Betraktelse: Friendship

20 januari 2008

Maybe God wants us to meet a few wrong people
before meeting the right one so that
when we finally meet the right person,
we will know how to be grateful for that gift.

When the door of happiness closes,
another opens, but often times we look
so long at the closed door that we don’t
see the one which has been opened for us.

The best kind of friend is the kind you
can sit on a porch and swing with,
never say a word, and then walk away
feeling like it was the best
conversation you’ve ever had.

It’s true that we don’t know what we’ve
got until we lose it, but it’s also true
that we don’t know what we’ve been
missing until it arrives.

Don’t go for looks; they can deceive.
Don’t go for wealth; even that fades away.
Go for someone who makes you smile because
it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.
Find the one that makes your heart smile.

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet,
enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow
to keep you human, enough hope to make you happy.

Always put yourself in others’ shoes.
If you feel that it hurts you,
it probably hurts the other person, too.

The happiest of people don’t necessarily
have the best of everything;
they just make the most of everything that
comes along their way.

When you were born, you were crying and
everyone around you was smiling.
Live your life so that when you die,
you’re the one who is smiling and
everyone around you is crying.

Annonser

Story: Good Gifts

20 januari 2008

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer’s showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.

As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautiful wrapped gift box.

Curious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man’s name embossed in gold. Angrily, he raised his voice to his father and said, ”With all your money you give me a Bible?” and stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day.

Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.

When he arrived at his father’s house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father’s important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago.

With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt 7:11, ”And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly father which is in heaven, give to those who ask Him?”

As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer’s name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words…PAID IN FULL.

How many times do we miss God’s blessings because they are not packaged as we expected?

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you…Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up…Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways…Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered…Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image…Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being…Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring…Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived…Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation…Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book…Psalm 39:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live…Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made…Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother’s womb…Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born…Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me…John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love…1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you simply because you are my child and I am your father…1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could…Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father…Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand…James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs…Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope…Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love…Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore…Psalm 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing…Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you…Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession…Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul…Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvellous things…Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me…Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart…Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires…Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine…Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager…2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles…2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are broken-hearted, I am close to you…Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart…Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes and will take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth…Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus…John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed….John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being…Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you…Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins…2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled…2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you…1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love…Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me…1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again…Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen…Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father…Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is… Will you be my child?…John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you…Luke 15:11-32

Story: The Choice

20 januari 2008

After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church’s pastor once again slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit, and gave a very brief introduction of his childhood friend. With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit to speak.

”A father, his son, and a friend of the son were sailing off the Pacific Coast,” he began, ”when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept into the ocean.”

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story.

He continued, ”Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life…to which boy he would throw the other end of the line. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. As the father yelled out, ‘I love you, son!’ he threw the line to his son’s friend. By the time he pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beyond the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered.”

By this time, the two teenagers were sitting straighter in the pew, waiting for the next words to come out of the old man’s mouth.

”The father,” he continued, ”knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son’s friend stepping into an Eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son. How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us.”

With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the church.

Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man’s side. ”That was a nice story,” politely started one of the boys, ”but I don’t think it was very realistic for a father to give up his son’s life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.”

”Well, you’ve got a point there,” the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face, and he once again looked up at the boys and said, ”It sure isn’t very realistic, is it? But I’m standing here today to tell you that THAT story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His Son for me. You see…I was the son’s friend.”

Once there were 3 trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the 1st tree said, ”Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.”Then the 2nd tree said, ”Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.

Finally the 3rd tree said, ”I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me.”

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the 1st tree he said, ”This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood
to a carpenter” … and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the 2nd tree a woodsman said, ”This looks like a strong tree, I should be able to sell it to the shipyard.” The 2nd tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the 3rd tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, ”I don’t need anything special from my tree so I’ll take this one,” and he cut it down.

When the 1st tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for. The 2nd tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end. The 3rd tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the 1st tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the 2nd tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn’t think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and he stood and said ”Peace” and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the 3rd tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.

The moral of this story is that when things don’t seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts.

Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined. We don’t always know what God’s plans are for us. We just know that His ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.

Story: The Letter

20 januari 2008

Ruth went to her mail box and there was only one letter. She picked it up and looked at it before opening, but then she looked at the envelope again. There was no stamp, no postmark, only her name and address.She read the letter:Dear Ruth:

I’m going to be in your neighborhood Saturday afternoon and I would like to visit. Love Always, Jesus

Her hands were shaking as she placed the letter on the table. ”Whywould the Lord want to visit me? I’m nobody special. I don’t have anything to offer.”

