イザヤ 50:4 神である主は、私に弟子の舌を与え、疲れた者をことばで励ますことを教え、朝ごとに、私を呼びさまし、私が弟子のように聞くようにされる。

The NIV uses words (instructed, taught) that we tend to connect with academics, where the Japanese twice uses “disciple.” I think that in Western cultures we have lost the feeling of what it means to be a disciple. We forget that it doesn't just apply in religious situations, but also to such things as carpentry and pottery. In Japan it is even applied to the world of sumo wrestling! A disciple is one who obeys and thus learns from a master. This may or may not include formal instruction, but it hardly ever includes academics. In Japanese society, at least, a disciple is something of the master's shadow, going where he goes, doing what he does, and above all watching the master very carefully to pick up all he can about how and why the master does things. Often, a disciple will be live-in, doing the cooking, laundry, and whatever else the master needs. That is very much the picture of how Jesus' disciples related to Him, and it calls for a lot of thinking and self-examination on our part. Jesus' self-description of His ministry sounds like He was functioning as the Father's disciple, when He says that “I do nothing on my own, but speak just what the Father has taught me.” (John 8:28) This is what Isaiah was talking about in this verse. As we are remade into the image of Christ (2 Co­rinthians 3:18), we start looking more and more like Him ourselves.


I have gradually come to understand discipleship more and more over the years. I certainly understand the part about being awakened with a call every morning, since morning devotions have become such an integral part of my life. I need to keep pressing in, always remembering what Jesus said about no servant being greater than his master (John 13:16). At the same time, I should not hesitate to say with Paul, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) I need to be honest enough in my obedience that I will not lead astray anyone who is looking to me as an example. Discipleship is not really an option, but we have treated it as such. In the Great Commission Jesus didn't say to gather members, He said to make disciples. (Matthew 28:18-20) This is precisely what the Moore book I wrote about yesterday is all about. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10) If we are His disciples, we will do likewise.


Father, thank You for Your patience with me. I've not been the best of disciples! Help me be more active in my discipleship, raising up more disciples for You as You desire, so that together we may do what You are doing, bringing many from darkness to light, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!



イザヤ 49:6 主は仰せられる。「ただ、あなたがわたしのしもべとなって、ヤコブの諸部族を立たせ、イスラエル のとどめられている者たちを帰らせるだけではない。わたしはあなたを諸国の民の光とし、地の果てにまでわたしの救いをもたら す者とする。」

God's desire to use Israel to bring salvation to the whole world has been stated clearly from the time of Abraham, but Israel has run from that more than they have embraced it. The lesson for the Church today is that we must not be self centered, satisfied with our own salvation and ignoring others. A church that is not evangelistic at least is dying, and a church cannot be said to be truly healthy unless it is missions minded. Churches through the centuries have fallen into the trap of focusing on their own problems, or even on their own blessings. This was true even in the 1st Century, because Jesus had to deal with it in addressing the seven churches in Revelation. Any church that doesn't want Christ to “spew them out of [His] mouth,” as He said to the church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) needs to examine themselves and get about the business of communicating Christ's salvation to the ends of the earth.


Having been born and raised on the mission field of missionary parents, this has never been a philosophical problem for me, but I have not been so successful in communicating it to the members of the churches I have pastored. The church in America was rural and traditional, and my coming in was a combination of shock and irritant to them, but thankfully, in the years since my tenure they seem to have moved in the right direction. Since I founded this church, I have absolutely no one but myself to blame for any problems in direction now! I have recently been re-reading a book that was assigned to me when I was in seminary. (New Testament Follow-Up, by Waylon B. Moore) If I had really taken that to heart and applied it from the start, this church would be very different now! I cannot go back and re-do the past, but God can redeem it if I will submit it to Him. I need to get serious about training, rather than just telling, believers how to be self-replicating soul winners, so that even in the hard soil of Japan the seed of the Gospel may take deep root and grow abundantly, for the pleasure and glory of God.

宣教師の両親の布教対象地にて生まれ育ったので、このことは決して私にとって淡々たる問題ではありません。しかし私は自分が牧師をしている教会のメンバーにそれを伝えるのに失敗しています。アメリカの教会は田舎的で伝統的でした。私にとって彼らに対するショックと刺激の組み合わせが始まりでした。しかし感謝することに、私が在職してからの数年間、彼らは正しい方向へと進んだようにみえます。この教会を私が建ててから、方向においていかなる問題でも私は絶対に自分以外の誰をも咎めたことがありません!私が新学校に居たときに私に与えられた本を最近読み直しています。(新約聖書の補足、著者:Waylon B. Moore)もし私が本当にそれを心に留め始めから適応していたら、この教会は今とても違っていたでしょう!私は過去に戻ってしなおすことはできません。しかし私が神様にそれをゆだねたらそれを果たすことが出来ます。私は信者たちにただ話すだけではなく、どのように人の心を掴み、また掴まれた人が別の人の心をつかむような伝道をする者になるか、彼らへの訓練について真剣に取り組む必要があります。神様の喜びと御栄光のために、厳しい日本の土でも福音の種が深く根付き豊かに実りますように。

Father, thank You for keeping me from including the Moore book among those I have given away. Help me to indeed apply Your truth which is in it, not just giving it intellectual assent, as I have done in the past, but putting it into practice. As James said, I have been deceiving myself! I ask for Your wisdom, power, and anointing to train individual believers to be the disciples, the soul winners that You desire, for the salvation and nurture of many, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!



