December 8, 2016

Luke 1:18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well on in years.”

It struck me as I read just now how Zechariah’s focus was off. Gabriel was telling him things about how his son would live and what he would do, and Zechariah was stuck on whether it could happen in the first place. I think we are often like that. God tells us something and we get all hung up on how or even whether it could happen, when God wants us to be preparing for when it does. Gabriel had to give Zechariah a fairly severe lesson before he got straightened out. At the same time, we are not to be presumptive, taking our pipe dreams as a Word from the Lord. It’s not often the Lord tells us stuff as clearly as this, and we need discernment and humility as we seek to follow God. That said, we have no reason to be anxious, because we can rest in the assurance that God’s plans for us are good, and He will bring them to pass. (Jeremiah 29:11)

The past month has been intensive training in this. It’s been less than a week since we had the blow of being told the land next to the church was to be sold to a developer, and then the next day we heard that someone could come up with the money for us to buy it. As it turned out, that person’s pockets weren’t as deep as we had thought, (and he thought we had much more on hand than we did) so our excitement was dashed. However, in the process we grew in faith, in surrendering our dream of a group home to the Lord. If that is to materialize we still need to come up with the money by the end of the year, but we have far more peace about it all, whether the funds come in or not. That actually is good training, because the church vision is for Omura to again be the foremost Christian city in Japan, which it was 450 years ago. Humanly speaking that is clearly impossible, even more so than our coming up with $275,000 in the next three weeks, but God wants us to be preparing for when it does happen. Compared to that, this congregation having a group home or not is hardly a bump in the road. I still believe that having such Christian institutions would fit in very well with the greater vision, but the most important point is in a massive increase in the number of genuine disciples in this city. Quite a few people have indicated strong interest in attending our Christmas services here, and that is where my focus should be. Money and land are entirely secondary! Just as Jesus said, if I will focus on His kingdom and His righteousness everything I need will be supplied, and I am to trust Him with knowing just what my need is.

Father, thank You for this clarifying Word. Thank You for the various things You’ve enabled us to do this week, and for what is on the schedule for today. Help us be faithful moment by moment, not being paralyzed by what we think is coming up but leaving it all in Your hands, 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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