October 2, 2016


Matthew 24:12-13 “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

Of all the “signs” listed in this chapter, this is the one that rings most true to me right now. America is dramatically different from Japan in the number of churches, but even here in the “Bible Belt” I see a pervasive acceptance, at least, of completely un-Biblical moral standards. As Jesus expresses it so succinctly here, that leads most of the population into a take-it-or-leave-it attitude toward Christianity, with church attendance being more social than anything else. With an incredible over-abundance of material comforts, God takes a back seat, if He’s even in the picture at all. It’s no wonder the country is in the state it’s in politically! Thankfully, there are exceptions. My son-in-law had a blow-out of a tire on a trailer he was pulling yesterday, in a “bad part of town,” no less, and a complete stranger not only got his own jack and other tools to help him, he went and purchased a new tire, brought it back and installed it, and refused to take anything at all for all of that. From what was reported to me of what he said, he did it simply because he was a Christian, deeply aware of God’s grace toward him and desiring to extend that grace to others. Such people are the hope of the nation! As the background gets darker, the points of light shine all the more brightly. The answer, for America and for the whole world, is not organized religion, but personal repentance and faith. Morality is ultimately personal. There would be no abortions if people didn’t choose immorality over chastity, for example. People are simply trying to escape the consequences of one sin by committing another even worse one. And the widespread acceptance of that sort of thing has dropped the spiritual temperature of the nation to an amazing degree, just as Jesus said. However, He also said that those who stand firm would be saved. Every thoughtful believer should take that to heart indeed, and choose to press into God for more of the oil of His Spirit, to burn for Him.

This is intensely personal for me, with some of my family being earnest for God and some definitely not. That is painful to see, not just because it damages fellowship, but because they are tasting the fruit of leaving God out of the picture. I am not to give up on them, but speak the truth in love. Some are already uncomfortable around me because of the different lifestyle, but I am never to reject them from my side. I am to pray God’s mercy and grace on each one, recognizing that I am just as dependent on that grace as they are. I am to be a light and an example, never holier-than-thou but at the same time not backing down from Biblical principles. I want everyone dear to me to walk in the best God has for them, and that will only come when they place Him first in their lives.

Father, being confronted with this sort of thing is a major reason I don’t really like to visit the US any more. It is painful. Thank You that You do have faithful children left, however small a percentage of the “church members” they might be. I do ask for a spirit of repentance and revival to fall on this nation, so that personal purity will no longer be the exception but rather the norm. May the schemes of the devil be defeated and this nation return to be the incubator of missionaries that it once was, acknowledging Your name alone as holy and actively advancing Your kingdom by doing Your will, 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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4 Responses to October 2, 2016

  1. You wrote QUOTE: “….God takes a back seat, if He’s even in the picture at all. ”

    Good observation. God should be in the driver’s seat, and we should listen to Jesus about which commandment is the Most Important One. No, it’s not “love.”

    Jesus was asked twice which Commandment is the greatest or most important one, (Matthew 22 and Mark 12)
    Both times Jesus answered quoting the same two commandments, from the Law of Moses.

    Jesus said that one of these two commandments is the first and greatest most important one. Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

    “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “ is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ [Mark 12:29-30, Deuteronomy 6:4-5]

    Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” [Matthew 22:37-38, Deuteronomy 6:5]

    Poem – What is love?

    Two men came to Jesus
    With different motivations.
    They asked Him the same question
    Relevant to all the nations:

    Which is the Most Important?
    The answer was the same.
    Jesus did not manipulate
    He was not there to play a game.

    “Love the Lord your God” said Jesus
    as He quoted from The Law –
    to fulfill and not abolish
    was His purpose, full of awe.

    Jesus did not make all Scripture
    Into one new great commandment.
    He summarized The Law and Prophets
    “First and Greatest” and “The Second.”

    The Love of God is higher
    Than the love of any man.
    Receive from God, give back to God-
    Then to others, that’s His plan.

