Nagoya and Matthew 24.

So one of the long-term options I’m praying about at the moment is doing some more postgrad-type study in Japan after I finish my MTh. And there are a few potential places that are on my ‘maybe’ list for considering, Nagoya University of Education being one of them. So today, as it’s only a 35 minute Shinkansen ride from Hamamatsu, it was time to check out Nagoya.

I actually feel like a proper tourist. Because despite the checking-out-mentality of today’s trip, I also switched off my brain for a good portion of time and spent the afternoon doing touristy things like visiting the aquarium, and the gardens and checking out the views from tall buildings around the city.

Wonderful.

It was a perfect day for it actually. Yesterday it rained. A lot. And then some. Bizarre Japanese rain though, which is warm and I don’t mind half as much as Scottish freezing-cold rain. However, today was gloriously sunny and perfect for being outside in.

So check out some of the highlights from my Nagoyan experiences πŸ˜‰

I’d had one of those distracted periods in my devotional time this morning. The ones where you just can’t seem to focus your thoughts properly or hear what God is saying in the Word, and so I’d actually been really praying on the train ride back from Nagoya that He would really keep me sensitive to Him and speak clearly to me.

And I love how God is so faithful when we ask.

Always faithful.

As I was walking back from the train station I had my iTunes on a random playlist, including my audio Bible, and Matthew 24 came on just as I was heading out of the town centre. And this is a passage I know well, but there’s something about hearing the Word spoken out loud that I think is very powerful. And so this passage is Jesus speaking to His disciples; all about the signs of the end times, the persecution of the people of God, the deception of many, and the epic-warning to keep watch.

I was so struck by the way this passage changes everything if we really take it on board.

Doesn’t it?
You can’t live the same if you believe the words of Jesus here.

If Jesus is really coming back if affects us now. If as Christians, we are going to be persecuted and hated by the world, it changes our security and identity, if there is a great shaking of the world here now and coming quickly, it changes what we invest our time and life and money into, if the most important thing is watching for Him, it takes our gaze and our fascination off the lesser treasures of this world. 

It changes us.

And I was struck again, that giving up the things the world values most, for the sake of Christ, is really no sacrifice at all when you look at it through the real, eternal eyes of fire that Jesus will judge us through. Because money, and beauty, and intellect, and popularity… They won’t last in eternal terms. They are not the strong foundations to build a life on. But how quickly we can fall into believing they are!!

Right after that chapter finished playing, the song ‘Fill Me Up’ came on, sung by Kim Walker-Smith. For me, this was the perfect response to the challenge of Matthew 24.

You provide the fire. I’ll provide the sacrifice. You provide Your Spirit. And I will open up inside. Fill me up.

Because that’s what it all comes down to. I want to be a burning and a shining lamp at the end of the age. More than I want to be rich, or smart, or pretty, or liked. And if He will provide the fire. I will give Him everything and nothing withhold.

Wow. I love hearing from God.

Now tomorrow I am cooking English food for the American/Japanese household that I am presently living with. They are highly intrigued by the cuisine of a country that deep-fries chocolate and eats potatoes as the staple to every meal. So hopefully by the next time I blog I will have been able to make them steak pie and some kind of pudding… We’ll see if the Japanese supermarket down the road will be able to assist me tomorrow!!

 

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