March 28, 2017


Deuteronomy 1:42 But the Lord said to me, “Tell them, ‘Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.'”

We are so foolish! We fail to do what God says to do when and how He says to do it, and then we turn around and try to do it on our own, just as the Israelites did. God has made many marvelous promises in His Word, but few if any of them are without conditions. We like to cherry pick the promises and ignore the conditions, and then accuse God of not being faithful when things don’t turn out as we imagine. We need to listen when God says “No” just as well as when He says “Go.” Even Paul had to learn that, as is recorded in Acts 16:6-7. In that case it was because God wanted him to head into Europe, and that was momentous indeed. Later, in writing to the Romans he talked about the Jews, saying, “For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.” (Romans 10:2) Being gung ho for God doesn’t necessarily mean we’re hearing Him correctly! There is a fine line between faith and presumption. Failing to believe and trust God is obviously bad, but so is presuming on Him when we haven’t been humble enough really to listen to Him.

This is extremely applicable to me and to this church right now. We have the whole matter of the land next door and the vision of building an assisted living facility. Had I been listening more actively a few months ago, the situation would probably be very different now. However, my trying to make things happen at this point in my own strength would be equally wrong. Not just there, but in every area of my life I am to listen actively and obediently, never thinking I can do anything apart from God but never holding back, from laziness or for any other reason, when He says to do something. You would think that since I was baptized over 60 years ago I would have learned this better by now! Japanese has a standard idiom, used like a single word, that means, “listen and obey.” That needs to be the hallmark of my life, expressed consistently in every area.

Father, thank You for Your patience with me. That’s a huge part of Your amazing grace. Thank You that You know the end from the beginning, and Your plan for me is perfect. Help me participate actively and joyfully in Your plan, doing Your will on Your schedule for the blessing of many, 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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