Thursday, September 30, 2010

Proverbs of Solomon

It is said that the proverbs in the Old Testament are mostly written by Solomon, King of Israel and King David's son. He was rich in wisdom given by God. I was really amazed to know that he had 300 wives and 700 concubines.

Proverb is like a guidance to life, which gives us what is right and fair,
how to live well and the like. The words of wisdom contain mostly strict lessons and advices.

However, some of them are very interesting. Please see the following. Japanese version is 口語訳. I suppose that Solomon himself learned lessons from his failures through his own life. :-)

Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.(Proverbs 11:22)
美しい女の慎みがないのは、金の輪の、ぶたの鼻にあるようだ。
Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.(Proverbs 21:9)
争いを好む女と一緒に家におるよりは屋根のすみにおるほうがよい。
Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.(Proverbs 21:19)
争い怒る女と共におるよりは、荒野に住むほうがましだ。
A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.(Proverbs 27:15-16)

雨の降る日に雨漏りの絶えないのと、争い好きな女とは同じだ。この女を制するのは風を制するのとおなじく、右の手に油をつかむのとおなじだ。

Thank you for reading and God bless you!
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

The origin of "Me kara uroko"

I'd like to write the origin of "Me kara uroko ga ochiru". In English we can say "the scales fall from one's eyes" or "suddenly realize the truth". I believe most Christians know the origin of the proverb, since it derives from Acts Chapter 9:18 "something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again.".

I find Saul's conversion part very dramatic and thrilling. Saul was later called Paul, who was not a character in a novel but really existed. He used to be a persecutor but became a very important preacher.

The following is the whole story:

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.

He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

"Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked.

"I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied.
"Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!"

"Yes, Lord," he answered.

The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.

In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight."

"Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name."

But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. (Acts 9:1-19)

Thank you for reading and God bless you!
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You raise me up



Again, please listen to Precious Youth Choir singing "You Raise Me Up". It is still fresh in my memory Shizuka Arakawa was skating as background music at Turin Olympics exhibition. In the lyrics, "You" can be interpreted as the Lord Jesus. How encouraging we can walk with Him!

When I am down and oh my soul so weary
When troubles come and my heart burdened be
Then I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit a while with me

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be
You raise me up to more than I can be

Thank you for reading and God bless you!
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Jesus is knocking

There are a lot of pictures Jesus is knocking at the door. They are all in common. There is no door knob on the outside the door. The door knob is only on the other side.



The door means our hearts. Unless we open the door, Jesus cannot enter the house. He knows us more than we know ourselves and is willing to help us. The Lord Himself wants to have close relationship with each one of us. We can share any problems with Him. He holds everything in His hands and leads us to the right way. Do you hear He's knocking at your heart?

The picture is based on the following verses of Revelation.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.(Revelation 3:19-20)

Thank you for reading and God bless you!
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

NIV Audio Bible

This is "NIV Audio Bible" I can recommend as good listening material for English learners. It includes both The Old Testament and The New Testament on 64 CDs. You can get it around 8,000 Yen at Amazon.



There are many English versions such as KJV, NKJV and etc. but difficult to read due to old English. NIV, mostly read, is much easier to understand.

I bought i-Pod several years ago for downloading the audio Bible. The dramatized version takes me back to more than 2,000 years ago. While listening, I feel as if I were in the places connected with the Bible and met Jesus and his apostles.

I might be bored if it was just a recital of the Bible. But the voice actor/actress get into their roles of Jesus and others vividly. I find the four Gospels very interesting. Besides, Revelation, written about the end of the world, was very powerful and impressive to me.

The Japanese Bible is too bulky but The NIV Audio Bible in i-Pod is very handy and useful for studying even in a crowded train. It's good both for my study and, of course, my faith in God.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The recital is over

I spent a very busy weekend having a home assembly (=Katei shukai) and attending an annual recital.

I sang two Italian arias, “Oh! Quante volte oh! quante” and “Son vergin vezzosa”. The type of my voice is Lirico Soprano, which, I think, matches relatively sad and slow arias. I am not so good at singing bright and fast arias. That’s the reason I dared to choose “Son vergin vezzosa” for my study. I tried very hard memorizing the lyrics but was not able to sing “Son vergin vezzosa” without mistakes.

On Sunday, noticing my worried-face, my choir teacher came to ask me and was kind enough to pray about my recital. She is a veteran opera singer and was a vocal music teacher at a music college. I’ve been learning from her for more than 20 years. She encouraged me a lot. Getting better, I left the church for a concert hall in Tokyo.

Thanks to my Lord's help and my teacher’s prayer. Amazingly, I could sing the anxious area without mistakes except only one: singing ‘mi’ for ‘ti’. My private vocal teacher cheered me up before singing the other area, saying, “As this is a heidi-san like area, go and sing naturally”. I sang the aria with Juliet’s feeling.

I feel relieved the concert went successfully. Looking forward to next year’s from now! :-)


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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Amplified Bible

This is a verse from the New Testament. I suppose it is well-known to everybody. This translation is New International Version.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

We had an old Japanese Version called "Shoyaku Seisho". It is already out of print but still popular among some Christians. There is the website "Bible Gateway" which you can read many versions in many foreign languages.

I was very happy to find "Amplified Bible" many years ago. Please see the following in this version. I think it is like "Shoyaku Seisho" in English.

Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.

You can see it's written more detailed than NIV. This helps us to understand more about the Bible. I believe our Lord God wants us to be positive in faith. "Keep on asking" sounds more positive than "Ask". I'll start studying Greek from next week. I suppose the original is "Keep on asking". I can find out later. :-)

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Greek

I've long wanted to read the Bible in the original. In addition to English, German and Italian, I didn't have enough energy left to study Greek due to hard work at office.

I've been to Greece only once in college days. The Aegean Sea was beautiful deep blue I'd never seen. But looking at Greek letters for the first time, I almost felt dizzy since they were like hateful mathematical characters.

As you know, the Old Testament and the New Testament are written in Hebrew and Greek respectively. I thought maybe I would study them after my retirement.

However, attending Sunday Service, I was inspired to start studying Greek while singing a new worship song. I thought I might come much closer to the Lord if I learn Greek. The time has come.

Without any hesitation, I applied for a beginners class every Wednesday. I look forward to next week!

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