Tuesday, December 26, 2017

December 24, 2017 Christmas Worship Service Sermon 
Matthew 1:18 25
God with Us
Merry Christmas everyone!
Today is the day we celebrate Christmas and remember how Christ was born and came into this world.
I am truly grateful that we can all gather for this Christmas service and give thanks for God the Father sending His only begotten Son to us.
And I also pray that many people will gather tonight for the candle service and celebrate the birth of our savior Jesus together.
We just saw the Christmas playChristmas Bell (original title:”Christmas Bell”. It's a story about a church with a bell that rings when somebody presents the greatest gift.
The rich and the king appeared in the play, saying I'll be the one to make the bell ring! Then they with enthusiasm presented expensive gifts such as jewels, treasures, and even the king's crown.
However, even when they presented things that were precious in human’s eyes, the church bell did not ring. In the end, the bell rang when one boy (Mark) quietly offered a silver coin and prayed.
The bell rang not because of the silver coin, but because their kindness (that they showed to the woman collapsed in the snow) and because of their genuine hearts (they offered what they had to God with humility).
When I saw the affluent people getting all confident they'll ring the bell, I feel like I saw myself in them. Why is that? It's because I felt I too would say the same thing, God, I'm doing my best, so please answer me!
Also, having watched the play, I realized the things I think I do for God are not actually for God, but rather I want to gain other people’s favor by doing deeds where people can see.
Through this play, I was once again reminded that God is pleased with the kind of humility that says I'm only doing what I must. This is all I am able to offer.
One thing we must never forget during Christmas is that the one who gave the greatest gift was God Himself. If God had appeared in that play, the one to ring the bell would've been God Himself, no doubt.
That is because God Himself gave the greatest gift to us humans. That gift is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God's greatest gift to us humans.

