Monday, March 31, 2008


I was browsing the net in search of good Christian graphics, and found this:

Amazingly beautiful, creative, glorifying God and Christ.

The artist says:

I believe in art. I believe its beauty and power can enrich and transform attitudes and lives. I also believe that art is capable of engaging and encouraging the spirit.

I am inspired by my faith in God, bright colors and a desire to encourage people who perchance happen to cross my path in this world or the Web.

I’ve been an artist since I can remember, although I’ve never been formally trained as one. My art is created using my imagination, a Wacom tablet and the lively pixels of my home computer. I still paint with watercolors occasionally, but the PC is much easier to clean up afterwards.

Everyone is so incredibly busy these days and I am thankful to you for taking time to stop and look at my work. Even if you don’t find something that you’d like to purchase, I hope something you see here will brighten and bless your day.

Read on.

Then I found this:

Amazing, isn't it?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Holy God, We Praise Thy Name

1. Holy God, we praise thy name;
Lord of all, we bow before thee;
all on earth thy scepter claim;
all in heaven above adore thee.
Infinite thy vast domain;
everlasting is thy reign.

2. Hark the glad celestial hymn
angel choirs above are raising;
cherubim and seraphim,
in unceasing chorus praising,
fill the heavens with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy Lord.

3. Lo! the apostolic train
joins thy sacred name to hallow;
prophets swell the glad refrain,
and the white-robed martyrs follow.
And from morn to set of sun,
through the church the song goes on.

4. Holy Father, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit: three we name thee,
though in essence only one;
undivided God we claim thee,
and adoring bend the knee
while we own the mystery.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Just remember

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

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Friday, March 28, 2008

He is Risen: Evidence beyond Reasonable Doubt

Regis Nicoll

A short while back, philosopher Stanley Fish observed that religion was “transgressing the boundary between private and public and demanding to be heard.” That’s a dangerous thing, as Mr. Fish sees it, because religion is based on claims that are excluded from tests of “deliberative reason.”

Take the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the linchpin of Christianity. According to Mr. Fish, “The assertion that Christ is risen is not one for which evidence pro and con is adduced in a judicial setting.” Mr. Fish worries that the growing influence of such non-critical beliefs is threatening liberalism.

There’s more than a little irony here. Stanley Fish, along with the other architects of postmodernism, ousted objective truth and reason in favor of subjective truth and personal experience decades ago.

Among trenchant critics — Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett, being the most trenchant — people who believe in the resurrection are under the spell of an authority directing them to sacrifice intellectual freedom on the altar of superstitious tradition. That makes religious faith coercive, if not dangerous.

Read on...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Biker Story

Mat 17:20 He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Best Wishes

Radical Effects of the Resurrection
by John Piper

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. . . . Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." . . . But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:19, 30-32, 20)

Paul ponders how he would assess his lifestyle if there were no resurrection from the dead. He says it would be ridiculous-pitiable. The resurrection guided and empowered him to do things which would be ludicrous without the hope of resurrection.

For example, Paul looks at all the dangers he willingly faces. He says they come "every hour."

On frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers. (2 Corinthians 11:26)

Then he considers the extent of his self-denial and says, "I die every day." This is Paul's experience of what Jesus said in Luke 9:23, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." I take this to mean that there was something pleasant that Paul had to put to death every day. No day was without the death of some desire.

. . . with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea . . . 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. (2 Corinthians 11:22-28)
Then he recalls that he "fought with beasts at Ephesus." We don't know what he is referring to. A certain kind of opponent to the gospel is called a beast in 2 Peter 1:10 and Jude 10. In any case, it was utterly disheartening.

We do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. (2 Corinthians 1:8)

So Paul concludes from his hourly danger and his daily dying and his fighting with beasts that the life he has chosen in following Jesus is foolish and pitiable if he will not be raised from the dead. "If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied." In other words, only the resurrection with Christ and the joys of eternity can make sense out of this suffering.

If death were the end of the matter, he says, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." This doesn't mean: Let's all become gluttons and drunkards. They are pitiable too-with or without the resurrection. He means: If there is no resurrection, what makes sense is middle-class moderation to maximize earthly pleasures.

But that is not what Paul chooses. He chooses suffering, because he chooses obedience. When Ananias came to him at his conversion with the words from the Lord Jesus, "I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name" ( Acts 9:16), Paul accepted this as part of his calling. Suffer he must.

