Friday, June 14, 2019

Forgive Them

 Forgive Them

                                               Luke 23:34
. . . Father, forgive them . . .

On December 7, 1941, Mitsuo Fuchida of the Imperial Japanese Naval Air Force led a mission of surprise to destroy the United States’ Pacific Fleet on the islands of Hawaii. Mitsuo, with 179 fighter planes behind him cried, “Tora, Tora, Tora!” as they attacked the mighty fleet of American ships. In less than two hours, over 3,077 American Navy personnel lost their lives or were missing and 150 planes were destroyed.

Mitsuo would live through two narrow escapes. An emergency appendectomy put him in the ship’s hospital where he was ordered to stay. Disobeying this order, Mitsuo walked out of the ship’s hospital to the top deck. The Battle of Midway was unfolding before his eyes. Within seconds, the enemy planes blew a hole in the hospital side of the ship. All were lost. On August 5, 1945, Mitsuo left Hiroshima for a military conference. Several hours after his departure, America dropped the atomic bomb on this city. Devastation and bitterness filled Mitsuo’s heart.

After the war, Mitsuo was handed a tract that read, “I Was a Prisoner of Japan.” The pamphlet was written about a man named Jake DeShazer, who in the revenge of what had happened at Pearl Harbor, participated in an attack on Tokyo. He was captured in battle, put into a prisoner of war camp and brutally mistreated. He began to hate everything and everyone Japanese. While in captivity, he was given a Bible. As he read the Bible, he realized that Jesus Christ was his only hope. Jake DeShazer had gone from hating the Japanese to becoming a missionary in Japan. 

Mitsuo, now filled with hatred for America would experience God’s amazing Grace. He was given a Bible and soon would trust in Christ. Through the providence of God, Jake DeShazer and Mitsuo Fuchida would meet. They lovingly forgave one another, as God in Christ had forgiven them and became friends (Ephesians 4:32). Only God can mend the heart of man and create in him the joy and peace of forgiveness.

Lord, forgive me as I forgive them.

Friday, June 7, 2019

God's Purpose

God’s Purpose 
Ruth 4:1-10

God’s plan for Ruth and Boaz is in full bloom. A public sale is being held in the marketplace at the gate of the city of Bethlehem. Is the property that belonged to Naomi and Ruth going to the highest bidder? According to the law, lost property could be redeemed by a near kinsman or relative, providing that he could meet the demands of the debt. The widow too could be redeemed if the near relative was able and willing to take her as his wife. These two things were on the action block––Naomi’s property and Ruth’s widowhood––were up for sale and in need of a redeemer. 

What a long night, it must have been for poor Ruth waiting for the one who would redeem her. Imagine the fears, the questions that came to her mind, and the overwhelming debt that was on her. Boaz met Ruth’s nearer Kinsman face to face and asked, “Can you redeem Ruth, and will you do so?” The nearer kinsman said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance.” He was unwilling or unable to redeem her––how Ruth’s heart must have sung out in joy to know that the one that loved her would redeem her. Boaz called a public meeting and counted out the money to pay the debt, receiving the title to the property and immediately wedding bells were ringing for the poor servant girl, Ruth.

The love story of Ruth is a wonderful picture of Christ and His redemptive purpose. As Christians, we have so many fears about life and death that our hearts become overwhelmed at times. What about the debt we owe to God for our great sin? Who is our “nearer kinsman?” Who will pay the debt we owe for the countless sins charged to our account? Only Jesus Christ can fulfill all the requirements as our kinsman-redeemer in His finished work on the Cross. The debt is paid, all our sin is forgiven. Oh, praise His glorious name!

Lord, Your gift of salvation is wondrous.