God gave us the savior Jesus Christ as a present. Let us all grow daily in our thankfulness for this great grace.
Today, during our Christmas service, let us read Matthew 1:18 25 and listen to what the Bible has to say about the birth of Jesus, God's greatest gift to us.
Chapter 1 verse 18
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
Mary and Joseph were engaged. At the time in Judah, it was the custom for the parents and marriage intermediaries to decide someone's future marriage partner from a young age.
And then, when the two reach a certain age, they would give their consent to marriage. Once they consent, the two are officially engaged. The period of engagement was one year.
This period of engagement was treated the same as actual marriage. They only didn't live together yet. Joseph and Mary were in the middle of their engagement period.
During this time, it was found out that Mary was pregnant through the Holy Spirit. (v18) she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. This was done not simply to paint Jesus Christ's birth as miraculous and dramatic.
 She was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. This means that human will, human decisions, and human effort had no bearing on the birth of the savior.
It was not through humans, but through God’s decision to “save humanity” that the savior Jesus Christ was born. This is reflected in the verse She was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
In addition, while Jesus Christ was born as a human, the fact that Mary was “pregnant through the Holy Spirit” also supports the important Christian belief that “Jesus was God and was God since the creation of the Earth.”
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
It is not that “Jesus was a human at first but then became God after dying on the cross and resurrecting.”
Jesus Christ was God before He was born as the Son of Man. And Jesus remained God while He was in a human body from the time He was born and until He finally died on the cross. This truth is reflected in the phrase “She was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
At any rate, the pregnancy caused problems for Joseph and Mary. The discovery of pregnancy before the two were officially married was a trial for them. According to the law, Mary may have been found guilty of adultery.
I think Joseph may have been desperately thinking “What should I do…”
The Japanese Bible says “Joseph was a righteous man” in verse 19. The English translation says “faithful to the law.” At the time, “righteousness” meant faithfully following the law.
But he wasn’t just righteous in form, but he was faithful to the essence of the law and to God’s will. The law’s essence and God’s will meant to “show others kindness and compassion.”
If he had exposed the out-of-wedlock pregnancy to the public, Mary would have been stoned.
Deuteronomy 23:1
  If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house,
Joseph had the option of exposing Mary to the public and letting her be stoned to death. However, he also had the option of giving her a certificate of divorce and keeping the matter secret, thus saving Mary’s life.
To get through this difficult situation, Joseph decided “this is the only option.” That’s when the Lord’s angel appeared to Joseph in a dream.
 “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” (verse 20)
The Lord’s angel said “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife…” “To take” here means to “go from engagement to official marriage.”
 “Do not be afraid.” From the angel’s words, we know that Joseph was afraid as he made the decision. Now what did Joseph fear?
First, the fact that “She was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.Who would believe something like that? Joseph himself probably did not believe that at first. We humans need courage to decide to believe someone. We also worry “what will we do if our trust is betrayed…”
However, he heard from the angel that “what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” This meant that “that child is an important entity loved by God, and you have the important task of being that child’s father.”
This would be a difficult and scary situation for most people. But Joseph was told by the angel that he was now to “live together with Mary and the child that was to be born.”
Another thing that Joseph probably feared was accepting Mary and the child (Jesus) inside her, “accepting strangers as his own.” In other words, he feared living together with someone else.
He feared the sudden change of going from living alone to accepting and living together with a stranger. After all, it’s difficult to live with someone whose personality and ways of thinking are different.
Marrying Mary and living together with her and the child in her would be a very big change in lifestyle. Joseph was compelled by the voice of the Lord’s angel to surrender himself, obey the voice of God and “live together with a stranger.”
The angel continued to say “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
 “Jesus” comes from the Hebrew “Yeshua.” The name means “God is salvation” or God will save.” And how will God save us? Let’s see in verse 23.
 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
 “God with us.” Our God Jesus Christ will save us by “being with us.”
God is not promising that He will solve and take away all the troubles and pains we experience in life, and not in ways that we can see directly. He does not promise to save us in the ways that we hope.
God promises to “be with us.” In such a way, God will save us. By “being with us,” He will save us.
 “Be with us” means to “always” be with us. Let’s look at the end of the book of Matthew.
Matthew 28:20
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The God Emmanuel will always be with us. He is not a god that helps us when He feels like it, or only occasionally shows His face, but He is a god that is always with us.
Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
No matter the circumstances, if God is together with us, then we will not be afraid. Because the Lord is with us, we need not fear everything that happens in life, we need not fear accepting and living together with someone. We can have peace.
I think that Joseph was afraid of living together with Mary and the new life inside her (that was conceived through the Holy Spirit). For God as well, even if it wasn’t fear, it must’ve been a difficult decision to send His only son Jesus Christ to be born on Earth and to entrust His life to humans.
God gave His only son Jesus Christ to humanity because He loved humanity intensely. God Himself had made the decision to be born as a human and then “live together” with humans.
 “To live together” is to take utmost concern for someone, to share in their pains and joys, and to spend your time on that person.
Being together with someone is actually difficult. It might be easier for us to just be alone. However, God told us to “accept others and live together with them.”
By being “with us,” God took away our fears and gave us humans salvation. Having received salvation, this Christmas season let us resolve to “accept and live together with the people that are put in our lives.
 And what does “others” practically mean for us? Who “others” refers to varies from person to person. Even if they are not close family or spouses, these “others” become involved with us in many ways and then we live together with them. This is especially true of the brothers and sisters in one church.
Today on Christmas day, let us reaffirm our decision to “live together,” to “accept and live together” with those that are put in our lives.
And let us all remember with great joy and thankfulness the birth of Jesus Christ, our God who is with us.

Monday, October 23, 2017

This Week's Schedule

◆Bible Studay & Pryer Meeting, November 22nd (Wed)
Morning Session(10:30~12:00)、Evening Session(19:30~21:00)
We are reading from the Gospel of John and pray together.

