Archives For Discipleship

The Psalmists address God with the vocative form “O” in at least 100 of the Psalms (>66%):

Ps. 3:3, 7; 4:1; 5:1, 3, 8, 10; 6:1ff; 7:1, 3, 6, 8; 8:1, 9; 9:1f, 13, 19f; [7]

10:1, 12; 12:7; 13:1, 3; 16:1; 17:1, 6f, 13f; 18:1, 15, 49; 19:14; [7]

21:1; 22:3, 19; 25:1, 4, 6f, 11, 22; 26:1f, 6; 27:7, 9, 11; 28:1; [6]

30:1ff, 8, 10, 12; 31:1, 5, 9, 14, 17; 33:22; 35:1, 22, 24; 36:5ff; 38:1, 15, 21f; 39:12; [7]

40:5, 9, 11, 13; 41:10; 42:1; 43:1, 4; 44:1, 4, 23; 45:6; 48:9f; [7]

51:1, 10, 14f, 17; 54:1f, 6; 55:1, 9, 23; 56:1f, 7, 12; 57:1, 5, 7, 9, 11; 58:6; 59:3, 5, 8, 11; [7]

60:1, 10; 61:1, 5; 62:12; 63:1; 64:1; 65:1f, 5; 66:10; 67:3, 5; 68:7, 9f, 24, 28, 35; 69:1, 5f, 13, 16, 29; [10]

70:1, 5; 71:1, 5, 12, 17ff, 22; 72:1; 73:20; 74:1, 10, 18, 22; 75:1; 76:6; 77:13, 16; 79:1, 9, 12; [9]

80:3f, 7, 14, 19; 82:8; 83:1, 16; 84:1, 3, 8f, 12; 85:4, 7; 86:1ff, 6, 8f, 11f, 14f; 88:1, 13; 89:5, 8, 15, 51; [8]

90:13; 92:5, 9; 93:3, 5; 94:1, 5, 12, 18; 97:8; 99:8; [6]

101:1; 102:1, 12; 104:1, 24; 106:4, 47; 108:1, 3, 5, 11; 109:1, 21, 26; [6]

115:1; 116:4, 16; 118:25; 119:12, 31, 33, 41, 52, 55, 57, 64f, 75, 89, 107f, 137, 145, 149, 151, 156, 159, 169, 174; [4]

120:2; 123:1, 3; 125:4; 126:4; [4]

130:1, 3; 132:8; 135:13; 137:7; 138:4, 8; 139:1, 4, 17, 19, 21, 23; [6]

140:1, 4, 6ff; 141:3, 8; 142:5; 143:1, 7, 9, 11; 144:5, 9; 145:10 [6]

These Psalms have 277 verses in which the Psalmist addresses God by saying, “O . . .” These vocatives for deity occur at least 295 times in the Psalms.

This data instructs us that Christian music used to worship God should regularly use the vocative form “O” to address God.

References to the house of God, both on the earth and in heaven, abound in the Psalms. Meditating on these statements highlights the importance of worship in the life a saint of God.

Psa 5:7 But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

Psa 11:4 The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.

Psa 18:6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

Psa 20:2 Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;

Psa 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psa 26:8 LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.

Psa 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

Psa 29:9 The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.

Psa 36:8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.

Psa 42:4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.

Psa 52:8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.

Psa 55:14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

Psa 63:2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

Psa 65:4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

Psa 66:13 I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows,

Psa 68:24 They have seen thy goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary.

Psa 73:17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.

Psa 74:3 Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary.

7 They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground.

Psa 77:13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?

Psa 78:54 And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased.

69 And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.

Psa 79:1 <A Psalm of Asaph.> O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.

Psa 84:4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.

Psa 92:13 Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.

Psa 96:6 Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Psa 102:19 For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth;

Psa 118:26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.

Psa 122:1 <A Song of degrees of David.> I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.

9 Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.

Psa 134:1 <A Song of degrees.> Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.

