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Month: July 2015

2. “I’ll quit if I have to go back!”

Grace Breakthrough at 30,000 feet
Photo Credit: Elena Photo via Canva

Grace Breakthrough at 30,000 Feet

Have you ever felt like giving up?

Have you ever wanted to change your circumstances or get out of them?

Have you looked for advice to go along with your line of “escape-to-better-circumstances” thinking?

Ever wonder what grace breakthrough you would miss if you did leave your uncomfortable circumstances?

Emotionally burned out after leading a church in Aomori City, Japan for a year, I was done, finished with Aomori! I was tired of struggling on in the work with little or no results, tired of dealing with the mentally ill, criticism and difficult relationships. The missionaries who were in charge came back from Home Assignment. I went back to the States for a 5-week vacation.

How great it was to feel the refreshing, restoring love and understanding of family and friends! Everyone I talked with agreed that I shouldn’t go back to Aomori. Yes, change to more congenial and supportive surroundings.

OMF mission leaders agreed a change was possible. This would be discussed after I returned to Japan.

Boarding the plane to return to Japan, in true Jonah-style I said to myself, “I will not go back to work in Aomori. I’ll quit OMF if I have to go back.” That’s how negative I was about Aomori.  I could not face the thought of going back to the isolation, loneliness and general gloomy and depressing atmosphere I felt in Aomori. (You’d agree with me, too, right?)

Over an hour into the flight, we experienced the worst turbulence I’ve ever felt. I really didn’t think we were going to make it to Japan. I didn’t get thrown out of the plane and swallowed by a great fish, but I did do some serious thinking and praying.

I realized I had not asked the Lord to show me His will about my return to Aomori. I had simply accepted the advice that I wanted to hear. Well, we had a grace breakthrough at about 30,000 feet. By that I mean my Lord won the argument, and I agreed to go back to Aomori. Funny how that happens!

Gradually my attitude toward Aomori changed. By the time I was on the train, almost “home,” my heart was full of joy, excitement and praise to God. Encountering God and following Him gives great joy and contentment in any situation.

The circumstances didn’t change. I still struggled with discouragement and depression. But I found my Father and His grace to be enough to meet all my needs and to satisfy my heart.

And then about four months after my return to Aomori, something happened that made me so glad that I had not gone someplace else. God had a major blessing coming that I would have missed if I had moved to more comfortable circumstances.

Have you ever stayed in a situation that was difficult for you, and then later you were glad that you did? Tell me about it in the contact form or by email to christine@gracebreakthroughs.com.

Please go to the next day as another amazing grace breakthrough happens–in the older Japanese sister’s life.

3. Grace Heals a Heart

Heart Healing

Photo Credit: Photocreo via Canva

Have you been wounded by what’s been done to you?

Do you deeply regret what you have done to hurt someone else?

Either way can leave you feeling shame, handicapped and unable to move forward to live a meaningful life.

Grace can heal your heart.

The following true story is told from the perspective of the older Japanese sister.

“Hello, my name is Yumi. I am from the Tokyo area but my family transferred to Aomori because of my husband’s job. I like to laugh and talk with friends so I was able to make new friends after we moved to Aomori. I met other mothers at a play group for young children at the church.

One of the missionaries wanted me to study the Bible with her. We did a couple times but I didn’t feel I could measure up to what the missionary was like. She was a good mother and seemed to do everything right.

Over Winter Vacation my daughter Chieko studied the Bible with another missionary, Chris. Chieko had many questions and went to church on Sunday on her own even though she was only in 5th grade.

Chris came to my house with Chieko. We began to talk. She invited me to an English class movie. I decided to go.

I had no idea how that movie would affect me. I started crying and couldn’t stop. I couldn’t tell Chris why I was crying. I felt so awful and so ashamed because of what I had done. I couldn’t tell anyone.

Then Chris invited me to the women’s Bible class. I went a couple times, but I was still feeling really awful. I had a secret and I didn’t want anyone to know about it.

Then on February 14th I again went to the Bible class. Chris spoke about John 3 and being born again. The other missionary, Mr. Payne, was there, too. Chris asked if anyone wanted to believe. I did so they prayed for me. I have never been the same since. I felt God’s presence and knew that my sin was forgiven. My heart was filled with joy. I was forgiven!

Later I told Chris my story. The movie we saw was called “The Hiding Place.” A Dutch family hid Jews in their home during World War II. They were caught and all were put in a concentration camp run by the Nazis. All but one of the family died in the camp.

As I was watching this movie, the truth hit me. I was like the Nazis because I had killed my unborn baby. I had an abortion because having a baby then was not convenient. Oh, how I regretted that decision! I suffered and my heart was pained, but I couldn’t change what I had done. Then when I believed, I knew God forgave me. I’m free! I’m not bound up by that sin anymore.