◆Friday Family Fellowship (FFF), November 24th (Fri)19:00~
 Friday Family Fellowship is a cross-denominational and international fellowship gathering. We sing a song, enjoy games and have discussions about our faith, etc. Anyone interested in church, or international exchange, everyone is welcomed to join us!

◆Next Week's Sunday Worship Service, November 26th (Sun)

   Message "Wait on the Lord"
              Psalm 130:1-8
                        Messenger: Pastor Tomohiro SAKAI
*Joint Service: 10:50~12:15

◆Church School
  Elementary/Middle School Class, High-School/Youth Class, International Youth  Class, Adult Class, Begineers Class

Monday, September 25, 2017

September 24, 2017
Sermon @ BIBC
1 Corinthians 1:10~17
”Be United in Christ”

The church’s Family Camp began yesterday, and even after this service ends, the camp’s activities will continue until past 3pm today. Several members also stayed in the church last night. Through this camp, I hope that our bonds of faith and fellowship will deepen and grow.
The theme of our church this year is “We grow together in God.” And the source of that theme comes from the Bible verse, 1 Corinthians 3: 7.
"So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow."
A while ago, we were growing mini tomatoes in my house. (we first bought it because the children were going to grow them, but gradually I started to water them every day.) On hot summer days, if you forgot to water the tomatoes even for a short period of time, the leaves would immediately begin to wither and wilt.
Then, as I watered the tomatoes, I was able to see the stems and leaves begin to grow firmly again, regaining their power. I realized how giving water is absolutely essential to grow plants and crops.
Before, I heard a teacher from a prep school say the following statement on television. This particular teacher was very famous. He was a reputable English teacher and whenever a student took his class, the student’s grade would go up and they would often get into their school of choice. This is what the teacher said:
 “What I am doing is merely acting in a supporting role. If my students’ grades go up while taking my class, 80% of reason that happens is the students’ own power and effort. All I do is teach the students the tricks of how to study on their own. I am nothing more than a simple supporter.”
Undoubtedly, no matter how good a coach or a teacher is, even if they can motivate others, in order for a person to raise their grades or acquire new skills, it must be done by each individual’s own effort, by studying and practicing with their own strength.
In other words, "whether or not a person can grow, depends on that person themselves." This is the general idea of the world. I think that this can be considered a highly individualistic way of thinking. Deciding how to live and grow is each individual’s choice.
However, in the Bible it says this; "So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow."
A planter is necessary, a person who pours water is necessary, and an individual’s own effort to try and grow is also necessary. However, it is “only God, who makes things grow.” This is the point which Christians must always firmly remember.
If we know and understand this, even if something goes wrong, we won’t try to cut ourselves down, or on the other hand, even if we succeed in something, we won’t become too self-confident and arrogant. We can become free from such an attitude, because we know that no matter what, God is control, not us.
And then, we thought that it is important to "grow together" as it says in 1 Corinthians chapter 3. The growth of Christians is not something personal. In the church, it is not important that only I myself grow, or that only a few people grow, but that we “all grow together.” Today I would like us to think about why we must grow “together.”
Furthermore, our theme this year, “We grow together in God,” is based on our church’s 10 year theme from 2013 to 2022: “Make disciples of all nations.” (This is also the theme of our Family Camp)
"Make disciples of all nations" is a verse from what is called the Great Commission of Jesus in Matthew 28: 19-20.
 While I was meditating the Bible verses to prepare for today's message, it was revealed anew that this year's theme "We grow together in God," and our long-term 10 year theme and the subject of this year’s Family Camp, “Make disciples of all nations,” are connected closely with a teaching from God. I would like to share that with you today as well.
Well, looking at the today's verse from 1 Corinthians, you can clearly see there was a problem occurring in the Corinthian church at that time.
10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.
In the Corinthian Church, it seems that a "falling out" occurred among the members. The people of the church made different groups, each saying the following: “I follow Paul”; “I follow Apollos”; “I follow Cephas”; or, “I follow Christ.” And each group thought that their own group or their group’s teacher was the best.
Paul says, "that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought" (verse 10). What does this mean?
 Does this mean that everyone always has to have the same opinion about everything? When deciding something, must everyone have the same opinion, so that different opinions and ideas do not come out?
Among the Protestant churches, we are called a Baptist church. The Baptist church has various features and one of them is its democratic church management. The important thing within democratic church management is that the opinions of each believer are heard equally. Even if there are only a few opinions, it is important to listen to each one carefully.
Furthermore, we think that it is very important to pray, discuss and decide things together. (It is important to pray. If we do not pray first, no matter how democratically we discuss something, we will not be a church.) We explore the will of God through the process of prayer and discussion.
So, when we discuss and decide something, it is not a bad thing to have different opinions, rather it is a good thing. Therefore, even if it takes time to reach an agreement, we value the process of consensus building.