2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD.

Psa 135:2 Ye that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God,

Psa 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

Psa 150:1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.

 

 

 

 

Lord willing, I will begin teaching a 15-week Bible college class Acceptable Music for Corporate Worship this Thursday! Through this class, I hope to disciple several Spanish students to know, understand, and do what the Bible teaches about this vital subject.

The students in this class will read the book of Psalms and La Batalla por La Música Cristiana, the Spanish translation of The Battle for Christian Music by Tim Fisher. They will memorize select passages about music, They will also write a paper on what the book of Psalms teaches about acceptable instrumental music for corporate worship.

I praise God for the opportunity to teach a college-level class on this subject!

After I was saved in 1990, I had an intense desire to read the Bible. Praise God, He has sustained that desire in me to this day in spite of my many struggles over the years.

So far, I have completed reading the Bible twice in three languages, English, biblical Greek, and Spanish. This post relates some highlights of my Bible reading in these languages.

Bible Reading in English

In my first year as a believer, I read the Bible through three times in English. Since then, I have read (or read and listened) to the entire Bible in English every year except for one year when I read the Bible through in Spanish.

In 2016, God led me to read the Bible through in 59 days, which was both very challenging and extremely profitable! This year, He directed me to do the same thing in 87 days. I am grateful to have been able to read the Bible twice each of these past two years.

Bible Reading in Biblical Greek

Over a period of a number of years, I read the entire Septaugint (canonical books only) and the Greek New Testament. After having done that, I was greatly blessed to read the entire Septuagint (canonical books only) and the Greek New Testament in 2011.

Reading the Bible in biblical Greek in one year was an immense privilege that I hope to have again in the future. The insights that God gave me into His Word through reading the Septuagint through in one year have proven to be extremely beneficial for my understanding of a number of key passages in the New Testament.

Bible Reading in Spanish

In 2014, God directed me to read the entire Reina Valera 1960 version of the Bible in Spanish. What began as incredibly hard task became much more manageable as the year progressed, praise God!

From 2014 to 2017, I have been reading the Bible in Spanish in both the Reina Valera and the La Biblia De Las Américas versions. I recently finished reading the whole Bible in the LBLA version so God has now enabled me to read the entire Bible at least twice in three different languages!

How I praise God for the glory of His Word and the matchless privilege of knowing Him through His inspired, inerrant, and infallible perfect revelation of Himself in His Word!

When 2017 began, I had no intention of trying to read through the Bible more than once in English. After finishing the Bible in English for the first time this year on July 10, my plan was to try to finish reading through the Bible in Spanish, which I had begun in 2016.

In September, however, it was arranged that I would teach (through an interpreter) a 15-week Bible class in a Spanish Bible college in Spring 2018. To prepare for that class on what the Bible teaches about acceptable music for corporate worship, I decided that I needed to read through the Bible again in the last three months of this year.

I began that second reading on October 1. I praise God that He empowered me to finish that second reading today—87 days after I had started!

Praise Glorious is a new hymnal supplement that my church Mount Calvary Baptist produced this year! I am very grateful that it includes my first published hymn O Sinner, Hear!, a song that I wrote more than 10 years ago.

This hymn has been sung in several churches, including as a special at my church. The hymn highlights how God wants all mankind to hear His urgent message to repent and turn to Him because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through the Man whom He raised from the dead and has appointed to be the Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 17:30-31).

Adult Beginning Guitar Class!

December 16, 2017

Lord willing, I will be teaching an adult beginning guitar class for Majesty Music Academy in Spring 2018. If you know of anyone in the Greenville, SC area who might be interested in learning guitar by enrolling in a guitar class, please let them know about this opportunity.

I wonder how many believers may have “desensitized” their inner man to one degree or another to the awe that God wants them to have about the true supernatural works of Jesus and other servants of God because they have filled their minds with fictitious accounts and images of imaginary “superheroes.” Has immersion in fictitious superhero accounts hurt many believers?

