マタイ 2:13-23

S: マタイ 2:19 ヘロデが死ぬと、見よ、御使いが、夢でエジプトにいるヨセフに現れて、言った。

O: It's clear from this verse and verses 13 and 22, not to mention 1:20-24, that Joseph was a dreamer, much like the patriarch for whom he was named. God speaks to different people in different ways, but the most important thing is that He does speak. We have varying ability to hear and listen to Him, and often we don't recognize that He is who is speaking to us, just like the boy Samuel (1 Samuel 3). That's why Jesus said repeatedly, “He who has ears, let him hear.” Sometimes our failure to listen is accidental, because of all the background noise, so to speak, but sometimes it is willful, like a child who ignores what his parent is saying to him. Spiritual maturity is in large part a matter of learning to listen and obey. Isaiah and John both make it very clear that God's words are enormously important and powerful, so it is only reasonable that we would try to hear them. The average person has absolutely no concept that God is speaking at all, much less speaking to them, and that's the kind of ignorance the devil tries to keep people in. The devil also tries to talk louder than God to anyone who will fall for that deception, so it is vitally important that anyone who desires to hear from God immerse themselves in the Bible. God doesn't limit Himself to speaking through the words on the page (though He often uses them), but everything He says is in harmony with the Bible. Getting the Bible into our hearts protects us from deception like nothing else, and it makes it easier and easier for us to hear and recognize what God is saying to us about all sorts of things.

O: この節と13,22節で、また言うまでもなく1:20~24からはっきりと分かることですが、彼の名前にもなった祖先の人のようにヨセフは夢を見る人でした。神様は色々な人たちに色々な方法で語られますが、最も大切なことは神が語っておられるということです。私たちは神様の声を聞くのに様々な能力を与えられていますが、しばしばそのことに気がつきません。丁度サミュエル(1サミュエル3)のようです。だからこそ、イエス様は繰り返し「耳のある物は聞け」と言われたのです。周りがうるさいために、たまたま聞き逃すことはあるでしょうが、両親を無視する子供のように我ままな場合もあります。霊的成熟は聞き従うことを学ぶことと多く関わっています。イザヤとヨハネは神様の言葉がとてつもなく大切で力あるものだとはっきり示しています。ですから私たちも耳を傾けていましょう。一般的な人にとっては神様が語っておられると言う考えを全く持っていません。ましてや自分に語られているなど思いもしないでしょう。それこそ悪魔が人を陥れていることで無知なのです。そうした欺きに陥る人には、神様の声よりも悪魔の声の方が大きく聞こえてくるのです。ですから神様の声を聞きたいなら、聖書に深く触れることが大変重要です。神様は読んでいるページを通して語って来るだけではありませんが(もっとも、しばしばそうですが)、聖書と一致したことを話されます。私たちに心は聖書によって、欺きなどから守られます。そうすることで、ますます神様の色々な声が容易に聞き分けられるようになってきます。

A: This is central to my life. I desire to have perfect hearing when it comes to God, and I desire to be perfectly obedient. “Perfect” appearing twice in that sentence makes it clear that this is something I'll be working on for the rest of my life! Also, the major burden of my ministry is opening believers' eyes to see what God has done for them in Christ, and that certainly includes direct access to God, both in presenting petitions to Him and in hearing what He is saying to us. People tend to think I'm bragging when I speak of hearing from God, when my intent is both to speak simple fact and to encourage them to listen and hear what God is saying to them. I'm regularly used by God to speak His words to others, though not often in forms that people recognize as “prophetic,” but there too I desire to encourage people to make themselves available for God speak through them as well. I desire to help them understand that God is communicative; He spoke the universe into existence (Genesis 1) and He hasn't stopped talking to His creation since.

A: これはまさに私の人生です。神様の声とあらば完全に聞き取リ、完全に従いたいと望んでいます。「完全」と言う語を二度使いましたが、これからの私の人生で心しておきたいことだからです。私のミニストリーにおいての主な重荷は信者の目が開かれ神様がキリストにあって彼らのためになされたことを、見えるようにすることです。神様に頼み、神様の声を聞くと言う、直接アクセスすることを含めみます。私が神様から聞いたと言うと、人からは自慢していると思われがちですが、ただ私は単純な事実を話し、それによって彼らも神様の声を聞けるように勇気づけているだけなのです。神様の御言葉を人に伝えるようにいつも用いられていますが、人がよく思うような「預言的」なものではありません。しかし神が人に語り用いられるように励ましたいとも思っています。神様はコミュニケーンをとるお方だと彼らに分かってほしいと望んでいます。神は、この世にあれ(創世期1)と語られました。それ以来、被創造物に語り続けておられます。

P: Father, thank You for how You speak to each of us, and for Your varied ways of doing so. Thank You for showing Cathy another Bible game in a dream last night. That one's going to have to wait for production until we have enough resources to contract manufacturing of it, but it seems to have real potential. Thank You for how You guided our trip to Fukuoka yesterday. Some of the things You said were disappointing at the time, but the end result was good. Thank You also for the lessons You gave us in communication with people, because we all tend to hear what we expect instead of what's really being said. Help me not only hear You accurately, help me hear what the people around me are really saying and communicate with them in ways that will get through their preconceptions as well. May I be an effective mouthpiece for You, not just a loud one, so that many will be healed, delivered, encouraged, strengthened, and otherwise blessed, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!




マタイ 2:1-12

S: マタイ 2:8 「行って幼子のことを詳しく調べ、わかったら知らせてもらいたい。私も行って拝むから。」

O: Herod was certainly an extreme example, but people in general seem to have no hesitation to lie about their spiritual motives and actions. I remember a seminary professor telling a class, “Remember that people think it's no sin to lie to the preacher about whether they are going to go to church.” Jesus put it clearly: “By their fruit you will know them.” (Matthew 7:16) John records that Jesus didn't entrust Himself to the people because He knew their hearts. (John 2:24) It is actually much easier to deal with open opposition than with someone who says the right things but never follows through.


A: I've certainly dealt with this throughout my years of ministry. Even so, I'm still disappointed when someone promises to show up for an opportunity to worship/pray/praise and then fails to do so. I ought to know better by now! However, some people do follow through sometimes, so I need to keep my eyes on God and not on people. The lady who came last night is a good example. She didn't make it to the Eve service, but she did follow through to the point of showing up last night in spite of the rain, and she certainly seemed hungry for Christian fellowship. I need to put my hopes and expectation in God and not count, or count on, people until they show up. People's motives and actions are between them and God, whatever impact they might have on me. I need to remember that and release them to God, entrusting myself to Him rather than to them, and not taking them on myself as a personal burden.

A: このことを私はミニストリーで対応してきました。それでも礼拝、祈り、賛美に来ると約束しながら、来なかった人にがっかりさせられます。私ももっと良く分かっているべきでしょう。けれども、時々、約束を果たしてくれる人がいます。私は人にではなく目を神に向けます。昨夜、来た女性などはそのよい例です。彼女はイヴ礼拝には来れませんでしたが、雨の中、約束を果たすために昨夜来てくれました。彼女は確かにクリスチャン同士の交わりを求めていたのでしょう。神様に期待と希望を置きます。来ない人をあてにはしません。人の動機と行動は彼ら自身を神様の間の関係です。たとえ彼らが私に与える影響がどんなものであれ。そのことを覚え、神様に託していきます。私自身を神に任せます。人に任せませんし、彼らを私の重荷とすることはしません。

P: Father, thank You for yesterday, for everyone who came to the morning service and those who came to the evening service. There were many who by not coming missed the blessings You intended to give them, but that is between You and them. Some had valid reasons, but some had only the lame excuses the devil supplies. Help me minister to all, attendees and non-attendees alike, with Your grace, love and wisdom. Help me be discerning without judging, accepting without excusing, so that each one will be encouraged to grow as You desire, becoming and doing all that You intend, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!



ルカ 2:33-40

S: ルカ 2:34-35

O: Yet again the English and Japanese have different arrangement that presents different nuances. I'll have to ask my wife about the Greek on this one! (The Japanese includes the piercing of Mary's heart among the things that will reveal the thoughts of many hearts, while the English doesn't seem to.) Such quibbles aside, it's very significant that such a prophecy was made while Jesus was still an infant. I don't imagine Mary was very happy about it! However, it is being fulfilled even today, as many people are in bitter opposition to Jesus and their words and actions reveal their hearts very clearly. Jesus is not a neutral figure! As others have said, He was the ultimate revolutionary, because living in full obedience to Him completely upsets the world order. A quick look at the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) will show that. Some people claim, “That's admirable, but it's impractical.” That shows that they don't want to forgive others and walk in dependent trust toward God! The Gospel is in many ways a litmus test, revealing the condition of people's hearts through their reaction to it

. O: ここでもまた、英語と日本語の並び方が異なり、違ったニュアンスがあります。家内にギリシャ語ではどうなっているのか尋ねてみないといけません。(日本語ではマリヤの心を刺し貫き、多くの人の心の思いが現れるとなっていますが、英語は、そうではないようです。)そうしたことは抜きにしても、イエス様がまだ幼い時にそうした預言があったことは大変意義深いことです。マリヤが喜んだとは私は思いません。しかし、現在、成就を見ているように、多くの人はイエス様に対して辛辣です。はっきり言葉と行いに現れたことに対してもそうです。イエス様はどっちつかずの方ではありません!他の人が言うように、イエス様は究極の革命家です。イエス様に完全に従う人はこの世界の秩序を完全に変えることができるからです。山上の垂訓でを(マタイ5~7)少し見てみるだけでも分かります。「それは大変素晴らしいことだが、実行できない」と主張する人たちがいます。それはつまり、彼らが人を赦せずに、神様を信頼して歩めないことを示しています。福音は多くの意味でリトマス試験紙です。彼らの反応を通して心の状態が現れるのですから。

A: I have certainly seen this throughout my ministry, but that doesn't make being a minister any easier! I've got to remember that it's not me that people are reacting to so much as it is Christ in me. That applies to good reactions too, so it should be an antidote for pride as well as a comfort. The closer I walk to Jesus, the more people will respond to me the way they did to Him, and I've got to remember that He was scourged and crucified! That awareness shouldn't deter me, but rather give me a strong resolve that will keep me strong in the face of any opposition.

A: こうしたことは、これまでのミニストリーで見てきましたが、それでミニストリーが容易になったわけではありません。私の中にキリストを見てくれる人がいますが、それは私がやっていることではありません。覚えていたいと思います。このことにも応用できますが、慰めでもあり中和して解決してくれるものでもあります。私がイエス様に歩み近づくほどに、彼らがイエス様に応答したように、ますます私にも応答してくれます。イエス様が鞭打たれ十字架に架けられたことを覚えていたいものです。心にしっかり持っていれば私は挫かれません。むしろ強い決心が与えられ、どんな反対にあってもがんばれる強さを持ち続けられます。

P: Father, thank You for the privilege of being Your ambassador. Thank You for those who have responded well to Christ in me. Keep me from being discouraged by those who don't respond so well. Keep me from pride of all sorts. Help me rather grow in transparency, so that Christ will be clearer and clearer in me, drawing many to You for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!



ルカ 2:21-32

S: ルカ 2:27 彼が御霊に感じて宮に入ると、幼子イエスを連れた両親が、その子のために律法の慣習を守るために、入って来た。

O: Once again sentence division is very different between the English and the Japanese, but the point is that when Simeon was obedient to what he felt, he had a divine appointment of the highest order. The term used indicates that he didn't hear a voice from heaven or anything that dramatic or even clear; he just felt he was supposed to go to the temple. As Elijah discovered, God seldom shouts. The problem is that we seldom get quiet enough to hear when He uses a softer voice. Not only are we busy with our own agendas, we don't really believe that God wants to speak to us personally, and so don't trust the gentle hints He gives us. However, the more experience we get in being obedient when we do hear Him, the more our spirits are going to be “tuned to His frequency,” so to speak, so that we will be able to hear Him more and more consistently. The prime requirement is a heart that is submitted to Him, which includes a commitment to do whatever He says. That commitment can take a lot of faith, because it applies before we hear, and we don't know what He's going to say to us! However, as Simeon discovered, being obedient can lead to unimagined blessings.


