Monday, November 30, 2020

Advent: Week 1 & "An Overview of Psalms"





Colossians 1:15

Get your free digital copy of Advent: A Journey of Peace here:






Reflections

What is God like? -- 

Look at the Son, Jesus Christ. Look at His sacrificial Love. God is Love.




*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *



 










Saturday, November 28, 2020

Friday, November 27, 2020

Ten Things of Thankful: November 27

It's getting colder where we live, but (1) we still enjoy sunny days, when (2) I take a long walk on the riverbanks.



(3) One thing led to another, and (4) my desire to learn Hebrew has been rekindled.  Nowadays, we have access to a lot of online resources, including (5)Blue Letter Bible, (6) Interlinear Bibles,  and (7) Audio Bible in Hebrew
This week, I am reviewing several Psalms that I memorized about two decades ago, including (8) Psalm 100, which is for Thanksgiving. (8') I've also found the following video:


(9) My fingers are getting a little better than two months ago, and (10) I managed to serve as the organist at the worship service last Sunday, playing only the soprano and the bass parts, instead of the four voices.



Ten Things of Thankful




#Sky Watch Friday: November 27

 



This photo was taken when I was taking a walk on the riverbank last Wednesday morning.




Skywatch Friday


Thursday, November 26, 2020

More Resources for Learning to Read Psalm 23 in Hebrew

 








A Memory

 

On a sunny afternoon in November, Hiroko went into a small coffee shop near the railway station by the sea, and sat at a white table by the window. 

There were no other customers there. 

On the wall in front of her was a picture of a moonlit oasis like the one she had seen in a book when she was a little girl.



The scene reminded her of a song that her aunt would often sing to her, a Japanese song titled 'Tsuki-no-Sabaku,' which can be literally translated as 'The Desert of the Moon.' 

As a child, she had thought it was about a desert on the moon, but in fact, it was about a moonlit desert on earth, where a lonely prince and a lonely princess were traveling on camels together. 

Hiroko found herself humming the beautiful and sorrowful tune softly.






this week's prompt: oasis

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Enjoying Psalm 23 in Hebrew

I've started studying the Book of Psalms again, and I enjoy listening to the Psalms in Hebrew, thanks to Audio Bible in Hebrew


For example, let's listen to Psalm 23 in Hebrew

In fact, I memorized it about 20 years ago, when I began to teach myself Hebrew. I can recite it any time I like. I also love listening to it on the audio file, reading it aloud simultaneously. 

We can also study the Psalms in its written form online.

 e.g. Psalm 23 Interlinear Bible


 


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Quotes from a Radio Series (2)

 from Discover the Word: How to Read the Psalms :


When life is good, God is there, and when life is dark and we don’t feel like we can see Him, God is there. (Daniel Ryan Day, Part 14)




... as we look forward to when all things will be made right and we can praise God no longer from pain, but just from the place of praise, when He makes all things right.  (Daniel Ryan Day, Part 24)

 



Daniel Ryan Day: Jesus did go through the darkest for us to redeem us from that pain.

Mart DeHaan: The wonder is that as we groan in our darkness, we end up seeing in Jesus that God Himself is groaning, bearing our pain and suffering in His own body and in His spirit. (Part 25)

Monday, November 23, 2020

Quotes from a Radio Series (1)

I've finished listening to an amazing 5-week series of Discover the Word: How to Read the Psalms online. I've learned about the 5 books of the book of Psalms and the narrative arc of the entire Psalms, in addition to parallelism, various genres of Psalms, and the Hebrew word 'hesed,' meaning 'steadfast love', which is one of the key words in this book.

Also, there are a number of memorable sentences in the programs, which I'd like to share with you.

The Psalms are not a random collection of ancient poems but are intentionally organized testimony of our faithful God, who hears all who cry out to Him both in praise or pain, both in wisdom or confusion, both in confidence or doubt. The narrative arc of this anthology is not only about past movements of God in Israel but offers future promises about where all of creation is headed, toward a new reality where we dwell with God and He with us, forever. (Daniel Ryan Day, Part 1)


When hope seems gone, God is hesedWhen life seems terrible, God is hesed. When I don’t know what to do, God is hesed. When life is going super great, God is hesed, loving, faithful, kind, generous, slow to anger and constant. (Daniel Ryan Day, Part 5)


When we find ourselves walking on a not-God’s path, the wisdom draws us away to God’s path, where there is a better way because we are not walking alone. (Mart DeHaan, Part 7) 



 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

#Ten Things of Thankful: November 21, 2020

 1. a beautiful day



 2. taking a long walk on the river banks


 3. the joy of waiting for a book I have ordered from the USA

 4. a pot of hot soup with sea food, sweet potato and kimchi for supper

 5. another beautiful day 

 6. the chrysanthemums in our backyard

 7. the nandina in front of our house 

 8. seeing a monument by the river last Tuesday (It is inscribed with a tanka poem written by a Buddhist nun in the 19th century. )

Next to it is its English version, translated by someone else in the 20th century.

 9. Being inspired by the series: Discover the Word: How to Read the Psalms.

10. loving friends who are willing to put up with my eccentricity. :-)



Ten Things of Thankful





Friday, November 20, 2020

#Sky Watch Friday: November 20

 


Last Tuesday, I walked to a park in the northern part of our city, where an old castle used to be in the feudal era. It was a beautiful day, ideal for taking a long walk.



Skywatch Friday


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Fill in the Blank.

 

The moon waxed and waned.

A baby was born.

The moon waxed and waned.

The girl grew up.

The moon waxed and waned.

The lady _______________.






this week's prompt: wax


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

"Hesed"

חֶסֶד

I've been listening to Discover the Word: How to Read the Psalms. I find the series so helpful that I'm listening to the programs again, taking notes. 
The following is a note from Day 5: 

Discover God’s Steadfast Love for Us!

 a key word in the book of Psalms: hesed (more than 250 times in OT, 130 times in Psalms)

translations in English:

Exodus 35:6 steadfast love / abounding in love / abounding in loving kindness / unfailing love and faithfulness

in other verses: faithfulness, loyalty, kindness, goodness, covenantal love, loving faithfulness

 

a relational term, a character term, and a foundational idea to how God operates in our world

 

Daniel Ryan Day:

When hope seems gone, God is hesed. When life seems terrible, God is hesed. When I don’t know what to do, God is hesed. When life is going super great, God is hesed, loving, faithful, kind, generous, slow to anger and constant.

 



The Memory Challenge: The Final Week!

 



Matthew 7:14

According to this article, there are three Greek words translated as 'life' in English.


1. βίος, 'bios' 
life; (1) present state of existence, (2) the means of livelihood. Strong’s G979
2. ψυχή, 'psuche' 
life; (1) the breath of life, (2) the soul, seat of the feelings, desires, affections.   Strong’s G5590
3. ζωὴ, 'zoe', 
life, both of physical (present) and of spiritual (particularly future) existence.
(the divine life in us, the transformation of our spirit from dead to alive, life as God has it and life as He intends us to abundantly have)

The 'life' referred to in Matthew 7:14 is #3,  ζωὴ.


The article also says:

ζωὴ is . . .

      • Peace deeper than pain
      • Vision through the veils
      • Joy in the jarrings
      • Purpose beyond predicaments




Monday, November 16, 2020

A THOUGHT

 Psalm 22 is immediately followed by Psalm 23, which is NOT a coincidence, is it? 

 אֵלִי אֵלִי לָמָה עֲזַבְתָּנִי 


 יְהוָה רֹעִי לֹא אֶחְסָֽר׃

Also, Psalm 22, which starts with the desperate cry,  is concluded with praise and worship.




Thursday, November 12, 2020

When I Was a Teacher

In most high schools in Japan, just before each class starts, teachers go to different classrooms where their students are waiting, instead of students coming to the places where their teachers are waiting. 

So, when I was teaching English as a foreign language there, I always had to carry everything I needed, including a CD player,  the roll book, the textbook, the workbook, the CDs, a dictionary, and so on, from the office to the classroom before the beginning bell.

I hurried to the next classroom with a CD player in one hand, and a bulky bag with everything else in it on my shoulder.

In my bag was also a large plastic folder that contained various handouts, worksheets, and quizzes, which were organized with binder clips.

I had as many folders as the courses I taught, say, five on average, and I put different set of teaching materials I had prepared in each of them before every session.

I am thankful for those folders and dozens of binder clips, which helped me feel organized, and ready for class, most of the time.





this week's prompt: clip

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The Memory Challenge: The Penultimate Week

 




Jesus is the narrow gate, and the only way that leads to life.
He is my way home. 
Indeed, the way home is sometimes difficult for me.
At the same time, it is beautiful, for He is always with me. 
These difficulties are helping me get closer to my Savior.




Friday, November 6, 2020

The Memory Challenge: The Golden Rule

 





*the Law and the Prophets: the teachings in the Old Testament
Cf. Matthew 22:34-40


Dear Lord, 

Thank You for giving us this clear-cut summary of the Bible, the Law of Your Love. Always remind me of this Golden Rule, before I say and do something.