イザヤ 45:11 イスラエルの聖なる方、これを形造った方、主はこう仰せられる。「これから起こる事を、わたしに尋ねようとするのか。わたしの子らについて、わたしの手で造ったものについて、わたしに命じるのか。」

Perhaps not so many people consciously give God orders, but most of us do so at least sometimes in our prayers and attitudes. Objectively, it is of course completely ridiculous, but subjectively we do it anyway. We have great difficulty letting God be God! At the same time, this issue makes prayer all the greater mystery. When God is the omniscient, omnipotent Creator, why does He tell us to ask, seek, and knock, as Jesus so famously told us in Matthew 7:7-8? I think the answer is hidden in what Jesus said immediately after that, in verses 9-11. The point is that God is Father, and as a father I understand that fathers like to give and do good things for their children. The secret to effective prayer is to be bold, persistent, and believing, but at the same time maintain a sharp awareness that God is God, and His ways and plans are always best. This is what Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He prayed earnestly, to the point of sweating blood, but His conclusion was, “Your will be done.” There is a tension there, because in our human frailty we have trouble understanding how to ask boldly, fully believing that God is able to do what we ask, and at the same time give Him full permission to do something different, if that is best. All I can really say is, that's one of the mysteries of faith!


Though I grew up in a family where prayer was as natural as breathing, I have long been aware of the paradox of it all. That's not going to keep me from praying! Actually, this is one reason I'm very thankful for the gift of tongues, because when I pray in tongues, I can have assurance that I am praying in line with the Father's will, because it is the Holy Spirit supplying the words. I find that while prayer is of course talking to God, prayer in the presence of others has the added effect and purpose of impacting those people who are hearing it. If our prayers are designed for our human audience, then they aren't really prayers at all, and God doesn't receive them. However, they can be genuinely addressed to God and still provide comfort and encouragement for those who are hearing them physically. I need to be fully submitted to the Holy Spirit at all times, especially in prayer, so that He may supply English or Japanese words that will bless those around me while being in line with the Father's will.


Father, prayer is still a mystery to me, but thank You for how You are unfolding that mystery. Help me continue to grow, not only in my understanding of prayer but especially in my application of it. Help me indeed pray without ceasing, letting You be God but delighting in participating, through prayer, in what You are doing on this earth, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!




イザヤ 42:16 わたしは目の見えない者に、彼らの知らない道を歩ませ、彼らの知らない通り道を行かせる。彼らの前でやみを光に、でこぼこの地を平らにする。これらのことをわたしがして、彼らを見捨てない。

The story of Jesus healing the man born blind, recorded in John 9, comes to mind. We don't like to think of ourselves as handicapped, but compared to God, none of us has any power of perception or action at all! Jesus told the Pharisees, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” (John 9:41) It is when we acknowledge that we see and hear only by the grace of God that He begins to open up to us vistas we had not imagined and tells us things we had not dreamed. Acknowledging that we do not yet see and hear clearly, puts us in the company of those the Lord is speaking of in this verse, and that's not a bad place to be. Those who are visually handicapped are most comfortable in places with which they are very familiar. In a blind person's house, furniture is not rearranged, because then they would be much more likely to bump into it. However, with a good guide, they can go to completely new places, though it requires a high level of trust in the guide. That is exactly our position. We are comfortable in our own little worlds, but God wants to take us out into new, better places. He promises that He will not only stay with us, He will level the ground before us, but following Him requires trust on our part. If we won't trust Him, we can't move into the new things He has for us.


This is my position indeed. I was greatly challenged by Jack Hayford's message the first night of the conference, talking about John, who of all people was most familiar with Jesus, seeing Him in a way he had never seen Him before. I desire to see new things in Christ and go new places in the Kingdom, but I've got to acknowledge my blindness before I can do so, Moving into new territory, by paths I've never taken before, can be scary, so the requirements are trust and obedience. It is when I fail to obey and follow closely that I stumble or bump into things, sometimes painfully. God allows that in order to teach me to follow Him more closely. God has new paths on which He wants to lead this church, but we've got to trust fully and follow boldly in order to move into all that He has planned for us.


Father, thank You for Your faithfulness on so many levels. You have told me what I needed to hear this morning, You have given me the message for this next Sunday, and You have applied things I heard at the Pastors Conference, as church members were asking. Guide me now in preparing the message outline, but more than that, guide and anoint me in delivering the message as You desire, in a way that the believers can hear and receive, so that we will indeed grow and mature as You desire and intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!



イザヤ 42:3 彼はいたんだ葦を折ることもなく、くすぶる燈心を消すこともなく、まことをもって公義をもたらす。

This verse is specifically quoted in Matthew 12:20, which makes the interpretation much simpler. Jesus never despised those who were weak, and especially not those who knew they were weak. Those He came down on were the people who thought they were better than others, who cut people down on points of legalism. Legalism as a whole is antithetical to the Holy Spirit. That's certainly not to say that there aren't absolute truths, or that God's laws are to be disregarded. What it is to say is that God is, first of all, love. When He proclaimed His name to Moses, He said “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7) Throughout the OT, when people from David to Joel quoted this, they focused on “gracious and compassionate, abounding in love.” This is certainly the character that Jesus demonstrated. Since the NT is clear that we are to be remade in the image of Christ, then legalism should be something we avoid very carefully. The problem is, legalism is easier than careful listening to the Holy Spirit. That's a big reason the devil finds it so easy to trick us into it. It's easier to apply a standard template to people and situations and cut off what doesn't fit, than it is to apply God's truth in love.