A: God has worked on me in this area through the very uncritical point of changing lanes while driving, that is, when I listen to Him I get through traffic much more smoothly than when I don't. However, I've got to be active in expanding that into every area of my life. Just as I don't always do the right thing in driving, in the same way I fail to do the right thing at times in much more important areas. With me, the biggest problem is that I am so prone to try to figure things out on my own, rather than getting quiet enough really to hear what God has to say about things. As I keep being reminded, I need to live out Proverbs 3:5-6. Both the NIV and the Shinkaiyaku Japanese render that as “make your paths straight,” but the translation in which I first learned it says “direct your paths.” Divine appointments are all about direction and guidance; we've just got to be sensitive enough to listen.

A:神様は私が運転中に車線変更をするように語られました。神様の言われるように車線変更をしたおかげで、混雑の少ない車線でスムーズに行きました。しかし、この状態を人生のあらゆる側面に積極的に拡大して応用していくべきでしょう。運転中も私が常に正しいとは限りませんし、同様にもっと大切な分野で、ことを仕損じることもあります。私の問題は物事を自分自身で理解しようとしがちなことにあります。本来は神様の語りを聞くために静かにしているべきなのですが。箴言3:5~6のように生きていくべきなのです。NIVと新改訳の日本語で「あなたの道をまっすぐに される」とありますが、私が最初に学んだのは「あなたの道を指し示す」と言った意味合いでした。神様から与えられる使命は方向性と導きにあります。ですから耳を澄まし鋭敏に聞きとらなくてはいけません。

P: Father, some of the richest discussions of divine appointments I've had have been with Jo Cathey, and our Christmas card to her just came back. I pray Your abundant blessings, protection and comfort for her, and I pray that You would receive her before Your throne to give her the rich reward she deserves at Your right time. Thank You for choosing to use human instruments, and for the privilege of being one of those. Help me be increasingly sensitive and obedient to You so that I will meet all of the appointments You have for me, for the blessing of others and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

P:お父様。Jo Catheyとの聖なる使命についても多くの話し合いを幾つかしましたが、彼女に送ったクリスマスカードが戻ってきました。あなたの豊かな彼女への豊かな祝福、守り、慰めを祈ります。そしてあなたの時宜に合わせて彼女に豊かな報酬を与えてくださる以前から、あなたが彼女を受け入れて下さることを祈ります。特権のために、人間としての用い方を選んでくださり感謝します。あなたが私に下さっている使命を果たすように、私がますます鋭敏に従えますように。他の方の祝福とあなたのご栄光のために。感謝します。ハレルヤ!



ルカ 2:8-20

S: ルカ 2:20 羊飼いたちは、見聞きしたことが、全部御使いの話したとおりだったので、神をあがめ、賛美しながら帰っていった。

O: This scene, along with that when the magi saw the star over the house where Jesus was, are delightful ones to picture in my mind. I too have tasted God's revelation and His faithfulness, and there is nothing more joyous. It is important to remind ourselves of such experiences, both personal and what we have heard and read, because there are many things that work to destroy our faith. It's been said that a man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument. We know what we've experienced, and it's hard to talk us out of that. When we recognize that God has done something specific in our lives it's important to praise Him for it, both to give Him the credit He's due and to cement the experience in our memories. The devil does all he can to make us forget the tastes we've had of God, and praise is the perfect antidote.

O: このシーンは、イエス様のいた家の上に星を見た博士のシーンとともに、生き生きと私の心に描写されています。私も神の啓示と神の真実を味わっていますので、この場面がどれほど素晴らしいかが分かるのです。私たちの信仰を壊そうとするものが多くあるのですから、個人的に、あるいは聞いたり読んだりしたことでも、そうした経験を思い出すのは大切なことです。経験者は論争に人が流されないと言われます。私たちは経験し知っているのですが、そのことを私たちから取り去ることはできません。神様が何か具体的なことを私たちにしてくださったと気づいたとき、そのために神様を賛美するのは重要なことです。神様に帰すべき物を与え、私たちがしっかり記憶しておくと言うこの両方ともが大切です。神様を味わったことを忘れさせようと悪魔はできる限り妨害してきます。その企みを完全に制するのは賛美なのです!

A: This is a major reason we have testimony time in our services. It isn't for bragging, but for giving God glory for what He has done. It is an interesting quirk of human psychology, but recounting things cements them in our memories almost more than the original experience. That's why we need to be careful how we tell things. If we put the focus on God and His faithfulness, then that's how we will remember whatever it is we're talking about. If our recounting is self centered, that's how it will remain in our memory. I think I do better about this than I used to, but I still need to be on my guard and I need to teach the believers to do likewise. I need to point out evidences of God's faithfulness to them, helping them open their eyes to see what is all around them. The more we praise Him for His faithful love and grace, the more we will recognize them and be filled with thankfulness and joy.

A: 礼拝で証しの時間を設けているのは、これが大きな理由です。自慢するためではありません。神様の成されたことに栄光を帰すためです。逃げ口上は人間の面白い心理ですが、繰り返し語ることは実際の経験よりも記憶に定着します。ですから、話すときは気をつけねばなりません。もし神様と神様の真実に集中していれば何を話そうが覚えていられることでしょう。もし自己中心的な話しであれば、それに応じて記憶に残るでしょう。私は以前より、この点良くなっていると思いますが、それでもやはり注意をして、信者にも同様に教えていきたいと思っています。神様の彼らに対する真実を示し、彼らの目が開き周りが見えるように助けていきたいと思います。神様の真実な愛と恵みを讃えれば讃えるほどに、私たちはますます神様を知り感謝と喜びに溢れることでしょう。

P: Father, thank You indeed for getting us through the past two days. Thank You particularly for last night, for each person who came and for all that went on. Thank You for Your provision of all the goodies that were served at the tea time after the service. Thank You most especially for the non-Christians who came, including one who came for the first time. She told me repeatedly that it was her first time in church, and that she was very moved. I pray that what You said to each heart, through my words and through everything else that went on, would be planted deep in order to bear rich fruit in Your time, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

P: お父様。この二日間、うまく乗り切れたことを本当に有難うございました。特に昨夜、来てくれた一人ひとりと全ての出来事に感謝します。礼拝の後の茶話会で食べ物、飲み物を与えてくださり有難うございます。特にノンクリスチャンで来て下さった人達、初めて来て下さった人を感謝します。彼女は、初めて教会に来て大変感銘を受けたと繰り返し話していました。私とすべての事を通して、あなたが一人ひとりの心に語ってくださいますように。あなたの時宜にかなって豊かな実を結ぶために聞く人の心の深く根付きますように。お祈りします。あなたのご栄光のために。有難うございます。神様を賛美します!


ルカ 2:1-7

S: ルカ 2:4 ヨセフもガリラヤの町ナザレから、ユダヤのベツレヘムというダビデの町へ上って行った。彼は、ダビデの家系であり血筋であったので。

O: This whole passage is so familiar that, like a lot of people, I could quote it (though probably in a mixture of translations). However, one of the wonderful things about the Bible is that God can and does use familiar passages to speak to us, sometimes reassuring us of truth we already know but sometimes even showing us new truth we hadn't seen before. This verse tells us more about Joseph, and as little as we know about him, that makes it important. In line with Matthew's comment that he was a righteous man, we see that he was law-abiding, even when it meant considerable inconvenience and expense for him. We grumble at paying taxes and obeying the speed limit, but he took off from work and made a long journey on foot – with a pregnant woman, no less – in obedience to a government order. Coupled with the fact that he took Mary as his wife, pregnant though she was, on the strength of what an angel told him in a dream, we can see that he wasn't a rebellious person. As it says in 1 Samuel 15:23, rebellion is as the sin of divination (or witchcraft). It is rooted in pride that says, I know better, what I want is more important than what you tell me. American society tends to idolize rebels, while Japanese society praises conformity, so maybe Joseph was more Japanese than American! However, considering that Joseph later was not about to submit to King Herod, we could hardly call him docile. The point is clear, however, that he wasn't rebellious.

O: この節全体はとてもよく知られているので、多くの人のように、私も引用できます。(恐らく訳は混じったものとなるでしょうが)聖書の素晴らしさの一つに、神様がよく知られた節を用いて私たちに語ってくださり、私たちが既に知っている真実を再確認させてくださっていることが挙げられます。時にはそれまで私たちが知らなかったような新しい真実を見せてくださいます。今日の節はヨセフについて書かれていますが、彼についてはあまり多く知られていません。だからこそ重要な箇所です。彼は正しい人であったとマタイは述べていますが、それだけでなく律法を守る人であったことがわかります。法を守ることがひどく不都合で負担だった時でさえも。私たちは税金支払いやら制限速度やらに文句を言いがちですが、しかしヨセフは職から離れ徒歩の長い旅に出ました。身重の妻を連れながらも政府の命令に従いました。彼が身重の妻を娶った事実は、夢で天使が彼に語ったことに基づいています。彼が反抗的な人物でなかったことが読み取れます。1サミュエル15:23で「まことに、そむくことは占いの罪」だと教えています。根はプライドから来ていますが、人に言われることより自身の望むことに重きを置いてしまいます。アメリカ社会はそむくことを偶像化しがちですが、日本社会はといえば、一致を大切にします。ですからヨセフはアメリカ人より、むしろ日本人に近かったのかもしれません。けれども、のちにヨセフはヘロデ王に従おうとしなかったことを見ると、決して御しやすい人物ではなかったようです。要点は明白です。ヨセフはそむく人ではありませんでした。

A: I have had my rebellious moments, but I am very thankful that my parents didn't provoke rebellion in me. They were clear in their discipline and provided firm boundaries, but they didn't restrict me unnecessarily. I tried to do the same for my own children, but they are certainly beyond that now, raising their own children. My current concern is for my spiritual children. I've got some obedient ones, and I've got some rebellious ones! I need God's wisdom in dealing with all my children, so that each will receive the attention they need and in turn be able to raise healthy spiritual children themselves. It's clear my human wisdom isn't up to the task! God desires obedient children, not resentful slaves or even robots. I need to work on my own obedience and trust Him to use me in blessing those under me.

A: 私は反抗する時もありましたが、感謝すべきことに私の両親は私の反抗心を掻き立てることはありませんでした。両親はしつけに関してしっかりとした境界線を持っていましたが、私を不必要に制限を与えることもありませんでした。私も同じように子供たちに接しようとしましたが、もはや娘たちは大きくなり、自分たちの子供の世話をしています。私の現在の心配は霊的な子供たちにあります。従順な人もいますが、反抗的な人もいるからです。私の子供全てと上手く関われるように神様の知恵を求めます。一人ひとりに必要な注意を払い、彼ら自身が霊的に健康的な子育てができるためにです。私の人間的な知恵はその働きに不十分です!神様は従順な子供を望んでおられます。憤慨した奴隷やロボットを望んでおられません。私は自分自身の従順をしっかりさせ、私が関わっている人たちの祝福のために、私が用いられるように神様を信頼していくだけです。

P: Father, thank You again for all You are doing. Thank You for the good time caroling last night, and for those who took part. I pray that those You want to be here tonight would be, and that everything will go as You intend, for Your glory. I ask for Your resolution to each of the challenges we face, so that each individual and the church as a whole will grow in intimacy with and obedience to You, for Your pleasure and glory. Thank You. Praise God!




マタイ 1:18-28

S: マタイ 1:23 「見よ、処女がみごもっている。そして男の子を産む。その名はインマヌエルと呼ばれる。」(訳すと、神は私たちとともにおられる、という意味である。)

O: There is real danger in losing the wonder of this astounding statement. The starting point of Christian faith, even before the cross and resurrection, is that God loved us enough to be born as a human baby, taking on not just our form but our weaknesses and sufferings as well. In fact, He didn't stop there, but poured Himself out as the Holy Spirit to actually live in us. That is something claimed in no other religion, and it is terribly under-appreciated even among Christians. However, a claim to that from the human side can be worth less than the words it takes to say it. The Nazi army had “God with us” engraved (in German, of course) on their belt buckles! We cannot bring God down to us, but we can welcome Him. As Isaac Watts said in his famous carol, “Let every heart prepare Him room.” The Holy Spirit is a gentleman, and He doesn't come where He's not welcome. From the negative standpoint, Paul spoke of grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit. We don't want to do that! When God has done so much to become Immanuel, then we need to receive Him in all humility and thanks.


