Archive for November, 2009

30
Nov
09

The healing power of forgiveness

There is nothing quite like it. Nothing that has the same power to set you free. Often there is nothing quite so difficult. Often you have to practice it over and over again. Often it doesn’t produce change in anybody else but yourself. And yet, it’s always well worth the agony of doing it. We’re talking about forgiveness!

It’s essential to forgive to live in freedom. There is no way around it. I know many people who don’t live in forgiveness with other people and who are suffering because of that. I have been in situations where I didn’t forgive people. I was also suffering. A wise person once said these clever words:

Unforgiveness is the poison I drink while waiting for someone else to die!

These are powerful and true words. It’s always sad when you see people who choose not to forgive. So often it’s small things that hinder deeper and more fulfilling relationships. Words were said, value statements were put on people, and people choose to hold a grudge, stay in a place of self-righteousness, and the cancer of bitterness grows inside of you. It’s always like this. Whether you agree with this or not. Whether you are a Christian or not. Unforgiveness is a cancer that kills. It slowly takes life out of you. Whatever person you choose not to forgive, you’re tied to. You give the other person power. Power to control your life. You think about the other person, and you know that you lack peace and joy inside of you. It’s the power of sin. As Christians, as children of God we are forgivers per nature. We have been given a new nature, the very nature of Christ. And since he forgave us of everything, we are free to forgive other people for whatever they may do to us.

It’s the way of freedom. It always brings life. It always builds up relationship. It’s the road of brokenness. It’s the road less traveled. It’s always easy to find people, inside or outside the church, who will agree with you that it’s not reasonable for you to forgive, and that you’re right in holding a grudge. But the truth is that forgiveness has nothing to do with ‘fairness’. It’s a choice of life or death. If you forgive, you experience life in your relationships to God, yourself and other people. If you choose not to forgive, you experience bitterness and a lack of life.

Is forgiving easy? No, it rarely is. True forgiveness is painful. Often very painful. But it’s also freeing. I let go of the right I feel to judge and condemn other people, and I’m free to just be me, a human being who is aware of the fact that I often make mistakes myself and hurt other people and need their forgiveness.

Unless you’ve been broken by God and understand the power of living as a broken cup and relying on his strength and not your own, it’s nearly impossible to forgive. Why would you? You can always finds reasons why you shouldn’t take the first step towards forgiveness. Your flesh will tell you that your anger and lack of forgiveness is well justified. And other people will too. Misery attracts company, so it’s often fairly easy to find somebody to sit and whine with. It doesn’t bring any life at all. It just fans the flame of bitterness inside of you. Forgiveness is the highroad that’s painful, but life-giving to travel. It’s the road where Christ is and leads you. “Forgive them Father, they don’t know what they’re doing” were some of Jesus’ lasts words. He left us an example of how to live our lives. We are free to forgive, because we’re forgiven. Forgiveness, like anything else of great value in the Christian walk, is a response. We forgive, because God forgave, just like we love, because he first loved us, and we can draw near to him, because he first drew near to us.

I encourage you to forgive whatever wrong people may have done to you. It will bring life. Guaranteed.

Blessings, Torben

I love one of the first lines in this song: “You are strong when you feel weak, in your brokenness complete”

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18
Nov
09

Up

It’s not often that I watch a cartoon that I really enjoy and keep on quoting, but these wonderful scenes from the latest Disney Pixar movie “Up” I just can’t get over 🙂 The movie itself is an interesting creation with very serious themes such as death of a loved one, loneliness, an absent father, inability to have children, and how to let go when a loved one dies mixed in with lots of silly stuff and laughable characters. The movie is held in a surprisingly melancholy tone, and yet it’s uplifting with beautiful, bright colors and delightful music throughout the movie. It’s definitely worth watching!

Meet Russell and Mr. Fredrickson:

And the dog, Doug:

Blessings, Torben

17
Nov
09

The evolution arrogance

The Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. are definitely worth a visit. Huge, impressive, informative and free (!) museums where you can learn a ton of things about a lot of different subjects. One of the most popular museums is the Museum of National History where you’ll find a number of different (dead) animals from all over the world and lots of info about all these different interesting, beautiful or just plain crazy looking creatures.

