December 14, 2016


Luke 1:74-75 … to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

The ideas in these two verses are so intertwined that the Japanese translation I use explicitly lumps them together as one verse, 7475. That’s more a matter of word order in Japanese versus English than it is anything theological, but it’s still true that God’s blessings are all interconnected. This is an interesting restatement of God’s promises to Abraham. It’s very interesting, and helpful, to do a study of those promises, especially since Paul says that all of those promises are applicable to those who are Abraham’s children by faith. (Galatians 3:7-9 and elsewhere) Zechariah here seems more focused on blessings in this life rather than in eternity, but he does say that the purpose of the blessings is for us to serve God. It is important to step back and realize, every once in a while, that everything God does to and for us is interconnected with His plans for all mankind. W. O. Carver called it “the plan of the ages.” (Sorry, he was my grandfather, and his books have been out of print for a long time now.) God loves us individually, but not in isolation. The greatest supercomputer possible couldn’t include all the variables God deals with all the time, considering the vastness of the universe, so it is a miracle of the highest order that He cares for each of us individually. In fact, if it weren’t explicitly stated in Scripture (Matthew 10:30) and experienced personally, we would have to dismiss the very idea out of hand as completely absurd. Even the most famous verse in the whole Bible, John 3:16, includes this dichotomy. God loved the world, (the totality) enough to send His Son so that whoever (each individual) might have eternal life. We need to rejoice that God indeed loves us individually, without forgetting that His loving plan includes every other person. If we will do that, we will rejoice to be instruments of His grace and love to one another.

This certainly applies to me, as it does to every other human being. I am very prone to get caught up in the individual moment, which can totally stress me out. However, from the perspective of my whole life, not to mention eternity, those moments are rarely of great importance. Little things like stubbing my toe, forgetting appointments and the like can really ruin my day, when they certainly don’t change God or the fact that He loves me. He has gone so far as to tell me personally to rest, relax, and rejoice, and yet I fail to do one or all of those all too often. Yesterday was a good example. God did something marvelous, downright miraculous, but then later in the day I couldn’t see well as I was backing the car and I bumped a rock. The damage wasn’t major by any means, but it soured my disposition for a while even though I had experienced God’s greatness just a couple of hours earlier. I’ll be glad to get to heaven, where I’ll be done with this foolish, sinful nature! I need to rejoice that He’s working on me even now to transform me into the likeness of His Son, and so not sweat the small stuff.

Father thank You for the huge reminder of Your faithfulness yesterday. Thank You also for the reminders of areas I still need to grow, as well as where I need to be active in Your service. May I indeed serve You in righteousness all my days, so that Your name may be hallowed because of me and Your will be done in and through me, 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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