A: I am probably more aware of God's presence than the vast majority of people, yet I forget it on a practical level all too often. I must live by Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight – or I am useless to myself and others. Last night I was asked if I didn't have things I worried about, and I said yes, it was a sign of my lack of faith. This morning I got up absurdly early because I couldn't release things to God; my brain just kept churning them over and over and I couldn't get back to sleep. God has demonstrated Himself to be Immanuel to me more times than I could count, yet I still have such problems! I have a lot of room to grow in living out the truth I know.

A: 恐らく私は大抵の人達よりは神様の存在を意識していると思いますが、現実的なレベルではしばしば忘れがちです。箴言3:5~6のように生きたいものですー心を尽くして主により頼め。自分の悟りに頼るな。あなたの行く所どこにおいても、主を認めよ。そうすれば、主はあなたの道をまっすぐにされる―そうでないなら私自身にも、人にとってもためになりません。昨夜、私は心配事がないのかどうか尋ねられました。それで私は「はい」と答えました。つまりそれは信仰の欠如の表れです。今朝はひどく早い時間に目が覚めました。思いを神様に委ねていなかったからです。それで私は思い煩い、何度も考え、とうとう寝付けなかったのです。もう数得られないほどに神様は御自身がインマニュエルであると示してくださったのに、私はまだこんな問題を抱えているのです!私は真実を知っています。その真実に基づいて生きていくように大きく成長すべきです!

P: Father, I believe; forgive and help my unbelief! Help me trust You on the deepest level and stop wasting so much time and energy trying to figure things out on my own. You have demonstrated Your faithfulness so beautifully and so often, and yet I still act like I've got to run my life myself. I couldn't begin to do it, even if it were a good idea! Help me “let go and let God,” as the cliché says, refusing anxiety in any form but giving You glory through my trusting obedience. Thank You. Praise God!



ミカ 5:2-4

S: ミカ 5:4 彼は立って、主の力と、彼の神、主の御名の威光によって群れを飼い、彼らは安らかに住まう。今や、彼の威力が地の果てまで及ぶからだ。

O: I divided the reading this way, ending with verse 4, because in the Japanese, verse 5 starts off with “Peace will come in the following way.” However, in the NIV at any rate, the beginning of verse 5 is a powerful completion to the prophecy of the Messiah: “And He will be their peace.” Once again I find myself wanting access to a Hebrew scholar! This whole passage, of course, is what enabled the scribes to tell King Herod where to tell the Magi to look for the Messiah, so there is absolutely no question that it refers directly to Jesus. As such, it is significant that it speaks of the shepherd-king, one who would deal with His subjects as a shepherd deals with his flock. Jesus, of course, spoke of Himself as the good shepherd, and of believers as His sheep. We can learn a lot about ourselves – most of it not very flattering – if we study sheep! The point, though, is not how stupid the sheep are, but how loving the shepherd is, and from that standpoint this passage, as part of the whole image of Christ as our Shepherd, is very comforting indeed.


A: Naturally this whole issue is of deep interest to me, since I am called and commissioned as an under-shepherd. In the first place, I'm not to be surprised when the people under my care act like sheep! I've got to remember God's patience and grace toward me and exercise that same patience and grace toward my flock. Never having dealt directly with the 4-legged kind of sheep, all I know of them is what I've read, but my understanding is that they can be remarkably like people in their interactions with each other and with their circumstances. Emotions in animals can be hard to gauge, but they certainly develop cliques and rivalries and seem to express jealousy and ambition. I shouldn't be surprised when such things surface in the church! Rather, I need to seek the wisdom of the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4) in how to deal with them so as not to harm the flock but rather nurture it and provide for its increase.

A: 当然ながら、この節全体に私は深く引き寄せられます。イエスに仕える牧者として私は召しを受け委託されていますから。まず、私がケアしている人たちが羊のような振る舞いをしたとして驚きません。私が群れに対して持っているのと同じ忍耐と恵み深さを持って、神様も働いてくださっていることを覚えているべきでしょう。実際に本物の羊をケアしているわけではありませんが、私の理解では羊は驚くほど人間に似ています。互いの関係や状況の関わり合い方において。動物の感情を計ることは難しいですが、動物もまた派閥を作り、敵ができます。嫉妬や野心も持っているようです。教会内でそのような感情が表面化したとしても驚いてはいけないでしょう!むしろ大牧者である(1ペテロ5:4)にどう対処すべきか、群れを傷つけることなく成長させるために、知恵を求めるべきでしょう。

P: Father, thank You for this encouragement this morning, hand in hand with the insight you gave Cathy as she was reading last night. This all fits in with what You have been showing us over the past several weeks. Help us walk in Your truth and Your love, not being shaken by whatever goes on around us, but rather lifting each person and each situation up to You in prayer and intercession, so that we will not allow the enemy to steal our peace and joy. Thank You. Praise God!

P: お父様。今朝、この励ましの言葉を有難うございます。昨夜キャシーが読んでいる時にともに洞察を下さり有難うございます。ここ数週間、私たちに示してくださったことと合致します。あなたの真実とあなたの愛の中を歩くように助けてください。周りの出来事で心に波立つことのありませんように。むしろ、互いが互いの状況をあなたに差し出し、祈り、取りなせますように。決して敵に私たちの平安と喜びを奪われることのありませんように。感謝します。神様を賛美します!



ピリピ 2:5-11

S: ピリピ 2:5 あなたがたの間では、そのような心構えでいなさい。それはキリスト・イエスのうちにも見られるのです。

O: It is interesting that the Japanese points to the attitude expressed in verses 1-4 and says we should have it, since Jesus had it too, while the English points to verses 6-8 as Jesus' attitude, and says we should have the same. Actually, since 6-8 speak of what only Jesus could do as part of the Trinity, 1-4 brings it down to our level in a much more applicable way. Jesus is our example as well as our Savior, but we often have a lot of trouble believing we can follow that example, since after all, He is God. That's why we need the revelation of the Holy Spirit to let us know that He will do in and through us what He did in Jesus. There are differences, of course, but the same Holy Spirit who “remained on” Jesus (John 1:32) is available to us. We need to give Him the same liberty to use us that Jesus did, with the same assurance and the same humility.

O: 日本語では1~4節に、イエスがそうであったのだから私たちもそうあるべきだと言う心構えが書いてある一方、英語では6~8節にイエスのあり方が書いてあり私たちも同じであるべきだと述べてあるのは興味深いことです。実は、6~8は三位一体の一部としてのイエスの働きについて書かれているのです。1~4節では私たちにできることがより応用可能な方法で述べてあります。イエスは私たちの救い主であると同時に、また手本となる存在ですが、手本と信じることにしばしば困難を感じています。結局、イエスは神だからです。ですから、私たちの内に、また私たちを通して、神がなさることを知るために、聖霊様に教えていただくように啓示が必要なのです。当然、違いはありますが、イエスと同じ霊が私たちの上にも「とどまって」(ヨハネ1:32)います。聖霊が私たちが用いられるように聖霊に自由に働いて頂きましょう。イエスのように確信と謙遜を持って。

A: This is once again the same issue I have felt as a burden for the past several years. I need to be aware of who I am in Christ, and my job is to help believers understand who they are in Christ. Together we need to follow Jesus' example, and in faith do the “greater works” that He spoke of in John 14:12. The current level of the average believer is so far below that as to be tragic. However, we can't do anything worthwhile until we understand what God has already done in and for us in Christ, and that is my burden as a teacher. The difficulty I run into is that people often reject the word-picture I paint for them, saying that it is too far from their present reality. The fact is, the devil has blinded them so that they see only their own weaknesses and problems to the point that they are unable to lift their eyes to see God's power and provision. I need the guidance and anointing of the Holy Spirit to express the magnificence of what God has done for us in bites small enough that they can chew, swallow, and digest them, building these baby believers up to the point that they can handle their own steak, so to speak.


P: Father, thank You for yesterday and all it held. Thank You for answering my prayers about the church board meeting. Thank You for the growing maturity I see in the board members and in others. Lord, the problems we are seeing can easily be described as spiritual and emotional immaturity. I recognize those things in myself as well! Help me meet each believer on their level without stooping to that level of immaturity. As one board member said yesterday, the difficulty is that adults can be childish without being child-like, which makes them much harder to correct. I pray that Your spirit would have full reign in all of us, so that the lies of the enemy may be exposed to each believer, to be rejected and overcome, so that we will all grow up to the full stature of Christ, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!




イザヤ 11:1-10

S: イザヤ 11:2-3 その上に、主の霊がとどまる。それは知恵と悟りの霊、はかりごとと能力の霊、主を知る知識と主を恐れる霊である。この方は主を恐れることを喜び、

O: Sentence division is different in the NIV and the Japanese, with the NIV tying the first line of verse 3 to verse 2, but the Japanese tying it to the rest of verse 3. Regardless, this is a description of the Holy Spirit, and Christ's response to Him. This is very important, because the same Holy Spirit is given to us, and our response should be like Christ's. This understanding of the Holy Spirit should be a great comfort to every Christian, because a sober self-evaluation will reveal a lack of wisdom, understanding, discernment, ability, and knowledge of and respect for God, and the Holy Spirit provides all these things. (The list as I just gave it should be a demonstration of the advantage of reading the Bible in multiple languages, because each language is better at expressing different nuances.) The Holy Spirit is the source of all these things, but our attitude is of the utmost importance, and that is what is touched on in the first line of verse 3. Of all the things listed, humanly speaking we might value “the fear of the Lord” least, but that's what Christ delighted in, more than all the other things. It is only when we have a proper respect for God that all the gifts of the Holy Spirit can be properly operative in our lives.

O: NIVと日本語訳では文の切れ目が違っています。NIVでは3節の最初の文が2節にかかっていますが、日本語訳では3節の残りにかかっています。いずれにせよ、この文は聖霊のことと、キリストの応答を描写してあります。これは大変重要です。というのは同じ聖霊が私たちにも注がれているからであり、それゆえ、私たちの反応もキリストと同様であるべきだからです。聖霊に対する理解は全てのクリスチャンにとって大きな慰めとなるべきでしょう。冷静な自己評価をして見ると、知恵、理解、分別、能力、神への知識と崇めることが私たちに足りないことが分かり、聖霊様がこれらの不足を与えてくださると分かるからです。(ここで私が列挙したことは、聖書を多言語で読んでいるからこそ知り得たことです。各言語によって表現に微妙な違いがあるからです。)聖霊様こそが全ての源ですが、私たちの態度もまら大変重要です。それが3節の最初の文が述べていることです。列挙した中で、人間的に言って、「主を恐れること」を大切にすべきことで、クリスチャンが何よりも喜んでいるべきことです。神様を正しく敬えた時こそ、聖霊に与えられた賜物全てが私たちの命に正しく発揮できるのです。

A: This passage is 100% applicable in my life, because I desire all these things yet know that I lack them, humanly speaking. At the same time, by God's grace I know that His Spirit is as available to me as He was to Jesus, if I will only be in the right position for Him to flow through me. I've preached many times on such passages as John 20:21, 2 Corinthians 5:20 and 1 John 4:17; I do not think we are Christ, but I know we are to represent and reflect Him. I must never think that any of this is my personal property, descending into conceit and hubris, but I must never allow my unbelief to limit what God wants to do through me.


