Thursday, July 30, 2020

On the Bridge


Vera was walking alone in the suburbs late in the morning.

While she was crossing a bridge, which was a little more than half a mile long, she was caught in a heavy, blustery shower. 

She could hardly see anything around her, and the navy blue folding umbrella that she had with her just in case was useless.

Drenched to the skin, she walked on.

Suddenly, she found herself in tears, without knowing why.

She walked on, feeling her tears running down on her cheeks and washed away in the pelting rain, allowing herself to cry to her heart's content.









this week's prompt: shower

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

A Little More on Forgiveness


Forgiving Others

God forgives others when they repent. 
So I will choose to forgive them, and ask God to help me forgive from my heart.
If I refuse to forgive, it means that I am disobedient to God. 
That is, my heart is different from His.
God desires me to be of one heart with Him, and so do I.



Forgiving Myself

God forgives me when I repent.
He has already forgiven me.
So I will allow myself to accept His forgiveness humbly and thankfully.
I cannot earn His forgiveness by punishing myself and wallowing in self-pity.
I will appreciate the gift of His forgiveness, the price of which has already been paid in full by the sacrifice that Jesus has made on the cross.





Tuesday, July 28, 2020

A Choice


Dear Lord,

I choose to forgive.
Help me forgive.

In Jesus' name I pray.
Amen.




I used to think that I would be able to forgive after I was healed.

God tells me, however, to choose to forgive first, so that I will be healed.

In disbelief, I asked Him to help me forgive.

To my amazement, He is right. (He always is.)

The moment I chose to forgive, I was filled with great peace, and joy.

The moment I chose to release someone who had hurt me from my inner Heart-Prison, I found myself set free from what had seemed to be an endless torment.







Monday, July 27, 2020

This Is Powerful!


I've started taking a free online course, 70x7 Finding Peace by Forgiving Others ... and Yourself at Our Daily Bread University

I'm thankful that I've encountered these eye-opening and life-changing lessons, which is just what I need to learn right now.







Sunday, July 26, 2020

The Story of The Daughter of Jairus

Mark 5:21-24, 35-43

1. Jesus focuses on faith, not on healing.

Above all, Jesus expects us to believe in God.

 
2. He gives us life, rather than healing.

When He doesn't give us what we have prayed for, it is because He wants to give us something far better than what we have asked for. 
Prayer is not a means of obtaining what we want. We pray in order to know and  the will of God.
 
When you are in despair, Jesus takes you by the hand, and gives you life.




 a summary of the sermon by the Rev. Inoue on July 19 






(The Rev. Inoue quoted the following poem in the sermon.)

A CREED FOR THOSE WHO HAVE SUFFERED

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey...
I asked for health, that I might do greater things
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things...
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise...
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God...
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things...
I got nothing that I asked for -- but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men, most richly blessed!



Saturday, July 25, 2020

#Ten Things of Thankful: July 25, 2020

Here is a random list of ten things I'm thankful for this week, without explanations...😊

  1. edamame (green soy beans) 
     
  2. occasional cool breeze
  3. my school yearbooks
  4. an urge to clean the kitchen thoroughly
  5. a Charles Haddon Spurgeon quote: "God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart."
  6. 1 Peter 2:18
  7. Chinese bell flowers in our backyard  
  8. the song "In the Garden" written by Charles A. Miles
  9. my umbrella
  10. a calm and peaceful mind



Ten Things of Thankful

Thank you for your visit.

Have a wonderful weekend!






Thursday, July 23, 2020

A Hunch


Walter told his friends that his wife Grace had been hospitalized the day before, and that she would be discharged in a couple of days, asking them not to visit her so that she could have complete rest. 

Grace was a hard-working lady in her early forties, and everyone thought she would get well soon.

Well, almost everyone.

On hearing the news, Vera somehow had a hunch that she would never see Grace again on this side of eternity.



Three days later, Walter called Vera, telling her that Grace had just passed away because of a sudden brain hemorrhage. 

He added that Grace had been up and around in her hospital room on the previous day and that nobody had imagined this was going to happen. 














this week's prompt: hunch

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

In the Garden

While taking a walk on the riverbanks in the morning, I found myself humming the sweet tune of In the Garden, imagining myself walking with Him.

After breakfast, I opened the hymnal in Japanese, and sang it, playing the electronic organ. 

In the afternoon, I searched for its original lyrics in English on the Internet. Naturally, the original is far more detailed than the one in translation. On the web site, I also learned that this song is about Mary Magdalene at the tomb on Easter morning. --I had never thought of that.-- 

I've printed out the lyrics, and now I'm practicing singing this beautiful song in English, hoping to learn it by heart soon.





Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Hevel

Recently I've watched this video, and the most interesting thing I've learned in it is the meanings of the Hebrew word, Hevel, which is used a lot of times in Ecclesiastes. 

This word. which is often translated as "meaningless,"  originally means "vapor" and "smoke." It can be interpreted as "temporary" and "fleeting", as well as "enigma" and "paradox." Everything under the Sun is temporary and fleeting, and our lives are full of enigmas and paradoxes. 








Everything is hevel. So the Teacher advises us to fear God and keep His commandments.




Monday, July 20, 2020

He Has Made Everything Beautiful in its Time


God has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

We often pray that God will make everything convenient for us, 
but God has made everything beautiful in its time.

Though I can never see the whole picture,
I will choose to trust in my loving God,  
who has already made everything beautiful in its time.




Sunday, July 19, 2020

Roses of Sharon

Taking a walk in the morning, I saw these flowers in various places in my neighborhood.





They are called 木槿 (mukuge) where we live. I consulted a Japanese-English dictionary and found that it can be translated as 'rose of Sharon.' 

They are different from the Biblical roses of Sharon, but their name reminds me of a beautiful hymn titled 'Jesus, Rose of Sharon ', which we sang at church a few weeks ago.



Saturday, July 18, 2020

#Ten Things of Thankful: July 18, 2020

  1. My father had a slight fever last Sunday, but his fever broke on the following day.
  2. The agapanthuses in our backyard are in bloom.
  3. According to this web page, the name of the flower above comes from two Greek words:agape (love) and anthos (flower). I'm thankful for this information, and its lovely name.
  4. The agapanthuses in our backyard remind me of my mother, who planted and took care of them years ago. Incidentally, her name is 愛子 (pronounced 'Eye-ko'), and 愛 means 'love.'  I'm thankful for the memories of my loving mother.
  5. On Tuesday, I had a brief heart-to-heart talk with a friend of mine on the phone. After that, I felt reassured and peaceful.
  6. It rained heavily on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I didn't go for a walk in the morning. On Thursday, I took a walk in the drizzle for thirty minutes. It was refreshing.
  7. On Thursday morning I went shopping, and found that what I was looking for was on sale on that day. The item usually costs 1,280 yen, but I got it for 980 yen.
  8. A certain conflict with someone last week has inspired me to write a few poems based on new insights I have gained through the experience.
  9. The other day, as soon as I turned on the radio in the kitchen without knowing what was on, they broadcast a new piece composed and performed by my favorite Japanese musician, 東儀秀樹 (Togi Hideki). 
  10. I'm always thankful for the time I spend playing the electronic organ in my room.




Ten Things of Thankful


Friday, July 17, 2020

#Sky Watch Friday: Over the Riverbank




During the rainy season 
the sky may look depressing,
but I don't always feel depressed.








Thursday, July 16, 2020

A Zany Hairstyle?

Hiroko is a Japanese student who is studying English as a foreign language.

One day, she was told to write an essay in English using the word 'zany' as a homework assignment.

Hoping to find a clue, she looked up the word in an English-English dictionary.

Inspired by one of the example phrases she found there, Hiroko tried to think of as many zany hairstyles as possible, wondering which would be the zaniest.

It seemed to her that one of the funniest was the chonmage that Japanese samurais wore long time ago, though this dignified, formal hairstyle was never meant to be amusing in those days.

So, she decided to write an essay about this traditional topknot haircut with the help of her dictionaries and the Internet.










this week's prompt: zany

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

TIME-less-ness


Last month, it was time to renew my subscription to TIME, but I didn't.  

I used to subscribe to the magazine for more than thirty years to study the English language through extensive reading. 

I still have access to the latest issues online for free from time to time.
I read only a few pages at a time, however, because I have to be very careful not to strain my eyes.

I'm getting used to my "TIME-less-ness," that is, weeks without reading the paper version of the magazines. I have many other things to do, and I don't miss my days with TIME so much as I had expected.




Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Timeliness: Humiliation and Humbleness

I cannot help being surprised at the timeliness of the article I read in Our Daily Bread today, where David H. Roper writes,

"...I learned that humiliation can be a good thing if it leads to humility, for this is the key that opens God's heart."


"Humility is the key that opens God's heart. "


Last week, I was irritated, and even judgmental about someone's carelessness, though what he had done and said turned out to be practically harmless. 

A couple of days ago, however, I realized that I had thoughtlessly done something inadvisable, which might lead to irreversible, seriously harmful consequences. 
-- Honestly, I feel overwhelmed with the worst-case scenario imaginable...

I am utterly humiliated by my own foolishness, thoughtlessness, and arrogance. 
What I have done inadvertently is unforgivable.


