Sunday, December 30, 2012

Getting ready for a NEw Year!

The Hebrews have been through a lot of pain in the 400 years of slavery.  The People were broken.  They had almost lost hope. Then, some of them realized WHO they were and called on their God for help. 
They were beginning to asked for a deliver.  From where, they just did not know.  Some remembered the Promise to their forefathers that this was going to last only for 400 years.
Moses tried to be THAT deliver but that was on his terms and in his way. 

He needed to be taught a big lesson: Trust in God.  Exodus 3:15.   _I Am Who I Am_The God of your fathers-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.  This is My Name forever, the Name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.”
 THIS is the God we trust!  A living God!
Signs for Moses: walking stick into a snake, water into blood.
Response: not good for the Hebrews.  Need to make the same amount of bricks but need to get the straw themselves.
Chapter 6: 6-8 God used I am, and I will-11 times and one “I swore.”
Pharaoh does not listen and ten plagues hit Egypt.  Blood, frogs, gnats, flies, plague, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, death of first born.
It was at this time the Passover first celebrated.
The Exodus: Exodus 12:1-2 "Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you."
New beginnings.  Old things are passing away, behold the New has come.
Cutting with the past.  Old practices, worship, attitudes, old visions, old way of doing life.  A new beginning to be learned and experimented with.  FRESH!
As we look back on the past year, we too can leave the past behind.  We really don’t need to carry last year’s worries into the New Year.  We don’t need to be burdened with the past at all.  We will need to give it to Jesus.
As in Psalms 105:37-45   37 He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold, and from among their tribes no one faltered. 38 Egypt was glad when they left, because dread of Israel had fallen on them. 39 He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night. 40 They asked, and He brought them quail and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. 41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out; like a river it flowed in the desert. 42 For He remembered His Holy promise given to His servant Abraham. 43 He brought out His people with rejoicing, His chosen ones with shouts of joy; 44 He gave them the lands of the nations, and they fell heir to what others had toiled for— 45 that they might keep His precepts and observe His laws.
- They left their sicknesses back there in Egypt!
- They left their weaknesses back in Egypt!
- They left bad memories back in Egypt!
- They left their poverty back in Egypt!
- The Bible said that they spoiled the Egyptians –
- They took most of their silver from Egypt–
- They took most of their gold from Egypt-
- They took finest of fine garments from Egypt -
- They did not leave Egypt sick -
- There was not even one weakling or sickly among their tribe…
In fact, new things were to be theirs, as they gave themselves to the One who is I AM. The one huge thing they could take with them was HOPE.  To look at this, let’s turn to 1 Peter 5:6-14
Written during a time of growing persecution.  As in our Prayer Time each week, we have been praying for the Nations and for the Believers in them.
Peter has set his heart on the good note…no matter how bad things go, there is always HOPE. 
His benediction has five points of giving us HOPE.
o   Doxology  (11) To Him be the Power forever and forever!
o   Summary  (12) Written briefly
o   Few words of greeting  (13)
o   Final command to love each other  (14a (kiss)
o   Final prayer for PEACE  (14b)
They--and us--are to press ahead, don't turn back--and press on! 
Here is our reminder that we HAVE GOD’S GRACE
(10) God is “”the God of All Grace”
o   1 Peter 4:10.
 Each one should use whatever gift He has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s Grace in its various forms.
His Grace has many forms and in various forms.  His diverse and assorted means to show Himself to be Faithful—in many ways—always different yet the same.  There is WONDER all the time!
By using the gifts His Holy Spirit gives to us—ALL of US—we NEED to be using them in the Worship of God.
o   In the Chapel, at home, at work, walking, talking, always being Faithful in our actions and mindset.  Having the Mind of Christ our Savior.
As His faithfulness is shown in the gifts He gives us, He also provided whatever we need in ANY circumstance. 

