Dear brothers and sisters,
Praise the Lord for not grasping his rights and privileges as God, but instead, for our sake, He emptied himself of His rights for the interest of others. (Philippians 2:5-8)
(The picture to the left is a few of our children from church) Because of our fallenness, we Christians are always to be reminded to include "biblical love" in our Christian celebrations. I know people who celebrate Christmas, inconveniencing themselves for the interest of others. Yes, they may have a dinner and decorations but their celebrations are marked by "loving like Jesus did." The giving up of their privileges, possessions and joyful sacrifice for the hard to love are the true light. Brothers and sisters, let's include real love, sacrificial love, Christian love in this and all our celebrations, and I pray that this Christmas celebration we will empty ourselves of our rights, possessions, privileges and will sacrifice joyfully for the sake of others as our Lord taught us and expects from his servants. If the light of our sacrifice during Christmas were shinier than the tree bulbs, what glory we would bring to the Father!
Two weeks ago, after I left our prayer meeting in the community center that our church rents, I saw a mother wrestling with her mentally disabled girl at the entrance. Some people were annoyed at the noise so she took her out. I started praying for them in the hall asking God to heal her and for God to give us a chance to share the Gospel with disabled people.
Also, a man that we evangelized at the hospital years ago suddenly contacted me to express his desire to attend our church this Sunday. Please join us in prayer for him; he is planning to come with his mentally disabled son and his wife. God's mercy is abundant.
In Japan there is a culture of shame surrounding disabled people. There are more than 36 million people with a physical disability, 5 million people with intellectual disabilities, and 32 million people with mental illnesses. In total, roughly 6% of Japan’s population is living with some form of disability.
Help us praying that our Lord finds our hearts with the kind of humility that will move us to show the love of God to disabled people, with faith, joy and not by obligation
This week while reading Luke, chapter 14 was a good encouragement to seek rewards in heaven and not the rewards of man.
"He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you" (Luke 14:12-14).
Thank you for loving God, his people and Japan through your prayers and support. Please pray for the tracts we will be distributing during Christmas (pictured in box).
Have a merry, sacrificial, and joyful Christmas!
Sincerely, Luis, Nicola, Rohan, Lorien & Erendir