As a pastor, I have to deal with this all the time. I am to hold to absolute standards, but I am to apply them in the grace and love of God, under the direction of the Holy Spirit. There is a frequent temptation to write some people off, but God doesn't do that. I am to encourage and call to repentance, but I am not to add to people's pain. Between themselves and the devil, they have enough pain! Sometimes healing does require surgery, but I am never to do that without the powerful anesthetic of love and grace. At any point in time any church will have many in it who are hurting in various ways. My job is not euthanasia! I need to be one who imparts life and health and peace.


Father, You know who is hurting in this church, and how. I know only the tip of the iceberg. Help me be Your agent at all times, not slapping people down but lifting them up, cleaning them up, and setting them on the right path. Keep me from coming across as insisting that people clean themselves up before they can come to You, but keep me also from coming across that we don't need to let You clean us up. May this church be a place of both holiness and healing, presenting an undistorted picture of Christ to the world, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!



イザヤ 30:15 神である主、イスラエルの聖なる方は、こう仰せられる。「立ち返って静かにすれば、あなたがたは 救われ、落ち着いて、信頼すれば、あなたがたは力を得る。」しかし、あなたがたは、これを望まなかった。

We human beings are a strange lot. God tells us what is best for us, and yet we choose something else. As the following verses make clear, we tend to prefer our own solutions to problems, even though they are no solutions at all, simply because we thought of them and we want to do things our way. I am reminded of a tale in my family of one of my sisters as a very little girl, who when offered help with something she was doing, said “Selfie do it!”(meaning she would do it herself). That's a very strong tendency in us all. That's why conscious, deliberate submission to God is so important and so valuable. God calls us to repentance and rest, trusting Him, and we will have none of it, running around frantically trying to take care of everything ourselves. God doesn't call us to be passive. Rather, He asks for active trust and obedience. The better we understand what is involved in that, the more mature, and the happier, we are. Sadly, this applies to Christians as much as it does to non-Christians, because all too often we fail to let our initial commitment to Jesus as Savior really extend to letting Him be Lord of our daily lives. Growth in submitting to Jesus' Lordship is a good way to describe what is often called sanctification. When we really trust and obey, we are holy!


I am in the same boat with my flock on this issue. Back in early December, I think it was, the Lord told me to rest, relax, and rejoice. That sounds an awful lot like this verse! I remember years ago when the Lord brought this verse to mind while I was praying for another missionary. I didn't quote it exactly, because I thought it would come across as harsh. I didn't understand how much it applied to me, too! I waste a great deal of emotional energy getting worked up over things instead of simply trusting God to be God. The Lord has pointed that out to me more and more in various areas, and I need to pay attention! Any time I realize I am stressing out over anything, I need to stop, renew my focus on God rather than on the problem or on myself, and rest in trust in His ability and strength, rather than my own. I can write that and understand it, but following through isn't so easy! However, even the ability to follow through is available from Him, since I don't have it. I've just got to choose to receive it.


Father, thank You for this clear, strong Word. I do ask for Your strength to follow through in obedience. Most often it's the little things that add up and stress me out. Help me recognize when that's happening, stop, and choose to submit everything to You, so that Your strength may flow through me to accomplish Your will on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!




イザヤ 10:19 その林の木の残りは数えるほどとなり、子どもでもそれを書き留められる。

There are many prophecies throughout the Bible that have been dramatically fulfilled in detail, and this is one of them. Today it is hard to imagine that vast forests of mighty trees were a major source of wealth for the Assyrian Empire, but that was indeed the case. Because the OT and other literature of the period make so much of “the cedars of Lebanon,” the Lebanese flag has a cedar in its center, but today only isolated trees may be found. At the time Isaiah was writing there were vast forests of these trees that can reach 40 meters in height and 2.5 meters in diameter. Anything man relies on or boasts of can disappear. Only God is permanent, and we forget that to our peril. There is a lot of talk these days about putting investments in gold and other precious metals rather than in stocks and bonds, because of fears of currency collapse, but the fact is that anything material is going to disappear, and at any rate, it is only for this life. The Bible is consistent from Genesis to Revelation that our focus should be on God and what He says. Jesus stated clearly that if we will do that, our material needs will be met. (Matthew 6:33)


I have certainly gotten wrapped up in materialism more times than I could count. This morning has a full schedule involving physical items. I am to be a faithful steward of all the resources the Lord puts in my hands, material and otherwise, but my focus must be on Him rather than anything else. There's nothing else worth hanging on to, because nothing else is permanent. That includes abilities, health, and even physical life itself, though I am to be careful of my stewardship of those things. I have endured much stress over temporal things, and there is no benefit to that!


Father, thank You for the things You provide. Thank You for the dining set for the house and the refrigerator for the church that are being delivered this morning, as well as the network scanner/printer that is having final setup this morning. Help me be a good steward of these items without hanging onto them for their own sakes. Help me, help us, make the use of them that You intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise the Lord!



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

When you come right down to it, every human being lives in the shadow of death, because we are all mortal. An interesting and important facet of social anthropology is the study of how different cultures deal with that reality. The fear of death is a major, if not the major, driving force behind many religions, and Japanese Buddhism is certainly one of those. The only real answer is the light of life in Christ Jesus, who loved us so much that He gave His physical life in order to give us eternal life. That is what this passage is all about, though Isaiah had very little idea of how it would come about when he recorded what God was saying. Christians today not only know the story, they have the incredible privilege of being transmitters of that light of life, sharing faith so that others also may step out of the shadow of death and into the light of eternal life in Christ. Sadly, all too many fail to do that, and a major reason is that they aren't too certain of the light themselves. That can be fatal! (Hosea 4:6) When anyone really understands what Christ has done for them and receives it as God's gracious gift, then they will overflow with joy and peace and will be irrepressible in sharing what they have received. That is what Jesus was talking about in our verse for the year, saying that we are to let our light shine so that people will praise God.


