Don Goulding - Blog

Everywhere Friends

img 3114 picnikA person who has friends may be harmed by them,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 (NETFull)

My childhood friend came for a visit. We laughed about old times and got somber over shared grief. How was it that I’d left this guy behind? I asked him how long he could stay and he said he’d be with me as long as I needed. I invited him to sleep on the couch and he was grateful.

I needed groceries from the store. I also wanted some unhealthy indulgences.

“Um, would you mind waiting out here?” I didn’t want him to see what went into the bag. “I know right where everything is and it will be quicker this way.”

A twitch of dejection crossed his face.

Next, we stopped to pick up documents from my office. I thought about asking my friend to come see where I worked, but what if we ran into my boss? I knew my friend was too direct for my manager’s tastes. I left him in the car.

That evening, I created a distraction for my friend while I planned an upcoming vacation with some buddies. I sent my childhood pal out to buy ice cream. He returned to see me with a bunch of off-color hooligans and watched without comment.

At the grocery store, I’d made him wait outside like a dog. I kept him out of my work life, vacation plans, and relationships like he was a flea on a dog. Soulmates don’t treat each other like that.

I broke the silence, “I don’t know what I was thinking. I want you with me everywhere I go. I’m sorry, Jesus.”

Prayer: Lord, I invite you into every activity.

 

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Prayer Quilt

IMG 6787 1In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. Romans 8:26 (NETFull)

The needle pierced the blanket. “Lord, pull my friend to yourself as she lies under this quilt,” Dani prayed as she worked. She drew the thread up. “Father wrap her in your love.”

Dani spent more than one hundred hours hand-stitching a quilt for an unsaved friend and, as she did, she prayed anointing over the bedcover. I wonder how the Spirit will interpret those many prayers to bring about an answer.

What would I do if someone begged me to prevent the suicide of my child? Would I try to convince my daughter of my love and even die for her? Would I allow temporary financial loss or brief cancer to demonstrate the horror she was bringing on herself? These are the drastic measures God used to prevent my eternal suicide. So when I intercede for others, am I truly ready to pray these extremes into their lives?

I need to lose my shortsighted conception of good wherein I drone anemic prayers like, “Lord bless us with health and prosper the work of our hands.” I need allow the Spirit to pour his symphony of life-altering supplication through me. My prayers should be less about me and the temporal, and more about him and the eternal.

Only as my broken spirit comes into agreement with the Spirit of Christ do I release the radical methods of heaven upon a situation.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, move me into agreement with your bold prayers.

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Perfect Love

P081See what sort of love the Father has given to us: that we should be called Godʼs children - and indeed we are! 1 John 3:1

“Kiti, Don’t swing so high or you’ll fall,” I said.

My four-year-old Fijian pal arced the hammock back and forth on our porch. A few minutes later, whump, Kiti hit the ground. There was a pause while he gathered air to bellow out his pain.

I told you so was the last thing Kiti needed to hear. I scooped him up and comforted the lad. He sniffled and melted against my chest. Cuddling was his way of saying, “I need you to forgive me.”

Like Kiti, I need to be scooped up and forgiven. My soul yearns to be wrapped in acceptance by my Heavenly Father, in spite of my sinful past. No human can provide that kind of ultimate love. Perhaps maternal love for an infant is the closest parallel, but the mother’s failings and self-interest are mixed in. Only the LORD our God can give perfect love.

I have been loved deeply by my parents, children, wife, and friends. But it’s not enough and I refuse to stop there. I can’t be satisfied with temporal love, no matter how grand. It’s not perfect love. I must continue my search for full contact of my soul, drawing on the strength and protection of my God, resting against his unmarred beauty—that’s the love I pursue.

Because of Christ’s sacrifice, God’s perfect love begins now. I don’t have to wait until heaven to press against his joy and peace. The problem is I often allow lessor loves to satisfy me. I opt for what I can see and touch and miss out on the more filling love from my Creator.

The key is to use all earthly love as the means to love God more. Earthly love—love for family and friends—is only made holy when I acknowledge the source as God and give him praise. Everything else is idolatry.

Prayer: Father Above, move me into perfect love.

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