23 December 2020

Shepherds

I AM The Good Shepherd



Silent night, Holy night

All is calm, all is bright.


Mary was pretty young, perhaps as young as 12-13 years old. No experience.

Mary and Josef was not in a sterile hospital with a number of nurses around.

King Herod was ruling the country at this time and he let his brutal soldiers kill every little boy child up to two years old they could find.

The soldiers big needle-sharp swords chop the little babies to pieces.

It was a horrible time and it was in the midst of this God became flesh.

It was not silent, it was not in peace.

In the fields around, shepherds were watching over their flocks, day and night. Same kind of routine, leading their sheep, keeping them safe,

watching over them, continuing to count. Run after a sheep that was lost.

I read somewere that shepherds were not treated with all the dignity and

respect many other professions had. In fact, it was above the lowest common denominator in the ancient world. Some said about shepherds, "you hope your daughter wouldn't marry one".

If something got missing, people used to say: Check with the shepherds they might "have" it.


To be a shepherd was, lonely, cold at night, not well paid and dirty.

One cold and lonely night in the midst of perhaps sleeping, counting sheep, feeling lonely, suddenly comes this explosive light, and it's an angel. The angel of the Lord appeared, and the Judean skies lit up.

Out of nowhere this angel makes an entrance. Apparently it took something pretty grand to get the shepherds attention. 



Luke 2:8-20 (NTE)


_8 There were shepherds in that region, out in the open, keeping a night watch around their flock. 9 An angel of the Lord stood in front of them. The glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified._


_10 ‘Don’t be afraid,’ the angel said to them. ‘Look: I’ve got good news for you, news which will make everybody very happy. 11 Today a saviour has been born for you – the Messiah, the Lord! – in David’s town. 12 This will be the sign for you: you’ll find the baby wrapped up, and lying in a feeding-trough.’_


_13 Suddenly, with the angel, there was a crowd of the heavenly armies. They were praising God, saying,_


_14 ‘Glory to God in the highest,_

_and peace upon earth among those in his favour.’_


With this in mind, the facts of shepherds we read that in

John 10:11  Jesus says :"I am the good shepherd". The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep". 

It is true. In those days the shepherd lived with his sheep. He knew them all. If he lost one, he instantly went to find the lost one.

He protected the sheep from thieves and wolves. His rod was a weapon.

As the shepherd spends all this time with the sheep, carrying them, sleeping close together, he started to smell like his sheep. The sheep knew him not only by his voice but by the smell of him.

Jesus used this analogy as a leader: He describes himself as not only “the shepherd,” but the “good shepherd.”

This is the kind of leadership Jesus used, a leadership that brought the scattered sheep together, a leadership that protected the herd, a leadership that calmed them down, a leadership that protected them.


Jesus is the good shepherd, let Him guide you.


13 December 2020

The light

I love the Christmas lights.  

Every year my family and I have a tradition of putting up Christmas lights. 

Have you ever asked yourself why we do all this work, to put all these lights up for Christmas? When did it start? What is the purpose of it? 

I know it looks nice, but is that the only reason? Is it just to spread some Christmas cheer?

Christmas, the celebration of Jesus’ birth, is all about the lights. 

Jesus, the eternal Son of God, creator of the universe, stepped out of Heaven and became God incarnate (God in flesh). 

Why did he come? According to John, Jesus came to bring light. He came to shine in the darkness. A light so strong that darkness can never overcome it. 

Jesus is the light of the world. 


John 8:12 

 Jesus spoke to them again._

‘I am the light of the world,’ he said. ‘People who follow me won’t go around in the dark; they’ll have the light of life!’


As one theologian puts it:

“Christmas is God lighting a candle; and you don't light a candle in a room that's already full of sunlight. You light a candle in a room that's so murky that the candle, when lit, reveals just how bad things really are.” 


In Christ, there is hope. There is light. He alone gives us hope and purpose to continue to carry on. 