Paul is says the same thing 1 Corinthians 11:19, as well.
“No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.”
In Greek the word "dokimeh" is used. It means “those who have been carefully selected,” which is translated as “which of you have God’s approval” in English.
So Paul says that it is necessary to have differences in opinions, and even have disputes among one another, in order to clearly reveal the will of God and his careful selection. However, it is important to know the etiquette that, it goes without saying, we have to have mutual respect for each other.
However, while it is good in itself to have various opinions, the believers of the Corinthian Church committed a critical mistake.
For each group saying “I follow Paul”; “I follow Apollos”; “I follow Cephas”; “I follow Christ,” they were all losing sight of whom they were joining or who the head of their church really was. (According to Paul’s writing, even those who said they were following “Christ,” did not see, or were not looking at, Jesus Christ correctly.)
As a church, we are not tied or joined to an excellent leader or a teacher who is human. Neither are we joined to Paul, Apollos or Cephas (Peter).
The Bible says that there is nothing that binds us together other than Christ. And that Christ is the one who was crucified on the cross.
Jesus Christ, who was crucified, loves us without limit and forgave our sins. We are saved by His grace, and we are bound by His grace.
That is why we the church are to "be perfectly united in mind and thought." It is by Christ.
I will read 1 Corinthians 12:12-13.
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
If you are a Christian who is bound together with the church, your faith will not grow alone by itself, because we are one body, bound by Christ.
Initially we used the word "individualism," but nowadays, as individualist ideas have highly developed, people tend to not interfere with each other, so you may think that you want people to leave you alone as well.
But Christians cannot be like that. We cannot be in relationships where “each person keeps a mutually moderate distance from one another, relationships that are noncommittal and vague.”
This is because we are a part of one body, whose head is Jesus Christ. It is impossible for only one part of the same body to grow independently from the other parts.
Certainly, interfering and infringing on the freedom and independence of others is not acceptable, but the gathering of Christians is "to unite our hearts together and bond with one another." I want us to remember that, without mutually growing together, acting alone, no one can truly develop and grow.
 “19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
"All the nations" meant any ethnic group that passed the Jewish people in those days. Now, at our church, BIBC, people from many countries are attending our worship service. It is absolutely wonderful.
I hope that our church can be a church where numerous people can come, not only people from overseas, but also people from Japan, especially those living in this area. Because "make disciples of all the nations" means that "the gospel must be told to everyone."
 We Christians live on a day to day basis. Always keeping that in mind, at the end of the worship service each week I pray using these words in the benediction, “we are sent out to return to our daily lives this new week.”
Even if you do not take the Bible and go on missionary trips far away overseas, if we are connected to the church, cherish every worship service, and are pleased with the fellowship we have with our brothers and sisters in the church, wont that joy appear naturally in the way we live outside of the church as well?
That way of living in itself is evangelism. By listening to the words of God together in our church, and treating each other as part of the same body bound by Jesus Christ, our mutual faith will be strengthened. To be sent out into our daily lives from the church and to practice obeying Jesus in our lives, that is evangelism.
Finally, I would like to finish today’s message by reading one more verse from the Bible.
1 Corinthians 1:17
 “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”
 "For Christ did not send me to baptize," says Paul. This means that baptism is not the ultimate goal for believers.
In the Baptist church, people are not saved by the ritual of baptism itself. Instead, baptism is an act of response out of one’s faith by which those, who have believed that Jesus Christ is the Savior through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, proclaim their decision to follow Him and to serve God as a member of the church.
Therefore, each one of us who are baptized is required to continuously grow as a disciple of the Lord.
Paul also says “but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”
As a pastor I pray that I can speak the word of God properly, and I stand here to preach with as much pray and preparation as possible for each sermon I give. And even if you are not a pastor, I think every Christian will evangelize in their own words to convey the gospel to others.
However, no matter how much power a sermon has, that power does not come from the masterful use of the human language, the technique or way of speaking, or the personality of the person who is talking.
The power to lead a person to believe in Jesus Christ, and to obey the words of the Bible, is the strength of the Word itself and the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, without ever giving up, let us prove the gospel with hope. Let us continue to prove to the world how much the words of the Bible strengthen us, how comforting Jesus Christ's love is, and how each of us in the church are bound together with one another.
We can surely believe that the work of evangelism from our church, bound by Christ, is heavily used by God and that the gospel will be able to spread more and more.
Through this family camp, I hope that we can strengthen each other's bonds and rediscover the meaning and joy of being together. (Tomohiro SAKAI)