This is the heart of what the Lord showed me several years ago, that I have been sharing in various contexts ever since. When believers wake up to who they are in Christ, to all that God has done for them in Christ, then not only will the Church be transformed, nations and the whole world will be transformed. 120 people with this awareness of God's grace accomplished exactly that in the space of just a few hundred years, following the day of Pentecost. Naturally, it wasn't their wisdom and power that got the job done, but the Holy Spirit working through them. But their openness to being filled and used by the Holy Spirit was on the basis of this understanding. That's why Paul prayed that believers would be given a spirit of wisdom and revelation. (Ephesians 1:17-19) My task is to provide instruction and encouragement, faithfully opening the Scriptures to people so that they may gain the knowledge they need as the foundation for their faith. True faith is never devoid of content, and I am to share the content so that the Holy Spirit may impart the faith.

これは主が何年か前に私に示してくださったことの中心であり、それ以来私はさまざまな場面において分かち合ってきました。信者がキリストにおいて自分自身は何者であるというかを気づき、神様が自分たちにしてくださった全てのことに気づくとき、教会が変えられるだけでなく、国や全世界が変えられるでしょう。神様の恵みへのこの気づきで、ちょうど二~三百年前、ペンテコステの次の日に120人の人たちがそのことを起こしました。当然その事がおこったのは彼らの知恵や力によるものではなく、彼らを通して働かれる聖霊様によるものでした。しかし彼らが聖霊様に満たされ使われるために心を開いたのはこの理解が基礎となっています。パウロが信者が知恵と啓示の御霊を与えられるように祈ったのはそれが理由です。(エペソ人への手紙 1:17-19)私の仕事は人々が進行のための土台として必要な知識を得られるよう、御言葉を教え、指導し励ますことです。真の信仰は決して中身にかけておらず、聖霊様がその信仰を授けてくださるよう、私はその内容を分かち合うことです。

Father, thank You for the incredible privilege of being part of all You are doing here. Thank You for the wealth of truth that was poured out at the Pastors Conference, and thank you for the message that You have prepared for this morning, even though the one delivering it wasn't at the conference! Thank You for the physical healing Cathy and I have experienced over the past 24 hours. May we be fully yielded to and expectant of You for all that You want to do here today, to give each believer a revelation of what You have for them, for the sake of the Body of Christ and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!



イザヤ 8:17 私は主を待つ。ヤコブの家から御顔を隠しておられる方を。私はこの方に、望みをかける。

This is true faith. It doesn't seem hard to trust God when He is pouring out blessings, but it's a different matter when He seems to be hiding His face. This verse could easily become operative for Christians in America in the near future. They are used to America being a very highly blessed nation, but arrogance, conceit, and a denial of God have been rampant in the leadership, and it could easily be time for an accounting of that. The essential thing to remember is 2 Chronicles 7:14, which makes it clear that repentance is the only answer. God allows times of shaking when His people become complacent and presumptive. When that happens, it becomes clear who follows God because He is worthy of our worship and obedience, and who does so simply for the good stuff they think they can get from Him. God does not abandon those who are committed to Him, but sometimes He needs to give us a good shaking to get our whole attention.

これこそが真の信仰です。神が祝福を湯水のように注いでくださっている時に神を信頼することは難しいこととは思えません、しかし神が(我々から)御顔を隠しておられるように思える時となるとそれは別問題です。この節は近い将来のアメリカのクリスチャンにとって、簡単に効力あるものとなり得ます。彼らはアメリカは非常に祝福された国であることに慣れてしまい、それゆえに傲慢さやうぬぼれ、そして神を否定することが指導者層において蔓延しています、そして(そのような状況では)そのような姿勢に対する弁明をしなければならない時がいつきてもおかしくないのです。必ず覚えておくべきことは、II 歴代誌 7:14にあります、そこでは悔い改めが唯一の答えであると明らかにしてます。神は人間達が独りよがりになり、(自分たちの)推論を尊重するようになると揺さぶりの時を与えます。それが起こったとき、誰が神は自分たちの崇拝と従順にふさわしいという理由で神に従う者で、もしくは誰が単純に神から善いものをいただけると信じているため従う者かがはっきりとわかります。神は神に献身するものを見捨てたりなさいません、しかし時に神は私たちの全幅の注意を得るために適切な揺さぶりを私たちに与える必要があるのです。

I have experienced this, on a fairly low level, more than once. I have enjoyed the blessings of God all my life, and have gotten so comfortable with them that a few times He has had to bring me to a place of crisis to snap me out of my presumption. That should be enough to keep me focused on Him, so that I won't need such drastic correction! It would seem that the world as a whole is in “correction mode,” so to speak. I must not let my focus be taken from God by anything that happens in the world around me, but rather rest, relax, and rejoice regardless of my circumstances, As I do that, I need to teach, lead, and encourage others to do the same. I must be very careful not to be judging and condemnatory of others, but I am to warn them that actions have consequences, and God's grace and mercy aren't any sort of license to sin. When society as a whole ignores God, or actively rebels against Him, I need to teach believers to go against the flow and walk in personal purity and commitment to Christ our Savior.


Father, thank You for Your overflowing grace. Help me trust that grace without presuming on it, and help me lead others to do likewise. Help us trust You and rejoice whatever is going on around us, so that we will indeed shine brightly to lead others to You out of the darkness of the world, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!



