The Lord’s Highway; December 5, 2022

Isaiah 40:3 A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the Lord ; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.”

Many people tend to think of “desert” as a place of sand dunes, as indeed some deserts are. However, Japanese has two different terms that are used in places where English Bibles say “desert,” and I’m sure Hebrew has multiple terms as well, much like the Inuit have many different words for snow. The term the Japanese uses here doesn’t even specify that the land is dry, but is much closer to the “wilderness” the NIV uses in the last part of the verse. The character used in both places in the Japanese, in combination with two other characters, means “rough,” in distinct contrast to the “great level road” (highway) we are enjoined to prepare. What struck me as I read this just now is that society today could certainly be described as rough. God is saying through Isaiah that we are to prepare a road for the Lord in the middle of this very rough situation. John the Baptist claimed this verse as a description of himself, (John 1:23) but I hardly think this is limited to him. We too need to be “road builders,” regardless of the roughness of the terrain. We have various examples in history we can look to. William Wilberforce in Britain was powerful in eliminating the legal slave trade, and that was certainly a move to prepare the Lord’s highway. For a far lesser-known example, Fudeko Ishii was a Christian woman from right here in Omura who essentially started social welfare for handicapped people in Japan. Any given individual’s role might seem big or small, but the point is, we are to be preparing the Lord’s way right where we are. This is actually directly connected to the Lord’s Prayer. We aren’t just to say the words, “May Your name be acknowledged as holy. May Your rule and reign be established and Your will be done perfectly right here.” We are to pray those words, and we are also to offer ourselves as instruments for their fulfillment. We are to acknowledge God’s name as holy in all we say and do. We are to work for God’s authority to be manifested. We are to seek to do God’s will in every detail, every moment of our lives. That is preparing a highway for the Lord.

This certainly applies to me, because it applies to every believer. My younger daughter is fond of pointing out that in the two Great Commandments Jesus specified (Matthew 22:37-40) there are the two connections: vertical to God and horizontal to our neighbor. It is no accident that forms a cross. We’ve got to have a right vertical relationship with our Creator, but that cannot be maintained without a right horizontal relationship with the people around us. Getting and keeping those relationships right is another way of expressing what this verse says. I am frequently reminded that society around me is rough. I’m not simply to get angry, as I did yesterday, but rather act as God’s agent, changing things as I can and remembering that God is Lord, whatever people do. I’ve got to remember that “Man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” (James 1:20)

Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me indeed be the highway builder You want me to be, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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God’s Zeal; December 4, 2022

Isaiah 9:7 The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Many prophecies in the Bible seem absolutely incredible to us, and we wonder how on earth they could ever come to pass. Well, here we have a succinct answer. We forget, emotionally at least, that God is the Lord Almighty. (The Japanese sticks with the Lord of Hosts, that is, the Lord of all militaries.) He had to remind Jeremiah, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27) Likewise, Gabriel said to Mary, “Nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) We keep having to be reminded of that! If Jeremiah and Mary needed such reminders, we shouldn’t feel too bad about it! Another issue is maintaining assurance of what God has said. If things are a long time coming to pass, we can feel doubt that we heard or understood correctly in the first place. We do need to remember that God’s time frame isn’t the same as ours, (2 Peter 3:8) but never doubt that if God said it, that settles it, period. Delays in fulfillment can really test, stretch, and grow our faith, and that’s what they’re for. God doesn’t tease us, but He’s not big on instant gratification. Some miracles are indeed instantaneous, but they are more the exception than the rule. Jesus waited several days to raise Lazarus for a reason. He had already done many miracles of healing, and that’s what Mary and Martha were wanting and expecting, but He had something much greater in mind, as John’s record makes clear. (John 11) To get back to this verse, we don’t use the word, zeal, very much these days, or its adjective form, zealous. The Japanese word for it is literally, “hot heart.” The point is, God cares about things, and if He cares, since He’s omnipotent, it happens. The way it happens may be totally outside of our imagination, but we can count on it nonetheless.

I once gave a predictive prophecy that even I wondered about at the time. I told a couple (who weren’t even formally engaged at the time) that they would have a child, but that for some reason I wasn’t sure whether it would be his child. I was, however, confident that it would be hers. What I didn’t know was that she had had a hysterectomy! They just wrote it off as my imagination, and did go on to get married. She had been previously married, and her daughter by that marriage got into drugs and then got pregnant, and since she was obviously an unfit mother, a court gave full custody of the child to the couple over whom I had prophesied, and they signed formal adoption papers. I was already in Japan at that point and knew nothing about it, but my wife went to the US for something and ran into the couple, and they were effusive over how my prophecy had come true. We very literally cannot imagine how God is going to fulfill what He says, but we can have full assurance that he is going to fulfill it.

