Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Are You Feeling Bruised by Life?

Dear Friends,

A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench. ~ Isaiah 42:3

You would think that the bruises the Saviour endured on earth would have crushed the spirit right out of Him.  But God helped Him.  “Behold!  My Servant whom I uphold” (v.1), He said.  Jehovah will not allow His bruised reeds to be broken or smoking flax to be quenched (see v.3).  “He will not fail nor be discouraged” (v.4).

There is no question about it.  On the cross our Saviour was bruised and battered beyond measure, and His light was almost extinguished by the deluge of our sin, but He was never broken beyond mending.  What a tender Word this is!

The reed or calamus plant has a hollow stem and grows by the sides of lakes and rivers.  It was used for making music or fashioned into pens for writing.  It is weak, fragile, and brittle.  It is easily snapped by the foot of a wild beast, by the wind, or even by a bird that lights upon it.  Once it is broken it is of no use whatsoever.  Other stems can be mended, but not the reed.

Jesus was bruised but never broken.  Jehovah looked at His precious, bruised One and said, “I must mend this reed.  It was meant for music!”  He saw His Son as smoking flax upon the cross.  He placed His hands around His flickering life and gently blew the flame of the Resurrection light alive again.

Are you bruised?  Do you feel like a flickering wick, about to go out?  Listen to the promise of Jehovah: “Bruised but never broken”!  Dare to believe it!

Trusting in His Promises,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Time Will Come When There Will Be Justice

Dear Friends,

I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. ~ Isaiah 42:1

What is God’s elected Servant sent to accomplish?  The work Jehovah intends has to do with judging the behavior of the people of the earth.  He is going to establish justice on the earth.

Now none of us can argue against the fact that justice is the principal need of mankind!  “Justice for all,” preach the political candidates.  “Attend to the poor,” plead the social workers.  “Deal with corruption,” cry oppressed minorities.  If only people would do what is just, good, and right, instead of that which is popular, profitable, and easy, then our old world would be a better place!  The world has almost given up hope for a kingdom wherein rightness reigns.

The Servant undertook to meet this great need of the world, coming to earth and explaining quietly and confidently - “He will not cry out, nor raise His voice” (v.2) - that He had come to bring a work of rightness and salvation to the hearts of all people by a gentle inward and spiritual method.  Christ’s ministry was unhysterical, humble, and quiet.  John Calvin said, “He did not boast or forbid people to publish His message.”

God dressed His Servant in His own Spirit and sent Him forth.  “I have put My Spirit upon Him” (v.1), He said.  God’s sweet spirit of rule and judgment, with all His efficiency and authority, belongs to Christ.  The Spiritual endowment for the work required is His, and God’s immediate assistance is promised.

No wonder ‘the coastlands (a poetic expression for distant nations) shall wait for His law” (Is. 42:4).


Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine

Friday, May 13, 2011

Prayers for Japan

Here is a firsthand account of what’s happening in Japan by one of our JBU family – Ayako Kawasaki, a Japanese pastor’s wife there who also launched a website (JBU Japan) and is a dear friend of JBU. Please read her blog prayerfully and remember her regularly and those suffering in Japan in your prayers.