In an extended parable, God remarks on the heartlessness of people who fail to give newborn children the proper compassionate care that they should receive:

Eze 16:4 And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.

 5 None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.

 6  And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.

This passage makes clear that God wants compassionate care given to newborn babies so that they would live. When such care is not given to them, it reveals the heartlessness of those who refuse to pity them and have compassion on them.

Arguing from the lesser to the greater, how much more heartless is it not just to fail to give compassionate care to newborns but also to take steps to kill them. In the same way, aborting an unborn baby displays the heartlessness of those who put to death a human being who is helpless, innocent, and undeserving of such inhuman treatment.

O God, please bring to an end the heartlessness of abortion and infanticide. Have mercy on these helpless babies. Work in the hearts of those who are doing these heartless things so that they will repent and believe in your Son.

Come quickly, O Christ, for the sake of these who are being mercilessly slaughtered. Hear their cries, O Father.

 

 

 

 

My life is a testimony to God’s providential leading. My father produced television commercials in Japan, and my mother was a copywriter. From my childhood, my parents were interested in me going into some sort of show business. Even before entering elementary school, my mother enrolled me in piano, Kabuki dance (a traditional Japanese dance form), acting, and ballet lessons. I especially liked ballet–if you can believe it!

In addition to all those lessons, I also received roles in television dramas and commercials. I had a very busy childhood. Everyone expected me to go into show business, and I worked hard to achieve show business success. God, however, had a different and far better plan for me.

My father was a self-declared atheist and my mother was a Shinto/Buddhist (a typical Japanese family). Never once during my childhood did I ever meet a Christian or even see a copy of the Bible. At one point, I thought the Bible was a magical book that only priests could read. However, I knew quite confidently that there must be a God. Lessons from nature and history taught me that.

The thought of God’s existence always made me uncomfortable because I also knew that I was a sinner and somehow knew that God was angry with me. The frustration of a guilty conscience grew heavier as I grew older, and this in turn led me into deeper sin and into self-hatred. God was gracious and although I didn’t yet know it, had a plan to rescue me from my miserable state.

At the age of 15, God led me to the island of Guam to attend high school. This move was precipitated by a long series of events over a period of years, and if even one of these events had been altered, I would not have made the move. My ballet teacher and her family had moved to Guam, and they invited me to come with them since they knew me as one of their sons and they knew that I was looking for a high school to attend. My parents were convinced that it would be good for me to go outside Japan for high school to better learn English and to start a new life.

My parents and I looked at every private school on the island. All of them were either Catholic or liberal Episcopalian, and all of them had a full enrollment for the upcoming year. The last place we visited was Harvest Christian Academy. This was our last choice because we didn’t like the idea of attending a “Christian” school and somehow Baptist sounded more “seriously Christian” than Catholic. Harvest Academy had one opening for a 10th-grade boy, and we had no choice but to accept.

The excitement of attending Harvest started while the filling out of the application. The first question was “What is your religion?” I was startled. No one had ever asked me that question before. I looked at my mother and asked, “What is my religion?” She thought a little and then said, “Just put down Buddhist.” It is not that unusual to be a Buddhist at Harvest, since Guam is a melting pot of different Asian cultures and religions and the school exists for mission outreach, but I was marked by teachers and administrators from the beginning.

My first year at Harvest was difficult. I didn’t know how to behave, and for once, I couldn’t get away with all the mischievous things that I used to do behind my teachers’ backs. I frequently ended up in the principal’s office, and my name was often mentioned in faculty meetings (so the principal has since told me). I felt caged and miserable. Because of my limited English, classes were difficult–Spanish class was the worst–and I could not converse with my classmates.

Thankfully, there was one boy, Ryan Izumihara, in my class who could speak Japanese. Since he was the only one I could speak to, we talked a lot and became best friends. Ryan had been saved the year before, and he had presented the Gospel to me and talked about how it had changed his life. We would often argue about religion, and I would tell him that I believed in UFOs, reincarnation, and the mystical nature of our afterlife.