Father, thank You for this reminder. It’s very easy to get distracted by immediate circumstances. Help me remember Your zeal and Your omnipotence at all times, resting, relaxing, and rejoicing in You, just as You have told me to do, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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The Word of the Lord; December 3, 2022

Psalms 89:26 “He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.'”

Passages like this naturally stoked the Jews’ expectation of a strictly human Messiah, but the Pharisees still took strong exception to Jesus referring to the Creator as My Father. Human beings have quite a track record of giving strictly human, and therefore inadequate at least, interpretations to what God has said. We see that in “Bible teaching” all the time even today. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t read and understand the Bible. What it does mean is that we must have the humility and faith to let the Holy Spirit be our guide as we read, allowing Him to interpret it into our heart. After all, Jesus said that was a specific function of the Holy Spirit. (John 14:26) However, depending on a specific teacher or commentary is risky indeed. None of us get it all right! I’ll probably never forget a conversation I had with one pastor in his study. Seeing a full set of the Bible commentaries by Karl Barth, I asked him if he was more familiar with the Bible or with Barth, and he was honest enough to say, “Probably Barth.” I’m sure he is far from alone, but people would substitute various other teachers for Barth. Any time we read the Bible we need to ask God what He is saying, and understand that He is saying it to us. Human mental frameworks simply can’t contain God, but He will reveal Himself to us through His Word if we will be humble enough to receive it.

Of course this applies to me as much as it does to anyone. I am very aware of the human tendency to think, “Other people get it wrong, but I get it right.” I’m as fallible as the next guy, as much as I hate to admit it. Ever since I read it I have appreciated C. S. Lewis’ statement in The Great Divorce. “One thing we can be sure of is that when we get to heaven we will find that we were all wrong somewhere.” (I probably don’t have that quote exactly, but that’s certainly the idea.) Taking Preaching in seminary I greatly resented, and disagreed with, the requirement that every sermon had to quote commentaries. My attitude was, “What’s wrong with the Bible and the Holy Spirit?” I now see how much pride was in my attitude, and I do understand that a knowledge of geography, culture,  and historical context are very helpful in grasping the intent of each writer, but I also know that God often says things that are actually beyond the understanding of the direct writer or speaker. Many of the prophets of the Old Testament had no idea how their prophecies would be fulfilled. I have experienced that sort of thing myself, as I’m sure every pastor has. It’s a little unnerving to be thanked after a service for speaking something “so clearly” when I have no recollection of saying it, and it’s certainly not in my notes! I’ve got to operate in full humility, allowing God to use me however He desires and being grateful when He does so.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the incredible privilege of hearing You through Your Word and even through my own mouth. May I not limit or distort You, but always speak Your truth in Your love, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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Prophecy; December 2, 2022

Deuteronomy 18:18 “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.”

This is one of several places in the Bible that have multiple true interpretations. It’s kind of like quantum physics, in which two seemingly contradictory things can be true at the same time. This particular verse is explicitly singular, and therefore has long been taken as Messianic, but the following verses clearly speak of multiple prophets, which would not be Messianic. There were many prophets in Israel and Judah in the centuries after this, some valid and some not, but the idea of this singular Prophet was persistent even to Jesus’ day, when John the Baptist was asked if he was “the Prophet.” (John 1:21) We tend to forget that until Jesus started His public ministry, He was completely unremarkable. I’m sure those who knew Him personally thought He was a really nice guy, but as Isaiah said, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2) That agrees perfectly with this verse, that specifies this individual would be raised up from among the people. As a carpenter, Jesus certainly wasn’t a weakling, but he wasn’t a Hercules, either. Until He started speaking the very words of God, there was nothing to distinguish him from anyone else. How­ever, when He did start His ministry He was instantly polarizing, and people were either for Him or against Him. That’s because He spoke the Word of the Lord, and indeed was the Word, as John said, (John 1:1) and as such was “living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) You couldn’t get away from Jesus’ words! Believers today are tasked with communicating Jesus’ words to those around them. We aren’t Him, of course, but we operate under His authority, (Matthew 28:18-20) and we represent Him. (2 Corinthians 5:20) We tend to get hung up on the idea of prophecy being predictive, and as such are either drawn to it or turned off by it. A far more accurate picture is that prophecy is simply speaking out what God is saying, and anyone with the Holy Spirit in them can do that. The danger comes in saying things on our own that God is not saying, and then claiming or even thinking they are from God, as this passage goes on to say. Prophecy requires both faith that God can use us and humility to know that our own words are worthless without the anointing of God. If we have those two things, then God will indeed speak through us.

