July 7, 2016


Psalm 76:12 He breaks the spirit of rulers;
he is feared by the kings of the earth.

The Japanese renders this as, “The Lord brings the life of rulers to an end.” The thing is, no amount of wealth or political power can enable you to escape death. Those who arrange the death of their enemies are desperately trying to ignore the reality that they also are mortal. I think a lot of people today don’t fear God, but they still fear death. They don’t realize, or they don’t accept, that God is the final arbiter of life and death, both in the temporal realm and eternally. That is why both murder and suicide are so wrong: they claim for a person what is God’s to decide. This whole issue is why the cross and resurrection of Jesus are both so huge. Without the cross, our sins would not be dealt with, and we would have no hope of eternal fellowship with God. Without the resurrection, we would be unable to believe in the eternal life that was provided through the cross. The thing is, those who won’t accept the Lordship of Jesus Christ don’t have the hope of eternal life, and that’s what makes death so fearsome.

Just yesterday I was talking with someone who is a very active, alert 91-year-old. She knows about Jesus and says she loves Him, but she has not committed to His Lordship, and she fears death. As healthy as she is at this point she can reasonably expect to live a few more years, but she has no hope beyond that, and she acknowledges that. I have the challenge and privilege of sharing the Gospel with her so that the truth may set her free from the many decades of lies that have kept her from salvation. I do not have the wisdom or ability for that task in myself, but God can accomplish it through me, and I need to rest in that awareness. Japan as a whole is in a number of ways a society of death. Suicide is famously accepted, and Japanese Buddhism revolves almost entirely around death, teaching people they must pray to their ancestors and guard the “ancestral tablets” in their home altars. As a Japanese has pointed out to me, since, if your home altar is getting too full of such tablets a priest will come and ceremonially dispose of them for you, what difference does it make to have the tablets in the first place? My 91-year-old friend said yesterday that her current task in life is to guard those ancestral tablets, but that no one will do it after she’s gone. That is absolutely pathetic! I need to share the reality of life in Christ with her by the power of the Holy Spirit so that she may let go of the lies in which she has trusted and receive the glorious truth of God’s grace and love.

Father, there is so much going on around me that I am emotionally exhausted. Help me indeed wait in hope on You, so that Your strength may replace mine that is no strength at all. (Isaiah 40:31) As You have told me so many times, may I indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, allowing You to carry me along by Your Spirit, so that all of Your purposes for me may be accomplished on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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About jgarrott

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