18 May 2015

Smiling is My Exercise

The 20 or so students were divided by skill level so that four or five were grouped together with a"teacher" around a table.  It was a Conversational English class and the topic was "exercise".  After some discussion around the tables,  one student was chosen to give a brief oral report to the room.  One mature woman,  stately dressed, who carried herself with elegance, produced giggles throughout the room when she shared her exercise routine of "smiling".

She went on to explain, with gentle humor, how she once did other things,  but due to chronic hip pain,  she simply could not move well anymore,  so she makes her smile purposeful,  so that others will smile as well.  She wants to bring joy to those around her.

At the break she and I were talking. Holy Spirit led our chat. I shared the love of Jesus and His desire for her healing.  With her permission,  and a touch of my hand,  I commanded healing in her hip ~ in Jesus'name.  With eyes the size of dinner plates, and amazement in her voice,  she said, "Jesus NAME? JESUS name?"  In her excitement she stated that her pain was gone. The leader was calling us to order, we hugged and returned to our seats.  After class,  we met again.  She thanked me repeatedly,  hugged me a couple of times before we left.  I never got the opportunity to ask if she knew Jesus.

This I know for sure,  she knows He loves her.

This is the same class that my friend has been teaching with for a long time and the leader has repeatedly told her she cannot talk about religion. 
She doesn't. She talks about Jesus.

We had some time and this same leader asked if I would share about myself and why I came to Japan ~ because many were interested.  As I stepped to the front of the room,  the presence of the Lord manifested and the atmosphere changed.   It was one of those moments of emboldenment when Holy Spirit takes over your mouth and you are listening with the rest of the room.

It wasn't that what came out of my mouth was wonderfully profound.  
It was not. 

Since first coming to Japan,  many,  MANY,  well meaning missionaries have cautioned me about being too direct.  That's not the culture.  Each time I've been told to temper my witness of Christ,  a righteous indignation would burst up from deep within me,  like oil will flame when it drips into the fire.  I'm not exactly known for being loud and overbearing,  but neither am I timid about my Lord and the abundant life He came to give.  I'm saddened that people come to a nation as carriers of the hope of Glory, then allow the ruler of this world to hide it from those who long for it the most.

What came out of my mouth, as I stood before a room filled with spiritually hungry people, was an overwhelming unction from the Holy One ~ to share who I am and Whose I am. I listened as the joy that floods my soul came bubbling out of my mouth,  exclaiming to those present that Jesus Christ is the Lord of my life and I have come so that the people of Japan can have an encounter with Him.

No one was angry or offended.  No one avoided me when class was over. The leader invited me back.

One person commented that I sounded "so happy".

Japan has been a nation of people, often,  very often,  entrenched in an empty sadness that goes beyond what words can explain. Hope has been deferred amid the oppressive weight of uniformity, obligation and materialism. Hope deferred makes the heart sick,  but desire realized is a tree of life.

Jesus is the desire of the nations.   

Be encouraged today.  As Holy Spirit goes with you to confirm His word with signs and wonders,  it has never been the lost,  lonely and needy that persecuted the gospel. The poor in spirit know they have need and long for their empty hearts to be filled. They will receive Christ in you because they recognize the hope of Glory. Invite Holy Spirit to surprise you as you yield to Him today.

Smile, speak to and touch,  the one in front of you. Step up to the front of the class, and open your mouth wide. He will fill it with that with which He has filled your heart ~ compassion,  mercy and grace.

Do not fear,  the Lord is with you.

We are those that turn the world upside down!

It's not going to flip until until we jump on the edge and bounce it out of its comfort zone!

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