イザヤ 5:21 ああ。おのれを知恵ある者とみなし、おのれを悟りがある者と見せかける者たち。

Being wise in your own sight is a very dangerous thing. There is an English word that means this, though most English speakers seldom associate with the true meaning. That word is “sophomoric.” Americans generally refer to second year college students as sophomores, not realizing that the word means “wise fools.” In other words, first year students know they are ignorant. But second year students, while still fundamentally ignorant, have learned a little bit, which makes them think they are wise. This attitude is widely seen in non-Christian scientists and “intellectuals,” and the current President is a prime example. Their ridicule of those who disagree with them can be downright nauseating at times! However, God always has the final word, the last laugh, so to speak (though God doesn't rejoice at anyone's destruction). The point for Christians is to remember that God is God regardless of what Darwin or anyone else says, and we must walk in the peace and joy of trusting obedience.

自分で自分は知者である、と判断するのはとても危険です。この意味がある英単語が存在しますが、英語圏の人たちはその意味をほとんど考えません。その単語は、sophomoric です。アメリカ人はたいてい、大学2年生を sophomore と言っていますが、その意味は「賢い愚か者」とは考えていません。そう言っているのは、こんなことからきています。1年生は、自分に知識がないと分かっています。しかし、2年生はまだほとんど無知でありながら、少しを習っているので、自分は賢いと思いがちです.この態度はよく、クリスチャンでない科学者や「知人」たちに見られます。今のアメリカ大統領は典型的な代表です。彼らの意見に賛成しない方々に対するさげすみは実に気持ち悪いです。しかし、最後の笑いは神様のものです。(神様は誰も滅びるのは喜ばないけど。)クリスチャンの覚えるべきポイントは、ダーウィンか、ほかの誰でもが何を言っても、神様はまだ神様です。私たちは、従順な信頼のうちに歩むべきです。そうすれば、平安と喜びをもてます。

Intellectual conceit has been a problem for me most of my life, and if anything it is even more dangerous in the Church than out of it. Perhaps the greatest thing about the current Pastors Conference is that Jack Hayford is sharing truth with assurance but without a trace of conceit. I have a lot I can learn from him, but then I've known that for a long time! I need to be very careful that I not belittle anyone, but operate constantly in the awareness that everyone is equally in need of the grace of God. As I return to Omura today I need to be careful that as I share what I have heard from the Lord here that I not come across as making pronouncements from Mt. Olympus, but rather as one beggar telling others where to find bread. I am not to deny the things I have been taught by the Lord, but as I speak truth, I must be very careful that I do it in love.


Father, thank You for these four days. There have been many blessings, along with irritations that tried to distract me from You and what You were doing. Help me continue to be on my guard against such distractions, keeping my heart open to You first and foremost, so that I won't miss anything of what You want to do in and through me, for the sake of the Body of Christ and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!



イザヤ 2:5 来たれ。ヤコブの家よ。私たちは主の光に歩もう。

There is a lot to this simple invitation. First of all it is a call to action, to come. That means leaving where we are and going somewhere else, but it is a drawing closer, not a further separation. It is addressed to the house of Jacob. Jacob and Israel are names for the same individual and race of people, but Jacob is the original name, which means “trickster.” The invitation is issued to us as we are, not after we have been cleaned up. The one issuing it says “Let us.” It is not a third party invitation, issued from a position of superiority, but one of equality. Anyone who is calling people to come to God must recognize that they are as much in need of the grace of God as those are whom they are calling. And lastly, it is a call to walk in the light of the Lord. It seems simplistic, but that way is not dark. The invitation is not to gloom and despair, but to light and life; it is a happy invitation. Also, it is the light of the Lord, not some humanistic, intellectual understanding. And it is indeed a walk, an ongoing process in which we must participate, not some passive, momentary thing. We are not called to “into bliss and out of blister,” but into the ongoing sanctification of walking day by day, step by step, with the Holy Spirit.

この単純な誘いには多くのことが含まれています。まず第一に、来るための行為への呼びかけです。それは私たちがいる所を去り、他の所へ行くという意味ですが、別れ離れになるのではなく、もっと近づくことです。それはヤコブの家へ言われています。ヤコブとイスラエル人は同じ者、同じ民族をさしています。しかしヤコブは「詐欺師」を意味する元来の名前です。この誘いはあるがままの私たちに宛てられたもので、整えられた後の私たちに宛てられたものではありません。他の点として、「私たちは~しよう」と書かれている箇所です。これは優越な位置にいる者からの第三者への誘いではなく、同じ位置にいる者からの誘いです。神様の元へ来るように呼ぶ人は誰でも、呼ばれる人とおなじくらい神様の恵みが必要であるということを理解する必要があります。最後に、これは主の光の中を歩くための呼びかけです。その道は暗闇ではないということは簡単なように見えます。その誘いは闇や絶望への誘いではなく、光や命への誘いです。つまり幸福の誘いです。また、それは主の光であり、理知的な理解の人間主義的なものではありません。それは私たちが参加すべき継続的な歩みであり、受身的なものや瞬時的なものではありません。私たちは「 至福を味わい、その後は無関心」になるために呼ばれているのではなく、日々、一歩一歩、継続的な聖別の歩みをするように呼ばれているのです。

This applies to me as much as it applies to anyone to whom I minister. I am one actively committed to calling others to God, but I must be active in my own walk with God as well. It is no good to call others with God's invitation and fail to answer that invitation fully myself! I am greatly blessed to receive the Word of the Lord for transmission, but I must remember that it is not just for transmission, but also to be obeyed by me! Each of the points I have been shown about this verse is to be digested and applied, so that I myself may grow in grace as well as lead others into that same grace.


Father, thank You for this experience of hearing clearly from You. Thank You for how clearly You are speaking through Jack Hayford and others at this conference. May I indeed receive, appropriate, and apply all You are saying, so that I may be transformed as You know I need to be, to be a more effective instrument in Your hands to draw more people into active discipleship, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!



