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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Are souls like flowers? If so, what flower are YOU??: a joyous feminine talk!




An Excerpt from Anne of Avonlea,


The girls left their baskets in Hester's garden and spent the rest of the afternoon rambling in the woods and fields surrounding it, discovering many pretty nooks and lanes.

"Look do you see that poem?" she said suddenly, pointing.

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"Where?" Jane and Diana stared, as if expecting to see Runic rhymes on the birch trees.

"There. . .down in the brook. . .that old green, mossy log with the water flowing over it in those smooth ripples that look as if they'd been combed, and that single shaft of sunshine falling right athwart it, far down into the pool. Oh, it's the most beautiful poem I ever saw."

"I should rather call it a picture," said Jane. "A poem is lines and verses."

"Oh dear me, no." Anne shook her head with its fluffy wild cherry coronal positively. "The lines and verses are only the outward garments of the poem and are no more really it than your ruffles and flounces are YOU, Jane. The real poem is the soul within them . . .and that beautiful bit is the soul of an unwritten poem. It is not every day one sees a soul. . .even of a poem."




"I wonder what a soul. . .a person's soul. . .would look like," said Priscilla dreamily.

"Like that, I should think," answered Anne, pointing to a radiance of sifted sunlight streaming through a birch tree. "Only with shape and features of course. I like to fancy souls as being made of light. And some are all shot through with rosy stains and quivers. . .and some have a soft glitter like moonlight on the sea. . .and some are pale and transparent like mist at dawn."

"I read somewhere once that souls were like flowers," said Priscilla.

"Then your soul is a golden narcissus," said Anne, "and Diana's is like a red, red rose. Jane's is an apple blossom, pink and wholesome and sweet."

"And your own is a white violet, with purple streaks in its heart," finished Priscilla.


-Anne of Avonlea, A golden picnic

------

Are souls like flowers as Priscilla said? If so, I wonder what flower YOU are, my lovely feminine sister? Last night, I went to my husband and asked him what he thought I was as a flower. Pondering a little while, he then replied to me that to him, I am a little, white jasmine flower. And I was just thrilled to hear that, for I've always adored the name Jasmine and wished my middle name would be so!!

Then I thought of my dear sisters. What are they? Now I am going to share my impression of you, one by one. Well, to me, Caroline is a light blue violet. Ruthie is a light purple and warmly-moisty hydrangea. Jessica is a white, upright lilium longiflorum. Then Sanae is a light pink star lily (himeyuri) in a remote mountain. Irina is a delicate, purple hyacinth. Our Kegan is a bright sunflower! And Mélanie is a mystic purple wisteria.


So, dear sisters, what do you think? Do you like my impressions? You might want to ask your beloved ones around you (such as your family, friends) their "flower" impressions of you. Please do so, and tell me what they said about you:)


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

For those who have difficulty in finding a Christian fellowship: My poem





I dedicate this little poem for our dear brothers and sisters in Christ who cannot find any fellowship under some difficult and painful circumstances. May our gracious Father encourage you this very day. In Jesus' name. Amen.


A tiny sheep.
A loving sheep.

crouching on the
bare ground, all alone.


Joyous laughter
cozy home
and evening meal out there.


Here I lay down,
on the bare ground,

under the evening sky.

――――

"My beloved sheep,
look up your eyes."

Lo,
here is a warm look.

The look which gazes upon you
 tenderly and mercifully.

"My child,
O my homeless child,

Raise up your eyes, and look on Me,
Look into my Heart, dear.

Here you shall find your home.
------Your eternal home."




written by Kinuko

Monday, August 29, 2016

Christian Psalmody: Meditating and Singing the Psalm 29 in Deep Solitude and Prayer



"In solitude I get rid of my scaffolding: no friends to talk with, no telephone calls to make, no meetings to attend, no music to entertain, no books to distract, just me – naked, vulnerable, weak, sinful, deprived, broken – nothing.  It is this nothingness that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something.

