Monday, August 31, 2020

Psalm 5 -- As With a Shield

 Reading Psalms

  • as an individual 
  • as (a member of) a group

In the first part of Psalm 5, the singular first person pronoun is used many times, while in the last part, the plural third person pronoun is frequently seen.

David cries out to God, preparing for the worship.

But I, by your great love, can come into your house; 
in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple. (5:7)

The time of worship is when finite human beings meet the infinite God.

David prays that the righteousness of God will be revealed. 

In verse 11, David's focus shifts from himself to everyone who takes refuge in God. 
All we have to do is to take refuge in God, who is in control of everything and takes care of everything.

Now, David praises the Lord, who surround them with His favor as with a shield.





from the sermon in Japanese by S. Inoue at TMC

Saturday, August 29, 2020

#Ten Things of Thankful: August 29, 2020

  1.  the organ prelude I played at church last Sunday, No. 1 in 40 kleine, leichte und vermischte Orgelpräludien by C. H. Rinck

  2. My old bicycle had a flat tire last Monday, because the tire had been worn out. I am thankful that it hadn't burst on the previous day, while I was hurrying to the church with a heavy bag in the basket.
  3. I'm thankful that there is a motorcycle shop in our neighborhood and that I got the tire changed in a few hours. 
  4. the first grapes I have had this year: 

  5. the melon ice cream we tried for the first time, which was good 

  6. the steamed corn 

  7. seeing Asiatic dayflowers, my favorite wild flowers, while taking a walk 

  8. seeing the Sun rising every morning
  9. surviving another week, which is far hotter and more uncomfortable than the last one, because of the typhoon.
  10. friends who are reading this post now.


Ten Things of Thankful

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Why I Dropped Out of the Flower Arrangement School

 




When I was fifteen years old, I started taking ikebana (flower arrangement) lessons held at a small school in the shopping district once a week.

The teacher, Mrs. Saito, was a graceful lady in her seventies, and I enjoyed arranging flowers, leaves, and branches of the season in shallow ceramic containers, following the rules of this traditional art.

Several months later, Mrs. Saito showed me how to change the shape of a stalk as she liked, by sticking a piece of thin wire into the bottom of the flower and then bending the wire and the stalk gently to form a desired curve, and handed me a carnation and a piece of wire, telling me to do the same.

I hesitated for a moment, wondering if flowers would feel pain or not, but how could I ask her such a dumb question, and how could I violate the virtue of obedience to a teacher?

I winced as I pierced the flower with the piece of wire, wishing that the lesson would be over soon.

I didn't want to hurt flowers in that way for the sake of "art", so I dropped out of the ikebana school the next week.




this week's prompt: bend

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Morning Glories

I woke up and got up at around 3:30 a.m, washed up, and prepared breakfast. Then I went upstairs to read the Bible and Our Daily Bread

Though I still felt tired, I left home at 4:45 and headed for the Uchikawa River. Almost every time I take a walk along the river, I hear several bullfrogs croaking near the Buddhist temple, but they were silent this morning.  

The goats in the pen beside the elementary school were quiet, too.

I walked farther, until I found these blue morning glories by the river.



by the Uchikawa River

I crossed the bridge, and walked along a major street in the shopping district. I took another picture in front of a building on the street.

in the shopping district

I came home at around 6:10. The pedometer said 8,044 steps.

It's going to be another sweltering day.



Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Fall 2020 Bible Memory Challenge

 


I've signed up for a new Bible Memory Challenge at Do Not Depart.com. We are going to memorize Matthew 7:1-14 this time. I'm looking forward to learning these verses by heart.




Monday, August 24, 2020

Psalm 4

 Reading a Psalm

  1.  focusing on a particular passage in a Psalm
  2.  focusing on an entire Psalm


The key verse in Psalm 4

Know that the LORD has set apart his faithful servant for himself; 
the LORD hears when I call to him. (4:3)


The principle of Faith:

In peace I will lie down and sleep, 
for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety. (4:8)



The background of this Psalm
  • verses 2, 6
  • see Psalm 3 -- the rebellion of his son, Absalom

David hoped that those who rebelled against him would come back to God.
(4:4-5, 6 b)
He prayed both for them, and for himself.

Let the light of your face shine on us. (4:6 b) --
'Us' refers to David and his enemies


David prayed to God (4:1) and he was filled with joy (4:7).

Joy comes from being loved by God unconditionally

 

God knows each of us thoroughly, and yet He listens to us when we call to Him(4:3).


Saturday, August 22, 2020

Ten Things of Thankful: August 22, 2020

  1. ice cream
  2. iced coffee
  3. barley tea 
  4. ume-boshi (salty pickled ume)  
  5. cold tofu
  6. the microwave oven
  7. the freezer
  8. the electric fan
  9. time to take a nap
  10. friends who are not very sociable

+ I'm surviving the hottest and the most humid week of the year, so far.