Look to Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Our dwelling place for this year and into the next is in “THE TRUE GRACE OF GOD  (12)
Stand fast in life. When the way gets rocky, painful, dark, threatening, gloomy, impossible—it is then we are to stand fast. And we get to do it together!  Not by yourself.  Need for Family.  Need for strength in numbers. 
The salvation we now have is only ours by His Grace. We have tasted that “the Lord is good.”  1 Peter 2:3
Always with us as the “God of all grace
          Another comforting thought …
For this Benediction to be realized in our walk of Faith, look at what comes first in this section of Scripture.
Verse 6  Humble yourselves under God’s mighty Hand…”
Verse  7Cast all your anxiety on Him BECAUSE He cares for you.”
Be self-controlled and alert
The great need for understanding the times.
The great need for discernment of people’s hearts
The great need for sensitivity to the Lord’s Spirit on matters of Faith and practice.
                  We are to be with self-control BECAUSE our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
More now than ever before, the world is moving into a graying of issues. 
Compromise is the battle cry and the only ones who will really be hit in the end are those who hold to the Truth.      So…
Hold fast to what you KNOW to be true. More than in a creed--in your hearts!
The Gospel in all it’s implications of life, His way is Light and Life.
But the evil one has different plans for the Church. 
Hit it hard from within, from outside, and shake it up.
Happened in Germany in the 1930 with the religion of the Nazis. 
Replace Christ with Hitler.
Seems obvious to us now but it was a slow process and those who objected to this heresy were killed off.
This passage instructs us to:
Resist him
Stand firm in the faith
Because we know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
We have been praying for over 40 countries around the world who are going through HARD spiritual times and we stand with them.

And then, once we do that, the benediction comes to us. 
First things first. 
Keeping the main thing of the Gospel the main thing.  Christ is our cornerstone and all else is not worth it.  Keeping the Cross in focus, we need to ask ourselves during the course of the week,
Is what I see of God or not?”  Does it bring Glory to God or does it not?”  Is it worthy of my attention?” "...of my time?"

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
12 With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.
13 She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
Our past is important to remember but not to hold us down.  The past is past and the things that both hurt us then and confuses us now has no hold on us now because of the Cross. 
Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things.”

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Two Messages: Ken and Stan


 「 あなたのために 」







1節、       2節には皇帝アウグストから「住民登録」をせよ。との命令が出たと書かれています。







Christmas Sunday
Opening: God’s Gift to us: Mary’s Song
Scripture: Luke 1:46-55 ルカの福音書 1:46-55
·       Luke is showing his friend that this Message is a true one.  The good doctor is giving an account of the things that have been fulfilled during his life time as a witness for a man named Theophilus who wanted an eyewitness accounting of the things he was taught.
·       Mary was chosen—
·       Predicted from Old Testament times:  Isaiah 7:13-14 エズラ記 7章:13~14
13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with Child and will give birth to a Son, and will call Him Immanuel.  God is with us!
Mary’s is not the first time such a prayer is made.  Hannah’s Prayer for a child was filled with praises to the God of Israel.
o   1 Samuel 2:1-10   サムエル記 第一 :1~2
o   She rejoices before the Lord.
My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in Your deliverance. There is no one Holy like the Lord; There is no one besides You; There is no Rock like our God.” 
Key verse during hard times and times of disappointment: 1:9-10
He will guard the feet of His saints,    How we walk, plan…
But the wicked will be silenced in darkness.
It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the Lord will be shattered. He will thunder against them from heaven; the Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
He will give strength to His king and exalt the horn of His anointed.” His promise to His Son-soon to be born King.
And Mary speaks of this from her heart of hearts.  She believes this deeply.  She will be put to the test from this day on and she will overcome.  She too, will need this Savior.  She too, will need forgiveness for her sins.  Like us, we need to believe as well and put our trust in the One who makes all things possible.  Nothing too hard for Him!
Later in Luke’s account:
o   Luke goes into the foretelling birth of John the Baptist
o   The birth of Jesus being foretold.
o   Joseph and Mary—both from the family line of David.
The encounter:
Angel said: “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!”
Mary said: “AUGH!”
Angel said: “Don’t be afraid!”  (read the account: 1:31-37)
“For nothing is impossible with God.”   
His #1 gift to us today is that promise.
Mary:  I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
She goes away-as she was beginning to show-to visit her relative, Elizabeth, who is with child: well along in years – meaning: an old lady!
Verse 20 and 45
20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”
45 Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”
Then Mary starts her song to the God of Israel, the God of promise!
46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
She knew her center.  She had placed her complete trust in the God of her Nation, the One who promised the Savior. 
We are made to praise Him.
Short Catechism: 
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man's chief end is to glorify God 1
   , and to enjoy Him forever 2     
o  1 Corinthians 10:31. So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  
o   Romans 11:36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever! Amen.
o    and to enjoy Him forever
o   Psalm 73:24-26. You guide me with Your counsel,
    and afterward You will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but You?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides You.

