March 17, 2016

Exodus 8:23 “‘I will make a distinction between my people and your people. This miraculous sign will occur tomorrow.'”

There were various reasons for the plagues of Egypt, but this was a very important one. It is to God’s glory that the world see a distinction between those who are committed to Him and those who are not. That’s not at all to say that those who are committed to Him will have no problems; quite the contrary. (John 16:33) However, there is a difference in how we experience those problems and their effect on us. Someone whose heart is fixed on Jesus is going to grow sweeter and stronger and spiritually larger through problems, while someone who is depending on other things is going to grow bitter and shriveled. God allows problems in our lives not to pick on us but to teach us to choose Him over everything else. The results may not be as externally obvious as the absence of flies when everywhere else is swarmed with them, as in today’s passage, but they will certainly be evident to anyone who is paying attention. An interesting factor is that those differences may be more obvious to an external observer than they are the person himself. We tend to focus on how far we still need to go, but others can easily see how far we’ve come, and that gives God glory.

This is certainly pointed for me this morning, because I have been dealing with emotional exhaustion bordering on depression. Lots of things have been happening, and continue to happen, that are completely out of my control, yet I would like to control them, and the emotional conflict wears me out. This is training in releasing things to God, just as I have been telling people to do for as long as I’ve been in ministry. Preachers need to listen to their own sermons! I cannot change these things myself, but I can actively yield them to God, lifting them up in prayer but not hanging onto them. Frankly, that’s much easier said than done. I could easily go through quite a litany of things that are weighing on me, but there’s not a one of them, or all of them put together, that God can’t carry if I will allow Him to. More than one person has asked me, “But how are you doing?” I wonder if such questions don’t cause me to focus on myself more, instead of on God who is the solution to everything. I need to remember that God’s grace is all I need, (2 Corinthians 12:9) and I can deal with any situation successfully through Him. (Philippians 4:13)

Father, thank You for this timely reminder. My life is a witness for Christ, just as Jesus said. (Acts 1:8) May I fulfill that commission indeed, not being anxious about the form it takes, but leaving that in Your hands. May I be and do what You desire and intend, today and each day, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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