July 8, 2016

Psalm 77:11-12 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
I will meditate on all your works
and consider all your mighty deeds.

The Psalmist’s inspiration here is a good idea regardless of your situation, whether good or bad. Despair cannot coexist with a right appreciation of God, and joy is multiplied and purified when we are looking at Him. In our humanity we are entirely prone to focus only on what our senses and our intellect tell us, but that is a mistake any way you look at it. We are finite, weak and foolish, but God is infinite, omnipotent, and omniscient. On top of that, He is love! The Bible tells us these things, but often we have trouble believing them. Rather than focusing on what might seem like abstract teaching and commands, it is often helpful to focus on specific things God has done, and that’s what the Psalmist is talking about here. The ultimate thing that God has done, which the Psalmist didn’t even know about when he wrote, is sending His Son to die for our sins and be resurrected as a demonstration of the victory His cross gives us over death, both physical and spiritual. That honestly doesn’t seem as magnificent as it really is unless we recognize our own sinfulness and need of salvation. It is when we realize that we were headed full tilt for hell, by our own choices and actions, that we understand and rejoice in the magnificence of God’s grace. It is no accident that Amazing Grace was written by a former slave trader. It is certainly not a good idea to run around sinning to try to get a better handle on grace. Paul ran into that distortion himself, and dealt with it in Romans 6:1-4. We need to realize that even if we have never done anything that society would condemn, any rebellion against God, any violation of His holy laws, is sufficient cause for our damnation. We don’t like to admit that, but acknowledging it is the key to understanding and receiving the fullness of God’s grace.

I am one who wallowed in the idiocy of spiritual and intellectual conceit. Somehow I thought I deserved all the blessings that had been poured out on me, that I deserved to go to heaven. How blind and foolish, and yet how typical. People don’t want to admit that hell is real because they certainly don’t want to admit that they deserve to go there. I seek to lead people to repentance and faith, but so often they stubbornly refuse to admit that they need to repent, and there can be no salvation without repentance. I deal with depression and assorted other psychological problems in many people, and there too the ultimate answer is a right appreciation of what God has done in Christ Jesus. I cannot rely on my own wisdom and persuasiveness to get this across to people, because I have demonstrated very thoroughly that doesn’t work. I’ve got to seek the help of the Holy Spirit and rely on Him, because He is the One who convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment. (John 16:7-11)

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for how this fits in with the message You have already been giving me for this Sunday. Help me remember all that You have done for, in, and through me in the past so that I will have joyful expectation of what You will do this time. Help me likewise expect great things of You for today, as we have a concert scheduled but a typhoon coming through. I pray that in every detail Your perfect will may be accomplished, so that the Body of Christ may be built up in every way, 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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