To me this particular museum could be the most exciting and uplifting of the museums, but instead the place filled me with sadness when I visited this past Saturday. This is the high places of arrogance when it comes to the questions of how this world came about, and especially the question of where human beings came from. If you visit the Museum of National History and read all the information that’s found everywhere you’ll be convinced that we simply KNOW everything (!) there is to know. Posters will proudly proclaim that apparently we know for sure (!!) what happened 3.5 million years ago….Apparently we also know what animals evolved into what and everything else we ever wanted to know…..

There are no question marks to be found anywhere. No acknowledging that all serious scientists, even those who claim that the idea of creation by God is absolutely absurd, will agree that they don’t know everything about how the earth came to be and how human beings are the way we are. No words such as ‘approximately’, ‘most likely’, ‘probably’, ‘a qualified guess is’, ‘the common belief is’ or anything even suggesting the reality that is that if you completely leave God out of the picture when the talk comes to the earth, animals and human beings you’ll find yourself with many, many questions that no one has any answers to. Also there was nothing acknowledging that the vast majority of people in the world don’t believe that the world came about through random coincidence. So the message to the majority of the almost 7 billion people in the world is clear: you’re simply just dumb, narrow-minded and uneducated!!

It was sad to see the arrogance. And sad to see that it has come to this that we are supposed to celebrate ourselves as well-developed animals as opposed to human beings created in the very image of the Almighty and Loving God of the Universe.

No wonder it’s easier for most people in the western world to care more about animal wellfare, saving the trees, recycling (which are all good things!) than protecting the unborn, fighting for rights for handicapped people and other things that have to be at the top of your list of priorities of what to protect and fight for if you believe in God.

I wish more scientists had the courage to admit what’s obvious to any thinking person that believing in evolution is just as much faith as believing in God creating the world and human beings. I had one Professor at the University I attended years ago who admitted, off the record of course, that he had faith in evolution and human beings coming from monkeys just the same way I had faith in God creating the earth and human beings.

I thank God that he has created everything through his son Jesus Christ! I thank God that he causes everything to live, move and breathe and that his sun rises on people who love him and hate him!

Blessings, Torben

10
Nov
09

Pray for persecuted Christians

WorldWatch-banner-revised2This past Sunday it was International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. All over the world many Christians were gathered in churches or in other groups and prayed for the millions of Christians who are still experiencing intense persecution because they love Jesus Christ.

The first time I heard about persecuted Christians was maybe 20 years ago, and the stories I heard stuck with me. Since then I’ve had a strong interest in knowing about, praying for and supporting my Christian brothers and sisters who pay a heavy price for following Jesus in many countries in the world. I have been supporting Open Doors for many years, and I can’t think of many organizations that I support more fully than Open Doors which was started by the little Dutchman, Brother Andrew in 1955. Each year they publish a list called the World Watch List that tells of the 50 countries where most Christians face the fiercest persecution. This is a sad list of 50 countries where Christians have few rights and where many of them experience severe persecutions.

Here is the World Watch List for this year:

WW printable 09-2I encourage all of you to check out Open Doors’ website and find info of how you can support, encourage and bring hope to persecuted Christians all over the world.

John 15:18-20: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you”

2. Timothy 3:12: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”

Romans 8:35-39: “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Blessings, Torben

07
Nov
09

Slow fade, grace and where to look

I thought these three videos complement each other very well. First, a very sharp, sadly true and thought provoking teaching from the lead vocal of Casting Crowns, Mark Hall, about the slow fade that so often happens for Christians when they start to listen to what non-Christians and Satan believe and think and slowly start ignoring the life-giving truths of God:

Keith Green talks about some of the same in this song where he laments the fact that so many of us Christians seem to lose the fire we may have had early on in our walk with Christ, but he comes to a place in the song, and came to that place at the end of his too short life on earth, where he saw that it was and is only the grace of God that we can trust to always sustain and cause us to not fall into sin and stuff that will destroy our lives and bring death in our relationships with God, ourselves and other people (Romans 6:23):

And finally this simple song about what to do when life is difficult, and you’re tempted to listen to the lies of the enemy who wants to bring you into the mud of mediocrity, sin, compromises and counterfeits. All we can do is turning our eyes upon Jesus, the initiator, author, sustainer and perfecter or our faith (Hebrews 12:2):

Blessings, Torben – who is so glad that my relationship with God is not based on what I do/say/think/feel or don’t do/say/think/feel. I’m so glad that everything is built on Jesus who never changes!




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