    The Love of God involves much more
    Than simply “love your fellow man.”
    Worship, trust, and pray to God,
    and obey Him – that’s His plan

    To worship and pray to neighbors,
    Whoever they may be,
    Or trust and obey our enemies
    Would be idolatry.

    The love of God is first and greatest,
    And the love of man is second.
    “All we need is love” are words
    of dead Beetles on the pavement.

    “The entire law is summed up in a single command”
    are not the words of Jesus our Salvation.
    It’s false teaching of Paul the Pharisee
    an “accuser of our brethren.”

    “Love” without God is Satan’s word through Paul
    in his chapter to the Corinthians.
    “I will show you the most excellent way”
    is the road to eternal perdition.

    Where is God in Paul’s chapter on love?
    Nowhere in view of the eye.
    Paul sings about himself like a Mexican Mariachi
    “I, I, I, I.”

    Jesus is The Most Excellent Way
    Not the words of a Pharisee.
    The words of Jesus are very clear.
    Jesus said, “You must follow ME.”

    • jgarrott says:

      I would hardly say that Paul removed God from His use of “love,” in 1 Corinthians 13 or elsewhere. The problem comes in our blanket use of “love” to apply to a wide range of things for which the Greeks used different words. Jesus indeed said that God must be first, but He also said that we must love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Accurate love doesn’t coddle or excuse, but it seeks the very best for the one loved. That very best is always a right relationship with our Creator.

      • Before we start talking about Paul and opinions about “what Paul really meant,” how about we listen to Jesus first?

        Jesus said that one of these two commandments is the first and greatest most important one. Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

  2. Parable of the House Painters

    A homeowner called his friend, who was a painting contractor. “Friend, I want to hire you and your team to paint my house and my garage. Paint the house first, and I’ll stay in the garage until you’re done. Then when the paint is dry, I’ll move back into the house, and you can paint the garage.”

    The painting contractor hired a new foreman named Paul, and gave him the homeowner’s instructions. (Paul insisted that all the workers show respect for him by addressing him as “Boss Paul.”) Paul called the team of painters together and told them:
    “Boys, we need to paint this garage and house. The quicker we do it, the more profitable it is for us. So get to work! Since the garage is smaller, we can finish that quicker. Then those who finished the garage can go help the others finish the house.”

    One worker objected: “But Boss Paul, those were not the owner’s instructions! We are supposed to paint the house first. Only after the house is finished and the paint is dry can we go and paint the garage.”

    Paul replied: “I’m Boss, you work for me, and you do as I say. We are painters, and we paint. We don’t have time for debates about “which one is first”. We need to get to work applying that paint to the garage and house as quick as we can. Which owner would be upset if we finished early? The job is to paint the garage and house – what difference does it make “which one is first”?

    “It makes a big difference to the owner,” the worker objected. To which Paul replied, “you’re fired.” Paul then took his team of painters, and started painting the garage and the house.

    When the homeowner returned in the evening, he was furious. He had nowhere to sleep, and had to go stay in a hotel for several days. The homeowner’s friend, the painting contractor, apologized, and explained: “I hired a new foreman named Paul, but that was a huge mistake. He ignored your instructions that I passed on to him. You don’t know him, and I’ve just barely met him.

    To be extremely polite, I could say that Paul “says some things which are difficult to understand.” To be more direct, I could say Paul talks like an arrogant megalomaniac with a messiah complex, proclaiming; “I am not under the law” but yet making up his own laws as he goes along, that everyone else has to obey. Paul said: “I became your father…. therefore I urge you to imitate me,” and “I have become all things to all men.” Paul thinks he’s Boss, and doesn’t need to listen to your instructions that I gave him.
    In Matthew 22 and Mark 12, Jesus identified two commandments, saying one of them is the first and greatest most important one. Which one is it? The one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, or the one in Leviticus 19:18 ?

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