We live in a dark world. But Jesus alone can rescue you from the darkness. 

Light helps us see things. Jesus gives us the truth about God and about life, our origin, and our destiny.

Light guides us as we travel. Jesus guides us safely through life. 

Light promotes growth and life. Jesus brings us everlasting life. 

Light warms and comforts. Jesus welcomes us and calms us. 

Light prevents crime. We see that where we live, they have put up some light on the streets and bike roads that are far brighter than before and it feels safer!

So Jesus says I am the light of the world:


What will you do with the light of Christ ?

Will you recognize this light?

Will you let this light shine in your life?

Will you extend the light of Christ further into the world ?


3 December 2020

Advent

Celebrating Advent involves spending time in spiritual preparation for the coming birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas. 

 The word advent comes from the Latin word adventus meaning "arrival" or "coming," particularly the coming of something of great importance. 

 No one is really sure when Advent was first celebrated but it dates back to at least 567 when monks were ordered to fast during December leading up to Christmas. 

 Not all denominations celebrate Advent, however, more and more Protestant and Evangelical Christians are recognising the spiritual significance of Advent.

Advent is NOT:

 

* Shopping

* Parties

* Stressing

 

Advent is:

 

* Waiting

* Preparing

* Expecting

* Praying

* Hoping

 

for the arrival of Christ.

 

During Advent, people are using special advent calendars.

There are many types of calendars used in different countries. The most common ones in the UK and USA or here in Sweden are made of paper or card with 24 or 25 little windows on. A window is opened on every day in December and a Christmas picture is displayed underneath.

 

In Sweden it is a tradition to put a seven candle electric light in the window, and when I was young at school, we lit a special candle every morning, from December 1 until December 23 when school closed for the Christmas holidays.

 

Christmas is the biggest celebration all over the world. It's the longest as well. Christmas is celebrated for one month, if you want to celebrate it properly. 

 

Christmas is a very special time of the year. It doesn't matter how you celebrate it , you can't really miss that it is Christmas.

You see that out on the streets, in newspapers and magazines, on TV and you hear it on radio, Christmas is everywhere!

 

 

Christmas is a time for celebration

Christmas is a time for salvation

Christmas is a time for reconciliation

 

We celebrate that Jesus Christ is born. God decided that he wanted to become one of us. He wanted to do so in order to talk to us, to help us, to show us how much he loves us.

 

We read in Luke 2:10 that: "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people".

 

 

The news that he brings is:

 

God loves you

God is with you

God is for you

17 July 2020

Believe

We are living in uncertain times. Some countries are opening up their borders now, lifting lock-downs but still people are suffering from the coronavirus.

God is sovereign and he controls the universe. He is certainly in charge of all the things that are going on.

Some say that this pandemic might be an alarm call over our beliefs and behaviour, our attitudes and actions.

I'm not sure though, but we have to believe that God can give wisdom to scientists to find the vaccine, or to just totally eradicate the coronavirus.

Many of us are worried about the virus and what it does to us and our society.
Corrie ten Boom said : Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.

How true that is! Worring ruins our hope and joy for today.
Worry is like a thief. It comes in to your life to steal your joy, hope and faith.
Worring comes in at night, when you are alone, just like a thief, hiding in the darkness.

Jesus says in John 10:9-10:

9 I am the gate. If anyone comes in by me, they will be safe, and will go in and out and find pasture.
10 The thief only comes to steal, and kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life – yes, and have it full to overflowing.’


Jeus is also the light. In John 8:12, it says:
I am the light of the world,’ he said. ‘People who follow me won’t go around in the dark; they’ll have the light of life!’

Even through this unusual time, we are thankful that we can connect via Internet and via social media, but we are created to be social beings,
to have meetings in real life. We are created to live in a relationship with God.

Without that, life will never really make sense. Spending time in God's presence and in scriptures are the key to transforming our hearts and minds.
That is the place where we get strength, new perspective, and have our hopes renewed.

