October 12, 2013

Isaiah 26:12 LORD, you establish peace for us;
all that we have accomplished you have done for us.

This one verse needs to be inscribed on the heart of every successful person, but sadly it doesn’t seem to be. The Bible is filled with admonitions to remember that everything we have comes from God, but that’s because we are so prone to forget it. Moses expressed it very clearly in Deuteronomy 8:17-18 “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today.” When we forget that God is both the source and the purpose of everything, we end up like Solomon, disappointed and depressed about it all. (Ecclesiastes 2:11) We see that in wealthy people all the time. Some of them wake up before it’s too late, but sadly, many do not. When we realize that everything good we do is because God enabled us to do it, then we are set free to believe that He can do even more, because our focus goes from us to Him, and that is blessing indeed. I am reminded of an earlier verse in this same chapter: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)

These first 13 verses of Isaiah 26 are so loaded with powerful truth! I could easily preach a series of messages from this short section, but more importantly, I need to internalize it and live it out. I have been enabled to do a lot of stuff over the years, but I must remember that every bit of it has been by the grace of God. He is the one who has given me ability, discernment, and energy, and if I forget that for a moment, I’m in trouble. I was raised not to place limits on my abilities, which was a great blessing in itself, but I’ve got to remember that ultimately they are not my abilities but God’s, operating through me. Conceit has been a problem for me much of my life, but if I had kept this truth in focus, that would never have been an issue. As a pastor, I am constantly reminded that I cannot change people by myself; if they are to change, God has to do it. Hopefully He will have their cooperation, and He might even use me in the process, but the wisdom and power have to come from Him. An important part of the Good News I seek to communicate is that God’s power is indeed available to everyone, if they will humble themselves to seek and receive it.

Father, thank You for Your transforming power that I see at work all around me. Thank You for exercising it on me as well. Help me continually lift my eyes off of myself and fix them on You, and lead others to do likewise, so that all of Your plans may be fulfilled in and through us, 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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