~ Jill Briscoe

Dear Sisters in Christ,
Two months have passed since the strongest earthquake hit of 11. Thank you for your concerns and prayers for Japan during these difficult
days. I don’t know how many times I have been weeping from both sorrow
and joy...hearing orphans' voices, experiencing scary aftershocks, reading
testimonies from churches, seeing how people are helping each other,
and sensing God’s hands at work here.
As you may know, the situation is still unstable especially around the
Fukushima nuclear plants. Radiation has leaked to some
extent from the plant. In Tokyo, vegetables and water were
polluted by such substances. Farmers had to stop shipping them and
infants had to avoid drinking Tokyo water, which is usually safe for
them. There are over 10,000 dead and nearly 20,000 still missing.
Please pray for the elderly and the handicapped and for the people
from abroad who can’t understand Japanese well. Sometimes it’s
inconvenient for them to get information and supplies.
Please pray that we can also help and provide for their needs.
Many people are staying at shelters. Members of Fukushima First Bible
Baptist Church, nearest to the nuclear plant, had to evacuate more
than 30 km from their hometown, without carrying anything with them.
They don’t know when or if they will be back and whether the church will be
opened again. But there is good news. Since the quake, some of the
members’ families have accepted Jesus Christ. One new believer has worked
at the nuclear plant and he is still working at that dangerous place. Thank God that He has provided all the needs of the members of that church so far.
Some local governments have offered housing for the victims. For
example, Osaka Prefecture has prepared 10,000 rooms (most of them are
public apartments), so that people can move and begin new lives.
Churches and volunteers are also offering rooms to stay, but the victims are
not always open to the idea.
One of the reasons is because they don’t want to leave their communities. In the
Tohoku area, the community is really strong. A community leader
even said, “Once you forsake your community to go somewhere, you will never
be accepted as our friend.” 
Another reason is that their families are still missing. In
traditional Japanese custom, the body/bones are very important. People
believe that the dead have to be cautiously buried in tombs,
otherwise he/ she will have pain or lose ways to enter heaven.
Without funerals and regular ceremonies, they feel that their loved ones
will continue suffering forever. This is why the Japanese never give up
looking for the missing after many days of accidents and disasters. In
Japanese religious customs it’s not just for their memorials, but also
for the sake of the missing themselves.
Please pray that the survivors are comforted even if they won’t be
able to find their missing loved ones. They are struggling with guilt. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTS) seems to be spreading among many Japanese. They are not the only victims, the rescue workers and ordinary people who were
shocked to watch the Tsunami and the devastated scenes on TV are also experiencing this. Here in the Kansai area, many are experiencing flashbacks of the Kobe earthquake (1995).
I think suicide will be a more serious problem, too. Even last year,
over 30,000 committed suicide in this country. When people lose hope
for the future, followed by depression, tiny things trigger suicides.
So you can imagine how dangerous this situation is.
Recently a farmer in Tohoku killed himself because he had no hope
to ship vegetables to the markets again. Please pray that people will
continue to have hope to survive. Pray that they will know that Jesus
loves them so much and they are of great worth in His eyes.
Christian networks have worked well. We are getting lots of
information from them. Many supplies and donations have been sent through
such networks. Each of the churches and Christian organizations respect one
another and are cooperating well. I believe that this will lead to revival
in Japan. There has never been such a time in Japan where so many Christians all over
the world have focused on praying for the Tohoku area. Jesus is weeping
with us, and He will never forsake us.
“...Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love
into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us (Rom 5:5).”
In Christ,
Ayako Kawasaki

PLEASE continue to pray for the church in Japan as they deal with this tragedy, pray for Aayko, her family and their ministry to the hurting, and for all of the men, women, boys, and girls have been touched by this terrible event. Pray that God would bring glory out of the ashes and that many would come to His saving love as a result of this tragedy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Teaching Your Kids to Pray

Dear Friends,

Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. ~ 1 Samuel 12:23

“I’ve figured out why my attitude towards school has changed-it’s because I’m praying about it,” our daughter informed us at supper.  “School’s the same, but I’m different,” she added.  Prayer changes things, and prayer changes people!
Our youngest said he needed praying for, too.  “What for?” we inquired, pleased that he would ask.  “Pray I get first chair clarinet,” Pete requested earnestly.  “But you never practice,” I protested.  “I wouldn’t need to pray if I practiced!” he retorted.  We needed to explain a few prayer rules to Pete, and to encourage Judy in her growing experience of intercession.  Through the years Stuart and I have counted it a priority not only to pray for our children, but to make sure they knew we were praying for them.
Samuel made sure the children of Israel knew he was praying for them, and that was important to them.  But by far the most important thing we can do for our children is to help them develop a real prayer life for themselves.  Somehow we have to help them catch the importance of praying for themselves rather than leaving it all up to Mom and Dad.
My kids consider Mom to be the pray-er in the family and I’m honored they should think that way; but I know I have failed them if I have not taught them how to become pray-ers in their own right.  After all, I will not be around forever!
Still Praying,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor