Sunday, May 22, 2011

The sermon on the mount and the Lord's prayer



It's been a very long time since I put the last posting.

There are many films about Jesus Christ. The latest one is "The Passion of the Christ", which might be the most famous. My favorite one is "Jesus of Nazareth" I saw nearly thirty years ago. Robert Powell played Jesus' role. I'm sure he is the best actor for the role as Jesus Christ.

This YouTube is a famous scene from the Holy Bible. The following is the sermon on the mount whose text is from King James Version.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
(Matthew 5:3-12)

And below is The Lord's Prayer.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
(Matthew 6:9-13)

Thank you for reading and God bless you!
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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

This is the dawn at the Sea of Galilee, Israel. The place is one of those associated with Jesus and his activity in the Bible. I've actually been to Israel, but I still feel like dreaming.

Being renewed in my mind day by day, I want to live and go with the Lord. I wish you a Happy New Year, and I also remember each of you in my prayers.


Thank you for reading and God bless you!
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Today is Christmas Eve. As I am a church choir member, I'll be going out and sing Christmas carols tonight in our town. The YouTube below is one of my favorite Christmas songs. I sang it as a soloist at the previous Sunday service.



I went to Israel last month. Bethlehem is the place where Jesus was born. It takes about 30 minutes from Jerusalem by car. As it is under Palestinian self-government, some procedures must be taken from Jerusalem to get there. We didn't go there this time but took a photo viewing over Bethlehem.


The church below is Basilica of Annuciation located in the center city of Nazareth. The tall trees are dates(=なつめやし).


This grotto is located lower inside the church, where it is said to be the site of annunciation: Mary received the annunciation by Gabriel.



Here is a story about the birth of Jesus.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them,

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:1-20)

Our Lord, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. My life has been completely changed to be blessed since I believed in Him. I've been walking and will be walking with Him.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)

神はそのひとり子を賜わったほどに、この世を愛して下さった。それは御子を信じる者がひとりも滅びないで、永遠の命を得るためである。神が御子を世につかわされたのは、世をさばくためではなく、御子によって、この世が救われるためである。(口語訳)

May God bless all of you!!
Love from heidi. :-)

Thank you for reading and God bless you!
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reunion after 10 years@English cafe

As I began learning Greek two months ago, I feel how difficult Greek is and realized the actual meaning of the phrase "It's all Greek to me." I make it a rule to listen to/watch English news, German news for children and NIV audio Bible on my i-Pod while commuting. Greek conversation CDs have recently been added to my favorite. However, the more I study Greek, the more I came to know the difficulty.

That makes me feel much more familiar with German.:-) With its rebound, I became starved for speaking German with someone. I recalled an English conversation lounge in Tokyo. Checking the website, I found there are other language groups depending on the day of the week. I went there for the first time in ten or eleven years.

To my surprise, the owner of the cafe remembers me, though I was not a customer and visited there more than ten years ago. I asked him, "Do you really remember me? I came here ten years ago." He replied, "Yes, I do." I continued to ask, "Why?" and he answered, "Because you are a unique person." I suppose my face is easy to remember.

I've had no chance to speak German after leaving a conversation school. I used to join the free conversation room every Saturday. Last Friday, I went to the cafe again and was very surprised to see two of my old classmates were there. They said that they visited the place every week. Everyone seemed to look for a chance to use German.

Another surprise is that an elderly classmate has an excellent knowledge of Classical Greek and also Italian Opera. I told him that I sang "Ah fors'e lui che l'anima - Sempre libera" at the last year's concert. Then he brought a score book of "La traviata(椿姫)". Coincidentally, he's also been to Prague to see "Tosca". Well, I had a good Japanese conversation with him regarding Opera at the multilingual cafe.

I do want to broaden my view meeting people with same/different interests each other.


Thank you for reading and God bless you!
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Divine Guidance (Testimony 3)

聖霊を受けて(Testimony 2)から洗礼を受ける前までの証になります。

I have much curiosity in everything, particularly I'm interested in something beautiful and mysterious. When I was a freshman at a college, one of my classmates showed me tarot cards, which led me to tell fortunes by using tarot cards, playing cards and astrology. My big mistake was that I believed I could help people around me by fortune-telling. A palmist read my palms to tell me that I was cut out for a counselor, and another fortune-teller asked me to be his disciple.

Later I came to know how sinful fortune-telling is and how much God hates it. After all, I was not able to help people but just perplexed them. When I had communion for the first time at the church, I had a tiny glass of red wine and a small piece of bread. We have communion every 1st Sunday of the month. Only those who have been baptized with water and/or with the Holy Spirit are allowed to have communion at our church. Having Jesus' holy body and blood enable us to unite with Jesus spiritually and remember God's blessings.

The very day I had communion for the first time, I experienced how the Holy Spirit works. As soon as I got home from the church, I felt unpleasant to see a lot of books of fortune-telling on the bookshelf. They should have been my treasure including tarot cards got in Europe and others collected for years. I couldn't endure having such kinds of things any more, though I hadn't feel hatred in the morning.

Stuffing these books into two big paper bags, I hastened to go to a park nearby. I kept praying by the Holy Spirit until they were all burned out, since I learned that Satan, God's enemy, controls the evil spirit of fortune-telling. Later, my heart was filled with joy and peace from God. I realized how strong the Holy Spirit is. I cannot serve both for Satan and God at the same time. Without making an effort by myself, the Holy Spirit purified my heart and made me abandon the bad habit. I have completely been freed from the evil spirit and I have never been controlled or tempted by it any more.

Later, I have experienced another event in a coin-operated laundry shop. While the washing machine was working, I went shopping for a while. When I came back to the shop, I was surprised to find that someone had poured a bleaching agent into the washing machine to damage my matching sweat suits of my boyfriend's. I was so shocked and then filled with anger about that and thought I would never forgive a person who did this. I couldn't understand why a man had done bad on my sweat suits at all.

I wanted even to revenge against him first. My feeling was changed from anger to sorrow and then to pain. I didn't know why I felt painful in my heart. However, when I think something negative, I always feel painful in my heart, and then I say to Jesus, "I'm sorry." My heart becomes peaceful after prayers. I have become not controlled by the evil spirit but led by the Holy Spirit. How blessing God is always with me! Hallelujah!


- to be continued to Baptism with water(Testimony 4) -

Thank you for reading and God bless you!
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The Holy Spirit (Testimony 2)

プロテスタントは色々な教派(福音派、ペンテコステ派、その他多数)があります。私の教会はペンテコステ派で、水のバプテスマと聖霊のバプテスマを受けることを重要視しています。教派によって色々な考え方や特色があり、違っていても同じ神様を信仰しているということで一致していますし尊重しています。ただ、私の証(信仰体験の話)はありのままの事実ですが、ペンテコステ派特有の証だということを前置きいたします。

I'll write a story about my baptism with the Holy Spirit.

On the first day I visited the church, K.I. took me to a place in the church where we pray about special matters during the service. She said to me, "Let's get prayed about your stomachache." I was taken to so-called blessed seats (恵みの御座). I still didn't understand what was going on there.

Associate Pastor came to me and asked, "You repent your sins now and believe Jesus as your Savior, don't you?" I didn't know well but I replied to her, "Yes, I do." She started praying in unknown words and asked me to say Hallelujah repeatedly.

I followed her instructions. My tongue became something strange: strange words(Ref.1) gradually came up from my mouth. Then she said to me, "You have just received the Holy Spirit!" Not knowing what had happened to me as I was ignorant about the Bible, I went back to my friend and asked, "You know something. I was told I received the Holy Spirit. What is that?" She said with tears in her eyes, "I'm glad to hear that, heidi."

The reason of her joy is that receiving the Holy Spirit is very important to us who belong to a Pentecostal church. Being baptized and receiving the Holy Spirit(Ref.2) is regarded as "one set", in other words, they are like a passport and a visa for entering the Kingdom of Heaven. I was explained about them later but still ambiguous to me. However, mysterious events began happening to me after I got the Holy Spirit.
* Ref.1
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
(Acts 2:1-4)

* Ref. 2
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.(Ephesians 1:13-14)

- to be continued to Divine Guidance(Testimony 3) & Baptism with water (Testimony 4) -

Thank you for reading and God bless you!
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

I was found (Testimony 1)

I'd like to write how I reached Jesus, my Lord.


It was a day in April when I was a senior at a college. I received a phone call from KI, one of my classmates in a senior high school. I was happily surprised to have the call because she had never contacted me since we graduated from the school. She said, "I am getting married at a Christian church. Why don't you come to our church before our wedding?" I replied to her, "OK, I will." This is because I had much curiosity and had no negative feelings to Christianity.

However, what in the world brought me to the church? I didn't have any special problems and suffering in my younger days. I had been enjoying a college life since I left my home town for Tokyo. Most Japanese college students don't study very hard and I was not exception. I was so busy and rich because I had part-time jobs such as a cram school teacher, a tutor and a waitress. Since I was a typical "good girl" and trusted by my parents, they never interfered my life.

The earned money enabled me to make a one-month trip to Europe. I was filled with joy, which might not be understood by other fellows who joined the same package tour and enjoyed buying expensive designer brand goods by their parents' money. I was so happy while walking on a street in Cambridge and thought I could do anything only by myself. I was satisfied with freedom, since it was up to me whether I came back home at midnight or not. To the contrary, I was a bit afraid of being free, for there was no one who scolded me in my life. I suppose now my spirit might seek a kind of spiritual leader or God who taught and guided me.

My first-visited church was quite different from ones I had long imagined i.e. so solemn and stuffy. The church was rather big for a small town. The congregation looked very vivid and bright, and they welcomed me warmly. As for singing hymns, they were singing while clapping their hands and shaking their bodies. The pastor was frank and very friendly, and his sermon was so simple and interesting that I was able to understand it. The brothers and sisters laughed a lot during the service. I thought it was a happy talk show or something. At that time, the pastor shaked hands with each of them (more than 300 persons) after the service. He shaked hands with me and said smiling, "Nice to meet you. Please come again next week." I replied to him instantly, "Yes, I will." I visited this church again the next Sunday, because I thought I would be a liar if I didn't.

There is another practical reason I kept going to the church. I chose Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" as my graduation thesis. To tell the truth, I had never read the book before choosing it. I easily selected this long novel simply because I enjoyed reading his short stories before. This might be a fatal meeting in my life. The theme of the novel is "sins". I was so shocked, for I couldn't understand it at all even translated into Japanese. The meaning of "sins" was not understandable for me. If I don't comprehend the key word "sins", I never complete the thesis. I went to church for taking "a lecture" on sins every Sunday, and I was sure that I would understand the meaning of sins later.

However, I had never dreamed of being baptized and becoming a Christian six months later. Chance is always mysterious whether we meet people or books. I couldn't have reached Jesus if KI hadn't called me and I hadn't chosen the book.

- to be continued -

Thank you for reading and God bless you!
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