Monday, January 30, 2017

My Intractable Disease Is a Blessing For Me

On Jan.29 2017, we invited Brother Hiroki Yasuda who was born with an incurable disease called “Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy”.  His message was so poweful that we decided to share his massege on our homepage.

“My Intractable Disease Is a Blessing For Me”
Bible Text: John 15:15-16
Brother Hiroki Yasuda

My name is Hiroki Yasuda. I was born with an incurable disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This disease is caused by a genetic abnormality and it gradually degenerates the body’s muscles. As the muscles deteriorate, we start losing our ability to move, breathe, and eat.
Right now, I am unable to breathe on my own, and so I am living with a ventilator (artificial breathing machine) 24/7. Because I can only move my thumbs, I cannot eat, use the toilet, change my clothes or do anything self-related on my own, so, in due time, I will be a bedridden person.

Right now I am 25 years old. I was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 4, and at that time was told that I would live until 20 years old. However, I was brought up without knowing that I had an incurable sickness.
When I was young, I could not run or climb the stairs unless I grasped the railings firmly, but I just supposed that I did not have good motor nerves. I continued to think so even when, at age 9, I became wheelchair bound. When I became an adult and asked my parents why they had not told me that I had an incurable disease, they answered, “We couldn’t bring ourselves to believe that you would die at 20 years old…”

And my parents were Christians so since I was born I attended church. When I was 13, I professed my belief in God through the Resolution of Confession of Faith. On spring of my 18th year, when I was keenly studying for the universities’ entrance exams, I started to understand the reality of incurable diseases. Neither I nor my doctor knew that the disease was getting worse, and in one year I was hospitalized 5 times.   

I would have visceral pains all day, vomiting would not stop, my breathing was heavy, and I had severe headaches, which made it hard to sleep. Everyday my consciousness would become disoriented, and I would spend my days wondering rather I was really going to die. In the meantime, I was still working hard for the entrance exams, but with the headaches and difficult breathing, I was forgetting quickly what I had studied, and since the exam scores were gradually getting lower, it was painful to see my efforts going to waste. 

In this way, as I was suffering, I continued praying that God would help me. After 1 year of continuous suffering, I was able to learn about a hospital in Shikoku, thanks to God’s guidance and my mom’s efforts, where there were doctors that were really good. In that hospital, the ventilator was introduced to me, and I was saved from the dying state that I was in. As I look back, I think God rescued me, because I was really in danger of life.