Ten Things of Thankful

 

Friday, August 21, 2020

#Sky Watch Friday: August 21, 2020

I took these photos while taking a walk in the morning. 

Though I was still sleepy and tired when I started, I felt refreshed as I kept walking along the river. The occasional cool breezes were comfortable.


the sky over the riverbank



a view from the bridge









Thursday, August 20, 2020

In the Tunnel

 

I took a day off and got on a local train on the Joetsu Line to escape from the dreary routine. 

The train passed through the rice fields, headed for the mountains. and entered a long tunnel.

In the middle of the tunnel, the train stopped at a dimly-lit platform.

I was the only passenger that got off there, and I headed for the stairs with hundreds of steps leading to the unmanned station on the surface of the earth, and it was going to take me about 10 minutes to get to the exit.



I had been to this place once before-- at that time, I was a senior high school student, and I was going on a hike in the mountain near the station with my classmates on a class outing day.

As I went up the long stairs in the tunnel alone, I thought of some of my classmates, and realized that I had lost touch with all of them, while I was studying and working in different cities.








this week's prompt: station

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

A Comfortable Morning

 


I got up at 4:30, and went for a walk. It was cool and comfortable outside.
I crossed the bridge, walked along the riverbank strewn with pretty pink flowers of false bindweeds. 

The color of the morning sunlight seems to suggest that cooler days are coming soon.

After breakfast, I washed the bed linen and vacuum cleaned the first floor thoroughly. 

The weather forecast says it is going to be another hot day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

My Favorite Wild Flower

 


An Asiatic dayflower. We call it 露草 (tsuyu-kusa) in Japanese. 露 means 'dew' and 草 stands for 'grass.' 

I took the photo while I was walking along the Uchi-kawa River this morning.
These tiny blue flowers remind me that autumn is just around the corner.




Monday, August 17, 2020

Psalm 3

Reading Psalms 

(1) as public statements and (2) as private statements


Psalm 3

David --(1) king of Israel and (2) the father of Absalom


David was in the middle of a crisis when he wrote this poem. (3:1-2)

He focused his attention on the LORD. (3:3-4)

He was sure that the LORD would answer his prayer.

He fully trusted in the LORD. (3:5-6)

He asked the LORD to deliver him and declared that deliverance comes from the LORD. (3:7-8)



Conclusion:

From the LORD comes deliverance. (3:8)

Cf. (3:2) Many are saying of me, "God will not deliver him."


David paid attention to the LORD instead of himself and his problems.





Reference: The sermon by he Rev. Inoue Satoshi at TMC (The video is in Japanese.)

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Ten Things of Thankful: August 15, 2020

  1. visiting the botanical park last Monday
  2. the answering machine: I often keep it on when I am at home. The other day it picked up a call from someone I didn't want to talk to at that time. He said he would call me again, but he didn't.
  3. sunflowers near the elementary school 
  4. the washing machine
  5. tomatoes: Without them, I wouldn't be able to survive the summer.
  6. occasional rain
  7. a stack of books I haven't finished reading
  8. hearing baseball games on the radio on sluggish afternoons. I don't care which team is winning. I just enjoy the way the announcer is speaking.
  9. a glass of iced coffee with milk
  10. falling asleep in less than ten minutes after going to bed almost every night




Ten Things of Thankful

 








Thursday, August 13, 2020

Puzzling Expressions

 

Marcel has been dreaming of visiting Japan some day, and he is now teaching himself the Japanese language.

He has written down hundreds of useful expressions in his notebook, and some of them are quite puzzling.

For example, すみません (sumimasen) is a phrase that can be translated as "Excuse me," "I'm sorry," or "Thank you," depending on the contexts.

The word どうも (domo), which originally means 'somehow', can be used as an informal greeting, and it may also imply "Thank you,'  'I'm sorry," or "My condolences."

そうですね (sodesune) can mean "I agree with you," "You are right," " I see your point," "I'm listening to you," "Let me see," "I don't know what to say," and so on, depending on the way it is said.

He finds it interesting to learn these vague, ambiguous and versatile expressions.





this week's prompt: useful

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Waiting for the Harvest

--Reviewing the sermon by the Rev. F.--

Matthew 9:35-38

1. What motivates us to spread the Good News?

    When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them. 

(Matthew 9:36)



2.  What happens when we pray?

     (Matthew 9:37-38)

 

After the disciples asked the Lord to send out workers into His harvest field, they themselves were sent out as workers.


 




Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Botanical Park Early in the Morning

 There is a botanical park run by our city about twenty-five-minute walk from my house, where I go at least once a month early in the morning. These are some of the photos I've taken there.

















Monday, August 10, 2020

Psalm 2:12

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

(Psalm 2:12)



Those who take refuge in Him entrust themselves entirely to God and obey Him.





 (The video is in Japanese.)