How could Paul do it? What was the source of this radical obedience? The answer is given in 1 Corinthians 15:20: "But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." In other words, Christ was raised, and I will be raised with him. Therefore, nothing suffered for Jesus is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).

The hope of the resurrection radically changed the way Paul lived. It freed him from materialism and consumerism. It gave him the power to go without things that many people feel they must have in this life. For example, though he had the right to marry (1 Corinthians 9:5), he renounced that pleasure because he was called to bear so much suffering. This he did because of the resurrection.

This is the way Jesus said the hope of the resurrection is supposed to change our behavior. For example, he told us to invite to our homes people who cannot pay us back in this life. How are we to be motivated to do this? "You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just" (Luke 14:14).

This is a radical call for us to look hard at out present lives to see if they are shaped by the hope of the resurrection. Do we make decisions on the basis of gain in this world or gain in the next? Do we take risks for love's sake that can only be explained as wise if there is a resurrection?

Do we lose heart when our bodies give way to the aging process, and we have to admit that we will never do certain things again. Or do we look to the resurrection and take heart?

We do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. (2 Corinthians 4:16)

I pray that we will rededicate ourselves during this Easter season to a lifetime of letting the resurrection have its radical effects.

Pastor John

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Blessed Is the One Who Finds Wisdom

13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
14 for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called blessed.
19 The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;
by understanding he established the heavens;
20 by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
and the clouds drop down the dew.
21 My son, do not lose sight of these—
keep sound wisdom and discretion,
22 and they will be life for your soul
and adornment for your neck.
23 Then you will walk on your way securely,
and your foot will not stumble.
24 If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror
or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes,
26 for the LORD will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being caught.
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to do it.
28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again,
tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you.
29 Do not plan evil against your neighbor,
who dwells trustingly beside you.
30 Do not contend with a man for no reason,
when he has done you no harm.
31 Do not envy a man of violence
and do not choose any of his ways,
32 for the devious person is an abomination to the LORD,
but the upright are in his confidence.
33 The LORD's curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
34 Toward the scorners he is scornful,
but to the humble he gives favor.
35 The wise will inherit honor,
but fools get disgrace.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Trust in the LORD with All Your Heart

1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
2 for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you.
3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 So you will find favor and good success
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.
9 Honor the LORD with your wealth
and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
10 then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.
11 My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
12 for the LORD reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Value of Wisdom

1 My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
2 making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
3 yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
4 if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
10 for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you,
12 delivering you from the way of evil,
from men of perverted speech,
13 who forsake the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness,
14 who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15 men whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways.
16 So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words,
17 who forsakes the companion of her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God;
18 for her house sinks down to death,
and her paths to the departed;
19 none who go to her come back,
nor do they regain the paths of life.
20 So you will walk in the way of the good
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will inhabit the land,
and those with integrity will remain in it,
22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Call of Wisdom

20 Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
in the markets she raises her voice;
21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
22 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
23 If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you.
24 Because I have called and you refused to listen,
have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
25 because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when terror strikes you,
27 when terror strikes you like a storm
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.
28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the LORD,
30 would have none of my counsel
and despised all my reproof,
31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
and have their fill of their own devices.
32 For the simple are killed by their turning away,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
33 but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Resources to savour

Sometimes so little can mean so much...

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Enticement of Sinners

8 Hear, my son, your father's instruction,
and forsake not your mother's teaching,
9 for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.
10 My son, if sinners entice you,
do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
let us ambush the innocent without reason;
12 like Sheol let us swallow them alive,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we shall find all precious goods,
we shall fill our houses with plunder;
14 throw in your lot among us;
we will all have one purse”—
15 my son, do not walk in the way with them;
hold back your foot from their paths,
16 for their feet run to evil,
and they make haste to shed blood.
17 For in vain is a net spread
in the sight of any bird,
18 but these men lie in wait for their own blood;
they set an ambush for their own lives.
19 Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain;
it takes away the life of its possessors.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Beginning of Knowledge

1 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

2 To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
3 to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
4 to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
6 to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Be like that

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8)

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Friday, March 14, 2008

The Charismatic Question

Over at Pulpit Magazine they are returning to the ever hot topic of tongues. It is a subject causing many disagreements among believers, whether tongues are for today, what they are, what they are not, etc.
I place myself on the conservative, cessationist side of the spectrum. If you are interested what people at Pulpit have to say, go to the following links.