However, in order to live with a ventilator, you are required to get medical examinations every month for the doctor to manage the situation. At the local hospital that I was admitted to in Fukuoka for the examinations, I received the doctor’s statement of life expectancy: “You will soon become bedridden; even if you undergo life-prolonging treatments, you will pass away at 35”. It was a heart-tearing statement. At that moment, I understood the reality of incurable diseases.  

Afterwards, I was able to get into a university; however, because of my bad physical condition, I had to drop out after only half a year. After that, every day was about looking after myself. Because I had received a life-expectancy declaration, and my body had to use a ventilator and was in intense pain, my life was now spent in bed. But this brought a lot of stress and my feelings became very dark.  

As I was praying my everyday prayer, I started to cry out to God my true emotions. Why did I turn out to be someone who has this incurable illness that kills you at 35?! I don’t want to suffer to then die! God, I am asking you, please cure me from this incurable sickness, there is no meaning in living in this painful condition! Does my life consist only of waiting for death?! I continued to exclaim these things in prayer.  

At this time, I could not understand the purpose for living and I was in despair. Why can’t I become healthy? Will I die at 35? With this sickness I can’t work, I can’t get married, God, with this sickness I can’t do anything.

I would soon not be able to move, and the disease would bring a painful death; from now on how should I go on living? If I do not use the ventilator, life cannot go on, so I might die tomorrow. I was living everyday dominated by great anxiety.

It was important for me to know the meaning of life. But even though I continued praying, I did not understand the purpose for living, thus I suffered. Even so, I always read the Bible and prayed, I did not quit attending the church service every Sunday; but it was painful because it was the day I would feel the silence of God.

At this time, I read a book by an Austrian psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, called “Man’s Search for Meaning”, from which I learned something:

Suffering without meaning is despair; if you cannot find meaning in suffering, you will become desperate; if you do find meaning in suffering, you will become hopeful. I learned that we should not simply be unhappy because of sufferings; on the contrary, by finding meaning in our sufferings, we transform our lives into hope.

So I began to believe that, no matter how painful life is, if I can find meaning in life, without losing hope, I can live. After that, I was convinced that God would give me the meaning for living, and so I kept waiting for God to speak.

Then, 10 months after the doctor’s life-expectancy pronouncement, the following Bible verse spoke to my heart:  

Ezekiel 2:8

“But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”

Through this Word, I was able to start believing that, by always reading the Bible, which is the Word of God, and always praying to God, He will speak to my heart, He will change my heart, and He will save me from despair.

Then, a year and a half after the doctor had given me my life expectancy, my heart was changed through the following Bible verse:

John 15:15-16

“Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-- fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”
I wish I had not been born with an incurable disease, but I felt that I was appointed by God and chosen to be born with this sickness. God created a sick me, I was appointed by God to live a life of infirmity, and so from the time I was born I have been challenging this life of sickness.

Through the previous Bible verses, I was able to accept myself as a person with an incurable disease. Before that, I was the foundation of my life. I was aiming to be a healthy person that could live by himself, a self with no weaknesses, a self that would be successful in society.

Therefore, this self that was incurable and sick was a useless human being. I myself had decided on my own value: a self that cannot do anything has no meaning for living. Thus, it was painful all the time.    

But, through the previous Bible words, I was able to really feel God’s love: God created me with an inborn intractable disease; I was born out of God's desire; I am also a work of God; my sickly self is not God’s failed work.

If I myself decided on my own value, it resulted only in bitterness. But, even when in the middle of hardships, through the Word of God, you embrace yourself, and are able to accept yourself as you are, you can feel the love that God is pouring on you, through the Bible and through prayer, and so the joy of living springs up, no matter what kind of life you are given.

My sick self-thought that I did not have anything, that I could not do anything. However, I was made aware of a different truth. I was made aware that God has given me also a life of importance. And not only life; the greatest gift God has given us is Jesus Christ’s love. Christ’s love, that caused Him to sacrifice His own life on a cross to rescue us sinful people, is the greatest gift.  

