Friday, September 30, 2016

To Home And Inner Rest: Comfort For All The Wanderers And Restless Hearts




Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. 
Psalm 141:2 (ESV)



The evening comes, the sun is sunk and gone,
And all things lie in stillness and in rest;
And thou, my soul, for thee one rest alone
Remaineth ever, on the Father's breast.


The wanderer rests at last each weary limb;
Birds to their nests return from heath and hill;
The sheep are gathered from the pastures dim—
In Thee, my God, my restless heart is still.


Lord, gather from the regions dim and far
Desires and thoughts that wandered far from Thee;
To home and rest lead on, O guiding Star,
No other home or nest but God for me.


The daily toil of this worn body done,
The spirit for untiring work is strong;
Still hours of worship and of love begun,
Of blessed vision and eternal song.


In darkness and in silence still and sweet,
With blessed awe my spirit feels Thee near;
Within the Holiest, worships at Thy feet:
Speak Thou, and silence all my soul to hear.


To Thee my heart as incense shall arise;
Consumed upon Thine altar all my will;
Love, praise, and peace, an evening sacrifice,

And in the Lord I rest, and I am still.


Gerhard Ter Steegen, The Shadow of His Wings




Valaam Brotherhood Choir - "A Mercy of Peace"
from the Anaphora of John Chrysostom's Liturgy and Prayer (4th century)





Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Importance Of The Christ-centered Hermeneutical Principles: My Lesson




The early fathers of the church, in contrast to much modern scholarship, rightly believed in the maxim that "Scripture interprets Scripture." The incident of the risen Christ asserting to the two disciples on the Emmaus way the hermeneutical principle that all the Scriptures, including the Psalms, speak of Christ set a basis for the early church thinkers to interpret the Bible as the book about Christ (Luke 24:13-49). The radical power of "the Spirit" over "the letter" introduced the centrality of Christ into apostolic exegesis of the Old Testament--especially in the Psalms--in a totally new way.

--Bruce K. Waltke, The Psalms as Christian Worship

Several days ago, I wrote the following post regarding the Biblical Womanhood entitled: True Feminine Beauty Hides Herself In The Innermost Parts Of His House (here), which was based on my interpretation of the Psalm 128:3.

"Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine, in the innermost parts of thy house." Psalm 128:3a (ASV)

This morning, I received a very insightful comment from our bro. David who is a complementarian Japanese brother, as follows;

As I meditated on the Psalm, I came up with the thought like below:

Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine, in the innermost parts of thy house. (ASV, Psalm 128:3)

In the Bible, a vine represents the true Israel, to which Jesus refers as Himself in John 15:1. And in the same passage, we see the Father trimming the vine so that it will be “a fruitful vine.”

In the days of the Old Testament, the word “house” represented the temple of God, a place where He dwells. And “the innermost parts of thy house” reminds us of the Holy of Holies, the innermost part of the temple of God.

Therefore, there’s a possibility that the writer of this Psalm might liken a good wife as the true Israel, who is a fruitful vine, worshiping God at the innermost part of the temple. If that’s the case, we could also take the wife as the Church, the wife/bride of Christ, who worships Him in the Holy of Holies as a fruitful vine.






I was impressed by the way he reads the Psalms, which I consider it to be a consistent, historic/authentic and Christ-centered hermeneutic approach to the Bible. I am so grateful that He is teaching me His divine truth every day and protect me from deviations by the help of my brothers and sisters in Christ! 




Christ and Culture: The Real Danger Of Syncretism



I think many of you have heard of the book; Eternity in Their Hearts: Startling Evidence of Belief in the One True God in Hundreds of Cultures Throughout the World, by Don Richardson (1984). 




The thesis of this book is that God has prepared the cultures of the world for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we can see the impact of this book in the area of Christian Missiology today.

Although I am willing to accept the proposition of the author that God might indeed has prepared the cultures of the world for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, there has always been a sense of alarm and caution in my mind as regards to the application of this thesis, partly because I myself came from a pagan background and thus I do not want to adapt any form of unbiblical syncretism in my Christian belief.


The real danger of syncretism


And my concern is not groundless, too. For example, there is a heretical Christian group called Makuya of Christ (キリストの幕屋 Kirisuto no makuya) in Japan. This sect was founded by Ikuro Teshima in 1948. 

