January 11, 2017


1 Thessalonians 1:3 We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I’m sure I’ve written on this verse multiple times before, because it hits so many important points – faith, love, hope. The thing is, faith is going to work. Paul himself famously proclaimed that we are saved by faith and not by works, (Ephesians 2:8-9) but faith is not passive; if we believe, then we are going to act accordingly. It is said that Blondin, a famous French tightrope walker of the late 19th Century, was one of the first to walk across Niagara Falls. As part of his performance he pushed a wheelbarrow across. He then asked the assembled crowd if they thought he could do it again with a person riding in the wheelbarrow. There was an affirmative roar, but then he asked for volunteers! True faith will “get in the wheelbarrow,” so to speak. Faith will act, but love will go so far as to labor. We even have the expression, “a labor of love.” Paul made it very clear in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is the purest motivation for labor; without it, that labor means very little. But then we come down to the nitty gritty matter of just hanging in there. Endurance is celebrated in some sports events, but it is very necessary for the simple matter of living in this world. Jesus said very clearly, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) We cannot “tough it out” without hope, but when our hope is fixed on Christ we can get through anything. 1 Corinthians 13:13 puts these three in different order, but it rightly says that they are what remain when everything else is swept away. With them we can stand strong and be effective. Without them, we are done for.

This is certainly applicable! I need to be careful my faith isn’t merely academic, but active. I need to let love motivate me to give my all. I need to remember that no matter how dark or difficult the moment, in Christ I am going to get through to the other side, and by His grace that other side is glorious. The past month and a half has been another training period, but the Lord has taken me through many such in the past, and I will go through many more. I am to rejoice that He considers me worth working on and with, and keep my heart open to receive His lessons and do as He indicates, so that His kingdom may come as His will is done in this earth.

Father, thank You for Your truly amazing grace. Thank You that as I drove home yesterday, when I fell asleep in the tunnel on the expressway we drifted over so gradually that when we hit the side we didn’t even stop, but just scraped the van up a bit. That certainly woke me up! Thank You for the reminder both that we exist only by Your grace, and that the schemes of the devil will not succeed against us. Today I will go to the Prefectural Office again about our plans for an assisted living facility. I pray that their reception will be as You want it to be and that we will be able to move forward on Your schedule, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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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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