Monday, June 29, 2009

What a Friend we have in Jesus

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
***
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
***
Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.
***
Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.
***
I think my favorite part of this song is the last 4 lines. When we are up in heaven there will be no more gloomy days, no more sorrow. We will forever bask in the light of God's amazing Glory. Pain and sorrow will be replaced with "Rapture, praise, and endless worship!" Wow...I cannot wait for that day!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Stuttering

"One of my friends has a stutter, and a lot of people think that's a bad thing, but to me that's just like starting certain words with a drum roll. That's not an impediment, that's suspense."
-My Sister (Sara Hunsicker)

Some of you might know this...but I used to struggle big time with stuttering. Well my sister posted this on my wall on facebook, and it had me rolling. I hope that this one gave you a little bit of a laugh.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Odawara Castle

Well...these pictures are all in the wrong order, and I can't seem to fix it, so I'll just have to make do. Anyways, last weekend I went to the visit the beautiful town of Odawara. I realized recently that I hadn't really left the city of Yokosuka in a while, and I was feeling like I wanted some adventure. So I remember when I went through AOB/ICR (Area Orientation Brief/Intercultural Relations. It's a class we take when we get to Japan that introduces us to Japanese culture and etiquette so we don't make any social mistakes out in Japan.) that they had talked about Odawara and the fact that they have a Castle there. So I decided last weekend that I should go there.

It was about an hour and a half train ride with one transfer half of the way through the trip. The ticket was only about $10. So when I got to Odawara I found the Castle and below are the pictures I took while there. As I said they are kind of out of order, so please bear with me.



This elephant was in a pen in the courtyard to the Castle.

This was the entrance to the Courtyard of the Castle.

This was on a Saturday, and just like in the States, Japanese do lots of sight seeing on the weekends. So needless to say, there were a lot of people there!


BONSAI!!

Odawara Castle

This was the gate to the Castle-grounds. I think the big doors were used for carriages, and carts, while the smaller door is for people on foot.


Gate to the Castle-grounds.

Bridge to the Castle-grounds.

Japanese people love flowers. They had flowers everywhere! You can also see the bridge up above. Going to Odawara was a wonderful experience. I hope to take my friend Luci with me to go see it again when we see each other again.

I also discovered while there that Odawara is really close to Hakone. Hakone is at the base of Mt. Fuji. If the day had been clear I probably would have been able to take pictures of the Mountain, but it was really overcast. I'm hoping to go to Hakone next weekend, so I'll hopefully be posting pictures from that pretty soon!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thoughts from my Devotions.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"

Romans 8:14 & 15

You know how when you are reading through the Bible, and one verse or passage just really jumps out to you as a very powerful passage? Well this verse really hit me hard when I was reading it the other day.

"For you have not received the spirit of slavery leading to fear again..." Wow! God did not and does not force us to serve Him. It is our choice. We make the decision to live our life for Him, or not. No one made us accept him. We came before the foot of the cross on our own.

"...but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'" I like the fact that it says "...the spirit of adoption..." We weren't always the children of God. Christ provided us the way to have a fellowship with God, and we have been "adopted" into the family of God. We cried out to Him, "Abba! Father!" because He is our father! What a perfect example of what a father should be to us. All of us have earthly fathers, who did the best to raise us right, but they are imperfect men. We can look to our heavenly father, as the "perfect father!"

I hope and pray that this was an encouragement to you all!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Why Can't God Just Ignore Our Sin?

If God really loves us, as he says he does, why must he let sin stand between him and us? He's God, after all, and he's all-powerful, isn't he? He can do anything he wants, can't he? Why can't he just forget that we sin and save us anyways?

On the surface this seems a reasonable question, but when we dig deeper we find that it has problems. The answer has to do with the twin concepts of justice and holiness. Let's talk about justice first.

We have all fallen short of God's perfect standards. Since he is the moral ruler of the universe, he cannot look on violations of his perfect standards with indifference. We may be able to do this when we offend each other, but God cannot, because to tolerate anything less that perfection in his perfect universe would be an offense against perfect justice. There would be outrage if a judge failed to administer justice in his court. Imagine a judge who, upon hearing a case involving a brutal murder and rape, decided to let the guilty party go free because he wanted to act lovingly! What would the family of the victim think about his ignoring such an outrageous crime? Naturally, they would cry for justice. Letting the killer off would trivialize the brutal act and make light of the lost life of their loved one. What kind of world would we live in if every judge chose to "act lovingly and kindly" and forgive crimes instead of administering justice? We can assure you, you wouldn't like it.

God is the moral ruler of the world. He is the judge of the universe--he is the ultimate King. His laws are not arbitrary; they stem from his very character and nature, and they are given to us in order to make us more like him. Essentially all of God's laws are for our own good. He designed humans; he knows what makes us tick and how we can achieve the best performance and greatest happiness. His laws work like a manufacturers instruction and maintenance manual. If we follow them, we will come much nearer to being in what God intended us to be and reap the joy, satisfaction and fulfillment that come from it.

God is truth, and his laws are righteous. In his plea for God to save Sodom and Gomorrah from his planned destruction, Abraham cried out, "Surely you wouldn't do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn't do that! Should not the judge of all the earth do what is right?" (Gen. 18:25)

Of course, Abraham misunderstood the situation in Sodom a bit. God knew that there were no righteous people in Sodom besides Lot and his family, whom he intended to save. But the point is, Abraham made a correct statement: God, as ruler and judge of all the earth, is bound by his own character to do what is right, and this means administering justice accurately.