I have been used in prophecy numbers of times, and occasionally even in predictive prophecy, but I have also experienced continuing to talk after God stopped talking. That’s horrible! In recent years I have very seldom spoken in overt prophecy, but I earnestly seek to speak only what God is saying all the time. Sometimes He speaks some pretty mundane things! I desire to be His mouthpiece more and more, because I know that it is not my words but His that accomplish that for which He sends them, (Isaiah 55:10-11) and I desire that His will be done throughout the earth, for His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. As I grow older I find that people tend to put more weight to my words. May I indeed speak only what You are saying, so that I may not wound needlessly and so that the devil’s lies may be uncovered, setting people free to repent and believe for their salvation, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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The Devil’s Lies; December 1, 2022

Genesis 3:4-5 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The devil really is crafty, as it says in verse one. However, he is certainly and fundamentally a liar, as Jesus said. (John 8:44) He starts with the big lie of directly contradicting God. Anyone who is paying attention realizes that people are doing that all the time these days, even in such fundamental things as “male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) Then the devil takes a true statement and twists it. Adam and Eve’s eyes were indeed opened to know good and evil, but that certainly didn’t make them any more “like God” than they were the moment He created them. After all, going back to the verse about male and female, it specifies that humans were created in God’s image. The most damaging thing here, though, is the implication that God doesn’t want us to be like Him, that He is somehow jealous of His status. On the contrary, God wants and intends us to be more and more like Him. That’s what spiritual growth is all about! (Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18) The two sides of the lesson here are that the devil is indeed devious and persistent in his lies, and that it’s very dangerous to swallow them. As he did in his direct encounter with Jesus, he will even quote Scripture to us, (Luke 4:9-10) so we need the constant help of the Holy Spirit as a filter for all the junk, regardless of how it’s presented to us. The encouraging thing here is what James said: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) The devil is frankly smarter and stronger than we are, but he’s no match for the Holy Spirit in us. (1 John 4:4)

This is of course as much an issue for me as it is for anyone. The devil has used flattery against me, saying things like, “You’re smart enough to figure that out on your own. You don’t need to check and see what God has said about it, or what He wants now.” The moment I recognize he’s saying that I know I’ve got to seek God’s face urgently! The longer I live the more strongly I am aware that I both need to listen to the Holy Spirit and resist the devil, seeing through his lies by the light of the Spirit. I know that I don’t have accurate discernment without the Spirit! However, I don’t have to be anxious about it, because as again James said, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You also for helping me recognize some of the lies the devil is telling Cathy so that I can counter them with Your truth, pointing out how Your healing is indeed being manifested in her body, despite the fact that she’s not as she was 10 years ago. I ask Your patience for her as she walks through the process of healing, so that she may receive all the benefits You have for her, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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The Commission of John the Baptist; November 30, 2022

Luke 1:76-77 “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.”

It just struck me that this commission of John could now be applied to every believer. When we consider that a prophet is simply someone who speaks the words of God, there is no part of this that falls outside of the Great Commission famously recorded in Matthew 28:18-20. John the Baptist was indeed an important figure in God’s plan of salvation, but as Jesus said, “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (Luke 7:28) John was filled with the Holy Spirit from birth, (Luke 1:15) but that same Holy Spirit is available to every believer today, and we have the knowledge of the cross and resurrection, which John did not have. There is no room for personal pride here, because we are all equally objects of God’s grace, but we must not take lightly the privilege and responsibility of giving people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. John’s preaching, after he became an adult, was at times blunt in the extreme, but many people indeed repented because of it and were prepared to receive Jesus as the Messiah. Even Jesus’ disciples John and Andrew were first disciples of John the Baptist.(John 1:35-39) “Preparing the way,” as it says in this verse, is laying the foundation for repentance and faith in a person’s heart. We can’t do it in our own wisdom and strength, but the Holy Spirit can use us to do it if we are willing and available. We can’t save anyone, but we can let them know that salvation is both necessary and available, and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

I’ve obviously accepted this commission to tell others about salvation in Christ, and I’ve even written a small book on the subject, though it’s not yet published. However, I see my greater commission as helping others understand that they too have John’s commission. That is of particular importance as a Caucasian in Japan, because people are far more likely to receive the Gospel when they hear it through someone who looks like them. That’s not to say I haven’t led people to repentance and faith, but that number is small. Of potentially far greater importance is the number of people who have recognized their commission through my ministry. I sometimes say that they go into fulltime ministry because they think, “I can do a better job than he does!” However, even that “fulltime ministry” term is a misnomer, because every believer is to be a child of God all the time, and that means telling people about their Father. Of course, words without actions are meaningless, as James emphasized, but far too many Christians never tell anyone about Christ. That’s what the Holy Spirit is given to us to enable, (Acts 1:8) so if we want Him, we had better be willing to share!

