture exists in heaven, where God’s will is done in full. And the only mission that brought real cultural help was when Jesus came into our world. He is the water in the glass. What I take to others should be pure Jesus Christ. All the rest is useless cultural bias.
Prayer: Jesus of heaven, cleanse me of blind cultural pride.
- Written by: Don Goulding
… because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)
Take a single atom and enlarge it to the size of a football stadium. The nucleus is in the center, and proportionately, it’s the size of a pearl. The electrons, far smaller than the nucleus, create a cloud shell at the perimeter of the stadium. The void between the pearl and the electrons is empty. Such is the amount of pressurized space in atoms, and atoms are the building blocks for our physical world.
The significance of this truth is that everything we encounter is made up almost entirely of space. Were we to remove the space from every atom in the earth, the compressed package would easily fit inside a football stadium.
I tend to conclude that the world I see, taste, touch, smell, and hear is solid. It’s not. Our existence is empty space, temporarily held in order by Christ. What is truly lasting is God’s kingdom. The values of that dominion shall govern our final destiny. Thus, love slices through human ambition, and peace is an iron wall to earth’s vaporous gains.
Praise God that I don’t have to live under the hopelessness that existence is over when Christ stops allocating the spaces. My temporary atomic body is occupied by my permanent eternal spirit. Therefore, the mission is to ready my spirit for the day my atoms will fall away. I’m given this time to replace whatever is corruptible with all that is Christlike.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me live for the permanent, not the temporary.
- Written by: Don Goulding
The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, the way a person speaks to a friend. (Exodus 33:11)
“Blezesh zhrooom, POW.” Our grandson woke me with his jabbering.
At two years old, it’s difficult to make yourself understood, yet I knew he was recounting a game we’d played the day before. I could only grin hugely and feign comprehension.
Most of us have a need to talk through the details of our lives. We chase self-worth by telling others what we said and did. If they’ll show interest, we reason, then our life must be worthwhile.
Behind the social media revolution is a craving to converse over the minutiae of our days. But dialoguing my life with another human doesn’t bring the significance I need. Trying to meet needs apart from God always results in meaninglessness.
Man was created to live in fellowship with God. We don’t know how long Adam and Eve enjoyed intimate walks in the garden with their Creator. It ended too soon. God missed that friendship, and even more importantly, he knew how worthless our lives became without him. So his own genius found a way to solve the interruption to the divine dialogue.
There were back-to-back doors between my room and God’s. For our rooms to be joined, I had to open the door on my side, and God had to open his. With a yearning for my Maker, I opened my door with plans to knock on his, though I assumed it would be locked against my sin. I was shocked to discover that Jesus had removed God’s door from its hinges. Only my door had held us apart.
Now both doorways stand open, and each exchange in prayer, every hour of sweet communion, is holy and eternally significant. No spouse, friend, or pet can satisfy my need for acceptance. God alone fulfills my need to integrate my life with something larger.
Prayer: Father, thank you for assigning dignity to my existence.