Monday, June 27, 2011

Jewel # 88 (June 27, 2011)

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"And they shall be Mine saith the Lord 
of hosts, in that day when I 
make up MY JEWELS."
(Malachi 3:17)

Hachiko and the Shibuya Station

The Shibuya Train Station, outside Tokyo, Japan, is one of the busiest train stations in the world.  Daily hundreds of thousands of people pass through the station doors on their way to and from work.  Outside the main door, on a raised flower bed is a life-size bronze statue of an Akita dog - a sturdy type of large, long-haired Japanese dog.  The statue of the dog is situated so that his eyes are looking directly at the doors.  The bronze on the top of the statue has been polished to a bright sheen by passersby running their hands over the metal.  

If you had visited the station about 90 years ago, in the 1920s, instead of the statue you might have seen a dog of real flesh and blood sitting in the exact same spot.  He would have been patiently waiting for his master to step out of the station.  The dog's name was Hachiko, and here is the remarkable story of the dog and his master.

Dr. Ueno was the Professor of Agriculture at the University of Tokyo in Japan.  In the morning, when Dr. Ueno would leave for work, Hachiko, his dog, would walk with him to the station and watch him go through the doors to board the train.  After the train pulled out of the station, the dog would turn around and walk home.  there were far fewer people back in the 1920s, and the roads were not as congested with cars.  Then in the evening, a little bit before the train was due to return to the station, Hachiko, who had an uncanny sense of time, would leave home and walk back to the train station to await his master's arrival.  The dog would position himself near the flower bed in order to keep a vigilant eye on the double doors of the station.  When the dog saw his master, he would jump for joy, prance up to Dr. Ueno, and give him a hearty welcome.  Then the two, happy to be together, would stroll home.

One morning, Dr. Ueno said good bye to the dog at the station, never suspecting it would be for the last time.  Later in the day, while teaching at the University, he suffered a major stroke and suddenly died.  Hachiko had no way of understanding his master had passed away, and he went to meet him at the train station.  When his owner didn't show up, the dog continued to wait for him at the train station through the long night.  Relatives of Dr. Ueno found the dog at the station the next morning and brought him home with them to care for him.  They lived several miles away  in a different neighbourhood.  They meant well; however, Hachiko was not happy with his new home and soon ran away.  He made his way back to the station where he felt it was his duty to wait for his master's return on the train.  Day after day, he waited at Shibuya Station, searching the faces of people coming out of the doors, hoping to see the one he loved.  It was a routine the dog would invariably follow every day for remainder of his life.   

For the next nine years, Hachiko took up his post near the flower bed to await his master's return.  The dog's heavy fur protected him in the rain, sleet, snow, and every type of weather.  Friendly shopkeepers, knowing the loyalty and faithfulness of the dog, were happy to provide him with food and water.  Hachiko was a young dog when Dr. Ueno died, and he lived to an old age for a dog, yet he never missed a day watching for his master's return.

Commuters who saw the dog every day watching the doors of the station could not help but admire his loyalty.  When Hachiko grew old, these people took up a collection of money to have a statue made to commemorate the dog that they had come to admire.  The bronze statue that stands outside the station doors today honours Hachiko for his steadfast faithfulness.

Loyalty is a character trait that is highly admired wherever it is found.  We desire friends and family to show loyalty, and we find bitter disappointment when it is lacking.  Perhaps the worst disappointment is when we find it lacking in ourselves.

Would you like a friend who is faithful and true, who loves you and would never let you down?  Of course you would, and I know One for you.  His loyalty far exceeds all others.  In undying loyalty to the human race, He came to earth and gave His life at Calvary's cross.  His name is the Lord Jesus Christ, and although you may be a stranger to Him, He is no stranger to you.  He knows all about you, from the inner workings of your heart to the number of hairs on your head.  He knows your every need and is willing to help in every situation.

The greatest need we have is due to the fact we have sinned and earned the wages of death.  Sin has left a crimson stain on each one of us.  The Lord Jesus shed His precious blood to wash away the stain of sin for all those who believe."The blood of Jesus Christ His [God's] Son cleans us us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).  "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; thought they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18).

When a sinner believes on the Lord Jesus, the stain of sin on his soul is totally cleansed away, and their debt of punishment is completely paid.  All who believe in Him receive the gift of eternal life."The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

Dr. Ueno didn't know he was going to die that last day he boarded the train.  And none of us can say for certain when our last day will be either.  Once this life is over, it will forever be too late to trust in the Saviour.  This is why it is so urgent for souls to hear the gospel message and believe while they can.  We re not guaranteed a long life or even another day.  Right now is the time to believe in Christ, and be saved, because tomorrow may never come .
"Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Won't you consider the great truth of the gospel and put your faith in Jesus Christ today that you might be saved?  No one can compare to the Lord Jesus Christ in love, loyalty and faithfulness - no one.  Men may disappoint, but the blessed Saviour never!


                     Picture of Dr. Ueno          Statute of Hachko

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jewel # 87 (June 16, 2011)

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And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts,
in that day when I make up MY JEWELS."
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren,

Charlie's Bad Choices

Charlie, a boy of about 12, usually kept out of trouble.  He was raised in a Christian home where the Bible was read.  He loved the Lord Jesus, and, in fact, he accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour when he was just six years old.

Charlie loved to play football and baseball with his school buddies.  They often played the game of marbles in the schoolyard too.  Boys did that many years ago.  Long before computers and video games were around.  Where his family lived, the backyard of their house was right next to the school yard, so he often found his way there for some of the pickup games going on.

Another game the boys often played was handball.  They played it up against the back wall of the school.

One afternoon in the summer, a few boys were playing handball, and Charlie was just standing by, watching.  After the boys got tired of the game, some of them picked up stones and started throwing them at the school windows.  And you know what happened next . . . some of the windows got broken!

Charlie was standing back from the group, just watching what the boys were doing.  But a neighbour saw what was happening and phoned the police.

After they had broken some of the windows, the boys ran from the schoolyard, and Charlie went home.  However, it wasn't very long before a police car stopped at his house.  Someone had reported that Charlie was with the boys who broke the windows.  Now he was in big trouble!  Make no mistake; Charlie had not thrown even one stone.  But he was with the boys who were throwing them!

He had to learn a hard lesson that his dad and mom drilled into him, reminding him of the Bible  verses in Proverbs 4:14-15:  "Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.  Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away."

The big lesson that Charlie had to learn was to walk away from his friends who were doing things that he knew were wrong and go home when the boys first started throwing stones at the school building.

Boys and girls, you probably can guess that Charlie has never forgotten that lesson, and he has never forgotten that verse either.  It is a good verse for each one of you to always remember and follow.