Father, thank You for the incredible privilege of being Your agent. (2 Corinthians 5:20) Help me meet Your appointments and fulfill Your plans on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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Mary’s Faith; November 29, 2022

Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

The story of the Annunciation is certainly impressive, and verse 37, “Nothing is impossible with God,” is rightly loved and quoted widely. However, the central element of the whole story is Mary’s faith. That she would respond to Gabriel as she did is nothing short of astounding, all things considered. This statement by Elizabeth encapsulates that. Our greatest blessings all come by faith, from salvation on down. The Japanese translation I read uses some expressions in this verse that really strengthen the impact over how it’s said in English. Trying to put it back into English makes it a little awkward, but it says, “believed fully and without wavering,” and “will positively, without question, be accomplished.” We need that kind of faith! It’s kind of like a skydiver believing that their parachute was packed properly and the release mechanism would function properly, but even more so, because there are cases of improperly packed parachutes and malfunctioning rip cords. God has never failed and never will! There are certainly times when what He has said is misunderstood, and times when His time frame is entirely different from ours, but there is never a failure on His part. The most magnificent part of Mary’s faith was that she followed through on it, accepting the huge assignment God had for her. I’m sure she had moments during her pregnancy that she doubted her own ability to follow through, and feared the people around her in relation to what was going on. Joseph’s faith in this was pretty remarkable too, when you think about it. However, Mary was obedient even when she didn’t how the how of the fulfillment of what Gabriel had said to her. That is something everyone who claims Jesus as Lord needs to emulate.

Growing up in a staunchly Protestant family I didn’t focus on Mary very much. Now, with actually a good bit of association with Catholics, I am still disturbed by three elements of their treatment of Mary. The first is simply the matter of praying to her. I see nothing in the Bible to justify praying to anyone or anything other than the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The second is calling her the “Mo­ther of God.” She was indeed the mother of Jesus’ physical body, but He preexisted her from before Creation, and calling her the Mother of God logically places her above God, as preexisting Him. The third is calling her the “Queen of Heaven.” As Jeremiah 44 talks about, that was a title for a pagan goddess! Heaven doesn’t need a queen, and such a title is dangerous in the extreme. All of that said, I should not overlook Mary and her magnificent faith. I do need to learn from her how to trust God completely, convinced that what He has said is real, regardless of anything else.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You that my wife was indeed able to come home from the hospital yesterday, and that she was able to navigate the 15 steps of the staircase to get to our living area. There are almost countless things that have piled up over the past two months, and the natural impulse is to want to do them all immediately. I ask for wisdom and patience for us both as Your healing continues to be manifested in her body, so that she may be the instrument You intend her to be in relating to all those around her, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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Ordinary Blessings; November 28, 2022

Luke 1:14 “He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth.”

We have the record of the fulfillment of the last part of this verse in verse 58 of this very chapter, but aside from the factor of the mo­therhood of a previously barren woman, this seems like a very pedestrian prophecy, one that any thinking person could have spoken. The thing is, God is interested in all the ordinary things of life as well as the things that stand out to us. He planned the joy of parents in their children, which we often see in animals as well. We are not to take any of His blessing lightly or for granted, but give Him the gratitude and praise He deserves. In modern society, more and more luxury is being seen as ordinary, and we lose our gratitude for it. That is dangerous on many levels. Many people have noticed the current tragedy of the “entitlement generation,” who don’t appreciate the good things they already have and expect – demand – that ever more be given to them, with no sign of satiety. That’s a sad situation indeed. We need to be aware of just how much we are blessed already, and reject resentment and every other negative emotion. “Mindfulness” is a current buzzword, and we definitely need to be mindful of God’s grace and blessings to us.

