Archive for February, 2008

29
Feb
08

Enlightenment on the journey

This week’s quote belongs to the French-born spiritual writer Thomas Merton who died at the early age of 53 in 1968. He has written scores of books, and he is quoted numerous times by some of my favorite authors (Philip Yancey, Brennan Manning, Henri Nouwen, David G. Benner etc.), maybe some day I’ll actually get around to read one of his own books, but this week we’ll start with this wonderful piece of insight into the life and journey of a disciple of Christ:

We receive enlightenment only in proportion as we give ourselves more and more completely to God by humble submission and love. We do not see first, then act: we act, then see. And that is why the man who waits to see clearly before he will believe, never starts on the journey

I have come to love the imagery of a journey with God these last few years. I’m on a journey of becoming myself (“And now, with God’s help, I shall become myself“, the Danish and Christian philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wrote), becoming who I was created to be from the beginning.

I have accepted Jesus Christ as my savior and righteousness and from that moment the journey of discipleship, of becoming myself, began. It’s an interesting journey of many twists and turns. My flesh doesn’t want to give up and screams and complains, because often the journey Christ takes me on is hardly a short cut, it often looks like the longest and most narrow of the paths. But it’s the right one. It’s the right one for me. Christ has me on a journey where I learn to accept who I am in him, stop rejecting myself and accepting that I’m dearly loved. And Christ has me on a journey where I die to my flesh and its selfish desires that promise much life, meaning, significance and love, but never manages to deliver. Instead of trusting my flesh and the desires of the world and Satan, I am called to throw myself at Christ’s mercy and follow him no matter what. The poor in spirit, who according to Matthew 5:1 are blessed, is a group of people who follow Christ no matter what. And who experience the abundant life that Christ promised all believers, but the same abundant life which remains an illusion to all believers who insist on holding onto themselves, their own strength, the ways of the world (and often the church). You can’t receive abundant life and peace, and joy and love with full hands. They’ve got to be empty and open. They’ve got to be broken. The journey of discipleship is the journey of brokenness. I realize that I’m part of this universe where three things are true: we’re good, we’re fallen and we can be redeemed. I’m in the process of redemption. Of becoming myself. I’m aware of my faults, flaws and weaknesses, but I’m also aware of my gifts, talents and blessings. I am becoming more aware of all of it. And I’m learning to accept that I’m loved by the perfect God both on my good days and bad days. And I’m learning to rest in the freedom, joy, peace and love that comes from knowing (that I know, that I know, that I know….also when the door is closed and I’m all alone with my thoughts!) that I AM LOVED!!

Enjoy your journey! I am enjoying mine!

Torben

29
Feb
08

Blessed Assurance (Salige Vished)

To continue celebrating old, meaningful hymns I thought I would find a version of one of the hymns I’ve probably sung the most times in my life: Fanny Crosby’s Blessed Assurance which I know as Salige Vished in Danish. It’s a wonderful song about the security God wants his children to know. Security in who we are in God in life, and in death and for all eternity with our Father in heaven – “this is my story, this is my song praising my Savior all the day long”, and I bet that’s what Fanny is doing at this very moment!


I think Third Day do a good job with their version of this song:



Torben – “salige vished Jesus er min, han er min hyrde, kalder mig sin, salige vished alting er vel, Jesus har købt mig legem og sjæl”
22
Feb
08

Listen to your life

This week’s quote is from the American minister and author Frederick Buechner who among many wise things has said this:

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and the pain of it no less than in the excitement and the gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy, hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace
Abundant life in Christ is not something for tomorrow, it’s something for today. No matter where I am, no matter what my circumstances are, no matter whether life is fun or hard, no matter what I have or don’t have: if I learn to listen to my life and see God in my everyday trivialities, transformation happens. I start seeing the world, God, others and myself for who we really are. Ordinary becomes special and the lost sense of wonder, joy and mystery is rediscovered.
Torben
22
Feb
08

It is well with my soul

Yesterday in a worship time we sang the old hymn Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing, and it reminded me once again of how much I love many of the old hymns. I love the depth of the lyrics, the deep understanding of who God is and who we are in him, the search for more of him no matter the costs, and the understanding that it’s never about me, it’s always about God! 

I thought of the amazing hymn It Is Well With My Soul, and I found this wonderful youtube-video with the song and the story of Horatio Spafford who went through incredible trials as described in the video, but chose to continue to bless and love his Father in heaven. It reminds of the faith of an Old Testament hero such as Habakkuk who declared: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17-18). Watch the video to It is Well With My Soul and read the powerful lyrics. 



When peace, like a river, attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll: whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul

Chorus: It is well (it is well) with my soul (with my soul). It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come. Let his blest assurance control that Christ hath regarded my helpless estate and hath shed his own blood for my soul.
(Chorus)

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul!
(Chorus)

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: If Jordan above me shall roll. No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life thou bit whisper thy peace to my soul
(Chorus)

And Lord haste the day, when my faith shall be sight. The clouds be rolled back as a scroll: The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, even so, it is well with my soul
It is well (it is well) with my soul (with my soul), it is well, it is well with my soul 


Torben – who can’t help but thinking about the small things that bug me and make me annoyed at God and can’t help but thanking God for his patience with me!

19
Feb
08

The happiest country in the world

Happiness according to my dictionary has to do with a sense of satisfaction, well-being, joy, etc. and apparently I come from the happiest country in the world, Denmark. Most likely a surprising result to many (including yours truly!), but according to this survey made by researchers from Great Britain’s University of Leicester a year ago, that’s the way it is:-). Watch this interesting video by ABC News talking about how strange it seems that a country with bad weather, incredibly high taxes and things like these written on an official site about the country: “very bluntly speaking, it can be claimed that the present configuration of Denmark is the result of 400 years of forced relinquishments of land, surrenders and lost battles” from denmark.dk can be the happiest country in the world…

Torben – who is still, believe it or not, content to not live in Denmark 🙂
16
Feb
08

Mohammed drawings

Because of the recent death threats on one of the Danish cartoonists, Kurt Westergaard, who made the infamous drawings of the prophet Mohammed I feel like linking to one of my old blogs about the Mohammed crisis and about the important differences between Christianity and Islam. If you haven’t already read it, I would say that it’s worth a read. It might provoke some thoughts about your own responses in difficult situations.

Just click here to read “Why Christians Don’t Burn Down Mecca

Torben 

16
Feb
08

Turn your eyes

A wonderful song about where hope is always to be found, in the man who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Torben – who often finds himself looking everywhere else than to the only one who can answer my questions, and give me the life, hope, joy and peace I’m searching:-(




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