One day Ryan told me, “Yoh, I just want to tell you that you are my good friend, and I want you to go to Heaven. I want to see you there too.” By that time, I had begun to admire and even envy Christians for their joyfulness and peace, so it was easy for me to respond to that invitation. After chapel that day, I responded to the invitation, trusted Christ, and began living a new life. From that day forward, God has continued to show me the greatness of His grace.

The preaching and Christian fellowship in Guam helped nurture my love for God. During my senior year, I learned about baptism and desired to testify publicly my love for Jesus. My baptism brought about great trials in my life. When my parents learned of it, they thought that they had lost their only son to a cult, and they tried everything in their power to pull me away from Christianity. They even considered bringing me back to Japan in the middle of my senior year.

In time, they relented and allowed me to finish at Harvest, but they absolutely condemned the idea of me attending a Christian university like Bob Jones. I persistently pleaded with them, and tried to be the best possible testimony to them. Eventually they relented and promised that I could attend Bob Jones if I would first go for two years to a conservatory in Japan (they were hoping that I would change my mind).

I auditioned for a small, private conservatory started by a famous Kabuki actor, and I was one of four students accepted. Although my major emphasis was ballet, I also had to take voice lessons. I have always loved singing. In fact, my elementary school teachers would often write on my report cards, “Yoh loves to sing–loud.” Taking voice lessons was a dream come true. Learning to sing loudly for a long time without hurting my voice was exhilarating (I didn’t yet care about sounding beautiful). Singing was more enjoyable and less strenuous than ballet, so I changed my major to musical theater.

Contrary to my parent’s expectations, my determination to come to Bob Jones University did not wane. I had planned to major in math at BJU, since I obviously was not going to be able to study Kabuki or ballet, but now I determined to major in voice performance. My parents seemed pleased with that choice and decided to come with me to BJU to see what kind of place this “Fundamentalist Christian University” was. After seeing the beautiful campus and the well-dressed friendly people, my mom was convinced that she could entrust her son to this school.

In fact, the Lord used the visit to begin to soften my mom’s heart to the Gospel. That fall we prayed for my mother nearly every night in my prayer group, and on Christmas day, she responded to an invitation at Harvest Baptist and trusted Christ as her true God and Savior. She has grown in grace through many different trials, and I can boldly say that now I have a Christian mother.

During my senior year at BJU, the Lord directed me in another marvelous way. My plans were to audition for a conservatory after graduation and to pursue a professional singing career. That fall while on a choir tour, we received news that Dr. Bob Jr. had passed away. I knew that he was a very talented actor and poet but that his real passion was for preaching the Gospel. The Lord spoke to my heart and during Dr. Bob’s funeral service, I dedicated myself to the Gospel ministry, and then I enrolled in the Master of Divinity program.

My father passed away during the first semester of my graduate study, causing greater financial need. As my graduate work progressed, I greatly desired a position as a teaching assistant, so that I could study languages and prepare for comprehensive exams in the summers. Eventually the Lord provided me with a teaching assistant position in the Division of Music. This provided for my financial needs and gave me an opportunity to experience the joy of helping to equip Christian young people to better serve the Lord.

I finished my Master of Divinity and my doctorate at BJU and then thought about returning to Japan to help train Japanese pastors for the ministry. After having been at Bob Jones University for ten years, I was looking forward to passing on to others what the Lord had taught me there.

Instead, I went to Singapore as a missionary replacement for Dr. Steve Reynolds for a year. I stayed on after the Reynolds returned as his assistant pastor and a teacher at Asian Baptist School. After being in Singapore for 3.5 years, the Lord led me back to Guam in 2010 to teach at Harvest Baptist Bible College where I currently serve as the dean of academic affairs and the mission’s pastor for Harvest Baptist Church.