  • The Charismatic Question

  • What Was Tongues? (Part 1)

  • What Was Tongues? (Part 2)

  • What Was Tongues? (Part 3)
  • Thursday, March 13, 2008

    Escape the corruption

    “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:4)

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    Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    Eight Reasons Why I Believe That Jesus Rose from the Dead

    by John Piper
    1. Jesus himself testified to his coming resurrection from the dead.

    Jesus spoke openly about what would happen to him: crucifixion and then resurrection from the dead. "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again" (Mark 8:31; see also Matthew 17:22; Luke 9:22). Those who consider the resurrection of Christ unbelievable will probably say that Jesus was deluded or (more likely) that the early church put these statements in his mouth to make him teach the falsehood that they themselves conceived. But those who read the Gospels and come to the considered conviction that the one who speaks so compellingly through these witnesses is not the figment of foolish imagination will be unsatisfied with this effort to explain away Jesus' own testimony to his resurrection from the dead.

    This is especially true in view of the fact that the words which predict the resurrection are not only the simple straightforward words quoted above, but also the very oblique and indirect words which are far less likely to be the simple invention of deluded disciples. For example, two separate witnesses testify in two very different ways to Jesus' statement during his lifetime that if his enemies destroyed the temple (of his body), he would build it again in three days (John 2:19; Mark 14:58; cf. Matthew 26:61). He also spoke illusively of the "sign of Jonah" -- three days in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:39; 16:4). And he hinted at it again in Matthew 21:42 -- "The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner." On top of his own witness to the coming resurrection, his accusers said that this was part of Jesus' claim: "Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, 'After three days I will rise'" (Matthew 27:63).

    Our first evidence of the resurrection, therefore, is that Jesus himself spoke of it. The breadth and nature of the sayings make it unlikely that a deluded church made these up. And the character of Jesus himself, revealed in these witnesses, has not been judged by most people to be a lunatic or a deceiver.

    2. The tomb was empty on Easter.

    The earliest documents claim this: "When they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus" (Luke 24:3). And the enemies of Jesus confirmed it by claiming that the disciples had stolen the body (Matthew 28:13). The dead body of Jesus could not be found. There are four possible ways to account for this.

    2.1 His foes stole the body. If they did (and they never claimed to have done so), they surely would have produced the body to stop the successful spread of the Christian faith in the very city where the crucifixion occurred. But they could not produce it.

    2.2 His friends stole the body. This was an early rumor (Matthew 28:11-15). Is it probable? Could they have overcome the guards at the tomb? More important, would they have begun to preach with such authority that Jesus was raised, knowing that he was not? Would they have risked their lives and accepted beatings for something they knew was a fraud?

    2.3 Jesus was not dead, but only unconscious when they laid him in the tomb. He awoke, removed the stone, overcame the soldiers, and vanished from history after a few meetings with his disciples in which he convinced them he was risen from the dead. Even the foes of Jesus did not try this line. He was obviously dead. The Romans saw to that. The stone could not be moved by one man from within who had just been stabbed in the side by a spear and spent six hours nailed to a cross.

    2.4 God raised Jesus from the dead. This is what he said would happen. It is what the disciples said did happen. But as long as there is a remote possibility of explaining the resurrection naturalistically, modern people say we should not jump to a supernatural explanation. Is this reasonable? I don't think so. Of course, we don't want to be gullible. But neither do we want to reject the truth just because it's strange. We need to be aware that our commitments at this point are much affected by our preferences -- either for the state of affairs that would arise from the truth of the resurrection, or for the state of affairs that would arise from the falsehood of the resurrection. If the message of Jesus has opened you to the reality of God and the need of forgiveness, for example, then anti-supernatural dogma might lose its power over your mind. Could it be that this openness is not prejudice for the resurrection, but freedom from prejudice against it?

    3. The disciples were almost immediately transformed from men who were hopeless and fearful after the crucifixion (Luke 24:21, John 20:19) into men who were confident and bold witnesses of the resurrection (Acts 2:24, 3:15, 4:2).

