Published: Wednesday, 29 March 2017 20:48
Written by Don Goulding
If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell. (Matthew 5:30)
I forced the blade of a utility knife through a plastic bucket, slipped, and stabbed my own leg. A friend used duct-tape to wrap the wound until we could finish the project.
Later, a nurse prepped for stitches but she left me to remove the tape from my hairy leg. After twenty minutes, she found me tugging in feeble increments. She grabbed the silver tape and ripped it free in one motion. Her method really didn’t hurt. I had prolonged the agony by my lack of resolve.
I’m a spiritual Band-Aid baby, too. I attempt to put my old nature to death slowly when Jesus wants to shorten the pain with a ripping campaign.
Sin cuts. It doesn't matter if I stab myself or if someone else injures me, either way, wrong choices cause wounds. The Spirit of Christ offers to enter the laceration for healing. But I clutch over my hurt and apply Band-Aids—those easy fixes that never address root problems.
Over time, my temporary bandages become a permanent part of my corrupt nature. I fear that if I remove them, I’ll lessen who I am. But I was never meant to assimilate crusty distractions to wholeness.
True healing can’t happen until I’m honest about the depth of my injury. Habits will smell and anger will fester until I force my hands down, expose my heart, and let Jesus in for surgery. He has to use the light of prayerful meditation to perform a miracle of reconstruction.
But first, my Band-Aids have to go. So grab hold of vague acknowledgements and rip.
Prayer: Go ahead, Savior, tear away excuses and heal me deeply.
Published: Monday, 20 March 2017 20:13
Written by Don Goulding
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, acknowledging his name. (Hebrews 13:15)
“Please, will you pray for my friend?”
A woman stopped in my path as thousands of people dispersed after an evangelistic festival in Red Hills, India.
“She’s been lame since childhood polio.” She pointed to a twenty-year-old girl with her legs braced rigid and wearing a lime-green sari.
I asked the Lord how to minister to the girl, but it turned out that she would minister to me.
Because of her disability, this bent girl had an opportunity to present a sacrifice of praise to God. Her peaceful smile and a short conversation told me she lived in thankfulness in spite of personal suffering. Not a trace of bitterness tainted her soul. It was the most holy and true form of life worship.
“When we go home forever,” I said, “you’ll be rewarded above me, because you learned to praise God while crippled.”
The Spirit led me to pray over her with confirmation that her heart was in the right place, which would lead to ultimate healing in eternity.
When I again see the green-sari-girl in heaven, I plan to tell her that I wanted to give her physical healing. Instead she gave me an example of heroic joy that is especially rare in my culture. She sacrificed her claim on earthly blessings to prove her trust in God.
Her gift to me was more valuable than what I wanted to give to her.
Prayer: Saving God, may I offer you the sacrifice of thanks in everything.
Published: Monday, 13 March 2017 19:46
Written by Don Goulding
And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment, so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation. (Hebrews 9:27-28)
I first saw the gate when I was a boy. It looked like a dark speck on the horizon, but I couldn’t be sure. It was far away.
During grade-school, I came to understand I’d have to go through the gate. A few said it wasn’t necessarily dark, it might open to light. I chose light, and from that time, if I stared long enough, I thought I saw a silver glow.
As a teenager, I realized most people playacted like the gate wasn’t there. If they had to talk about it they whispered, but to be polite no one looked that direction.
We used to run toward the far off speck, but then it got too close. So we tried to move away, or ignore it. Still it got bigger. Old or young, everyone was pulled to the gate, and we pretended otherwise.
One crazy day, I faced the gate. Yes, a silver glow, silver and gold. It wasn't the dark void, it was the entrance to life. I couldn’t recall why we feared it. True, we shouldn’t rush through, but rest, let it draw, and don’t be afraid. The gate wasn’t the end, it was the beginning.
Now I’m aging and up close the shining portal consumes my horizon. Wondering, I stare through the opening into an airy expanse. It secretly thrills me. But I have to remember, don’t talk about it. It’s not polite.
Prayer: God my Savior, I’ll not fear death.