In their "sincere and extreme" effort to see "eternity in the hearts of Japanese culture and mind", they nonetheless have departed from the orthodox Christianity somewhere on the way and fallen into the unhealthy and heretical sect which adhere mixture form of the Old Testament and the Kojiki (古事記) /Nihon Shoki (日本書紀) which are the Japanese mythological history books. 

Their other distinctive beliefs include; ultra-nationalism, patriotism, Christian Zionism, worship at Yasukuni shinto shrine and so forth. You can see their syncretic form of heretical Christianity on the short video below.



Christ and Culture---I believe it is indeed an important topic not only for those who in the mission field but also for all the sincere believers who want to be set apart from the world and live for Him alone. If you have any ideas or opinions on this topic, please share with me freely! Thank you. 


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How then shall we think of our "good" traditional cultures/virtues if these are derived from the non-biblical, pagan roots?




I have been thinking about the theme with which I dealt on my yesterday's post entitled: Oku (奥): Rediscovering The Depths And The Beauty Of Being In An Innermost Room [Biblical Womanhood And Modesty](here).

As a Bible-believing Japanese Christian who was born and brought up in a pagan culture, this particular theme as to the way how we should view our traditional culture, has been in my mind constantly and ceaselessly. I think I need your help, my dear readers!

My sincere question to you is this;


"Traditional womanhood may not always mean biblical ..." Yes, this is so right. Then, how should we think of our "good" traditional cultures/virtues such as female modesty, gracefulness, obedience, quietness, dedication, simplicity etc?

Should we reject them all together because, after all, these are derived from the non-biblical, pagan roots? Or could we adapt some and take them into our biblical womanhood? But,,,by doing so, does it cause some form of unhealthy "syncretism"?


I am looking forward to hearing from your response, my dear readers!


pictures from here and here.

Dayspring of eternity! Dawn on us this morning-tide.





Dayspring of eternity!
Dawn on us this morning-tide.
Light from Light's exhaustless sea,
Now no more Thy radiance hide,
But dispel with glorious might
All our night.


Let the morning dew of love
On our sleeping conscience rain;
Gentle comfort from above
Flow through life's long parchèd plain;
Water daily us Thy flock
From the rock.


Let the glow of love destroy
Cold obedience faintly given;
Wake our hearts to strength and joy
with the flushing eastern heaven,
Let us truly rise ere yet
Life hath set.


Brightest Star of eastern skies,
Let that final morn appear,
When our bodies too shall rise
Free from all that pained them here,
Strong their joyful course to run
As the sun.


To yon world be Thou our light,
O Thou glorious Sun of grace;
Lead us through the tearful night,
To yon fair and blessed place,
Where to joy that never dies
We shall rise.



Morgenglanz der Ewigkeit, Von Rosenroth. 1684.
trans. by Catherine Winkworth, 1855


As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness:
I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
Psalm 17:25


picture from here


Oku (奥): Rediscovering The Depths And The Beauty Of Being In An Innermost Room [Biblical Womanhood And Modesty]


Simplicity, Gracefulness, Modesty, Order, Serenity and Silence

The Japanese word Oku () signifies a heart attitude and essence of the modest Japanese women. It literally means the inner part or behind but it means more than that. The wife in Japanese is Oku-san, which literally means, "a woman who lives in the inner part of the house." There is also an exquisite and antique adjective called Okuyukashii which derives from the noun Oku.

奥ゆかしい [okuyukashii] = graceful, elegant, refined, modest, cultivated, reserved, restrained.

Are these virtues, serenity and beauty connected with biblical womanhood and modesty? "Yes," my fellow Japanese sister in Christ responded. "I think these virtues must be seen among godly Christian women in every nation!"

"Let the woman learn in silence (hēsyxía; ησυχια) with all subjection." 1 Timothy 2:11

Cognate: 2271 hēsyxía (from hēsyxos, "quiet, stillness") – quietness, implying calm; for the believer, 2271 (hēsyxía) is used of their God-produced calm which includes an inner tranquility that supports appropriate action.
from Helps Word-Studies (here)



 Oku is a world of gracefulness and modesty. It is the exact antonym of the concepts such as self-promotion, self-assertion, self-display, presumptuousness, argumentativeness, aggressiveness, public exposure and vulgarity. Instead of demanding, it quietly receives.