伝道者の書 12:1, 13-14 あなたの若い日に、あなたの創造者を覚えよ。神を恐れよ。神の命令を守れ。これは人間にとってす べてである。神は、善であれ、悪であれ、すべての隠されたことについて、すべてのわざをさばかれるからだ。

It is something of a relief to come to this conclusion of the book, when Solomon had become such a nihilist in his old age. The description of aging that is in the first part of this chapter reminds me of the recent pictures and comments I have seen of Hugh Hefner, the founder of the Playboy pornographic empire. For him, everything is indeed meaningless at this point, but he will discover that this passage is true, however much he has tried to ignore it all his life. People have an amazing capacity for ignoring their Creator, from youth all through their lives, but they all discover at the point of death just how foolish that was. God is indeed love, but He is also totally just, and every deed not placed under the blood of Jesus Christ will indeed be judged. That's why the Gospel is such good news. Without it, none of us stands a chance!


I have had my moments of ignoring God, but I am very thankful to have been raised so that I knew the Gospel from infancy. However, there are so many who do not know! I have dedicated my life to communicating the Gospel, but I have no hope of being successful in my own strength and wisdom. I've got to depend on the wisdom and power of God! I see much humanistic striving all around me, even in people who desire to please God. They think that they have to work to earn His approval, when human effort by itself can at best only lead to the kind of nihilism Solomon expressed. I must be careful that I don't fall into that trap, but rather listen carefully, obey fully, and be thankful constantly, so that I will be doing God's works in His way on His schedule for His glory, and not spinning my wheels in the kind of meaningless busyness Solomon experienced.


Father, thank You for bringing us safely to the conference yesterday, and for all we have experienced to this point. I have been very aware of human frailty, including my own. Keep me from focusing on human imperfections, my own or others', but rather on You alone. May I receive what You intend for me here and transmit what You intend for others through me, so that You may be glorified as your will is done. Thank You. Praise God!



伝道者の書 11:4 風を警戒している人は種を蒔かない。雲を見ている者は刈り入れをしない。

It seems ironic to me that someone as pessimistic as Solomon was at this point in his life would write this, but it is true none the less. Anyone who has much familiarity with agriculture can understand his illustration here. “We might have another frost, and that would kill the seedlings, so I need to wait longer.” Frost can indeed damage young plants, but a small possibility of it shouldn't keep you from planting. Likewise, rain in the middle of harvest can cause the harvested grain to rot, but again, if you don't harvest, you won't have a harvest. The point is, the possibility of a negative outcome shouldn't keep you from action. “I might get laughed at, and that would be embarrassing, so I won't witness to my friends about Christ.” To be blunt, that's the devil talking through your mind! Jesus dealt with that whole mindset when He said “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)


I've certainly done my share of borrowing trouble, being anxious about possible undesirable outcomes before they happened, and it has never done me any good! Bad things do happen, but fearing them ahead of time simply multiplies our trials. That's not to say I'm not to be prudent, or not to do contingency planning, but trusting God is fundamentally optimistic. Again, Jesus has the last word. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)


Father, I quote John 16:33 often to lots of people, yet I still have my bouts of anxiety. Thank You for Your grace and patience toward me! Help me be equally gracious and patient toward anxious people around me, speaking faith and trust, so that Your Spirit may speak through me to counter the lies of the enemy, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

父よ。私は多くの人に ヨハネ16:33を引用しますが、それに関わらず、心配することがあります。私へのあなたの恵みと忍耐を感謝します。私が、それと同様な恵みと忍耐を示せるように、信仰と信頼を私の周りの人たちに語らせてください。それは、あなたの栄光のために、あなたの霊が私を通して語り、敵の偽りを破るためです。感謝します。神を称えよ!



箴言 13:9 正しい者の光は輝き、悪者のともしびは消える。

I had never really realized that Jesus' famous words in Matthew 5, which we have as our Scripture for the year, had a precursor in Proverbs! Jesus was using terminology that was familiar to His hearers, and it doesn't seem strange to us even today. The point is, someone who is living rightly is going to be a light, illuminating everyone and everything around them. The awkward thing is, people who don't want to live rightly (as opposed to those who are merely ignorant of the truth) don't like light, and want to avoid it. Simply being around a person who is clearly righteous makes them uncomfortable. That doesn't mean we are to be unrighteous in order to be popular. It doesn't take a lot of thought to realize that the ones we should want to be popular with are God and His crowd! When we are living as light, then those who are merely ignorant of God, as well as those who repent of their rebellion, can see the way to come to God by the illumination we provide.


I experience this all the time, and it is very interesting to see who is drawn to me and who is repulsed by my presence. I am not to use such responses as a basis for being judgmental, but rather realize that people are responding to Christ's presence in me, and extend His grace and love to them. I am to pray for all of them, that those who are drawn may realize that it is not me they are drawn to, but Christ, so that they will not have misplaced allegiance, and that those who are repulsed may have a revelation of the truth by the Holy Spirit, to bring them to repentance and faith. In either case, I am to let my light shine indeed, recognizing that it is not my light but the light of Christ, so that He may be glorified.


Father, thank You for the privilege of shedding Your light on the people and situations around me. Keep me for thinking for a moment that I am the source of the light, so that I will avoid the snare of pride. Help me lead as many as will follow to Christ, to receive Your full salvation and in turn become carriers of Your light, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!