P: Father, thank You for Your grace. Even as I have been writing I have been very aware of how far I am from walking in this fully. Thank You for the tastes You give me of how good it can be. Thank You for the opportunity last night to bless a former fellow teacher and in the process witness to many former students. I don't think the teacher and his wife will soon forget what they heard through me, and I pray that the students wouldn't either. Thank You for the assurance You give us that no word You speak through us is lost; it will always accomplish that for which You send it. I pray that what You spoke through me last night would bear rich fruit of salvation for many, for Your glory. Thank You also for the privilege of preaching that I will have this morning. Again, may Your Word through me accomplish all that You intend, opening, healing, and strengthening hearts, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!



コロサイ 1:15-20

S: コロサイ 1:19-20 なぜなら、神はみこころによって、満ち満ちた神の本質を御子のうちに宿らせ、その十字架の血によって平和をつくり、御子によって万物を、御子のために和解させてくださったからです。地にあるものも天にあるものも、ただ御子によって和解させてくださったのです。

O: It's in passages like this that the Bible gets really deep, but the more deeply we understand such things, the better protected we are from the attacks of the devil. The passage as a whole deals with the Deity of Christ, since the Japanese in particular makes it clear that He existed before anything was created. However, the average man in the street isn't worried about the preexistence of Christ! These two verses, however, have enormous practical application in our daily lives, because they proclaim that God created peace through Christ and that all reconciliation, everywhere, is accomplished through the blood of Christ. Peace and reconciliation are dearly sought after by many in the world today, but unfortunately most of those people don't realize that it is only in Christ that they will find what they seek. There is no difference so great, no barrier so high or chasm so deep and wide that it can't be eliminated by application of and submission to the blood of Christ. The problem is not in the availability of God's solution, the problem is in the application and submission.

O: この節に見られるように、聖書には本当に深いことが書かれていますが、深く知れば知るほどに、悪魔の攻撃からさらに強く守られます。この説は全体としてキリストの神聖についてですが、日本語では特に全ての創造より以前に神の存在があったことが明確に書かれています。もっとも、一般の人はキリストの創造以前からの存在に気を留めもしないでしょうが!この二つの節は私たちの日常の生活で現実に応用できることを多く含んでいます。神はキリストと全ての和解を通して平安を造られ、キリストの血を通してあらゆる点が成就がなされたことが書かれているからです。平安と和解を今日、世界中で多くの人が求めていますが、残念なことに彼らの求めるそうしたことが、キリストによってのみ、成されることを殆どの人が気づかないでいます。高い障壁も、深く広い裂け目も違いはないのです。ただキリストの血潮に従うことと応用することで取り除けないものはないのです。問題は神様が問題解決をできるかどうかではなく、応用と従順にあるのです。

A: This is a biggie. There is certainly reconciliation that needs to happen in this church, so the question becomes how to apply and submit to the blood of Christ. Full reconciliation happens only when both parties participate, but either side can go first; it doesn't have to be simultaneous. I need to allow the blood of Christ to be fully operative in my own heart and life, interceding for those from whom I am estranged. I must not accept the devil's lying excuses for allowing estrangement, but rather apply the blood of Christ with full faith and assurance that nothing is impossible for God.

A: これは大きな問題です。この教会では確かに和解が必要です。それで問題となるのはキリストの血をいかに応用し、従うかにかかっています。十分な和解は双方が顔を揃えた時に起こりますが、まずどちらか一方から始めます。特に双方が同時でなくともよいのです。私の心と命のキリストの流されたちが十分に働いてくださるようにしなくてはいけません。私とうまくいかない人たちのためにとりなしながら。疎遠になっている人たちに言い訳を作り悪魔の策略を許すべきではありませんが、キリストの血を確かな信仰と確信を持って応用していくべきです。神様に不可能はないのですから。

P: Father, thank You for this Word at this time. I pray that it would be fully operative as we have the church board meeting tomorrow. May Your love flow unhindered in this church, covering over sins and healing wounds to the deepest level, so that we may walk in the unity Jesus prayed for, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!




ヘブル 4:14-16

S: ヘブル 4:15 私たちの大祭司は、私たちの弱さに同情できない方ではありません。罪は犯されませんでしたが、すべての点で、私たちと同じように、試みに会われたのです。

O: Here we have one of the major differences between Christianity and every other religion. There is no other religion that posits that God became man, taking on our weakness, yet remained without sin. Greek and Roman mythology depicted gods who were all too weak, behaving like Hollywood celebrities do today, and Hinduism does the same. Other religions conjure up gods who are so other-worldly that they have little connection with us. Japanese Buddhism simply deifies people, and that certainly opens a can of worms. Only in Jesus Christ do we find God become man, and that is the wonder of Christmas. I certainly agree that we cannot state exactly when He was born, but that He was born is without question worthy of celebration! Bill Clinton made “I feel your pain” a political catch-phrase to the point that it became a joke, but Jesus can say it in truth, and that is absolutely marvelous and comforting.

O: ここではキリスト教徒他の宗教の大きな違いが見られます。神が人となり、人の弱さを持ち、それでいて罪を犯さなかったことを前提とする宗教は他にありません。ギリシャ神話、ローマ神話での神は弱く、現在のハリウッドスターのような振る舞いでした。ヒンズー教でも同じです。他の宗教でも世俗的で私たちとはあまり関連のない神を創り上げてしまっています。日本の仏教では人間が神格化され、そのためひどく厄介になっています。ただイエス・キリストにおいてのみ神が人となられたことが分かります。それがキリスト教のくすしさです。イエスの誕生がいつで会ったのかを確定できないという意見に私は同意しますが、確かに祝うに値することです。ビル・クリントンが「あなたの痛みを分かる」と政治のキャッチフレーズに使いジョークのようでしたが、イエスが言ったことは真実であり、絶対的な素晴らしさと慰めを含んでいます。

A: It is ironic that this truth is so central to the Gospel I proclaim, yet there are those who believe I don't feel their pain, and so close their hearts to what God says through me. It is indeed true that people won't care how much I know until they know how much I care, yet I keep running into walls in trying to express my concern without excusing sin. Because I am at a cultural remove from those to whom I minister, some of them decline my ministry because I can't have experienced exactly what they are going through. I have no answer for that except the grace and mercy of God, toward me and toward those to whom I minister. As in every other area, I need to keep the focus on Jesus Christ, both for myself and for others, so that we may all receive the grace and help that He has for us.

A: この真実が私の伝えている福音の中心だとは皮肉ですが、私には人の痛みが分かっていないのだと思い込んでいる人たちがいます。それで彼らは私を通して語られる神様の言葉に心を閉じてしまっています。しかし私がどれほど彼らのことを思っているか、彼らもまた私の思いを知るまでは分からないのも真実です。私の彼らに対する思いを現そうとして壁にぶつかり続けています。彼らと同じような辛い経験が私にはないのだからという理由でミニストリーを断られます。差異を取り除くべきなのですが。そんな時には、ただ私は神様の恵みが私のも彼らにも注がれていることを告げるだけです。他のあらゆる分野で、私自身、他の人ことでも、イエス・キリストに焦点を合わせ続けていきます。キリストが差し出してくださる恵みと助けを私たちが受けるためです。

P: Father, thank You for all You have been allowing me to go through to show me unequivocally that I'm not smart, You are. Help me listen to and depend on You, not trying to figure things out in my own intellect but getting quiet before You, allowing You to guide me even when I can't see where my foot is going to come down with the next step. We have some real problems with unity in the church right now but You have the solution, and I need to find peace in that assurance, even before I know what Your solution is. Thank You again for all the good things You are doing in and among us. Help me continue to grow in my understanding and trust of You, giving all I know of myself to all I know of You on a continuous basis, so that all of Your plans for me and for this church may be fulfilled, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!



ヘブル 7:23-28

S: ヘブル 7:24-25 しかし、キリストは永遠に存在されるのであって、変わることのない祭司の務めを持っておられます。したがって、ご自分によって神に近づく人々を、完全に救うことがおできになります。キリストはいつも生きていて、彼らのために、とりなしをしておられるからです。

O: The eternal priesthood of Jesus is of great importance, but for the average person it doesn't really register. What does a priest do, anyway? Hebrews was of course written with the backdrop of the Jewish priesthood, in which priests presided over the animal sacrifices in the temple, which is why the writer went to such lengths to help us understand that Jesus sacrificed Himself as the ultimate, final atonement for the sins of all mankind. However, that leaves us with the question of what He does now, since the cross is a completed event. The answer is in verse 25: He intercedes for us. He says to the Father, “Put that on my tab; forgive them for my sake.” We really have very little grasp of how important that is, because we have only a small understanding of how much or how often we violate God's righteous commandments. Anyone with even a small understanding of intercession will be greatly comforted to know that Jesus is interceding for us.

O: イエスが永遠の祭司であることは大変重要ですが、一般の人にとっては大してことではありません。ところで一体、祭司とは何をするのでしょうか?ヘブル書は勿論、ユダヤの聖職者を背景に書かれていますが、そこでは祭司が宮での動物をいけにえにすることを仕切っていました。イエスが全人類の罪の究極の贖いとしてご自身を捧げられたことを、作者が私たちの理解のために長々と書いているのはこうした理由があります。しかし、それでもまだ疑問が残ります。十字架で完結しているのなら、イエスは今、何をしておられるのでしょうか。その答えは25節にあります。キリストは私たちのために、とりなしをしておられます。私たちを赦しくもらうように御父に頼んでおられます。この重要性を私たちはあまり分かっていません。神の義の戒めを、私たちがどれほど多く、どれほど頻繁に破っているのか分かっていないのです。とりなしを少しなりとも分かっているなら、イエスが私たちのためにとりなしていると知り大きな慰めとなります。

A: With the knowledge that Jesus, as the great high priest, is interceding for us, I realize that I need to be interceding for those under my care. It's not that I don't, but it needs to be a bigger part of my awareness. I tend to approve or disapprove of the actions and attitudes of others in a somewhat isolated way, when I need to be taking everyone and everything before the Lord in intercessory prayer. I certainly can't “fix” anyone or any situation, but I can lift them in prayer to the Lord who can. I desire that we be more of a praying body, and I need to lead the way by example. Whereas I do pray often throughout each dayI need to be intentional in my intercession, not just running around putting out fires but covering each person in prayer. That's going to take time, but then, I waste a lot of it, so that should be no great sacrifice.

A: イエスが最高の祭司であり、私たちのためにとりなして下さっていることを知っていると、私も私が関わっている人たちのために取り成すべきだと気づかされます。そのことに大きく自覚しているべきです。人が孤立したような状態で行動を起こすときに私は黙認したり、あるいは容認しなかったりしがちですが、本来は取りなしの祈りで全ての人を主の御前に導くべなのです。私はどんな行動も「直す」ことはできませんが、主はおできになります。彼らを高められる事を祈ります。私たちがもっと祈りの集団となることを望んでいます。そのために私は手本となって指導すべきでしょう。毎日、しょっちゅう、私は祈っていますが、ただ懸命に祈るだけではなく、一人一人のために祈り、意図してとりなすべきです。それは時間がかかりますが時間を無益にすべきではありません。大して犠牲とはならないのです。

P: Father, thank You for last night's prayer meeting. You really touched me with a feeling of compassion for some people I have previously mostly complained about. Help me make the investment of time and energy called for so that Your deliverance and healing may be manifested in these people's lives. Jun was asking me yesterday morning about how the early apostles were so powerful in deliverance and healing, and I could only confess that I'm not there yet. Help me see and fulfill my part, so that all that You want to do through me may be accomplished, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

P: お父様。昨晩の会合を感謝します。以前、私がかなり不満を言っていた人たちに共感を持てました。あなたが触れてくださったのです。あなたの解放と癒しがこの人たちの命に現れるために、私が時間をエネルギーを費やすように助けてください。どのようにして初期の弟子たちが解放と癒しに力があったのかと、純君に昨日の朝、聞かれました。そして私は正直にまだその段階に至っていないことを告白しました。私を通してあなたの望みが成就するために、私のすべきことを達成するように助けてください。多くの人の救いとご栄光のために。有難うございます。ハレルヤ!