Saturday, August 8, 2020

Ten Things of Thankful: August 8, 2020

 

  1. Finally, the rainy season has officially ended.
  2. The cotton rose in our backyard is in bloom. 
  3. The annual fireworks festival, which is usually held at this time of the year in our city, has been cancelled because of the corona virus this year. Somehow, I am grateful for the quietness of the summer nights in my neighborhood.
  4. I am thankful for the air conditioner in our living room.
  5. It was steaming hot in the first half of the week, but it got a little cooler in the second half.
  6. I love taking a walk very early in the morning, when it is still cool and comfortable.
  7. I saw a beautiful sunrise on Thursday.
  8. While taking a walk, I enjoy observing various dogs other people are walking with.
  9. I saw the eye doctor on Friday. I have survived what seemed excruciating exams to me, and HOPEFULLY I don't have to visit his office for next three months.
  10. I'm reading the book I have borrowed from the library, "とてつもない数学, "(Fantastic Mathematics), which is a lot of fun.


Ten Things of Thankful

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Not Again!



She saw faint white light flickering in the corner of her left eye. 

Then, random spots of colorful light flashed rapidly on the back of her eyelids. 

Orange, purple, red, orange, blue, orange, blue...

She couldn't think clearly.

She couldn't move.

Another bout of splitting headache...







this week's prompt: random

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

I Am Loved, Beautiful and Gifted!

Today's article in Our Daily Bread, written by Sheridan Voysey, is titled Loved, Beautiful and Gifted.

I was exactly like Malcolm in this story when I was going through bouts of depression years ago. Every morning, when I looked in the mirror, I found myself telling myself that I am worthless, good-for-nothing, useless, and the ugliest, the most miserable person I had ever known...

Even today, I am sometimes misled by what other people say to me.  Whatever they may think of me, however, I am a child of God and I am precious in His eyes, loved, beautiful and gifted,  because I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior!

Every time I am tempted to believe otherwise, I will say to myself: 
"I AM loved, beautiful and gifted. I belong to God."



...A little more from the ODB website: Click on  "Today's Scripture & Insight:", or the blue button next to it, and you will see this:

Today's Scripture

Insight

The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit—also known as “the “Spirit of God” or “the Spirit of Christ”—is the scriptural evidence that we’re saved. Paul makes clear that if anyone doesn’t have the Holy Spirit “they do not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9). The Spirit gives us new birth and new life (John 3:5–66:63Titus 3:5) and is the seal and deposit guaranteeing our salvation (2 Corinthians 1:225:5Ephesians 1:13–14). Assuring us that we’re God’s children, He enables us to affectionately call out to God, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:14–15Galatians 4:5–7). When we’re “led by the Spirit” and “live by the Spirit,” He’ll make us more like Christ (Galatians 5:16–25). Equipping us with spiritual gifts, He empowers us for ministry (Acts 1:81 Corinthians 12:4–7). The indwelling Spirit helps us to pray, interceding for and with us (Romans 8:26).




I am blessed, indeed.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

More on Forgiveness

Today's article, God's Mercy at Work in Our Daily Bread, is just what I need to read right now.

Xochitl Dixon says in the last paragraph:

When it seems others are getting away with wrongdoing, we struggle with the injustice. But with God’s mercy at work in our hearts and the hearts of others, we can forgive as He’s forgiven us and receive the blessings He’s prepared for us.






It is my prayer that God will help me forgive the person in question from my heart, for the sake of His love, not out of duty, and that He will help me leave the whole situation to Him.  I will not take up the burden myself. Now that I have prayed about it, the burden is no longer mine, but His. What was too heavy for me to carry is now in His almighty, loving Hands.



Sunday, August 2, 2020

Joy and Wisdom


From the Discover the Word series, The Wisdom of James (week 1):


James 1:1-5

  • The joy that James refers to here is not an emotion, but a perspective.
  • Look at your life from the perspective of joy at your trials. If you cannot do that, then ask God to help you look at it with His perspective with wisdom.

James 1:5-8

  • When you ask God for wisdom, make sure that you are not just asking for your own desires, what you want to get out of it, make sure that you are really asking for something as wonderful as the wisdom that comes from God Himself.

James 3:13-18  -- Two Kinds of Wisdom

  • Earthly wisdom (James 3:13-16) -- the idea that we are in control of everything -- leading to disorder
  • Wisdom from God (James 3:17-18) --the idea that God is in control of everything -- leading to peace
  • We are not expected to 'produce' wisdom, but to ask God for it and receive it.--It is not from within, but from above.
  • Wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;---it shows care and consideration for others.
  • Selfishness hurts relationships, while other-centeredness enhances them.



 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

#Ten Things of Thankful: August 1, 2020

  1. oxygen
  2. hydrogen
  3. carbon
  4. nitrogen
  5. calcium
  6. iron
  7. chlorine
  8. sodium
  9. potassium
  10. magnesium

+ many more elements not mentioned above
+ a periodic table of the elements in English


a photo taken in the backyard of the botanical park





Ten Things of Thankful

Thank you for visiting me 
and spending your precious time with me.

Have a wonderful weekend!