But that is not all. As soon as I decide to stay in my solitude, confusing ideas, disturbing images, wild fantasies, and weird associations jump about in my mind like monkeys in a banana tree. Anger and greed begin to show their ugly faces. I give long, hostile speeches to my enemies and dream lustful dreams in which I am wealthy, influential, and very attractive – or poor, ugly, and in need of immediate consolation. Thus I try again to run from the dark abyss of my nothingness and restore my false self in all its vainglory…

The wisdom of the desert is that the confrontation with our own frightening nothingness forces us to surrender ourselves totally and unconditionally to the Lord Jesus Christ." 

(Henry Nouwen, The Way of the Heart, p. 27-28).



Over the years, as I've developed my habit of daily devotion in Psalm mediation/singing, He started to open the new gate for me to commune and to listen to His voice in solitude.

Isn't it amazing that He speaks to our soul? Isn't it too wonderful to know that there actually is a voice of the Lord (קוֹל-יְהוָה kol Adonai/ φωνή Κυρίου, foni Kiriou) which is written all throughout the Bible.

Isn't it comforting to know that He speaks to us both in storms and in deep solitude? (Psalm 29:3-9, I Kings 19:12)


Today, I invite all of you to listen to the following Psalmody in Hebrew (Psalm 29, Havu la’adonai, Ascribe to the Lord) for worship and meditation. You might hear the sound Kol adonai many times, which means "the voice of the LORD." 

This is my prayer that as our soul listens to the Word of God in melody, He shall sit enthroned in our heart as King forever and that in His temple (which is the body of the believers), all of our beings say, "Glory" to our King of kings (v.9,10).





Ps.29: Mizmor l'David Havu Ladonai
מזמור לדוד הבו ליי

Mizmor l’david.

Havu la’adonai, benei elim,
havu la’adonai kavod va’oz.

Havu la’adonai kavod shemo, 
hishtachavu la’adonai be’hadrat kodesh.

Kol adonai al hamayim, el ha’kavod hirim, 
adonai al mayim rabim.

Kol adonai ba’koach, 
kol adonai be’hadar.
Kol adonai shover arazim 
va’yeshaber adonai et-arzei ha’levanon.

Va’yarkidem k’mo egel, 
levanon ve’sirion k’mo ven-re-emin.

Kol adonai chotzev la’havot esh.
Kol adonai yachil midbar,
yachil adonai midbar kadesh
Kol adonai yecholel ayalot.

Va’yechesof yearot, u’veheikhalo kulo omer kavod.
Adonai lamabul yashav,
va’yeshev adonai melekh l’olam.

Adonai oz le’amo yiten, 
adonai yevarekh et-amo va’shalom.


Psalm 29 
1 A Psalm of David. Ascribe unto the LORD, O ye sons of might, ascribe unto the LORD glory and strength.
2 Ascribe unto the LORD the glory due unto His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
3 The voice of the LORD is upon the waters;
the God of glory thundereth, even the LORD upon many waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild-ox.
7 The voice of the LORD heweth out flames of fire.
8 The voice of the LORD shaketh the wildernes​​s; the LORD shaketh the wildernes​​s of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and strippeth the forests bare;
and in His temple all say: 'Glory.'
10 The LORD sat enthroned at the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth as King for ever.
11 The LORD will give strength unto His people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.

Friday, August 26, 2016

"Lord, here I am, send me to the end of the earth!": A letter of encouragement to our mission-minded young Christians





This morning, I received a wonderful email from a high school student in the states. She told me that after hearing the mission news that we need more servants of God who can communicate and share the Gospel in either Arabic or Farsi language, she went to the section of foreign languages in the public library near her house yesterday. And then, she borrowed the Arabic and Greek study books and embarked on the Arabic alphabet immediately last night! Oh, what a tremendous and extraordinary maiden for Christ!

-------

So, today, I'd like to write a letter of encouragement to our mission-minded Christian youths. Yes, I want to encourage you to pursue a concentrated life.

As you all know, in this world, there are so many cultural & athletic events, harmless hobbies, recreations etc which are not evil in themselves, meaning, it is not sin at all for Christians to engage themselves in these things.