My flesh and my heart may fail,  but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
o   John 17:22  I have given them the glory that You gave me, that they may be one as We are one:
o    24 “Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory, the glory You have given Me because You loved Me before the creation of the world. 
Luke 1:49  for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    Holy is His Name.
Mary was selected and special to God.
So are we! 
•• This is His 2nd Gift
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped His servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful.

55 to Abraham and His descendants forever,
    even as He said to our fathers.”
Are we hungry today? He will satisfy your need. 
 Are you in need of mercy today? He is the only One Who can be Mercy for you.  And that my friend, …
•••  is His #3 Gift to us. 
Mary had it right.  She Knew Who her Rock was and that He was the One of Promise.  She Knew that He was the Giver of great Mercy.  And she was to give birth to that One in Bethlehem. 
Have you ever taken Jesus into your heart as Mary did?  You can.  Seems almost childish but it is just child like.  God I’m not going to look for satisfaction in ‘this’ any more.  I want to find that in You.  I’m not going to blame other people and agree I am a mess.  I’m going to trust what the servant did on the Cross—He died for me.  And I am going to take You at Your Word. Ever done that?  You can.  You can do that. Just cry out to God—He knows you. He is calling you.
There maybe someone here who will find the prayer I am going to read as the expression of your heart –and life and to that end, I’ll read it for you.
Lord Jesus Christ.  I admit that I am weaker and more sinful that I ever before believed. But through You, I am more loved and accepted that I ever dared hoped.  I thank You for paying my debt and my punishment and offering me forgiveness.  I now turn from my sin and receive You as my Savior—Oh, Lord, hear my prayer and cries.  For I ask this in Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Time for some Reflective Prayer / 祈りの時間

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It’s a Miracle: それは奇跡です!

Simon Peter's mother-in-law    シモンの姑は病気です!(Luke 4:36-40 ルカ4:36-40)
-   36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What is this teaching? With authority and power He gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about Him spread throughout the surrounding area.
-   38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So He bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.
-   40 When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying His hands on each one, He healed them.

-       Jesus Drives Out an Evil Spirit  イエスが悪霊を追い出し
-       Jesus Heals Simon’s Mom-in-law イエスがサイモンの義理のお母さんを癒してくれる
-       Jesus Heals Many-イエスは多くを癒す while the sun was setting