ヘブル 5:1-10

S: ヘブル 5:4 まただれでも、この名誉は自分で得るのではなく、アロンのように神に召されて受けるのです。

O: Ecclesiastical office, for want of a better word, is a strange thing. On the one hand, Paul speaks of “setting your heart on being an overseer.” However, as this verse and years of experience point out, taking such positions without the calling of God is foolish in the extreme and ultimately disastrous for all involved. God sets in place those He chooses, but those who take such titles out of human ambition are deeply deceived on many levels. God desires willing vessels, but sometimes He has to do quite a bit of convincing, as with Moses. The conviction of divine call and commission is essential for anyone who is going to be in a position of leadership in the Body of Christ.

O: 聖職者的立場から言うと、良い言葉に欠けた奇妙な表現です。パウロが「あなたの思いを監督者に向けよ」と一方で言っているからです。しかし、この節の言わんとすることと、長年の経験で、神を呼ぶことなしにそうした立場をとるのがひどく愚かであり、最終的には関わる人全てが悲惨な結果になると指摘しています。神様は適切な所を選んでおられます。しかし、人間的な野心に満ちた態度では、多くの段階で欺きに遭います。神様は望んで用いられる人を好まれますが、時にモーゼにしたように、神様がかなり説得しなくてはならない時もあります。キリストの体の指導者になろうとする人は誰でも聖なる召しと神様からの任命を信じていなくてはなりません。

A: Like probably every other minister I have had my moments of doubting whether I was in the right place at the right time, and I have likewise had my moments of complaining about my commission, like Jeremiah did. However, again like Jeremiah, I do what I do because I can't help it. Paul expressed it as, “Christ's love compels me.” (2 Corinthians 5:14) That makes it particularly painful to be a shepherd when the sheep get rebellious and muddy the water for one another. However, there are also moments that make it all worthwhile, and I have the assurance of my eternal reward as well, so I must not lose hope.


P: Father, thank You for the beautiful testimonies Sunday. I needed that evidence that the Word You have been speaking through me has been getting through to some people at any rate. Help me indeed keep my eyes on You and not lose hope, however briefly. Help me walk humbly before You and before my brothers and sisters, but with the assurance of my calling and commission, so that I will not draw back but move forward into all that You desire and plan, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!



ヨハネ 1:1-14

S: ヨハネ 1:4-5 この方にいのちがあった。このいのちは人の光であった。光はやみの中に輝いている。やみはこれに打ち勝たなかった。

O: In verse 5 the NIV gives the the reading of “overcome” as a footnote, preferring the reading of “understood.” I don't know if it is a difference in sources for the Greek text or if it is a particular quirk of translating Greek into other languages. Actually, an understanding of basic physics is helpful here. Darkness, which we experience as real and almost palpable at times, is nothing more than the absence of light. This isn't like mathematics, in which a negative number can cancel a positive one; by physical definition, darkness cannot extinguish light. Light is energy. In a sense, it is life, and in verse 4 John turned that around and said that the life of Christ is what gives us light. As I have preached just recently, even using this passage, light is absolutely central to the Gospel. Ephesians 5:8 says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” There is a Christian song that came out 30 or more years ago called Children of the Light that has the line, “Don't try to drive the darkness out; you just turn on the light.” That is both true and profound. We experience the victory of Christ not by our effort, but by letting Him shine through us. The “forces of darkness,” as they are called, can't wrap their heads around that, much less overcome it!

O: NIV版の5節には「理解される」の語に対して使われている「打ち勝つ」の脚注があります。この違いがギリシャ語の文から来ているのか、ギリシャ語から他の言語に訳する際に生じた違いなのか私には分かりません。実のところ、ここでは基礎物理が理解に役立ちます。闇を現実のものとして、あるいは喩えとして私たちは知っていますが、それはつまり全く光がないことを意味しています。負の数字が正の数字を相殺すると言った数学的なものではなく、単に物理の定義として闇は光を消すことができないのです。ある意味で、それは生命とも言えるでしょう。さらに4節でヨハネがキリストの命が人の光であったと語っています。最近、私がこの個所を用いて説教したことですが、光はまさしく福音の中心です。エペソ5:8では「あなた方は、以前は闇でしたが、今は、主にあって、光となりました。光の子供らしく歩みなさい」とあります。「光の子供」というタイトルのクリスチャンソングが30年か、もう少し前くらいにありましたが、その歌詞では「闇を追い払うのではなく、光をあてよ」というものでした。まさに真実であり奥の深い内容です。私たちは努力によらずにキリストの勝利を経験します。ただキリストの輝きが私たちを通して照らされれば良いのです。「闇の力」と呼ばれるものは勝てる筈もなく、ましてや打ち勝つことなどできません。

A: I am in the middle of a real conflict at this point, so this is very germane. This church has been getting brighter, so to speak, in recent months and years, and the brighter we get, the more the devil tries to come against us. I've got to be on my guard against his schemes, but no more afraid of him than a lighthouse is afraid of the night. I have let myself be caught up in trying to drive the darkness out, when all I needed to do was let Jesus shine. I have been a hesitant leader at best, and that needs to change. However, the darkness is nothing to be afraid of or even anxious about. The source of all light and life is in me, so the outcome is a foregone conclusion!

A: この点で私は今軋轢の中にあり、大変、妥当な御言葉です。この教会は、ここ数カ月、数年、ますます明るくなってきています。そして明るくなるほどに、悪魔も対抗してきています。悪魔の策略に乗せられないように注意したいと思います。けれども、灯台が夜を恐れないのと同じように私も悪魔を恐れません。闇を追い出そうとして自らが捕われるのではなく、全てはイエスの輝きが必要なのです。私はせいぜい躊躇いがちなリーダーですが、変わらなくてはいけません。しかし、闇を恐れることはなく、気を揉む事でもないのです。全ての光と命の源は私の内にあり、確かな結果があるのですから!

P: Father, thank You for this Word of encouragement this morning. Thank You for the various things You enabled me to get done yesterday, and that the emotional state I was in has lifted. I think I have a pretty good understanding of depression by this point! Help me walk in Your light indeed, striving simply to get the remaining junk out of me so that it won't cast shadows as You shine through me. I have “control” over so few things in my life; help me indeed refuse to be anxious, choosing rather to allow You to shine through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

P: お父様、今朝はこの励ましある御言葉を下さり有難うございます。昨日、様々なことができ、気持ちの上でも高められました。有難うございます。気持ちの落ち込みに関して私はかなり分かっていると思います。あなたの光の中を歩けるように助けてください。あなたの輝きに影を落とすことのないように、私の内にまだ残っているガラクタを捨て去ることができますように。私は人生の中で「制御」できるのは僅かです。心配することをやめ、むしろ、私を通してあなたが輝くようにしてください。あなたのご栄光のために、感謝します。ハレルヤ!


ルカ 1:67-80

S: ルカ 1:74-75 われらを敵の手から救い出し、われらの生涯のすべての日に、きよく、正しく、恐れなく、主の御前に仕えることを許される。

O: This is the tail of a long sentence describing the purpose of God in sending the Messiah. Frankly, Zechariah had a largely terrestrial view of salvation. That doesn't make his prophecy invalid, but it is incomplete without the understanding that salvation qualifies us for eternity with God in heaven. That said, this is a good statement of salvation as it applies to our life on earth. We do have enemies, even if they aren't necessarily the sort of political and military entities Zechariah was probably thinking of. The devil and his demons are out to kill, steal, and destroy, and we certainly need salvation from that. However, we aren't saved in order just to do our own thing; we are saved to serve God. Any understanding of salvation that doesn't include serving God is completely inadequate. That service must be in holiness and righteousness. In Japanese, there is no true noun form for “holiness,” just the adjective “holy,” so the Bible (and Christians) uses the reading for “pure,” often, as here, phonetically without using a character, because that would be a very non-standard reading for the character used in, for example, Holy Bible. Likewise, “righteousness” is rendered as “correctness.” That's not wrong per se, but it loses a good bit of the flavor. This sort of thing is why several Japanese Christians I know who are very proficient in English prefer to read the Bible in English, saying it “enters their hearts more easily” that in Japanese. There are certainly some things that are clearer in Japanese than in English, but on the whole, Xavier's statement that “Japanese is a language invented by the devil to hinder the spread of the Gospel” generates a good bit of sympathy! At any rate, the point of these two verses is that salvation is to enable us to serve God as He should be served, and that's a good thing.

O: 神様はメシヤを送られたのですが、その目的を表現している長い文章の終わりの部分です。はっきり言って、ゼカリヤの救いに対する見方は地上の人間的なものでした。それでゼカリヤの預言が無効になったわけではありませんが、救いによって天の神と永遠になれるという理解がなくては彼の預言は不完全です。この地上の命にあてはめると、ここでの救いの言葉も良いものです。恐らくゼカリヤは政治や戦争の敵をイメージしたのでしょうが、そういった類に限らず、私たちには敵がいます。悪魔とその手先は殺し、盗み、壊そうとしていますから、私たちには確かにそれらから救われなくてはなりません。しかし、自分たちによって救いは成されません。神様に仕えることによって救われるのです。神様に仕えることなくしては、救いの対するどのような理解も不十分です。聖さと義を持った奉仕でなくてはなりません。日本語には「聖さ」を表す真の名詞がありません。ただ「聖なる」という形容詞があるだけです。ですから、聖書では字の読み方としては標準的ではないのでしょうが、今日の語句のように漢字を当てはめず音的に「きよい」と言う語をしばしば用いるのです。同じことは「義」を「正しさ」として表現されていることにも言えます。間違いではありませんが、本来語句の持つ意味合いを少し失っています。英語に長けた日本人クリスチャンを数人知っていますが、彼らが「心に沁み入りやすい」からと日本語訳より英語訳を好むのが頷けます。英語訳よりも日本語訳の方が明白な箇所が幾つかありはしますが、総じて、まさにザビエルの言った「日本語は福音を邪魔するために悪魔が作った言語」に全く共感します!いずれにせよ、ここでの二つの節は、救いによって神に仕えるのであって、神は仕えられるお方であり、それは良きことなのです。

A: I've got to remember that God's salvation doesn't depend on linguistics! All of us have limited and biased understanding of God, but that's part of the human condition and will be corrected fully only when we see Him face to face. Meanwhile, I'm a pastor in Japan, charged with helping Japanese understand the riches of God's plan for them, and that is totally beyond my ability. I've got to depend on the Holy Spirit at every turn, because trying to do it in my own wisdom is futile and frustrating in the extreme. I've got to remember, however, that it is certainly not beyond the ability of the Holy Spirit, and if I am available to Him, He will even use me in the process. My calling and commission aren't a sentence, they are a gift and privilege for which I am to be profoundly grateful.

A: 神様の救いが言語学論によるのではないことを忘れないでいたいものです!全ての人が神様に対して有限で偏見のある見方しかできていません。しかし、それが人間であり、神様を対峙した時に十分に正されることでしょう。私は日本で牧師をしていますが、神様の豊かな御計画を日本人に分かってもらえるように手助けするのが私の努めです。この仕事は私の能力を超えていますから、あらゆる場面で聖霊様に頼ります。私自身の知恵は無益でひどい状態になるからです。私が用いられ、そのプロセスの中で私を使ってくださるなら、聖霊は力を発揮してくださることを覚えていたいものです。私の召しと献身は豊かに与えられた感謝すべき賜物と特権なのです。

P: Father, thank You for being God, and for reminding me that I'm not. Thank You for yesterday and all it held, and for getting us through it. Thank You for Your anointing in the morning service, and for the wonderful testimonies. Thank You for confirming through the mouths of the believers what You've been saying through me. Thank You for enabling us to do everything involved with the City Christmas. I'm not good at asking for help, nor at coordinating what others do. I ask for someone who is so gifted who will work alongside me, without trying to take the church off in their own direction. I ask Your healing for the further wounds that were created by my ineptitude, and I pray that all of Your plans for us, individually and corporately, may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

P: お父様。あなたが神であり、私が神ではないことを思い出させて下り有難うございます。昨日の出来事全て、私たちがやり遂げたことを感謝します。朝の礼拝の油注ぎ、素晴らしい証しをありがとうございます。あなたが私を通して語られたことを信者の口から確信を得られたことを有難うございます。市民クリスマスの関連事を成せたことを感謝します。私は手伝いを頼むのが得意ではありませんし人をうまく調整するのも上手くはありません。そうした賜物を持ち、教会を自分たちの方向性に持って行かず、私とともに働く人を求めます。私の不適切さのためにさらに傷ついた人を癒してください。私たちへのあなたの全ての御計画が成就し、一人ひとりに、そして全体に、あなたのタイミングで成されますように。あなたのご栄光のために。有難うございます。神様を賛美します!