"Femininity receives. It says, “May it be to me as you have said.” It takes what God gives-a special place, a special honor, a special function and glory, different from that of masculinity, meant to be a help. In other words, it is for us women to receive the given as Mary did, not to insist on the not-given, as Eve did."

--Elizabeth Elliot, The Essence of Femininity : A Personal Perspective


O that our God-given biblical-femininity would blossom in our innermost Oku, where we would commune with Him in a most sublime and intimate way. 


Holy reverence, awe-struck silence
Reign while heaven's hosts bow down
Worshipping the Sole-begotton
Seated now upon the throne.

Silence, deep as time eternal,
Broods around the throne divine,
Where in loving, blissful union,
Father, Son and Spirit shine.
Then the heavenly Sanctus thunders, 
As Thy prostrate hosts adore,
Cast their crowns before Thine altar,
Praising Thee for evermore. 

-B.Schlink


My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: 
my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Psalm 84:2


pictures from here and here and here.

Monday, September 26, 2016

True Feminine Beauty Hides Herself In The Innermost Parts Of His House




"Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine, in the innermost parts of thy house." 
Psalm 128:3a (ASV)

In the age of super self-promotion and exposure, the true feminine beauty hides herself in the innermost parts of His house. Instead of seeking fame and worldly attention, it quietly withdraws herself from the noisy outside courts and goes into the hidden room where she would enjoy a sweet communion with Him, Her beloved bridegroom.

"In Thy presence is fulness of joy!", she exclaimed.

The true feminine beauty is like a secret garden, a hidden fruitful vine, where a maiden-like bashfulness, shamefacedness and reservedness are its inner adornments.


It needs real courage and complete decisiveness to go this way and dwell in its beauty in this century. It also needs faith and paradigm shift of our values in order to find the key to enter this secret garden. O that our whole beings would be enchanted by our King of kings now and forever! 



written by Kinuko


Friday, September 23, 2016

A Little Maiden's Song; When She Feels She Is A Failure





Always striving, and yet always failing,
Always serving, and yet always missing the mark,
Always running, and yet always slipping and falling down.
Wishing to encourage others, and yet offending them instead.

Lord, I don't know why I am so foolish and thoughtless.
Recklessness and rashness are tailing me
wherever I go,
whatever I do.

So, the little maiden went to a forest and there she wept.
And wept herself to sleep under the oak tree.

"Wake up, my daughter," a gentle Voice whispered.
Opening her eyes, she found herself in her Father's arms.
"O Daddy", she clung to Him and poured her heart tearfully.
"Daddy, you know how much I wanna be your good daughter. 
But I can't. I just can't do that, I always fail."

"My dear daughter, remember that when you fail and slip, 
you are falling deep down in My arms." 



written by Kinuko

To Be Found The Pure Bread Of Christ: Inspiring Words Of Ignatius, A 2nd Century Christian Martyr



"I am the wheat of God, and am grounded by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ."  -excerpt from The Letter to the Romans by Ignatius (AD 2nd century)

σιτος ειμι θεου και δι΄οδοντων θηριων αληθομαι, ινα καθαρος αρτος ευρεθω του Χριστου.

The Letter to the Romans by Ignatius, an early-second-century Bishop of Antioch, was written during his transport from Antioch, Syria, to his execution in Rome.

σιτος ειμι θεου (=I am the wheat of God). What a deep and insightful remark! It might be that through life's various trials, sufferings and His chastening, each grain of ours is grounded,,painfully. "No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous." (Heb 12:11a) However, "afterwards, it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them." (11b), that we may be found the pure bread of Christ (καθαρος αρτος του Χριστου).

"Only request in my behalf both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will, so that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really found to be one." by Ignatius

"It is good to set from the world unto God, that I may rise again to Him!" by Ignatius.