-  Jesus is Available - イエスは助けになる
Again, when is He NOT available?  He is forever close.  Come close to Him and He will come close to you.
Christmas message: God with us!
-       Asked to Help Her- 彼女を助けるために頼んだ
Simple request.  Bold request.  Personal need. “Well, it is just a cold!”  “It is only cancer!”  “I don’t want to bother Him!”  “He would not care/do anything!”
-       Jesus Bent Over Her彼は彼女の上に身をかがめ
Mark 1:30-31
Simon's mother-in-law was sick in bed with a fever.  He went to her, took her by the hand, and helped her up.  The fever left her, and she began to wait on them. 
マルコ1:30-31 ところが、シモンのしゅうとめが熱病で床に着いていたので、人々はさっそく彼女のことをイエスに知らせた。イエスは、彼女に近寄り、その手を取って起こされた。すると熱がひき、彼女は彼らをもてなした
Close to her.  Got ‘in her face’ yet sounds gentle.  
No words-to her--just His touch.  You need His touch today?  You need to ask for it.
     -       Rebuked the Fever 熱を叱責した
His action was to go all the way.  He had just dealt with evil spirits and death type illnesses and here Simon Peter’s mother-in-law had a high fever—maybe malaria, or whatever was around at the time.  Back then, a high fever meant death would be close. Jesus spoke to the problem.  By rebuking the fever, we can see that it was more to it than just an sickness.  It was a deep illness —maybe unto death.
He touched lepers who NO one would touch and they were healed.
Blessed children with a touch
A deaf man was touched by His finger and healing occurred.
He took the hand of Jairus’ dead daughter and she was brought back from the dead!
When Peter cut off the man’s ear in the Garden, Jesus touched the detached ear and he was healed.
But yet, He did not HAVE to touch anyone…His voice or even His thoughts were enough as with the Centurion’s servant: “Just say the word and because of Your Authority!”
His Father, during Creation, in Genesis 2:7 “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” 創世記 2: 7 神である主は土地のちりで人を形造り、その鼻にいのちの息を吹き込まれた。そこで人は生きものとなった。He touched the soil & Man was made.
God creates and He created Man from the dust and he became a walking being.
The point is that Jesus could do what He does because of Who He was. He was the Son of Creator God.  The Incarnate One-God in the Flesh.  Immanuel.  God with us.  Christmas story here…
God touched this world with His Own Son and had Him live among us.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
- Fever Left- 熱は去り
Nice work on Jesus' part.  The family got her back again.  It sounds like Peter had a good relationship with his in-law.  This was a good move on his part.  A good testimony to those outside the family and ESP those inside the family-unit who do not know God yet.  A good evidence of the Power of God!
How we treat our in-laws says a lot about how we value them.  They have worth. They are important.  And God loves them!
-       Got Up and Served- 起き上がって世話をした
Nothing was going to hold this woman down.  Do you know someone like her? “Got things to do…so move out of the way!” 
Once there was a God-Touched Life, there is service.  Have you been touched by God? By His Mercy?  What is your service?  Did it for a while but now it is some one else’s turn. Do we ‘owe’ God?
 Is it ぎり?  You do this for me and I’ll repay you back with good acts of mercy and then, I’m out of here.  Or is it: I was touched by God私は神に御手によりI owe Him everything!  I was once dead but He touched me and now I am alive.

     This passage continues with Jesus going outside, while the sun is still shining and He heals yet more people.  Today, the sun is NOT set.  He still does His touch on people’s lives—even your life!  You can look back over the years and you can see that He was there---touching you—directing you—helping you-keeping you. 
     We have been talking about being bold in our prayers.  We have been looking at the miracles and the parables of Jesus which all point to His Person as being the Son of God.  He is able to touch you and your situation—whatever it is.  We are asked to put on the full armor of the Faith as we live out life.  And there will be trouble.  There will be pain.  There will be the attacks of the evil one but we have Christ on our side and He is greater than any power there is.  So, …
Ephesians 6:11 & 13  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. … Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
エペソ人への手紙 6:11 悪魔の策略に対して立ち向かうことができるために、神のすべての武具を身に着けなさい。13ですから、邪悪な日に際して対抗できるように、また、いっさいを成し遂げて、堅く立つことができるように、神のすべての武具をとりなさい。
When faced with hardships, illness or injury, with bad news, with personal grief or sadness, with discouragements, rejections, we need to stop and check our armor.  Being suited up doesn't mean we avoid the encounter with the enemy, but we are prepared for it.  I appreciate how Paul tells us to be prepared, but then also encourages all of us to join together in being alert and to pray earnestly for one another. And then he asks for prayer to continue proclaiming the Gospel...even though he's in a restricted situation.
Earlier, Paul gives us a great encouragement in how to think:
Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. 
エペソ人へ紙3:20 どうか、私たちのうちに働く力によって、私たちの願うところ、思うところのすべてを越えて豊かに施すことのできる方に、
     How good is your imagination?  It is time for us to think God Size thoughts and to pray along those lines and see what He has for us as a Church in the years to come.  This will not end when Faith and I return to the US.  His Church will continue and you will be part of what that looks like.  Able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.”  

 Reflective prayer time 祈りの時間