ルカ 1:57-66

S: ルカ 1:57 さて月が満ちて、エリサベツは男の子を産んだ。

O: In some ways this is the most pedestrian sentence in this whole passage, but it actually has deep meaning for us all. When the time was fulfilled, God's promise was fulfilled, right on schedule. John's conception and birth weren't accidental, they were part of God's very deliberate plan, as much so as Jesus'. We get all worked up over what is going to happen when, when God isn't the least anxious about any of it. There are things that affect schedules, certainly, and we must be careful to be obedient to God, but He is in command, and He is faithful. When God makes a promise, we need to be careful to fulfill whatever conditions there might be on our side, but otherwise, we can be absolutely sure that it is going to happen, at the right time and in the right way.

O: この節全体がある意味では大変平凡なようですが、実は私たち全てにとって深い意味を持っています!時が満ちて、神様の約束も時宜通りに成就します。ヨハネの懐妊と誕生は偶然ではありません。イエス様の時と同じく、神様の入念な御計画の一部でした。先の出来事に心を煩わされすのが人ですが、神様は気を揉まれることはありません。時宜に関してなら影響がありますが、私たちはただ神様に従っているように心がけているべきです。神様は落ち着いておられ、真実なお方なのですから。神様が約束をなさる時は、たとえ私たっちの側の状況がどうであれ、約束が成就するよう注意すべきです。そうすることで、正しい時に、正しいやり方で、成就することをしっかり確信していられるでしょう。

A: My own immediate involvement in this is in relation to scheduling. Today being the City Christmas, schedule has been a pressing matter for some time and especially so today. I need to relax, trust God, and enjoy the ride! Today has arrived right on schedule, and each part of today will do the same, all the way to getting to bed tonight. My being anxious would have only negative consequences, for me and for those around me, so I need to live out the truth I know!

A: このことに関して目下、私の問題はと言えば、スケジュールです。今日は市民クリスマスがあります。スケジュールが火急に迫り、特に今日は大変です。落ち着いて、神を信頼し、神様のなさることを楽しんでいられますように。今日もまた予定通りに来ました。今日のどの部分も同様でしょう。そして夜には床に就くのです。私が心配したところで、私や周りの人にとって悪い結果にしかなりませんから、真実に従ってやるのみです。既に真実を知っているのですから。

P: Father, thank You for this very timely reminder. I do ask for clear guidance each moment of today, so that I won't be wasting time but I won't be nervous either. Guide in when each person arrives here, and when each person arrives at Sakura Hall. I pray that I would be fully focused on each thing You have for me to do at the right time, not being distracted by the next thing and failing to do my best. That's particularly a problem in relation to the morning service here. I pray that I would worship in spirit and in truth, and that Your Word would flow through me in clarity and power, getting through all the barriers and touching each hearer's heart as You intend, for their blessing and Your glory. I pray also that every detail of the City Christmas, from setting up decorations to taking them down, would be exactly as You desire and intend, knitting together and building up the Body of Christ for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!



ルカ 1:39-56

S: ルカ 1:51 主は、御腕をもって力強いわざをなし、心の思いの高ぶった者を追い散らし、

O: In Japanese this verse isn't a complete sentence, but it's a very important thought at any rate. The Bible is filled with the record of God opposing the proud and lifting up the humble, as well as many places where He states that is what He does. Ultimately, pride is at the root of every human sin, because it says, I don't need God. Thus it was the sin of Satan that got him thrown out of heaven, it was the sin of Adam and Eve who thought they maybe knew better than God, and it has played a part in every human heart since then. The specific point of this verse is that pride starts in the heart; it isn't first an action. God knows our hearts, so we don't have to act proud for Him to know the sin is there. Pride takes more forms than could be described, including false humility. It is at the root of all selfishness and self-centeredness. Refusal to forgive is a particularly damaging form of pride. As Mary says here, pride separates us from God. God doesn't love us any less, but we are unable to approach Him when we are walking in pride.

O: 日本語では文章が完結していませんが、いすれにせよ大変、重要な考えです。聖書には驕りを制し、謙虚さを増すように多くの箇所で述べてあり、神様もそうであると多くの箇所で語られています。究極的に驕りは全ての人間の罪の最たるものです。それはつまり、私に神など必要ないと言っていることになるからです。ですから、これは天から放り出されたサタンの罪であり、神より分別があると思い込んだアダムとイブの罪です。それ以来、全ての人が持っている罪です。今日の節の具体的なポイントとしては、思い高ぶりはまず心の中から生じるということです。行動ではありません。神様は私たちの思いをご存知ですから、おごり高ぶった行動をする必要はありません。プライドは表現できないほど多くの形をとって現れます。偽の謙遜もその一つです。あらゆる自己中心と我儘の根幹をなすものです。赦しを拒むことは、プライドから来たもので特に傷つけるものです。マリヤがここで言っているように、プライドは神様から私たちを引き離してしまうものです。それでも神様は愛してくださいますが、私たちがプライドの道を歩む限り、神様の近づくことはできません。

A: I have run into this issue from every angle, in myself and in those to whom I minister. Frankly, it is beyond me, which throws me onto the grace and mercy of God – not a bad place to be! It gets a little complicated to realize that it would be conceited to think that I could deal with the pride problem in myself or anyone else! What I have to do, and encourage others to do, is realize on an ever deeper level the love and grace of God, by which I am forgiven through the blood of Christ and qualified to approach God's throne with boldness and serve Him with power. True humility isn't weakness! True humility never discounts what God has placed in us, or says, I could never do that. In this culture, true humility is sometimes mistaken for conceit! I've got to walk in true humility, exercising the gifts God has placed in me, and encourage the believers to do likewise. I want nothing to come between us and God!

A: 私自身、そしてミニストリーで関わる人に、多くこの問題を見てきました。正直に言ってこれは私を超えたもので神の恵みと憐れみの上に置かれることです。ですから決して悪くはありません。私自身や人のプライドの問題を対処することを考えるなんて思い上がりです。そう気づくことすら少し複雑です。私がすべきことと、人を励ますことは、神様の愛と恵みを深いレベルで気づくことです。キリストの血によって私は赦され、大胆に神の御座に近づき、神の御力に奉仕できるのは神の愛と恵みによるのですから。真の謙遜とは弱さではありません!真の謙遜は神様が私たちに下さっているものを減じるものではありませんから、私にはできないなどとは言えないはずです。この国の文化では、真の謙遜が自惚れと混同される時があります!私は真の謙遜を歩み、神様が私の下さった賜物を用いて、信者にも同じような歩みをするように励まします。神様と私の間に何の隔たりも置きたくないのです!

P: Father, thank You for all You have taken me through to teach me this. Help me learn it ever more thoroughly. There is a great deal going on in the next 48 hours, with final preparations and then the City Christmas celebration. I'm in the middle of that, and I'm going to be very visible. If I depend on my own strength, wisdom, and ability, even though You've given all those to me, I will fall flat. Help me exercise what You have already given, while being totally dependent on the immediate flow of Your Spirit through me. There is no other way I'll be able to do it all, much less have peace in the process! I pray that step by step, moment by moment, it would be Your will that is done in Your way on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

P: 父よ。このことを教え、ここまで導いてくださったことに感謝します。さらに深く学べるように助けてください。これからの二日間、大変なことが待っています。最後の準備と市民クリスマスのお祝いです。今、その渦中にあって、目立つ中心的なことをやります。もし私が自分の強さ、知恵、能力に頼るならば(もっともあなたがこれらを下さったのですが)、失敗するでしょう。あなたから既に頂いたことを用い、私に流れる御霊に直に完全に頼ります。全てをこなし、平安を得られるのは、ただ御霊に頼るだけです。他に方法などありません!少しづづ、その時々に、祈ります。あなたの方法で、あなたの時宜にかなって、御心がなされるように。あなたのご栄光のために。有難うございます。神様を賛美します!



ゼカリヤ 9:9-12

S: ゼカリヤ 9:12 望みを持つ捕らわれ人よ。とりでに帰れ。わたしは、きょうもまた告げ知らせる。わたしは二倍のものをあなたに返すと。

O: Not knowing Hebrew, nor having a resident Hebrew teacher the way I have with Greek, I can't make a judgment between the NIV “prisoners of hope” and the Japanese “prisoners who have hope.” Either seems possible, though the NIV seems more poetic. In any case, God is addressing those who haven't given up. The promise of the Messiah had been given hundreds of years before and repeated many times, so the natural human tendency would have been to just dismiss it and say it wasn't going to happen. God addressed that attitude directly in Habakkuk 2:3 and elsewhere. Here, God is promising double restoration to those who had not given up hope. We know from Hebrews 11, as well as from experience, that sometimes we receive the fulfillment of God's promises in Eternity rather than on earth, but holding on to hope is an important facet of faith. God is not stingy, and in Christ we win!

O: ヘブル語は分かりません。ギリシャ語なら同居人の先生がいますが、ヘブル語の分かる同居人はいません。それでNIVの「望みの捕われ人」と日本語訳の「望みを持つ捕われ人」の違いの判断が下せません。どちらの解釈も可能なようですが、NIVの方が詩的です。いずれにせよ、神様は諦めない人に向かって語っておられます。メシヤの約束はそれよりも何百年も前だったのですが、人間の生まれ持っている性質のせいで、そんなことなど起こらなかったと言うことのないように、何度も繰り返されています。神様はそのような態度でハバクク2:3や、他の箇所でも臨んでおられます。神はここで、望みを捨てなかった人には二倍にして返すと約束されています。ヘブル11と、また経験からでも分かりますが、神様の約束はこの地上より、むしろ永遠に成就すると言えます。しかし、望みを持ち続けることは信仰における重要な側面です。神様はケチではありません。キリストにあって勝利あるのみです!

A: I remember several years ago when I was speaking at a missionary fellowship in Fukuoka and I said I was tired of hearing prophecies of “a tsunami of the Spirit” hitting Japan. Such prophecies had been given by various people and talked about by many more, but we hadn't seen any evidence of their fulfillment. Such an attitude on my part was perhaps not very appropriate, particularly when our church had been given Habakkuk 2:2-3 many times as applying to us. The devil hates hope and he does all he can to destroy it, so I must stand firm on the promises God has given us. That isn't to say I'm to ignore current difficulties, but it is to say that I must always remember that God is far greater than any difficulty, and He is absolutely faithful. If I will not abandon hope I will indeed receive a double portion, and I must not forget it.

A: 数年前ですが、福岡で宣教師の交わりがあり、そこで私は話をしました。「御霊の津波」が日本に到来するという預言には飽き飽きしていると言いました。そうした預言は様々な人によって何度も語られましたが、まだその成就を私たちは見ていなかったからです。私のそうした態度はあまり適切ではなかったでしょう。特に私たちの教会がハバクク2:2~3の御言葉を受けるように何度も言われているのですから。悪魔は望みを嫌い、望みを破壊するために一生懸命です。ですから私は神様から与えられた約束の上にしっかりと立っているべきです。だからと言って現在の厄介なことを無視してよいという意味ではありません。ただ、神様は困難なことよりもはるかにまさって優れた、絶対的に誠実なお方だと常に覚えているべきです。もし私が望みを失くさないならば、二倍分を頂けます。覚えておきたいものです。

P: Father, thank You for this word about hope, following all You've been saying to me about faith over the past several days. Help me indeed operate in faith, hope, and love at all times, not forgetting any of them. Help me be someone who imparts faith, hope, and love to my hearers by the power of Your Spirit. I certainly can't do it in my own power, but help me not forget that by Your Spirit I can indeed do exactly that. Some in this church seem to be running low on one or another – or even all three – of those. Keep me from lecturing them. Help me rather be a shepherd indeed, just as You describe in Isaiah 40:11. Of course I am not You, but I am Your agent. Help me remember that and act accordingly, building up the Body of Christ for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!