Sin arouses God's wrath. It is not that he irrationally loses his temper because his plans for a perfect world were fouled up. There is nothing impulsive, random or capricious about God; he's not spiteful or malevolent. His anger is neither irrational nor mysterious. He is completely principled and controlled. His anger is always provoked by wickedness and the destruction of wickedness renders to the created beings he dearly loves.

The second reason God must respond to sin is because he is holy. In fact, the attribute of holiness is applied to God more than any other attribute in the Bible. Most people misunderstand the meaning of holiness. They tend to think of it as being overly religious to the point of being somewhat out of touch with everyday reality. Or more negatively, they think of holiness as being a little self-righteous and religiously elevated above ordinary folks. But the true meaning of holiness is nothing like that. God's holiness is simply incompatible with sin. God's eyes are too pure to look on evil, and because he is perfect, he cannot bear wrong-doing (see Hab. 1:13).

Because God is holy, he cannot look upon sin with indifference. He judges sinners because his perfect character demands it. The Bible uses a couple of phrases to indicate why God must do so: First, God is "provoked by sin." The Bible tells us that he was angered when idols or foreign gods were put before him in his people's lives (see Deut. 32:16, 21). This simply means that God's perfect nature causes him to react strongly to wrongdoing. He cannot tolerate idolatry, immorality or injustice. If he did, he could not be called good. He would not be holy.

Second, we are told that God "burns with anger" at the sins of mankind (see 2 Kings 13:3). Judges 3:8 says "The Lord burned with anger against Israel." Just as our eyes burn when we look at the sun, there is something within God's nature that causes him to burn with anger at the sight of evil. Because God is holy, he simply cannot respond to sin in any other way.

Because God is holy and just, he will always do what is right. He cannot overlook our wrongdoings, for he is obligated to do what is right. The British theologian Michael Green observed that "for God just to forgive without any cost to anyone would be sheer indifferentism. It would obliterate any distinction between right and wrong. It would say that right does not matter, and that evil is a matter of indifference."

From: Evidence for the Resurrection
By: Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Kindle 2

I recently purchased a Kindle 2.  It is basically an electronic book.   You can download books off the Internet and read them on the screen.

When I first heard about this, I was really reluctant to try it.  I thought "Wow, this could get rid of books all together," and being a little old fashioned, I didn't like the sound of that.  Plus I was thinking that I didn't know if I could get used to reading from an electronic screen.  But then I realized that this would be very convenient for me considering my limited space living on the ship.  I could have hundreds of books at my fingertips, in just one small electronic device.

So I decided to buy it.  I can definitely say that I do not regret my decision!  The Kindle is awesome!  I have downloaded most importantly the Bible, which makes my daily bible reading very convenient, plus many other books.  I even found a website where I could download a bunch of old classics for free, because they of course no longer have a copyright.

I have done more reading since I got this awesome device than I have in a long time!  The screen is also very easy to read from.  It looks just like a page from a book.  It also has a dictionary on it, that allows you to select any word, from any book you are reading, and get the definition within seconds!

Can you tell that I love this thing?  I would not say that this would be good with everyone, because I understand the reluctance from some to get something like this.  But if you travel a lot, or you just want to have your reading be a little more convenient, this is perfect for you!

They also came out with a newer version recently that is slightly bigger, it's called the "Kindle DX."  The Kindle and the Kindle 2 are kind of small, but they're not too small.

If anyone has any questions, you can ask me, or go to Amazon and read about it there.

Monday, June 1, 2009

How Can It Be

O Savior, as my eyes behold
The wonders of Thy Might untold,
The heav'ns in glorious light arrayed,
the vast creation Thou has made-
And yet to think thou lovest me-
my heart cries out, "How can it be?"
***
As to the cross I humbly bow,
and gaze upon Thy thorn crowned brow,
And view the precious bleeding form
By cruel nails so bruised and torn,
Knowing Thy suff'ring was for me,
In grief I cry "How can it be."
***
How can it be? How can it be?
Was ever grace so full and free!
From heights of bliss to depths of woe
In loving kindness thou didst go,
From sin and shame to rescue me-
O Love Divine, How can it be?
***
Chorus
How can it be? How can it be?
That God should love a soul like me,
O how can it be?
***
This is probably one of my favorite Hymns. It's not a very well known one. I was only able to find the words in one Hymn book and that was "Great Hymns of the Faith," and I also think it might be in "Majesty" as well. I thought of it mainly because I have a CD where the "Herbster Trio" sings it. I hope and pray that you are blessed by the words in this wonderful Hymn!

Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Today, I had the wonderful experience of having my wisdom teeth pulled...not a fun experience...

I had three pulled, because one of my wisdom teeth did not exist. I would post pictures, but my face is really swollen, and I'm still really numb. Pictures right now, would not be a pretty sight!

Thankfully, a family from church is graciously allowing me to stay at their place while I am recovering. If I weren't at their place, I would be on the ship. So I thank them so much for opening their house to me!

I should be posting again next week. Hopefully by then I'll have recovered!
Have a great week everyone!