April 30, 2012

John 1:16-17 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

These first verses of the Gospel of John are so incredibly rich and deep! They are an instance of the reality expressed in these two verses, because nothing required God to have John write them, yet they have blessed countless people in the almost 2000 years since they were written. To me these two verses speak volumes, but what stands out this morning is the fact that we have all received abundant grace. That is true, yet many people fail to recognize it and so fail to be thankful or, for that matter, happy. A dissatisfied, ungrateful heart is certainly not a happy one! This is at the core of something Jesus said repeatedly, that has come up repeatedly in recent readings, and that is that those who have will be given more, and those who don’t have will lose what they do have. It is only when we recognize that God has been gracious to us that we line up with Him so that more grace can be received. Refusing to recognize grace shuts us off from God in many ways, and that is never a good thing. God is always there and available, arms outstretched to receive us, but if we fail to recognize that and turn to Him, it does us no good. There are many things in this life that are not pleasant. Some of them are God’s tools for training and growing us, and some are simply the result of human sin, our own or others’. However, focusing on those things will blind us to the overwhelming weight of God’s grace toward us, and that benefits no one.

This is certainly a reminder that I needed this morning, because I did not go to bed with a grateful heart last night! It wasn’t anything really specific, but I allowed the devil to use physical tiredness to trigger emotional tiredness, and that clouded my eyes to the grace with which I am surrounded. As abundantly as I have been blessed, that is certainly an indication that no one is immune to such attacks! I need to listen to and act on my own sermons, and not just speak them at others. Likewise, I need to be gentle and understanding toward those in the flock who are struggling with such things. None of us can stand on our own, much less be fruitful, but God’s grace is sufficient for us, if we will only receive it. As it says in the lyrics to “Jesus Loves Me,” we are weak, but He is strong.

Father, thank You for Your patience with me! There are so many lessons I should have learned fully long ago, yet I still need reminders and refresher courses. Thank You for providing those. Thank You for the good, full day yesterday. Thank You especially for the good, clear Word through Brother Kawata. It was indeed what we as a body needed to hear. Help us apply it, waiting faithfully on You, trusting that Your plans are perfect and overflowing with grace and love. Thank You for those who came to the service and to the BBQ afterward. May we as a church be an open conduit for Your grace and love to all, so that many may receive and be saved, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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