God’s only son, Jesus Christ, died for us on the cross, in order to save us from the sufferings of sin and death. Then, conquering death, He was resurrected on the third day.
esus, not dying for His own sin, was buried in a grave and raised to life on the third day, so that people who believe might be saved from the sting of sin and death. We are forgiven of our sins, and when we die we inherit eternal life with God.   

God does not think that we are small and insignificant. I understood that, to God, our existence is so important and He loves us to such an extent that He sent His only son, Jesus Christ, most important being of all, to die on the cross, to save us from the sufferings of sin and death. 

Despite us being sinners, we are forgiven by Jesus’ precious blood and drawn into the fullness of God' s love. This love of Jesus is given unconditionally to those who believe in Him, not according to their abilities and actions.

When I began to understand Jesus’ love anew, I prayed to God like this: “This sick and incurable me is nothing. I cannot do anything. I have nothing to offer to you but this life, God. I offer my life to you, Lord.”  

I thought that this sick me had nothing and could do nothing. But I learned that, since Jesus’ love was given unconditionally, to live for God and to offer our lives to God is also unconditional.

Even though you feel you do not have anything in yourself and cannot do anything by yourself, when you decide to surrender your life gladly to God, He will give you a mission only you can do, and will provide all the necessary things to do it.  

Since I decided to offer my life to God, I began to feel the mission of living as an incurable Christian, "to convey God through a life of incurable disease, and to convey the faith and hope that is developed through it."

From then on, my life changed little by little. First of all, with God's guidance, I was liberated from bedridden living after my disease was treated at the world's top hospitals. Then, thanks to God 's mysterious guidance, many churches in various places have been inviting me to their worship service and giving me opportunities to witness for God. I am truly thankful.

Right now I think that, human beings’ meaning for living is not to be decided by themselves or by others, but God who lives in us decides. Even I, with an incurable illness, have a meaning in life, because God has given me a mission. I have joy in living.
Looking back now, I think that all my frustrations, the trials of having this intractable illness, and the near-death experiences, were all God 's plan. I believe that God gifted me this incurable disease, so that I could believe in Jesus, be born again as a child of God, and fulfill my God-given mission. So, for me, this illness is a trial of grace. I have a purpose for living because I have this incurable disease.

In this way, even though I have this incurable illness, I was able to find a meaning for living. But, I was able to do so because of the hope of resurrection that Jesus gives. 

I was living in days of despair, and could not understand the purpose of life. But as I read the Bible and prayed, God revived me.

John 11:25-26 says,

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.’”

Jesus is the one who was resurrected above the power of death. He was the one victorious over the power of death. Therefore, those who believe in the restoration that Jesus gives, no matter how much they are despairing in life, can have courage even in despair because God will surely provide restoration. Even if you are in despair, it’s okay. Because God will surely give you restoration.
Even if I die young, I will be able to live for eternity with God in Heaven, restored in a glorious body, so it's okay. Eternity of fellowship with God is the greatest joy for man.

No matter what trials come my way, from the time I believed in Jesus, my revival had already begun. My body is getting weaker and weaker as I start to face death, but I am also beginning to revive to eternal life. As children of God, we can be born to eternal life.

Since I have a mission to live as an incurable Christian, I will continue to share about the awesomeness of believing in God. I do not know how much can be done in this short remaining life expectancy of 9 years. However, I pray that God can use it according to His desire until the day I am called to heaven.
Lastly, I will read Mizuno Genzo’s Christian poem. Mizuno Genzo had severe cerebral palsy, and due to this, he was not able to move his arms and legs and could not speak. However, being able to move his eyes, he would compose many poems of faith through blinking.

I will close by reading Mizuno Genzo’s poem “If There Were No Sufferings”.

“If I had not suffered, I would not have known God’s love

If many brothers and sisters had not suffered, God’s love would not have been shared

If the Lord Jesus had not suffered, God’s love would not have been made visible”