Prayer:
O Lord, help each one of us to set from the world unto Thee. Give us patience when we are suffering various trials so that one day, like Ignatius, we may be found the pure bread of Christ as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1). In Jesus' name. Amen.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bud Of Joy




Come, bud of joy, the driving rain
That all thy young, 
green leaves doth wet
Is but a minister of gain
To that which in thy heart is set.

Come forth, my bud;
awake and see
How good thy Gardener is to thee.

And pass, my bud, to perfect flower,
Dread not the blast of bitter wind;
Thy Maker doth command its power;
It knoweth not to be unkind.

Haste thee, my flower;
unfold and see
How good thy Gardener
is to thee.

O fruit that cometh after rain,
O fruit that ripeneth in the sun,
Now praised be God that not in vain
For Thee the changeful seasons run.

O fruit of mine, make all men see
How good thy Gardener is to thee.

Great Gardener, whose grey rain beat,
And sudden blasts of grievous wind,
Whose sun devoured me with his heat,
I know Thee wise, I know Thee kind.

Let all who look be caused to see
How good my Gardener is to me. 

And when the sap in me doth fail
And natural vigor of my youth,
Then may Thy life in me prevail,

That I may still show forth in truth
By flower and fruit on this my tree,
How good my Gardener is to me.



Bud Of Joy--Amy Carmichael



Monday, September 19, 2016

Covered glory vs Exposed glory




Covered glory= veiled human glory
Exposed glory= unveiled, displayed, exhibited, paraded human glory



Ostentatious propagation of
the signs and wonders,
divine healings,
and various visions.

Clamorous, blaring human noise
and the sound of trumpets.


The mystic veils, which are to be
covered and
hidden
are stripped off
 and being exposed to the public
miserably.


"Verily I say unto you,
they have their reward."
  

Into the secluded,
secret, and
unknown place.
 A path toward "the little way."
  

O Lord,
 Hide us
in the clefts of the rock and

the shadow of Thy Cross.




written by Kinuko

Thursday, September 15, 2016

I Cannot Have A Baby And I Believe In The Sovereignty Of God (My Voice Message: Christian Woman's Testimony)






Dear Sisters, here is my voice message (3 min.).  I hope this testimony would be used as a humble tool to encourage my fellow sisters who are under various trials and difficulties.




Friday, September 9, 2016

When Friends Desert Me and Foes Hurt Me: A Song in the Stormy Night





The favor of men is a fickle frame
From day to day 'tis never the same
Changed with the weather, changed by the hour
Weak and waning and wanting in power

But Thou, Eternal and Almighty LORD
Hath proved Thyself in Thy Holy Word
That Thou may be trusted and safely adored
For in Thee all the treasure of Heaven is stored

A Sure Thing, by Vicki Plaster Baird


In Christ alone
YES, my friend, 
IN CHRIST ALONE!




In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.


There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.


No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,

Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.




picture: from here

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Root Under The Dark Soil



A thin, pale root
under the dark soil.

Is he dead?
 ---No, he is not.

Unknown,
Forgotten,
And forsaken,

---Yes, and yet he is alive.
alive.


Deep down in the ground,
where there is no light of the sky,

there,
he is meeting his God...now.


Therefore, friends, 
let us console him.

And let us sprinkle water on the soil
where he lies,

gently and most tenderly.



written by Kinuko






A Corn of Wheat




If I refuse to be a corn of wheat that falls into the ground and dies
 (“is separated from all in which it lived before”),
 then I know nothing of Calvary love.


-Amy Carmichael



In a letter from a prospective missionary, one young woman asked Amy what it was like to be a missionary. Amy wrote back, "Missionary life is simply a chance to die.Amy never returned to England. She remained in India and it was there where she died in 1951.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Prayer for Sleepless and Sorrowful Nights: Christian Comfort






During the stillness of the night, 
I can hear nothing but the silence that surrounds me.

I can hear it because I am wide awake, 
while all the world is at rest. 

Father, I cannot find the words to tell you what's wrong but, 
even though I can't at this point
 I know You understand me. 

Search my heart, 

Oh Lord, take away the pain, 
take away the suffering, 
take away my troubles, 

restore peace and tranquility in my life.


In Jesus' name. Amen.



In the multitude of my anxious thoughts within me, 
Your comforts cheer and delight my soul.  Ps 94:19




Instrumental Hymns