It is absolutely crucial that we do this daily as a commumity of faith, individually and corporately.

7 June 2020

CHALLEGING TIMES

Lord Jesus I come to You because when I look at the hard times that we are facing – my heart seems to fail as I don’t know which way to turn – except to You. Thank You that You have always been there for me and thank You
for the promises that you will always be there for me._

_Keep me from fear of what tomorrow may bring, knowing that I do not need to be afraid or fearful, because You have promised to supply all my needs according to Your riches in mercy._

_Thank You for this lovely truth and for the many promises that You have given to all Your children. May my heart rest in You Lord and keep me from fear in these difficult times, in Jesus name I pray,_

_Amen_



We are all going through difficult times at the moment. Our life situation has very quickly and dramatically changed. People are getting sick, many people around the world have died. The virus has swept the planet. It is easy at times like this, to get afraid, start worrying, even become angry.

Angry at people around us, angry at politicians, leaders, yes, even angry at God.

Some become depressed, some get fearful, or wonder if God loves you.
These are all normal emotions. But pause for a while.

Ask God to help you draw close to him and to put your trust in him.

In situations like this, it is very easy for us as humans to run around, trying to fix everything.
We are trying to fix and solve the problem at our workplaces, at our schools, universities, at our churches.


Psalm 13 gives us a pattern we can follow. In this short psalm, David describes the agony he is experiencing, asks for God’s help, proclaims his trust in God’s love, and then praises God.

_For the director of music. A psalm of David. How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me. (Psalm 13)_


It is difficult to follow David’s example, I do understand that.
Especially, if a family member dies or if you are going through a personal crisis, you may experience deep sorrow or grief. But remember the Bible’s promise:

_God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)_

Remember that God is with you

God is with you, He is Immanuel, God with us.

I agree with Pastor Tom Benigas as he briefly mentioned in a short message on what he is going through at the moment and how reading from the psalms has kept him up.

Take some time each day and read through the Psalms.


_The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
(Psalm 9:9)_

_Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. (Psalm 31:24)_

_For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. (Psalm 61:3)_

_Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Selah (Psalm 68:19)_

_So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)_

There are things we can do in this situation:

* Pray for God's healing
* Ask God to intervene
* Pray for God’s peace and guidance
* Ask for wisdom about what to say or do.
* Meditate on key passages in the Bible

In this difficult time, turn to God’s word.

_Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)_


Find help from our brothers and sisters in Christ

When you go through difficult times, ask your brothers and sisters for prayer and advice.

_As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)_

16 August 2019

Love your neighbour

I'm reading the book "simply Jesus" by N.T Wright


He is asking himself and us some questions.
Who was Jesus?
Why did he do the things he did?
How can we be sure?
etc.

Jesus was, and still is not easy to understand.


Mark 12:30-31
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”

Love your neighbour as yourself. What does that really mean? Jesus also said Love your enemies.
for centuries Christians have been living Jesus words, and especially love your neighbour and love your enemies, and while doing so they have been either killed, driven away , even whole community's and city's completely erased from Christianity. Churches has been turned into something else, christian heritage wiped away.

We see this in the middle east and in many places in northern Africa.
We do need to reflect on His words.

I wonder what does it mean to love your enemies? to love your neighbour?. Is that really what we should do?

6 August 2019

Evangelism 2

I found so many great mtrl out there on why and I have to post it for you...

WHY SHOULD WE EVANGELIZE? -

God Is Not Willing That Anyone Should Perish
2 Peter 3:9 New Testament for Everyone (NTE)

9 The Lord is not delaying his promise, in the way that some reckon delay, but he is very patient towards you. He does not want anyone to be destroyed. Rather, he wants everyone to arrive at repentance.


It’s not the desire of God that people should perish , but God desires that the gospel of Christ be spread and shared to all mankind with the hope that people may come to a saving knowledge and relationship with God through Christ.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
We Have A Mandate To Evangelize
2 Timothy 4:5 New Testament for Everyone (NTE)

5 But as for you, keep your balance in everything! Put up with suffering; do the work of an evangelist; complete the particular task assigned to you.