    Their explanation of this change was that they had seen the risen Christ and had been authorized to be his witnesses (Acts 2:32). The most popular competing explanation is that their confidence was owing to hallucinations. There are numerous problems with such a notion. The disciples were not gullible, but level-headed skeptics both before and after the resurrection (Mark 9:32, Luke 24:11, John 20:8-9, 25). Moreover, is the deep and noble teaching of those who witnessed the risen Christ the stuff of which hallucinations are made? What about Paul's great letter to the Romans? I personally find it hard to think of this giant intellect and deeply transparent soul as deluded or deceptive, and he claimed to have seen the risen Christ.

    4. Paul claimed that, not only had he seen the risen Christ, but that 500 others had seen him also, and many were still alive when he made this public claim.

    "Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep" (1 Corinthians 15:6). What makes this so relevant is that this was written to Greeks who were skeptical of such claims when many of these witnesses were still alive. So it was a risky claim if it could be disproved by a little firsthand research.

    5. The sheer existence of a thriving, empire-conquering early Christian church supports the truth of the resurrection claim.

    The church spread on the power of the testimony that Jesus was raised from the dead and that God had thus made him both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). The Lordship of Christ over all nations is based on his victory over death. This is the message that spread all over the world. Its power to cross cultures and create one new people of God was a strong testimony of its truth.

    6. The Apostle Paul's conversion supports the truth of the resurrection.

    He argues to a partially unsympathetic audience in Galatians 1:11-17 that his gospel comes from the risen Jesus Christ, not from men. His argument is that before his Damascus Road experience when he saw the risen Jesus, he was violently opposed to the Christian faith (Acts 9:1). But now, to everyone's astonishment, he is risking his life for the gospel (Acts 9:24-25). His explanation: The risen Jesus appeared to him and authorized him to spearhead the Gentile mission (Acts 26:15-18). Can we credit such a testimony? This leads to the next argument.

    7. The New Testament witnesses do not bear the stamp of dupes or deceivers.

    How do you credit a witness? How do you decide whether to believe a person's testimony? The decision to give credence to a person's testimony is not the same as completing a mathematical equation. The certainty is of a different kind, yet can be just as firm (I trust my wife's testimony that she is faithful). When a witness is dead, we can base our judgment of him only on the content of his writings and the testimonies of others about him. How do Peter and John and Matthew and Paul stack up?

    In my judgment (and at this point we can live authentically only by our own judgment--Luke 12:57), these men's writings do not read like the works of gullible, easily deceived or deceiving men. Their insights into human nature are profound. Their personal commitment is sober and carefully stated. Their teachings are coherent and do not look like the invention of unstable men. The moral and spiritual standard is high. And the lives of these men are totally devoted to the truth and to the honor of God.

    8. There is a self-authenticating glory in the gospel of Christ's death and resurrection as narrated by the biblical witnesses.

    The New Testament teaches that God sent the Holy Spirit to glorify Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus said, "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.... He will glorify me" (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit does not do this by telling us that Jesus rose from the dead. He does it by opening our eyes to see the self-authenticating glory of Christ in the narrative of his life and death and resurrection. He enables us to see Jesus as he really was, so that he is irresistibly true and beautiful. The apostle stated the problem of our blindness and the solution like this: "The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.... For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:4, 6).

    A saving knowledge of Christ crucified and risen is not the mere result of right reasoning about historical facts. It is the result of spiritual illumination to see those facts for what they really are: a revelation of the truth and glory of God in the face of Christ -- who is the same yesterday today and forever.

    Pastor John

    By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

    Tuesday, March 11, 2008


    “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15)

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    Sunday, March 09, 2008

    Saturday, March 08, 2008

    A rant today

    So what do you do when you are totally exhausted after a long week? This week started with an obligatory trip from work, together with all other colleagues, to a picturesque holiday place in the West Coast of Sweden. We visited some innovative schools, discussed our future as an organization, had delicious meals and lovely time together. Yet it was so compact and short in time that I felt completely empty on Tuesday evening, when the reality of my own home and family hit me back :)

    The rest of the week went rather uneventfully, normal work days, chores, family business - one exception - I finally sent my application to a very important department in Sweden. Soon I will be able to present myself as a citizen of this country.

    Tired of life at the moment. Nothing is fun anymore. On the human level, life is hard and people are of the same sort as life is :)
    Memories? I was watching old pictures and videos from my earlier years, the wedding ceremony, the baptism of our children (yes, we baptized them in the Church of Sweden), several people who are dead today were there much alive and happy... Ex-life, my life before Christ, I was looking at it as at a stranger... Was it really me? It was, in a sense, yet not at all in another, much greater sense.