I had other hurts in my heart, too. When Chris and I got together, I would cry and cry. Sometimes I didn’t even know where the pain or tears were coming from, but I cried my heart out. God in His grace was healing my heart. I am so grateful for His forgiveness and working in my heart. I am free!

Tomorrow my sister will tell you her story. This is going to amaze you!”

Do you have secrets and hurts in your heart that you need to grieve? Pour out your heart to the Lord. Then talk with someone you can trust. Grace will heal your heart. If you were sinned against or if you sinned, Jesus’ blood covers all.

Don’t let secrets or past sin rob you of the life that Jesus died to give you.

Don’t allow the crippling power of shame keep you from the healing community of your brothers and sisters in the Lord.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16a).

Abba Father, walk my friend who is reading this into your amazing grace and love. Cause their heart to open to You. Heal their heart with your grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

 

 

4. The Lord Jesus Shows Up!

Amazing Grace

Photo  Credits: Elena Photo and Ariwasabi via Canva

Usually when we say the Lord showed up, we mean He did something for us and we know it was He doing it. This grace breakthrough story takes Jesus showing up to a whole new level!

For decades an amazing phenomenon has been taking place in countries where missionaries cannot openly share the gospel. People without knowledge of the gospel and who do not know any Christians have had dreams or visions of Jesus Christ that have transformed their lives. I heard a missionary speak about this and then watched the video, More than Dreams. The link is below.

More than Dreams Video – This video is also available in Instant Video on the same page (affiliate link).

Now for what happened in Japan…

Soon after the older Japanese sister believed in Jesus, she and her family moved back down to the Tokyo area. I was able to visit her a number of times. On one of the visits I met the younger sister, Sumi. I’ll let her tell her story.

Sumi’s Amazing Grace Breakthrough Story

“Hi, my name is Sumi. When Yumi, my sister, moved back to the Tokyo area, I was very excited. But then she told me she had become a Christian. I was sad because I didn’t think we would be able to talk much anymore.

She told me a little about Jesus. I didn’t really understand, but I began to read Christian books.

Then it happened. The one night that changed my life forever.

Jesus Himself appeared on my veranda! He had long white hair and was wearing a long white robe. I knew it was Jesus. I was surprised but His presence gave me peace.

When I heard that the missionary, Chris, was coming to visit Yumi, I told Yumi I wanted to meet Chris.

We met and she knew I wanted to talk about Jesus. She told me a little about the gospel, but she really didn’t need to say much. I was so ready to believe in Jesus. We prayed together. Chris was very surprised when she heard that Jesus had appeared on my veranda.

Looking back now, I believe God in His grace gave me that encounter with Jesus. I needed that because of what was going to happen in my life.

Before I met Jesus, I had a very happy home with my husband and two children. I was totally dependent on him. All that was going to change.

My husband was not happy when I told him I became a Christian. You see, he is the eldest son in his family. He must continue the family religion. I was expected as his wife to perform all the religious duties in the home such as offering food on the Buddhist altar. I knew that I couldn’t do that anymore. I could not serve any other religion.

Jesus meant everything to me. His love was worth more than anything in the world. I could not do the religious duties for my husband and his family. I refused.

My husband became very angry and left me. He moved out and later I had to get a job as a waitress to help support my children and me.

Though it was very difficult when my husband left, I believed in Jesus and I knew He loved me. That love carried me through the hard days.”

Surprised at God’s Amazing Grace

I was totally surprised when I heard Sumi’s story. She was so eager to believe in Jesus. I didn’t have to explain much at all. Then when I visited the two sisters a number of times later, they were so eager to know more about Jesus and to talk about Him. They wanted to ask questions and study the Bible. I was amazed at how much they understood. God in His grace had done the work in their lives. The three of us rejoiced in His love and grace.

Later I looked at Revelation 1:13 and 14. The way Sumi described Jesus was just like what was in Revelation, “and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow.

In Western countries you don’t usually hear of stories like this. But in countries “closed” to the gospel or where the people have very little knowledge of Christ’s work on the cross, the Lord on occasion has revealed Himself in an amazing way.

What if I hadn’t gone back to Aomori? Wow! What blessings I would have missed. I would not have seen God’s gracious work in these dear sisters’ lives.

Be encouraged! Trust and wait on the Lord to meet you in your circumstances. Your encounter with Him may not be as dramatic as this story. Still He will “show up” in a way that will encourage your heart.

Share your story. Let others know how God has worked in your life. I would love to hear your experience of God’s love and grace. You can email me at:

christine@gracebreakthroughs.com