Response to Opposition; August 15, 2021

Mark 8:11-12 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.”

When Jesus had just fed 4000 men, plus women and children, on seven loaves and a few fish, the absurdity of this demand of the Pharisees is obvious. They weren’t interested in getting a sign, they were just trying to get Jesus into trouble. Again I am in no way suggesting that Donald Trump was/is a Christ figure, but this sort of behavior seems very familiar to us today, considering how Trump’s political enemies, including the media, attacked him. As a conservative commentator said, Trump could have come up with a cure for cancer and they would still have attacked him for it! Just as Jesus did in this case, the only thing to be done for such behavior is to walk away from it. Trump’s angry self-defense was a major weak point for him. Rather than copying Donald Trump, we need to do as Jesus did, speaking truth and walking away to keep doing whatever the Lord has told us to do. The temptation to get into arguments and even fights can be intense at times, but yielding to that temptation is generally detrimental. There are those who are called to present truth through the medium of debate, but it has become glaringly obvious that those opposed to truth aren’t interested in debate, because they know they will be exposed. We are to speak the truth in love as the Lord gives us opportunity, but not respond with angry words when we are attacked. We aren’t to back down, apologizing when we have done nothing wrong, but rather speak God’s truth with God’s wisdom in God’s love. In the current climate, that will often get us accused of “hate speech,” but nothing could be further from the truth. It is not love to deny biology, for example. There are powerful spirits of delusion loose in the world, and bowing to them is damaging to everyone involved. The intensity of the current conflict leads many to feel we are indeed in the Last Days, and that could well be the case. Our response to everything must be to abide in the One who is the way, the truth, and the life, (John 13:6) and let Him be our defense.

Just yesterday, on the way back to the gallery from picking up some lunch at a nearby convenience store, I was accosted by a young man who was evidently with Sokagakkai (the Buddhist equivalent of Jehovah’s Witnesses). I responded to him politely, but said I was very familiar with Buddhism, having written a paper on it, and I didn’t let him tie me down. Not long after that he showed up in the gallery, where I welcomed him as I did other visitors, with the prayer that my words and my attitude would in some way communicate the love of God to him. I could have picked apart anything he could have said to me about Buddhism, but I don’t think that would have in any way drawn him to Christ. As has been said, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. That’s far more than a clever play on words! I am certainly tempted to get defensive at times, and too often I yield to that, but I need instead to let God be my defense, He’s got it all covered!

Father, thank You for this reminder, and for all that You are doing. Thank You for Your protection in this weather, and that the rain looks likely to let up a bit today. We had the fewest visitors we’ve ever had in a day at the gallery, I think, in 12 years of holding these annual shows, but one of those visitors was very important indeed, and I thank You for the opportunity to minister to her. I ask for Your anointing on the service this morning, on the time at the gallery this afternoon, and on our last day at the gallery tomorrow. May the people that You intend attend each thing, being impacted by Your Spirit and drawn to You, for their salvation and 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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