ルカ 1:26-38

S: ルカ 1:37 「神にとって不可能なことは一つもありません。」

O: Such a simple, obvious statement, really, but we have such trouble actually believing it! The past few days' readings have been focused on faith, but then faith could be said to be the central focus of the whole Bible: faith that God is who He says He is, and that He loves us enough to send His Son to die for us. Faith was essential at every step of what is called the Christmas Story, and all mankind has been blessed by those who acted in faith. God is continually asking us to trust Him, to act on what He says rather than on what our senses or our human reasoning tell us. When we do that, we often find that things are not as we had thought, and outcomes are far different than we had expected. As I wrote back in November, some people insist that we “create” God in our own image, that He's nothing but a pro­duct of our imaginations. As a whole that's quite false, since God of course exists quite independently of us, who are His creation, but it is true that our concept of God is often something we “cook up,” with very little connection to reality. That's why the Bible is so important: by reading what God has said about Himself and how He has interacted with mankind down through the ages, we get a much clearer picture of Him as He really is. And of course, Gabriel's statement in today's reading is an essential part of that.

O: 単純で分かりやすい御言葉ですが、信じることは難しいようです!ここ数日の聖書日課は信仰がテーマでしたが、信仰は聖書を通しての中心的なテーマだと言えるでしょう。神は私たちを愛するが故に一人子を送ってくださった方で、神が神たる所以でそのことを信じるのが信仰です。クリスチャンストーリーのどの段階にも信仰は不可欠です。全ての人は信仰による行いを成した人たちによって祝福されています。神様は続けて神様を信頼するよう求めておられます。人の感覚や理性に頼るのではなく、神様に頼ることを望んでおられます。それができた時、物事が自分の思っていたように進むのではないことに気がつき、神による結果が人の予想と大きく違っていたことを知るでしょう。11月に書いたことですが、人が神を人のイメージに合わせて「創作」したのだと主張する人がいます。彼らは神は単なる任の想像の産物だと言うのです。それは完全に間違いです。神は勿論存在しますが、私たちから独立しておられます。私たちこそが造られた者です。しかし、また私たちのしばしば「創り上げた」神概念が殆ど事実とは無関係であるのも真実です。だからこそ聖書は大切なのです。神がご自身について語っておられること、人とどうかかわって来られたかを読み、事実通りの神をはっきりと思い描けるようになります。今日の日課に出てくるガブリエルの言葉は大変、重要な箇所なのです。

A: I say that I live by faith, and to an extent I do, but I am sharply aware of how much room I have to grow in this area. I am so prone to look at myself and my abilities and limit God to that. How foolish! I need to “put feet to my faith” more and more, choosing to act in faith rather than limiting God by my unbelief. Recently I've been seeking feedback on my messages, which in itself isn't bad, of course, but I must not think I am limited to “more of the same,” because God certainly isn't! I've got to be willing to make whatever effort, to do whatever God says, but I must remember that it isn't my effort that produces God's results. Mary didn't strive to give birth as a virgin! I need to make myself as available to God as she was – or, for that matter, as Balaam's donkey was – so that God can do whatever He chooses through me for His pleasure and glory.

A: 信仰によって生きるという点では、私はある程度そうできていますが、まだ成長しなくてはならないと強く自覚しています。私は自身と自分の能力に目が行きがちで神様に制限をかけがちです。何と愚かでしょう!もっともっと地に着いた信仰を持ち、自分の不信仰により神様に制限をかけるのではなく、むしろ信仰を持って行っていくべきでしょう。最近、私は私のメッセージに対する反応を望んでいます。それ自体は悪くはないでしょうが、大体同じようなものだと考え制限をかけないようにすべきでしょう。神様に制限はないのですから。神様のおっしゃることとあらば、私はどんなことでも努力をしますが、その結果は神様からのものであり、私の努力でないことを覚えておきたいものです。乙女のアリアは出産に関して努力はしていません。マリヤのように私も用いられ、神様を喜ばせご栄光を帰すために、私に召されたことを成したいと思います。

P: Father, thank You for how much You've been saying to me on this subject over the past few days. Help me do more than just give intellectual assent; help me make faithful obedience the very core of my life. I have wasted so much energy being anxious about one thing and another; help me rest in trust, refusing anxiety just as You have said so many times in the Bible. Help me indeed practice what I preach, living out the Word You have placed in me, so that all the devil's plans may be demolished and all of Your plans established, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!




イザヤ 7:10-14

S: イザヤ 7:10-12 主は再び、アハズに告げてこう仰せられた。「あなたの神、主から、しるしを求めよ。よみの深み、あるいは、上の高いところから。」するとアハズは言った。「私は求めません。主を試みません。」

O: What Ahaz did was the opposite of what Zechariah did in yesterday's reading, but the motive was the same: unbelief. God had just spoken a remarkable, and to Ahaz unbelievable, word of encouragement, and now He is graciously offering to confirm that promise through a sign of Ahaz's choosing. However, Ahaz chooses to respond with a pious platitude rather than step out in faith. Perhaps part of the problem was that God was speaking through Isaiah, and Ahaz was taking it as a purely human statement. Today we recognize Isaiah as one of the greatest of the OT prophets, but such recognition was slow to come for him. In fact, tradition tells us that he was eventually martyred by being sawed in two, as Hebrews refers to. (11:37) Jesus Himself quoted the proverb in His day that a prophet isn't without recognition except in his own country. (Matthew 13:57, Mark 6:4, John 4:44) It can be dangerous to accept everything some teacher says as being from God, but it is even more dangerous to refuse to accept words from God through a human messenger.

O: アハズは昨日読んだゼカリヤとは反対のことをしましたが、動機は同じでした。不信仰です。神様は素晴らしいことを語られたのですが、アハズは信じられませんでした。励ましの言葉と、アハズを選んだ主からの印を求めるように語られたのですが。アハズの反応は冗漫な信心さでした。恐らく、その理由の一つには神様がイザヤを通して語られたため、アハズは純粋に人間の言葉として受けたのでしょう。今でこそ、イザヤは旧約聖書の偉大な預言者とされていますが、アハズにそうした認識はあまりありませんでした。実際、イザヤはのこぎり引き裂かれ殉教したとヘブル11:37にあります。イエス自身が箴言を引用し「預言者が尊敬されないのは、自分の郷里、家族の間だけです」(マタイ13:57、マルコ6:4、ヨハネ4:44)と言っています。神様の言葉だからと教師の言うことを全て受け入れるのは危険ですが、人を通して語られる神様の言葉を拒む事はもっと危険です。

A: As someone who desires and seeks to speak God's words, I tend to put myself in Isaiah's place in this story, but I've got to be as careful as anyone else not to ignore or refuse something God is saying to me through a human instrument. The question is one of heart attitude: is my heart tuned to God, to recognize His voice regardless of the medium? At the same time, I need to be comforted when people refuse what I know God is saying simply because He is saying it through me. I've got lots of company! When God has been so patient and forgiving with me, I need to exercise that same attitude toward those I minister to. I've got to be faithful to speak what God speaks to me, even if it means being sawed in two like Isaiah or stoned like Jeremiah. I must not be proud, speaking down to people, but I must also remember that my reward is in heaven, and be satisfied with that.、


P: Father, what grieves me most when people won't receive what You say through me is seeing the unnecessary suffering they bring on themselves. I'm told that my sermons can be hard to understand. I ask for the help of Your Holy Spirit, both on my words and on the ears and hearts of my hearers. I pray that what is of You would cut through all the cultural and emotional barriers to penetrate hearts and lives, breaking off the bonds of deception and setting Your people free to be and do all that You intend, for their great blessing and Your great glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!




ルカ 1:5-25

S: ルカ 1:18 そこで、ゼカリヤは御使いに言った。「私は何によってそれを知ることができましょうか。私ももう年寄りですし、妻も年をとっております。」

O: I don't know why it never dawned on me before, but Zechariah was not the “old man” he claimed to be. Numbers 4 says very clearly that the Levites, at any rate, could not serve in the temple past age 50. Aaron was certainly past that when he served as the first priest, but forced retirement seems to have been the general rule. Average life expectancy was certainly less in those days, which was a big reason girls generally married early. However, Zechariah's response to Gabriel was blatant unbelief, and that's how Gabriel responded to it. The Japanese makes it much clearer than the English that Zechariah was asking for a sign that Gabriel's words would be fulfilled, so it was given to him – in a way he would never forget and probably didn't enjoy! We are experts at looking at our circumstances and deciding they are hopeless, and remain stubbornly unconvinced when anyone tries to tell us otherwise. The Bible is filled with examples of God working marvelous things in situations that looked impossible to those “on the ground” at the time. Sometimes that involves the clearly supernatural, but often it doesn't even go that far. Elizabeth certainly wasn't the first or the last woman who thought she was past menopause, only to discover she was pregnant!

O: これまでなぜこの節に気を留めなかったのか分かりませんが、とにかくゼカリヤは自分で言うほど「年寄り」ではありません。民数記4でレビ人は50歳を過ぎて宮で働けなかったとはっきりと書かれています。アロンが最初の祭司として勤めた時、確かにその年を過ぎていましたが、その職をやめるのが一般的な定めだったようです。当時の平均寿命は低く、そのため女性の結婚年齢も低くなっていました。しかし、ゼカリヤはガブリエルを信じなかったため、ガブリエルもまだこうした反応をしました。日本語訳では英訳よりもはっきりしていますが、ゼカリヤはガブリエルの言葉が成就する印を求めました。それが、ゼカリヤにとっては決して忘れることができず、恐らく決して楽しくはない方法で与えられたのです!人は自分の置かれた状況を見て絶望視するのに長けています。そして人がどれほど、そうはないのだと言い聞かせても、頑固なままです。聖書には、地では不可能に思える状況でも、神が素晴らしいことをなさった記録が沢山あります。それが超自然的に起こることもありますが、多くの場合、そうではありません。エリザベツは閉経を信じ込み、妊娠したことを知ったのですが、そうしたケースはあとにも先にも見られます。

A: I sure can't say I'm blameless here! There haven't been too many times in my life that God has worked the clearly supernatural, but there have been many times when I have been unable or unwilling to trust God for what He wanted to do, even when it didn't require the supernatural. I need to get rid of my rationalistic, unbelieving mindset and expect great things of God! That's not to say that I'm to be a pie-in-the-sky optimist, ignoring what's going on around me, but it is to say that I must never, ever count God out of the equation. As Gabriel later told Mary, nothing is impossible for God, and I'd better not forget it!


P: Father, thank You for this Word this morning. I needed it! When I fix my eyes on myself and my circumstances, I lose sight of You, just as I keep telling others. Help me practice what I preach! You are indeed doing wonderful things in and among us. Thank You. Keep me from being distracted by the assorted bumps in the road, from minor irritations to things that look like major obstacles, but rather keep my focus on You and expect You to do marvelously, beyond all I could ask or think. Thank You. Hallelujah!




エレミヤ 33:1-16

S: エレミヤ 33:3 「わたしを呼べ。そうすれば、わたしは、あなたに答え、あなたの知らない、理解を超えた大いなる事を、あなたに告げよう。」

O: This is a wonderful promise, but at the same time it exposes one of our fundamental weaknesses as human beings: much of what God does is beyond our understanding. Understanding what's going on gives us a sense of control, which we like, but the problem is that we are finite, and God isn't. God is incredibly gracious, and He reveals things that are far beyond our capacity to figure out, just as He is saying in this verse. However, that galls us, because we can take no pride in it. As long as we are hanging onto our pride, insisting that we are going to work things out ourselves, we are denying the grace and power of God and are cutting ourselves off from His blessings.