Remember that evangelizing is simply the sharing of the gospel especially to unbelievers. Pastors or church leaders cannot reach every soul. Therefore every Christian is expected by God to play his/her part in reaching to the lost and helping the lost to come to salvation through Christ.
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Jesus Preached Repentance & Died For Sinners
Matthew 4:17 New Testament for Everyone (NTE)

17 From that time on Jesus began to make his proclamation.
‘Repent!’ he would say. ‘The kingdom of heaven is arriving!’

Luke 5:31-32 New Testament for Everyone (NTE)
31 ‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor;’ replied Jesus, ‘it’s sick people who do! 32 I haven’t come to call the righteous; I’m calling sinners to repentance.’

Repentance is an important part of the gospel. We cannot become born again without repenting. To repent means to change your mind or to go in a new direction. The reason why we should evangelize is because Jesus Himself evangelized. Jesus preached to sinners and He died for sinners so that they may repent.
Therefore the reason why we evangelize is so that we help people to repent so that they may live for Christ .
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The Harvest Is Plenty But The workers Are Few
Luke 10:2 New Testament for Everyone (NTE)

2 ‘There’s a great harvest out there,’ he said to them, ‘but there aren’t many workers. So plead with the harvest-master to send out workers for the harvest.

Christ tells us that there is a big harvest of unbelievers who need to repent and who need to hear the gospel so that they come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Another reason why we need to evangelize is because there are very few “laborers” or Christians who are willing to evangelize. Despite an abundance of churches and Christians, there is a very small ratio of people willing to evangelize.
Therefore Christ encourages to pray for more laborers to evangelize and share the gospel because God is no willing for anyone to perish.
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Because We Love God & We Love Our Neighbour
Matthew 22:37-39 New Testament for Everyone (NTE)

37 ‘You must love the Lord your God’, replied Jesus, ‘with all your heart, with all your life, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first commandment, and it’s the one that really matters. 39 The second is similar, and it’s this: You must love your neighbour as yourself.


Love your neighbour! Wow and as yourself!

I don’t know about you but I have some neighbours!

People that smoke constantly even in the stairways, people that play loud music often and have party’s. People that wont say hi, people that don’t clean up in our laundry!

Jesus is telling me not to Judge and to love these people as myself! Not only that, Jesus is telling me that this is the greatest commandment.

We often think of neighbours as the people who live near us, but Jesus meant it to include all people - even our enemies! Jesus told His famous parable of the Good Samaritan to make it clear that "love your neighbour" means to love all people, everywhere - not just our friends, allies, countrymen, and so on

We are all God's children. Just as He loves all His people and is willing to forgive their sins, we must be willing to forgive others who have done wrong to us:



If we love God and if we truly love our neighbour then we will be motivated to evangelize. If our neighbour is not a Christian we must be motivated by love to speak the gospel because we do not desire to see anybody perish just as God Himself does not want to see anyone perish.
God was motivated by love so much that He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins so that if whosever believes in Him shall not perish (John 3:16). Therefore let love be our motivator.

Evangelism 1

Evangelism is not a word I have heard often at churches in the past few years.



Why should we do it?

Why don't we see so much about it?

What does the Bible say?

How to do it?



Did you know that young adults, age between 20–30 in Sweden who say they believe in God is about 18%. In Denmark, a country very close the figure is 34%.

Why is that so?

According to the research, almost all practising Christians believe that part of their faith means being a witness about Jesus. Between 94 and 97 per cent say the best thing that could ever happen to someone is for them to know Jesus.



However, many Millennials in the US are unsure about the actual practise of evangelism. Almost half (47 per cent) agree at least somewhat that it is wrong to share ones personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith.



John Zmirak, writer and editor says, there are more Face book users than Christian's in the world.


The church is growing like never. The church has never been this huge as it is today, in Asia, Africa, South America. But sad to say not in Europe...