    Rant is over. My life is here, and I pray for His Will in it.

    “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

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    Friday, March 07, 2008

    O LORD, you are my God

    “ O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.” (Isaiah 25:1)

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    Wednesday, March 05, 2008

    The Remedy for Paralyzed Sinners & Fallen Saints

    John Piper

    God did his most deadly work to destroy hopelessness and futility and provincial cowardice. He gave up his Son to torture and death. A perfect life, a perfect death, and the decisive work was done.
    But there are millions who are numb to hope because of the God-belittling things they have done and how ugly they have become. They don't lift lofty arguments against God's Truth; they shrug and feel irretrievably outside. They don't defy God consciously; they default to cake and television. Except for the periodic rush of sex and sport and cinema, life yawns. There is no passion for significance. For many, no passion at all.
    There is a Christian version of this paralysis. The decision has been made to trust Christ. The shoot of hope and joy has sprung up. The long battle against sin has begun. But the defeats are many, and the plant begins to wither. One sees only clouds and gathering darkness. The problem is not perplexing doctrine or evolutionary assaults or threats of persecution. The problem is falling down too many times. Gradually the fatal feeling creeps in: the fight is futile; it isn't worth it.
    Along with this hopelessness and futility, especially since 9/11, provincial cowardice captures many Christian minds. They fear that it may sound conceited to call every people group in the world to trust Christ or perish. It seems too global. Too sweeping. Too universal. To say it takes their breath away. And, worse, it brings down the wrath of the tolerant. What could be more arrogant than to think that the infinite variety of need in all the cultural groups of the world could be met by a single Savior!
    It is astonishing that the biblical gospel of justification by faith alone answers these three human failures: the hopelessness of unbelievers, the feeling of futility from falling down, and the fear of making global claims for Christ.
    To the numb and listless sinner, feeling beyond all hope of godliness, the Bible says, "To the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness" (Romans 4:5). God justifies the "ungodly." This truth is meant to break the back of hopelessness.
    The connection between the sinner and the Savior is trust, not improvement of behavior. That comes later. It's this order that gives hope. "For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law" (Romans 3:28). The basis of this wild and wonderful hope (the ungodly justified) is "Christ for righteousness to everyone who believes" (Romans 10:4, literal translation). Through faith alone God counts the ungodly as righteous because of Christ. "For our sake [God] made to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Let all who are paralyzed by the weight of sin and the powerlessness to change turn in here.
    To the fallen saint, who knows the darkness is self-inflicted and feels the futility of looking for hope from a frowning Judge, the Bible gives a shocking example of gutsy guilt. It pictures God's failed prophet beneath a righteous frown, bearing his chastisement with broken-hearted boldness. "Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light" (Micah 7:8-9). This is courageous contrition. Gutsy guilt. The saint has fallen. The darkness of God's indignation is on him. He does not blow it off, but waits. And he throws in the face of his accuser the confidence that his indignant Judge will plead his cause and execute justice for (not against) him. This is the application of justification to the fallen saint. Broken-hearted, gutsy guilt.
    For the squeamish fellow afraid of making global claims for Christ, the biblical teaching on justification explodes his little world. It says: the deepest problem to be solved is the same for every human being, because every human is a descendant of Adam. And the problem to be solved is that "by one man's disobedience many were made sinners." "One trespass led to condemnation for all men." The only solution to this universal condemnation is a "second Adam" who provides "the free gift of righteousness" to all who hear the gospel and believe (Romans 5:17-19). Therefore Christ, the second Adam, the giver of righteousness, is the only global Savior.
    Embrace as your treasure the gift of justification. There is no part of your life where it is not immeasurably precious.

    By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    There is God; you are not Him

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

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    Monday, March 03, 2008


    “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.” (Job 23:10-11)

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    The Book of Job is considered the oldest book of the Bible. That is why probably many do not take it seriously at the face value, but accept it as a story told to prove a point. Yet if we believe that the whole Scripture is true, we have to agree on the veracity of its oldest part, and trust God that this chain of events really took place. The example of faithful Job is my strength in difficult times I am going through right now. Dear friends, family, siblings in Christ - all make this trial easier and worth while. Thank you all for your encouragement and love.

    when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold

    I pray it is true.