箴言 6:23 命令はともしびであり、おしえは光であり、訓戒のための叱責はいのちの道であるからだ。

This particular truth is one that people generally don't grasp until they become parents! Rebellion is certainly closely intertwined with original sin, because it (rebellion) is as if I am saying that I know better than whoever is trying to give me orders, and the first one to give orders was God. A parent who genuinely loves their children will make the effort to give them discipline and instruction. Sometimes giving in and letting them have their way seems like the easy way out, but the results are never good in the long run. Human parents don't always know best, but our heavenly Father does, and we have no excuse at all for not obeying Him.


I have certainly been on all sides of this issue! As a child I wasn't always obedient to my parents, and throughout life I haven't always been obedient to God. Then as a parent, grandparent, and spiritual parent, I have dealt with disobedience and rebellion of all shapes and sizes. I continue to be amazed at God's patience with us! However, I realize that He is saddened by our stupidity long before He is angered by it, because He desires the best for us, and as this verse says, that is always the way of obedience to Him. In the same way, I am sad dened and frustrated by those who are rebellious toward me when I am acting as God's mouthpiece and agent. I need to remember that their response is not fundamentally toward me, but toward God, and so not take it personally. At the same time I must be very careful not to give directions that stem from me rather than from God. Such do not deserve to be obeyed! I should not use people's attitude toward me as the arbiter of their attitude toward God, but always extend to them the grace that has been poured out on me.


Father, this is certainly an ongoing issue that I will deal with for as long as I am in this world. Help me focus first on my own obedience to You, not being judgmental of others, but loving them with Your love and speaking Your Word to them, helping them understand it so they may follow it, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!



箴言 4:18-19 義人の道は、あけぼのの光のようだ。いよいよ輝きを増して真昼となる。悪者の道は暗やみのようだ。彼らは何につまずくかを知らない。

The pattern of contrasting the righteous and the wicked is a common one in Proverbs, but with this particular pair, “the path of the righteous” is very well known while the contrasting description of the wicked is essentially unknown. In terms of the righteous, it is significant that it doesn't start with full brightness, but gradually grows to that. In this instant age, people have no patience with themselves or with others, demanding results immediately and saying nothing has happened if they don't see those immediate results. God seldom works that way, and we couldn't handle it if He did! On the other hand, the path of the wicked is darkness, period. The statement that they don't see what makes them stumble is so true. Willful evil is actually willful blindness and stupidity. We occasionally hear of a “criminal mastermind,” but the vast majority of crimes are incredibly stupid, like the case recently where a man broke the show window of a jewelry store that was right across the street from a police station! People who are not committed to God have, at the very least, wide blind spots that cause them to run into all sorts of obstacles, and they are forever blaming everyone but themselves for their hurts. When we have a God who is our heavenly Father, desiring only the best for us, anything less than total obedience shows a great lack of understanding.


I could hardly claim to have no blind spots myself, but as verse 18 says, my light is growing. As a pastor I deal with both sorts of people all the time, but then, everyone does! Everyone fits in one category or the other, though we don't like to admit it. I need to remember that it is only by the grace of God that I am righteous, and extend that same grace to those around me. In particular, I must be careful not to demand instant perfection of anyone. After all, I'm far from perfect myself! However, I am a perfectionist, and I tend to demand it of others. I need to be an encourager, an enabler, and a guide, so that those I lead may know how to walk in the light more and more consistently.


Father, thank You yet again for Your grace toward me. Keep me from the sort of demanding perfectionism that makes people feel condemned. I have done too much of that! Help me love people with Your love, that always encourages improvement while accepting people where and as they are. Help me teach people both to walk in the light and to open their eyes while doing so. I know from experience that sometimes we aren't in the dark, but we just have our eyes closed! Help me be the shepherd You want me to be, so that each member of the flock may be nourished and nurtured to grow as You intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!




詩篇 139:17, 23 神よ。あなたの御思いを知るのはなんとむずかしいことでしょう。その総計は、なんと多いことで しょう。神よ。私を探り、私の心を知ってください。私を調べ、私の思い煩いを知ってください。

This whole Psalm is an excellent illustration of why David was “a man after God's own heart.” (1 Samuel 13:14) There is a very interesting difference between the English and the Japanese in verse 17. The English says God's thoughts are “precious,” and the Japanese says they are “difficult.” That's a pretty big difference! That aside, the point is clear that David understood an important principle even before God spoke it to Isaiah, and that is that God's thoughts are really beyond our comprehension. (Isaiah 55:9) It is on the basis of that understanding that David asks God to know his thoughts, which are by definition lesser than God's in every respect. God doesn't have to be told what is going on in our minds and hearts, but it is helpful to us for us to express things to Him and actively submit our thought life to Him, as David does here. God's correcting, healing work is more active and at the same time more gentle when we are consciously submitting to Him and asking for His intervention. Our minds are our biggest battleground, but there is no conflict in God's mind at all. It is when we submit fully to Him that we operate in the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and that is peace indeed.