Around 4 times more Muslims gather at the mosque on Fridays than Christian's at the church on Sundays in the UK.



The biggest Pentecostal churches in Brazil were founded by Swedes, and I do hope and pray it will continue to do so, but that kind of missions, don't get me wrong can be like standing and looking with binoculars. You see everything in the distance but everything close to you is out of focus.



True story! A Pastor in England was approached after the service by a man who wanted prayers. The man handed over his business card. He is working for Microsoft. The Pastor was very surprised when he read his business card. It said he was an Evangelist.


The secular world is kidnapping Christian word and a word Evangelist that many churches do nowadays not really like!



It looks dark when you present facts like this, sorry but we need to face them.


But there is HOPE! A lot of great news around us and of cause our greatest hope is Jesus.

7 January 2019

Odd or!?

There are many traditions during new year in Sweden, some strange, some not that strange, and some odd.

We dress up, we have party's, we drink champagne, we do fire works. Pretty normal. Some Stays at church and pray during the night, some like us stayed at an dog friendly hotel together with 50-60 other dog families. ( dog friendly = no fire works), and some listens to the poem by
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, ‘Ring out, wild bells
read each year by different Swedish celebrities

This is one of the last poems in Tennyson’s long masterpiece, In Memoriam (1850),Tennyson calls on the church bells to ‘ring out the old, ring in the new’, and to rid the world of the bad things that have occurred and to usher in a newer, brighter world.

This New year the Swedish actor reading it changed some of the verses in the poem and even skipped the last words, with the Swedish state TVs knowledge and approval.

The last words in the poem is like this:

Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

The actor skipped : Ring in the Christ that is to be...

I think that's odd

26 December 2018

The colours that dissapaired

When I was a child we had a black and White TV, with at the time only two TV channels. I know that its hard to imagine for the younger generation, even so I'm not that old,things changes very fast.

So sometimes when we saw a film it was hard to imagine what colours a dress had or so on, and I remember in 1974 for the World cup in football Germany, my parents bought our first Colour TV. WOW it felt like a new World just open up for you.

I love colours, especially different combinations of colours. Many have a favourite colour and I Think so do I.
But an American friend of mine said to me some years ago, "why do so many people in Sweden dress up in black?"
Almost everyone wear a black jacket or coat.
Yes that's true. No colours at all.
No yellow, Red, Blue, Green, just black.

The same thing with new movies, if not all very many of them are decolorized.
Not black and white, but not any vibrant colours as well...

When I walked towards my car the other day at the parking lot at a supermarket, I noticed that many cars has the same colours, or should I say "non colours"

They are Black, white, silver, dark blue, dark brown and so on. Not like before, Bright Red, yellow, beige, Light blue , or even two or three colours.

Where are all the colours?

19 December 2018

Forget Jesus?

Forget Jesus!

That's what I read in the newspaper this morning.

The article refers to whats going on at the theatres this Christmas.

Tage Danielsson was a very famous comedian, who wrote a story about a a boy who is growing up in a rich family. He gets a temporary job at the post office but takes the presents from the rich and gives to the poor.

That story has become a Christmas tradition in Sweden just as Dickens , Mr Scrooge in a way has been.


The writer of the article says" Thank Danielsson" for the Christmas atmosphere..

More and more we can see how God, Jesus, Christianity is getting marginalised, and typical Christian celebrations are getting ignored or reformed without God.


In some restaurants and shops they are told not to play Christmas songs with a Christian touch or with the name Jesus in it.


The Gospels tell the story of Christ’s birth, but nowere in Scripture are we told to celebrate His birth.

Thats true, But it’s part of our culture now. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the entire world to consider how God became man and came to earth. And of course its message of “Peace on earth, goodwill to man” is a message we need now more than ever.

Shepherds

I AM The Good Shepherd Silent night, Holy night All is calm, all is bright. Mary was pretty young, perhaps as young as 12-13 years old. No e...