I’m in training in this area at this very moment, but then I think just about everyone is. My wife is scheduled to get out of the hospital today after a 2-month stay for back surgery and then a subsequent infection. I need to be properly focused on the positives and not be anxious about potential negatives. We are blessed to have our two daughters here from the US, though the older one will be returning on Thursday. Deviations from normal routine are the order of the day, and I’m not to let that factor rob me of either peace or joy. My own body is talking to me in various ways that aren’t always pleasant, but I’m not to allow that to mask the greatness of God’s grace toward me. The schedule for the next month is packed, and the older I get the less I enjoy that. I am not to run away from such things, but remember that “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

Father, thank You for this clear reminder. I’m probably going to need it several times over the next month or so! Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, just as You have told me to do, so that all of Your plans for me may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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Fake News; November 27, 2022

Matthew 28:15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

This little section of five verses, sandwiched between Jesus’ resurrection and the Great Commission, is often overlooked, but it is of great relevance to what we are experiencing today. I’m sure it wasn’t the first time such a thing happened, but it is an example of deliberate “fake news” from 2000 years ago. The devil is a liar, and those in his grip can’t stand the truth and do all they can to deny, hide, or at least confuse it. That has been very clear in the reaction to ultrasonic imaging giving us a clear picture of infants in the womb. Proponents of abortion can no longer claim that “it’s just a clump of cells,” and faced with the reality that it is indeed a baby, more and more people have recognized abortion for the murder that it is. Character assassination is rampant, and often the accusation, minus any real proof, is sufficient to do the job. As David said of someone back in his day, “You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth.” (Psalm 52:3) Paul said of such people, “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10) That goes back to Jesus’ very blunt statement: “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:19-21) Those who love God and thus love the truth need to constantly be on guard against lies. That’s not the same as mistaken opinions; no one is perfect. However, deliberate lies are never to be accepted, and there is a battle over that raging all around us. There are so many lies being floated in so many areas of life that we must have the guidance and discernment of the Holy Spirit to keep things straight, but if we ask, He will answer, (James 1:5) so we aren’t to be anxious.

I am discovering that this whole principle applies very close to home. People close to us will express well-meaning “realism,” not allowing for the grace and power of God, and so tear us down. The hard part of that is that they are motivated by genuine love. I am not to get angry – which is a real temptation – but rather submit every circumstance and every emotion to God. I don’t know the future, but they don’t either, and I am never to lose hope. My wife gets out of the hospital tomorrow, and the predictions of “how things are going to be” are disheartening to say the least. The devil loves to run negative scenarios through my brain! I am not to deny reality, but I am not to surrender to the negative. The issues at hand are practical in the extreme and have far-reaching consequences, but God’s plans are good and He is fully able to bring them to pass. Even now I am to rest, relax, and rejoice in Him whatever is being said to me, and I am to respond in truth and love.

Father, thank You for this very timely Word. I pray that throughout today I may be able to focus on each task at hand, being fully present and not preoccupied with what is around the corner, so that I won’t wound anyone with my words or actions, but be an effective instrument of Your grace, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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Accountability; November 26, 2022

Matthew 25:21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!'”

I referenced this parable just two days ago because of the parallel between Matthew 13:12 and verse 29 of this chapter. In Matthew 13 Jesus is talking about God’s truth, which is a treasure indeed, and here he is using money to say the same thing. The point is, we are accountable for what God gives us, whether that is tangible or intangible. As this verse says, the rewards for faithfulness are huge, but in both places Jesus says that for the unfaithful person, even what they have already been given will be taken away. That’s scary! We tend to run from accountability, but it’s inescapable. However, rather than focus on the negative, we need to focus on the positive, and nothing could be more positive than God’s faithfulness toward us. Paul quoted what was apparently an early hymn: “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13) We don’t need to worry about matching someone else’s performance; the accolade in this verse was repeated exactly in verse 23 for some­one who had been given less than half that given to the person in this verse. The point is very simply to recognize what we have been given and put it to the use God intends for it, whether it be finances, abilities, or whatever. Just as procrastination never makes anything better or easier, trying to run from accountability never succeeds. God is loving and faithful, but He is also holy and just and He does­n’t spoil His children, however many blessings He pours out on us.

Just last night I realized I had really slipped up, failing to recognize that a magazine editor had requested a response as to whether I would accept an article assignment. I realized it as I was preparing to send them the article, well before the deadline for the article itself but well after the deadline for the response. Magazine issues take planning, and my failure to respond may mean that my article won’t be used. Yes, I had some major, legitimate distractions, but a simple “Yes, I’ll write the article” would certainly have taken no time. I too have plenty of room to grow in faithfulness and accountability! I have long felt that the accolade Jesus expressed in this verse was my ultimate goal, but I am frequently reminded that I can’t get there in my own strength and wisdom. However, as Paul wrote the Philippian believers, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6) I’m still very much a work in progress, but I’m not to be anxious but rather rest, relax, and rejoice, as my Lord has told me to do.

Father, thank You for this reminder. My interactions with my daughters are pointing out other things I need to correct. Help me be genuinely accountable to You in all areas, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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