この詩篇すべてはなぜダビデが「神様の心にかなう人」だったのかすばらしく描いています。(サムエル記 第一13:14)17節において英語と日本語訳にとても興味深い違いがあります。英語では神様の思いは「大切」ですが、日本語ではそれらは「難しい」と書かれています。これはとても大きな違いです!余談ですが、神様がイザヤへそのことを話される前にダビデは重要な理念を知っていたこと、また神様の思いが本当に私たちの思いよりも高いということはとても明らかであります。(イザヤ書55:9)それはダビデがどの面においても、神様の思いより当然ながら劣っている自分の思いを知っていただくよう神様に求めていることを理解する基礎となります。神様は私たちの頭や心の中で思っていることを話してもらう必要はありません。しかし神様に思いを表し、ダビデがここで行っているよう、神様に自分が心の内に抱き続けている思いを積極的に捧げることは私たちにとって有益になります。私たちが自覚して神様に捧げ、彼の介入を求めるとき、彼の矯正、癒しの御業はさらに優れ、同時に、さらに寛大であります。私たちの心は最大な戦場ですが、神様の心と対立することは全くありません。キリストの心の下で働くことは(コリント人への手紙 第一2:16)、完全に自分を彼に捧げる時であり、それは実に安らぎであります。

This is something I have learned gradually, though I think I understood the principle years ago. I'm sure I'll still be in the practicum for this lesson all the way to my deathbed! As the Lord keeps reminding me, He's smart and we're not, whatever our IQ might be. I need to be active in submitting my thought life to God all the time, not just when I'm “being religious.” The devil wants us to think that God doesn't want us to have any fun, because that way he can steal our joy. The devil wants to fill our minds with impurity and anxiety, and the solution is to be active in submitting to God. Paul was very practical when he told us to think purposely about good things. (Philippians 4:8) For myself and for those to whom I minister, God's thought life is the solution for the majority of all the troubles we encounter. The devil tries to get me to forget that, but I must be active in submitting to God and resisting the devil. (James 4:7)

私は何年も前にその理念を理解したと思いますが、このことは私が徐々に学んでいることです。私は死に至るまでこの学びを実習的に学んでいくことだと確信しています!私のIQが幾らであっても、主は賢明で私はそうでないということを、主が思い出させ続けてくださるので。私は「宗教的」な人間になる時だけではなく、どんなときも神様に自分が心の内に抱き続けている思いを捧げる必要があります。悪様は、私たちの喜びを盗むために、神様は私たちがどんな楽しみをも持つことを願われていないと私たちに思わせたがっています。悪魔は私たちの心を不純なものや不安で満たしたがっていますが、その解決方法は神様に従うことです。パウロが、良いことについて私たちにわざわざ心に留めるよう話したとき、彼はとても現実的でした。(ピリピ人への手紙 4:8)私自身、また私が聖職者として務めを果たしている人々にとって、神様の思いは私たちが大きなすべての問題に遭遇したときの解決方法です。悪魔は私にそのことを忘れさせようとしていますが、私は神様に従い悪魔に立ち向かわなければなりません。(ヤコブの手紙 4:7)

Father, thank You for this reminder. I was hearing just yesterday about someone who is thinking things that are entirely false, and they are suffering for it. Help me always speak Your truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), countering the devil's lies, in myself and in others, with Your truth that sets us free. (John 8:32) May we as a church learn to think Your thoughts after You, giving no place to the devil, so that all of Your plans for us may be fulfilled, on Your schedule and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

お父様、このことを思い出させてくださり感謝します。完全に間違った考えを持ち、それによって苦しんでいる人について、私はちょうど昨日聞きました。私の内、また他の人の内にある悪魔の嘘に反撃し、私たちを自由にするあなたの真理(ヨハネによる福音書 8:32)を持って、あなたの真理を愛を中で(エペソ人への手紙 4:15)いつも話すことができるよう私を助けてください。悪魔に隙を与えないず、私たちが教会として、あなたが抱かれるあなたの思いと同じ考え方をすることを学びますように。私たちのためのあなたのご計画が、あなたのときにあなたの 御栄光のために、すべて成就されますように。感謝します。ハレルヤ!


詩篇 119:130 みことばの戸を開くと、光が差し込み、わきまえのない者に悟りを与え ます。

The word picture in the Japanese is very clear and easy to understand, with a door opening and light shining into a dark room. Our minds are often like dark rooms, and we stumble around in them with little understanding of what's going on. God's Word coming in provides a frame of reference to be able to distinguish and evaluate everything else, just as light does in a dark room. In the second half of the verse, the word used in English, “simple,” was once used to mean mentally deficient. That's not considered “politically correct” these days, but it's very close to the meaning here. The Japanese says, “those unable to to distinguish or make rational decisions.” That about sums it up, I think! The remarkable thing is that God's Word gives enlightenment to such as that. Here too, the Japanese term is very meaningful, because it implies far more than simply logical understanding. The difficulty with this verse is that we don't like to put ourselves in with the “simple.” We like to think we are smart, and that can close the door to real understanding of the Word. That's one reason Jesus said we have to become as little children before we can enter God's kingdom. (Matthew 18:3) Throughout the Bible we see that those who think they've “got it all together” are the ones in the most danger, because that attitude closes us off from receiving what God has for us.


I recently had a powerful illustration of this, talking with someone who is considered “simple” by society, but who has a clear and strong faith that is unquestionably going to take him before the throne of God, with great glory and rejoicing. In contrast, I know several people who are quite intelligent by society's standards yet they refuse to accept that they are sinners in need of a Savior. I have shared God's Word with them multiple times, but the door is closed (to use the imagery in this verse) for them to receive it. I've got to remember that whatever intelligence I may have is not sufficient to get them to open the door, so rather than beating my head on it, I need to pray for the Holy Spirit to shine through the cracks until they can see enough to open the door themselves. I keep coming back to the day, not so many years ago, when I realized that it's not that God's smarter than I am, it's that He's smart and I'm not. That was a major step in my spiritual growth! I've got to remember that without God, I am indeed “simple,” and rejoice in His grace and guidance.


Father, thank You indeed for Your grace and patience toward me. Help me keep the door open for Your Word to give me the enlightenment I need, not turning off my mind but allowing You full Lordship of every area of my thoughts, words, and actions. May I be an open channel for Your Spirit to flow through me to others, touching them as You have touched me, so that together we may come before Your throne, for Your pleasure and glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!