    Sunday, March 02, 2008

    My Strength

    “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25-26)

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    Lately I have been experiencing some hard times, and the pressure seems to increase all the time, demonstrating itself in some physical effects that are painful and unexplainable in any other way. My convictions have brought me to crossroads and I am obligated to make a choice. Well, not really, because there is but one way to go, and this way is not the same way I would have chosen had I not been a Christian. It is pretty obvious and may possibly put an end to my present comfortable life. However, I am not afraid, trusting in Lord for everything. In fact, the futile efforts of some to destroy my peace are pathetic in the light of His plans.
    I would appreciate prayers concerning my immediate future (the one about my job), and would like to thank all of you who visit here and who care. I love you.

    Saturday, March 01, 2008

    Preparation for the Lord’s Supper

    by Ch. Hodge

    The Lord’s Supper is presented under various aspects in the Scriptures.

    I. It is presented primarily as a commemoration of the death of Christ. As the design of his death was the redemption of man, or rather of his people, to commemorate his death is to render public thanksgiving for our redemption. As redemption is deliverance from the power and condemnation of sin, preparation for this thank–offering must include,

    1. A sense of sin.

    2. A desire to be delivered from it, and a purpose to forsake it.

    3. Belief that Christ’s death is available to our deliverance, and trust in it for that purpose.

    4. Gratitude and love for so infinite a blessing.

    II. It is presented as the seal of the covenant of grace, and as the acknowledgment of our acceptance of that covenant and appropriation of its benefits. Preparation for it in this view implies,

    1. A knowledge of the covenant of grace or plan of salvation.

    2. An acquiescence in it, or acceptance of it for our own salvation, with all its promises and obligations; and as God therein promises for Christ’s sake to be our God, we therein accept him as our God and portion; and as we promise to be his people, we therein consecrate ourselves to the service and glory of God in Christ.

    3. All the sentiments of humility, faith, gratitude and love which such a transaction requires, and when intelligently and, sincerely performed, of necessity excites.

    III. It is presented as an act of communion with Christ. The cup which we bless is the communion of his blood; the bread which we break is the communion of his body. That is, in receiving the bread and wine as the memorials of Christ, we receive his body and blood—i.e., their sacrificial and saving virtue—and thus become one with him. We receive and appropriate him as our sacrifice, and as the Saviour of our souls; and he gives himself to us. It is therefore an act of intimate communion. Preparation for the Lord’s Supper in this aspect requires,

    1. The intelligent apprehension of the nature and design of the sacrament as the communion of the body and blood of Christ.

    2. Faith in it as a means of grace, i.e., as a divinely appointed channel of communicating to us Christ and his benefits.

    3. The desire for this great spiritual blessing, a hungering and thirsting after this spiritual meat and drink; and, when at the table, the actual appropriation of the offered blessings to ourselves. This is feeding on him.

    4. The humility, gratitude and love again, which those must feel who are thus admitted to the presence of the Lord, and receive from his own hand this spiritual food.

    IV. It is presented as an act of communion with our fellow Christians. All who ate of the Jewish altars professed to be Jews, and to regard all other Jews as their brethren. All who frequented the temple of idols were united as joint worshippers of demons. Thus, the apostle says, all who come to the Lord’s table are one body. They are one united company of worshippers of the same Saviour, each united to him as the living head, and therefore united to the others as members of the same body. Preparation for the Lord’s Supper in this aspect requires, of course,

    1. The recognition of the fact that all Christians are brethren, and that their intimate union with each other in virtue of their common union with Christ, is signified and professed in coming to the Lord’s table.

    2. The exclusion, on the one hand, of all feelings inconsistent with this fellowship of saints, of all malice, envying, bitterness, etc.; and on the other hand, the exercise of the opposite sentiments of love, mutual confidence and consideration, and sympathy.

    3. The fixed purpose always to act towards our fellow Christians as towards those to whom we are united by the tenderest, most intimate, and most enduring bonds.

    These various aspects of the ordinance of course are consistent, and preparation for it in one form involves preparation for it under all its other aspects. Its essential idea, however, is thanksgiving for redemption, and therefore requires true views of the glory of the Redeemer as the eternal Son of God clothed in our nature, proper sentiments towards him as our divine Saviour, gratitude for his work, and devotion to his service and glory. Any man who sincerely desires to thank the Lord Jesus for his redemption, and who purposes to live in obedience to his commands, is authorized and bound to come to the table of the Lord, and aid in proclaiming and perpetuating the knowledge of his death.