April 26, 2014

Acts 1:1-2 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.

This first sentence is one of the most important in the entire book of Acts. Luke is saying in the clearest of terms that Jesus is not only alive, He is continuing to act and teach. Frankly, this point seems lost even on some Christians today. We have a “closed canon” (definition of what is the Bible), yes, but Jesus is continuing to act and speak even today. He never contradicts what is in the Bible, but He opens our eyes to understand how the Bible relates to our specific circumstances, even when at first glance they might seem to be far removed from the Bible. Yes, He does it through the Holy Spirit, just as He said in the upper room before His crucifixion, (John 14:26) but the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus, (Philippians 1:19) so He is the one teaching us. He is also acting, sometimes in ways that seem supernatural, such as miracles, but more often in ways that might seem completely ordinary, and He does it through people who are committed to Him. In other words, when we are obedient to Him, He is acting through us. If we forget that, sometimes we want to know, where is Jesus? The answer is, in us. It might seem absurd, but we are included in God’s plan of action, weak and foolish though we are. This is in no way an excuse for pride or self-importance, but rather a reminder that God is so powerful that He can even speak and act through us!

This is, of course, of vital importance to my life. As a pastor, people tend to expect Jesus to speak and act through me, but they tend not to believe that He wants to do so through them just as much. I have long been convinced that when the believers of Japan wake up to what they are in Christ, they will transform not only this nation but the world. People get tired of my telling them to take their eyes off of themselves and put them on Jesus, but that’s not only so that they can overcome whatever is facing them, it is so that He will be free to use them for His glory. Actually, I tend to forget that myself at times, particularly when I’m as tired as I am right now! That’s why Isaiah tells us to wait expectantly on the Lord, so that He may replace our weakness with His strength. (Isaiah 40:31) When I’m busy telling that to others, I need to practice it myself.

Father, thank You for all that You have been doing over the past two weeks. I pray that all that You have done in those to whom we have ministered, as well as in each of us, would be sealed by Your Holy Spirit so that the enemy would not be able to interfere with it. I pray that as the team goes back to the orphanage this morning that Your love would be clear and strong, transforming everyone involved. I pray that as I conduct a wedding this morning and then do premarital counseling for another couple this afternoon, that I too would be an open channel for Your love and truth to flow through in grace. May each of us indeed be “Jesus with skin on,” 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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