With that thought, Ruth remembered her empty kitchen cabinets. ”Oh my goodness, I really don’t have anything to offer. I’ll have to run down to the store and buy something for dinner.” She reached for her purse and counted out it’s contents. Five dollars and forty cents. ”Well, I can get some bread and cold cuts, at least.” She threw on her coat and hurried out the door.

A loaf of French bread, a half-pound of sliced turkey, and a carton of milk…leaving Ruth with grand total of twelve cents to last her until Monday. Nonetheless, she felt good as she headed home, her meager offerings tucked under her arm. ”Hey lady, can you help us, lady?”

Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans, she hadn’t even noticed two figures huddled in the alleyway. A man and a woman, both of them dressed in little more than rags. ”Look lady, I ain’t got a job, ya know, and my wife and I have been living out here on the street, and, well, now it’s getting cold and we’re getting kinda hungry and, well, if you could help us, lady, we’d really appreciate it”.

Ruth looked at them both. They were dirty, they smelled bad and frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted to. ”Sir, I’d like to help you, but I’m a poor woman myself. All I have is a few cold cuts and some bread, and I’m having an important guest for dinner tonight and I was planning on serving that to Him.”

”Yeah, well, okay lady, understand. Thanks anyway.” The man put his arm around the woman’s shoulders, turned and he headed back into the alley.

As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart. ”Sir, wait!” The couple stopped and turned as she ran down the alley after them. ”Look, why don’t you take this food. I’ll figure out something else to serve my guest.” She handed the man her grocery bag.

”Thank you lady. Thank you very much!” ”Yes, thank you!” It was the man’s wife, and Ruth could see now that she was shivering.

”You know, I’ve got another coat at home. Here, why don’t you take this one.” Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the woman’s shoulders. Then smiling, she turned and walked back to the street… without her coat and with nothing to serve her guest.”Thank you lady! Thank you very much!”

Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her front door, and worried too. The Lord was coming to visit and she didn’t have anything to offer Him. She fumbled through her purse for the door key.

But as she did, she noticed another envelope in her mailbox. ”That’s odd. The mailman doesn’t usually come twice in one day.”

She took the envelope out of the box and opened it.

Dear Ruth:

It was so good to see you again. Thank you for the lovely meal. And thank you, too, for the beautiful coat. Love Always,

Jesus

The air was still cold, but even without her coat, Ruth no longer noticed.

Gör som Gud, bli människa (2004)

Vad handlar det kristna livet om? Under de senaste åren har jag fått anledning att omarbeta min tro och livsuppfattning ordentligt, i en process som på intet sätt är fullbordad än. Jag brukade sträcka mig allt högre mot himlen och det andliga, och ta fasta på orden i Kolosserbrevet adresserade till andliga kolosser: ”Tänk på det som finns där uppe, inte på det som finns på jorden.”

Dock fann jag att man på det sättet missar mycket av det fascinerande liv som Gud har skapat oss till – som vi sjunger i scoutsången, ”Bara den som vandrar nära marken kan se dina under, Gud”. Jag fann att det är Adams lott jag fått, att jag blivit skapad till ett kroppsligt liv på jorden med svett och möda och närhet. Och jag såg att det var gott.

För hur skulle det kunna vara annat än gott, när Gud själv har valt det åt oss? Och hur skulle det kunna vara annat än gott, när han dessutom valt det åt sig själv? Kyrkans bekännelse är ju att Gud ”för oss människor och för vår salighets skull har stigit ner från himmelen och tagit mandom” genom Jesus Kristus.

Du kom till jorden ej som gäst
men för att stanna hos oss kvar.
Hos mänskorna din kärlek var
vid sjö och strand, i by och berg.

Fast skyn har lyft dig för vår blick
kan intet skilja oss från dig.
Ej längesen, ej långtifrån,
men här och nu du med oss går.

Ett småpoetiskt försök att skildra en harmonisk kombination av skapelseberättelsen i Första Mosebok med den gängse vetenskapens tankar om hur vårt solsystem kom till. Vet alls inte om det var så här det gick till, fantasin målar upp en av många möjligheter… Inspirerat av CS Lewis. 2 sid.

DOC: En vetenskaplig skapelseberättelse (2002)