Dear brothers and sisters,
Beginning in January I started reading the Gospels again. Some one said a long time ago, â€œWhen I remember John 14:12, I feel like reading the Gospels again so I can know what Jesus did and said.â€ I feel that way sometimes. So I started into the Gospels.
Jesus called us as light and salt but what did He really mean?
I wondered again even though I read those scriptures many times. It seems like we have been given some privilege from Him to be used for the benefit of people around us.
People definitely need light and salt to live and of course they are good things.
“let your light shine that…” This seems like we are not light; instead it seems like there is light and salt in us.
The light may be Jesus Who is in us. So, to let your light shine and to be salt to the people is that He has something for us to do so that people around us may start wanting to know Jesus.
I wonder if the people around me want to know Jesus by knowing me?
Or if I am just stepped on without any saltiness?
I am confident that whenever we are following Him, we are being used by Jesus for peopleâ€™s salvation in many ways.
Romans3:11 â€œ…there is no one who seeks God…â€
I remember this scripture often when I travel in Japan. I feel sad. There are so many gods all over Japan and people worship them everywhere. And there are only few people who know Jesus among them.
Psalm10:4 â€œIn his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.â€
That was me. That was exactly the way I thought. I didnâ€™t have any room for the true God.
It was nothing but His grace and mercy that saved such a man as I was. “Thank You, Jesus.”
This is why I donâ€™t want to forget what I used be like before I became a believer in Jesus. Whenever I remember this, I am once again filled with His compassion for those people who donâ€™t have any room for Him. He energizes me to keep traveling around Japan to sing about Jesus to them.
So today I will write about how He first turned my heart toward seeking Him. I remember some of the people He used in the very beginning.
In 1973 I was living in Nashville, Tennessee. There was a house on Capers Avenue near Vanderbuilt University. About a dozen young men were living there together.
I was invited to live there that summer. I was a naÃ¯ve and ignorant young man. I never had time to think about a subject like “reason and purpose of life” in my whole life. I was just trying to do what I liked to do.
As soon as I got to the house I felt right away, â€œThis is a religious place.” Hangings on the wall surely made me think so and whenever we ate together, we held hands and they prayed. I still remember an incident when one of the young men got injured at his work. We were all called to the living room and they prayed for the man. “I donâ€™t like this,” I said to myself, “well, I will tolerate it because my guts are stronger than their religion and the rent is cheap.”
Around that time in the United States, there were hippies everywhere who were trying to live their own versions of the â€œlove and peaceâ€ lifestyle. Kennedy’s assassination was still fresh in people’s memories and young men were being drafted to fight in Vietnam. And immorality was everywhere with the result that many people’s lives were in a mess.
In the fear and pressure which came as a result of so much loss of life in Vietnam, many seemed to think there was nothing left in which to trustâ€”no security to be found where their hearts found it before. The weariness of life pushed many young people to drugs and sex. It seems to me that whole situation gave them a chance to think to decide what they really wanted. I think it was sad to see what they decided. However, I think it was a very important opportunity for them to realize that each has to make one’s own decisions.
No one can decide for them. I think that the Lord gave them that chance at that time. They didnâ€™t find answers in drugs and sex after all and then they heard the Good News of Jesus. He spoke to them and they responded to Him.
One day during my Capers House days, I decided to spend some time with those boys and so I went with them to church.
I was shocked. The church was jam packed with hippies. I saw some non-hippies but most of them seemed like hippies. The church seated about 500-600 people and it was packed. Since we arrived at the church late we only could stand in the very back of the worship hall. All the pews were full. The two aisles were taken by young people sitting on the floor with no space in between. Not only that, many people were sitting on chairs on the stage where the preacher was. I guess the preacher had a space of two feet square to turn his face.
“What is this?” It was a great shock to me. I was knocked out by the excitement people had for something. “Are these people obsessed with a cult?” No, they were seeking the loving Creator.
This incident was one of the things which actually caused me to think about life in a new way.
“Is it true that there is a creator of all things?” I thought to myself. “Or it is just made-up story? Iâ€™ve never heard of such a thing.”
I never had a time to think like this in my life. I struggled in my mind for a long time. I didnâ€™t have any desire to join this group, however, I thought to myself that if there is a creator, I surely wanted to know about it.
Well, that is all for today. To be continued…