A: Application is everything on this point. I tend to say yes, yes, and then turn around and keep trying to figure everything out myself and do it my way. Naturally, that just wears me out and gets me into trouble in the process. As it says in Hebrews 4:11, my striving needs to be to enter into God's rest, not to do it myself. Right now I feel overwhelmed with things to be done. Looking at it objectively, there are sufficient resources, including time, for it all to be taken care of, but because I can't get out of the mindset that “I've got to do it,” I get all tied in knots. God has brought me into this situation precisely to teach me to let go and allow Him to be God, just as He had me share in the testimony time yesterday. I need to stop being anxious and just rejoice in Him!


P: Father, I am amazed at my own lack of faith. As many times as You have demonstrated Your faithfulness to me, as many things as You've brought me through over the 54 years I've been a Christian, it would seem reasonable that I would have learned my lesson by now! Thank You for Your patience with me, for not giving up on me. Help me get through this latest round of training. I know You will, and I thank You for that. Help me not only keep going deeper in my own trust and assurance of You, but also take many others with me. I want to fulfill Your order to make disciples, not just “dip 'em and drop 'em.” Every one of the believers in this body needs nurturing, and I have no skill or wisdom to do that. Help me hear You clearly enough, with enough commitment to obedience, so that Your Spirit may accomplish all that needs to be done, through me and not in spite of me, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!



イザヤ 60:1-5

S: イザヤ 60:3 国々はあなたの光のうちに歩み、王たちはあなたの輝きに照らされて歩む。

O: When this is seen as referring to the Church, the Bride of Christ, it makes a lot of sense, besides being a hopeful, glorious prophecy. I am no adherent to so-called “replacement” theology that says the Church has replaced Israel in God's plan, but I do see a number of prophecies in the Bible, like this one, that will come to fulfillment only with the whole Body of Christ, Jew and Gentile together. What is so hopeful about this is that it speaks of nations and rulers walking in the light of the Church. (The NIV misses this phraseology.) Right now we see no country that, as a whole and as national policy, does this. At one time America came close, but in recent years it has departed from it pretty severely. As it says in Psalms 33:12 and 144:15, blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!


A: I have no direct impact on whether any nation walks in the light of the Lord other than voting in US presidential elections and seeking to increase the number of Japanese Christians, but I can pray and I can be personally faithful to walk in the light, and that is what I feel the Lord asks of every Christian. It is very easy to get very upset over various things we see in society and government, but God calls us all to be personally faithful and to trust Him. I am not to draw back from anything He asks me to do, but it would certainly be futile for me to run around trying to change the world by my own efforts. God is God, I'm not, and that's good. I need to focus fully on the tasks He has for me, so that as many as possible may receive His light through me, for His glory.


P: Father, thank You for all that we can find out about how nations are operating in this Information Age, but keep me from OD'ing on information! Especially help me to walk in Your peace, knowing that in the end we win, whatever goes on in the short term. Thank You for teaching us to pray, Your kingdom come, Your will be done. Help me do so in full assurance that in Your way, in Your timing, that will be accomplished, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise the Lord!




イザヤ 40:3-11

S: イザヤ 40:9 シオンに良い知らせをを伝える者よ。高い山に登れ。エルサレムに良い知らせを伝える者よ。力の限り声をあげよ。声をあげよ。恐れるな。ユダの町々に伝え。「見よ。あなたがたの神を。」

O: Proclamation of the good news of God's grace is not something to be timid about. There are indeed many places in the world where it must be done very judiciously because of active persecution, but fortunately those places are in the minority. A far bigger problem is the vast number of Christians who have no constraints (other than common sense) on their evangelism, but they are scared to open their mouths. I like the way the Japanese puts it in this verse: we are to “lift up our voices with all our strength.” One difficulty is that most Christians have no idea what strength is available to them in Christ, and they still don't believe it when you tell them. God delights to pour His strength through us to accomplish His work; we've just got to be willing. When it is our active choice to communicate Christ, the things that God does through us are amazing indeed.

O: 神様の恵みを告げ知らせる福音を恐れることはありません。勿論、世界には大変、福音を慎重に伝えなくてはならない場所もあります。迫害があるからです。最も、そうした場所は幸いにして僅かです。それよりもっと大きな問題は、伝道に関して、多くのクリスチャンに規制がないことですが(常識的なことは別にして)、彼らは恐れて口を開きません。私は日本語訳の「力の限り声をあげよ」の個所が好きです。殆どのクリスチャンはキリストにあって力が用いられることを考え及びませんし、そのことを教えても信じません。神様は御業を常習するために御自分の強さを喜んで注いでくださいますから、私たちも進んでそうなりましょう。キリストを伝えることを積極的に選んだならば、神様が私たちを通して驚くほどのことを成してくださいます。

A: As a pastor I am expected to communicate the Gospel, which both makes it easier for me to speak and makes it easier for my hearers to discount what I'm saying, because I'm a “professional Christian.” I've got to be down-to-earth and authentic, letting the Holy Spirit touch people through me where they are, rather than being pushy with a “one size fits all” sort of message. As important as that is, it is even more important that I equip the believers to share their faith. I had a class for personal evangelism, but the only people who attended were the ones who were already sharing their faith! As the old proverb says, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. I need to pray and I need to express the joy of being used by God to speak His love and grace to people. I should talk with those who are active in sharing to get them to give testimonies that will whet the appetites of those who don't share very often, so that people will pray to be able to evangelize. God answers prayers like that!

A: 牧師として私の務めは勿論、福音を伝えることです。私は「本格的なクリスチャン」なので、福音を語ることは私にはたやすく、聞く人にとっても簡単でしょう。私は分別あるホンモノのクリスチャンとして立ち、その私を通して聖霊様が人々に触れてくださることを望みます。決して「万人受けする」説教で押しつけがましくなってはいけません。本当にそれ以上に大切なことですが、信者との信仰を分かち合うことも必要です。私は個人伝道のクラスをしていますが、参加してくれている人たちは、もうすでに信仰を分かち合っている人たちです。古い諺に、馬を井戸まで連れて行くことはできても水を飲むのは馬自身、というのがあります。神様の愛と恵みを語るために用いられることの喜びを現せるように祈ります。自らの証しをしばしば分かち合うことによって、あまり証しをしない人を励ましてくれる人たちがいますが、彼らと話をして、みんなが伝道していけるように祈ります。神様はそのような祈りには応えてくださいます。

P: Father, thank You for the Christmas concert today and for the City Christmas a week from tomorrow. Those are both opportunities to proclaim the Gospel to groups, and I pray that they would be effective. Even more, I pray that You would give each believer a hunger to share Christ with those around them, in ways appropriate to the gifts You have placed in them. I pray that they would indeed lift up their voices and not be afraid, as You tell us in today's verse. May we indeed give You glory through worship, fellowship, and sharing Christ with others, bringing many into Your kingdom for their salvation. Thank You. Hallelujah!



イザヤ 9:2-7

S: イザヤ 9:2 やみの中を歩んでいた民は、大きな光を見た。死の陰の地に住んでいた者たちの上に光が照った。

O: This is a beautiful and apt metaphor for what God has done for us in Christ. As Paul and others point out, life without Christ is dark indeed, without hope. Many, many passages about light come to mind, since I have used light as the theme both for daily Bible readings and for multiple sermons. The problem is, too often we don't recognize the light, and/or we refuse to open our eyes and acknowledge it. The image comes to mind of someone turning on the light in a bedroom to try to get someone up, and they burrow down under the covers to escape the light. That can be amusing or irritating for the person who is trying to get the sleeper up, but when it is a picture of people's response to the Gospel, it is tragic. That's because the second half of this verse is all too apt: “those living in the land of the shadow of death.” Whether or not someone gets up in the morning might have various consequences, but whether or not they receive the Gospel is literally the difference between eternal life and eternal death. Christians are carriers of the Light, but we cannot force people to accept it and walk in it.


A: This comes home to me strongly in my work with the patients in the mental hospital. Often they respond better than “normal” people simply because they recognize the darkness they're in. A further extension of this metaphor is that Christians, those who have accepted the light, often – if not usually – have pockets of darkness within them. Sometimes that's largely accidental, but sometimes those pockets are closely guarded, and in such cases they grow like cancer. As a pastor I seek to let the light into every area of my own and my flock's lives, but sometimes I run into bitter opposition to that. That is heartbreaking. I need to be careful that I am walking in the light myself, as John says (1 John 1:7, 2:9-11), and I need to encourage the believers strongly to do likewise. I have no power to force them to do so, so I need to be faithful in prayer in order to give the Holy Spirit maximum opportunity to to work.

A:精神病院の患者さんたちへの奉仕に関して、上に書いたことを強く感じます。しばしば、患者さんたちは「一般」の人たちよりも福音に大して好意的な反応を示してくれますが、それは彼らが闇の中にいることに気づいているからでしょう。さらに喩えるなら、光を受け入れたクリスチャンも、しばしば、-いつもとは限らなくとも- 内に闇の部分を持っていると言えるでしょう。偶然、そうなった時もあるでしょうし、闇の部分が隠し守られていることもあるでしょう。そうした場合、その闇は癌のように成長していきます。牧師として私は私自身のあらゆる部分と群れの生活に関し、光を当てていくように求めていきます。もっとも、時に手厳しい反対に遭い、辛いことですが。ヨハネが(1ヨハネ1:7,2:9~11)で教えているように、私自身が光を歩んでいるように注意深くありたいと思っています。信者にもそうあってほしい強く望んでいます。私には信者に強制することはできません。ですから聖霊様が最大限に機会を与えてくださるように心をこめて祈るばかりです。

P: Father, thank You for this strong, clear, word this morning. If I am to scrap the notes I have for Sunday, make that clear and give me wisdom as I prepare to speak on this topic. If this message isn't for this coming Sunday, give me peace about that as well. Help me walk in Your light in all humility, gratefulness and love, so that the devil may be given no opportunities but rather be defeated, for the blessing of Your people and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!




詩篇 89:19-29

S: 詩篇 89:29 わたしは彼の子孫をいつまでも、彼の王座を天の日数のように、続かせよう。

O: Like yesterday's passage, this too has long been recognized as messianic, but it also applies to far lesser people as well. Only in Christ is this particular verse fulfilled, but the very next verse speaks of “his sons forsake my law,” when Jesus didn't have physical descendants. From that standpoint it is clearly speaking of David himself and the kings who followed him, but there is a deeper and broader application as well. Several clearly messianic passages refer to the descendants of the Messiah, and then when we get to the NT, most explicitly in Hebrews 2, we, those saved by faith in Christ, are called His children. Looking at it that way, a lot of passages start making more sense. As many people have said, the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible!


A: Had I had this insight more clearly before creating this month's Scripture list I probably would have made today's selection longer! I need to walk in the awareness that in Christ I will live forever and He will never be deposed from His throne, but that doesn't absolve me from obedience to God. Since I'm a child of the King, I need to act like it! That doesn't mean swaggering around and abusing my position, like various royals in countries around the world have done down through the centuries. It does mean that I'm to be afraid of nothing, provided I'm walking in obedience to and fellowship with my Father. Royalty carries responsibility as well as privilege, and I need to recognize and apply both in my own life, as well as teach the believers to do likewise.

A: 今月の聖書日課を作成する前にもっと深く考えていたなら、恐らく今日の箇所をもっと長くしたことでしょう。キリストにあって永遠に生きること、キリストはいつまでも権威者であることを自覚して歩いていきたいと思います。しかし、それでも神に従順であることから赦免されるわけではありません。私は王の子供なのですから、そのように振る舞わなくてはなりません。地位を濫用して威張り散らすと言う意味ではありません。何世紀も世界中で様々な王室がありますが、丁度そのようなものです。何も恐れなくともよいのです。服して歩み、父と交わりを持つならそれでいいのです。王室権は特権と責任を包含していますが、私自身の生活にあてはめ、信者にも同様のことを教えていきたいと思います。

P: Father, thank You for this insight this morning. Verse 30 has long bothered me in the messianic context, and You cleared that up for me. Help me walk in calm assurance of who I am in Christ, not taking it for granted but living it out faithfully. Help me rejoice in who You have made me to be, fearing nothing but walking in humility and obedience before You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!