Then, this morning, He whispers to me through this devotional
Humility is the key that opens My heart.

I am a helpless infant in His presence.


James 4:6






Monday, July 13, 2020

A Prayer

Father in Heaven,

Fill me with Your Spirit.
Your Spirit is Your Love.
Fill me with Your Love.

Fill each of us with Your Spirit.
Fill each of us with Your Love, 
so that we can love one another 
as You love us.

In Jesus' name.




Sunday, July 12, 2020

With Tax Collectors

Matthew 9:9-13

On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick."  (9:12)




Dear Lord, 

Thank You for coming so as to be friends with 'tax collectors' and 'sinners'. 
I know that I am a sinner, and that I need You. 
Thank You for forgiving me and healing me.


One of the hymns we sang today is Friendship with Jesus in Japanese translation, which has the same tune as 'Massa's in the Cold Ground' by Stephen C. Foster.

I missed the service today, and I worshiped the Lord,  reading today's scripture and singing hymns alone at home.

Jesus is a friend of mine, indeed.




Saturday, July 11, 2020

#Ten Things of Thankful: July 11, 2020


  1. I am thankful for the radio programs I listen to while working in the kitchen.
  2. The other day, the toenail, which had cracked about three months before, came off naturally without any pain at all. A new, thin nail has been growing under the broken one. The nail has been healing steadily.
  3. The city library has decided to buy the new book on mathematics that I requested. --I had seen the ad in the newspaper.-- I'm looking forward to reading it.
  4.  The geraniums in front of our house have come out at last. 
  5. I'm thankful that I didn't react hastily to an unkind, careless and insensitive remark of someone whose priorities are so different from mine. 
  6. In spite of my temporarily wounded feelings, I'm learning not to hate the person I've mentioned above, though I would like to avoid talking to him for a while.
  7. Writing can help me vent negative feelings indirectly and put things in perspective in an amazing way.
  8. I'm writing a blog in Japanese, too. The articles I post there are different from the ones you read here. I find it therapeutic to write short poems and autobiographical episodes.
  9. I love taking a walk early in the morning. It's refreshing and invigorating.  
  10. I'm learning how to cook Shinoda-tamago, that is, egg wrapped in thin fried tofu cooked in dashi stock and soy sauce. This is my second attempt, and it looks better than the first time. 







Ten Things of Thankful



Friday, July 10, 2020

Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Cloudless Sky


Brushing her black unruly hair, Vera replayed the exasperating scenes over and over again in her mind. 

Every time she thought of what Fred had said to her, and what he had said to their friends about her reactions, her anger and disillusionment seemed to be reinforced, though she couldn't tell for sure if he was merely innocently careless and insensitive.

Vera put the brush on the dressing table and put on the navy blue cap, making up her mind that she would no longer have anything to do with him, however childish it might appear.

She went out for a walk as usual, trying not to waste any more time in thinking about the irritating man.

As far as she could see, there was not a cloud in the blue sky, and the sky looked like a lustrous fabric without a flaw.

After walking along the river for about an hour, she found herself totally oblivious to her wounded feelings.









this week's prompt: fabric

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Ten Things of Thankful: July 4, 2020


  1. the feel of a clean, soft towel
  2. the refreshing aroma of hot green tea that we have for breakfast
  3. ordinary, healthy meals three times a day
  4. a brief conversation with Toshiko last Sunday
  5. hymns I 'sing' silently while taking a walk, such as He leadeth me, All the way my Saviour leads me, and How great Thou art, in Japanese translation.
  6. the time I spend playing the electronic organ in my room
  7. my never-ending to-do list; I seldom get bored.
  8. my interest in poetry rekindled after rereading Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood by William Wordsworth
  9. a sense of accomplishment after deep cleaning the bathroom
  10. the shoji screens we have recently re-papered ourselves; we use them instead of curtains in Japanese-style rooms.






Ten Things of Thankful





Friday, July 3, 2020

#Sky Watch Friday: July 3, 2020


I took this picture while I was taking a walk on the overpass the other day.

5:23 a.m.




Thursday, July 2, 2020

A Memory of Splendour in the Grass





There was a line of tulip trees on either side of the street leading to the library, 
and Vera and Victor, both of them in their early twenties, were walking side by side under the trees.

Suddenly, Victor quoted a few lines from a poem:

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, 
of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;



Vera, having never heard the poem before, stopped, and looked at Victor, wondering what he meant by that.

Victor said that it was from a poem written by William Wordsworth, which was quoted in the drama, "Splendor in the Grass,"  and told her about the story.

About a year later, they broke up.





More than thirty years have passed since then, but Vera still thinks of the poem, the drama, and Victor from time to time.









this week's prompt: line