However, I want to challenge you, my dear young Christians. Do you want to live a Gospel-centered life? If so, the Gospel preaching should not be just one piece of your fairly busy life schedules and various trifles. No, it should be the very center of your life. In fact, the Gospel mission should be an axis and that your life shall revolve around it (and not vice versa.)

If we do this and pursue "one thing needful (Luke10:42)" seriously and wholeheartedly, then He will show you the order of priority in your life. Maybe your church friends are enjoying some things which are not evil in themselves, and they spend quite a lot of time and money on these and talk a lot about these things. Yeah, of course, these might be good for them but what about you?



Have you heard the names like Van Dyke or Henry Martyn? They were the young missionaries who had been sent to Middle East in the 19th century and after tremendous efforts, they started to translate the Holy Bible from Hebrew/Aramaic/Koine Greek into Arabic and Persian languages. 

Amazingly, both Van Dyke Arabic translation (1867) and Henry Martyn Persian translation (1837) have been used as one of the best word-for-word translations until today.

"No one going as a soldier entangles himself with the affairs of life, that he may please him who has enlisted him as a soldier." 2 Timothy 2:4




I think you all know about Jim Elliot. He was a missionary martyr to Auca tribe in Ecuador who was killed along with his four other fellow missionaries in 1956.




Elizabeth Elliot, who later became his wife, wrote in her memoirs that while they were studying in Wheaton College, she happened to see this young man (=Jim) in the student cafeteria. Waiting in the line, Jim was completely absorbed in memorizing the Koine Greek verbs on the cards, which left her deep and lasting impression. 


"When the time comes to die, make sure that all you have to do is die!"
The Journals of Jim Elliot


So, like Van Dyke and Henry Martyn, Jim was the man of concentration, too.




Surely those who know the great passionate heart of Jehovah must deny their own loves to share in the expression of His. Consider the call from the Throne above, "Go ye," and from round about, "Come over and help us," and even the call from the damned souls below, "Send Lazarus to my brothers, that they come not to this place." 

Impelled, then, by these voices, I dare not stay home while Quichuas perish. So what if the well-fed church in the homeland needs stirring? They have the Scriptures, Moses, and the Prophets, and a whole lot more. 

Their condemnation is written on their bank books and in the dust on their Bible covers. American believers have sold their lives to the service of Mammon, and God has His rightful way of dealing with those who succumb to the spirit of Laodicea.”

Jim Elliot




My dear young Christians, our life on this earth is just one time. For which cause and for whom do you want to pour out your life?



Thursday, August 25, 2016

Divine treasure in the frail and earthen vessels



I have been thinking of the word ostrakinos (στράκινος, made of clay, earthen) which is used metaphorically in 2 Cor 4:7 of the frail human body of believers. 

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." (2 Cor.4:7, KJV)

Some recent incidents made me realize keenly how frail and weak I am as a woman and as a foreigner in this strange land. At the same time, I have been comforted by sharing the depths of our hearts with my fellow headcovering sisters who have been inseparable parts of my life already. I had never expected that one day I would be able to share or confess my bare shortcomings, foolish & nasty sins, joys and sorrows with other human beings so freely and without hesitation like I have been doing with you. 

Regardless of the differences such as our nationalities, ethnicity, family condition (single, married, with/without children), aren't we so painfully and wonderfully similar that we contain the divine treasure in the frail earthen vessels? 

Yes, we all share the same basis, we all accept creation order and biblical womanhood heartily and want to be submissive daughters/wives. But alas, how often we fail,,,and that miserably! Often times, I am tempted to doubt if there has been any progress in my spiritual journey after all and that our evangelical efforts and seed planting would bear any lasting fruits. However, the above verse does not end with the "earthen vessels." It further explains why we have divine treasure in earthen vessels;

[so that] the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

The Amplified Bible explains like this;

,,that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves.


O my dear sisters, let us not be discouraged. When you fail, He will rise you up again and we all come to hold you in our arms! Our journey continues so do our friendship and mutual bonds!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Free, pure and alone.


 

 
 
Free,
pure
and alone.
 
 
Gentle,
simple,
quiet,
serene,
 
 
without will
and thoroughly happy.
 
 
Ah, that my mind were so!
 
 
 
-Gerhard Tersteegen