Posts Tagged ‘david

21
Dec
09

Support, fear and hope

It’s been three weeks since my last blog entry. It’s one of the longest breaks in the history of this blog. Much has happened, but it’s not the usual human excuse of being too busy that has kept me from writing here. It’s not that I haven’t had many thoughts about life, God, and lots of other stuff. But the truth is that I’ve been in deep places of fear these last few weeks.

My wife and I have been living as missionaries dependent on financial support from friends, churches and family members for the past five years, and yet I have never had to ask somebody face to face to support the ministry God is doing through us financially. I have to do that now. It’s that time for us. For me. There is no way around it. I have been tempted to just do a Jonah and run away from God’s calling on my life. It would be much easier for me to pack my wife and myself and just move to Denmark, get a regular job, a normal paycheck and not have to ever ask anybody for anything again. My flesh wanted me to do that: “Life in missions is too hard. You won’t get the support you need. God will abandon you“, it has been whispering.

I’ve felt powerless against those lies. They are hard to battle in my own strength. Let me rephrase that: they are impossible to battle in my own strength. And I’m only where I am in life, because I’ve learned much about letting Christ fight the battle for me. I can’t win it. If I don’t hear Jesus’ voice of truth in the heat of the fight, I end up surrendering to the loud and persistent noise of my flesh. But I did hear him. He hasn’t taken away the reality of support raising from me. I still have to write the letters, make the phone calls and have the conversations. He hasn’t rescued me from the lifestyle he has called us to live.

But he has renewed the promises that he has been talking to me about this year. I’ve had this one particular song running through my head countless times in 2009. When I’ve sinned. When I’ve failed myself, other people, and God. When I’ve had victories. When I’ve felt abandoned. When I’ve felt lonely. When I’ve felt angry. When I’ve felt deep joy. When I’ve cried. When I’ve laughed my head off. When I’ve been depressed. When I’ve been ecstatic. The same song. It’s a simple, little Danish song that goes like this:

Du omslutter mig på alle sider, og du holder mig i din hånd

“You surround me on all sides, and you keep me in your hand” would be a word for word English translation. I’ve needed to hear that over and over again. Especially these last few weeks. He surrounds me. He is with me. David explained God’s omnipresence in this way:

Where can I go from your Spirit? When can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me”, even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139:7-12)

I picked up a John Eldredge-book, “Walking With God“, the other day and he pointed out some word that also spoke to me from John 10 where Jesus talks about himself as the Good Shepherd.

He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice

(John 10:3b-4)

It was the little phrase ‘he goes on ahead of them‘ that was meaningful to me. Jesus goes ahead of me. I have someone to follow. All I do is follow in the steps he has made for me. I can trust that I will walk into the good deeds he has already prepared for me (Ephesians 2:10) that will bring life to me and form me more into who I am in Christ (Romans 8:28-29). He goes ahead of me, and I follow right behind him. I am not alone. I am not alone even when I feel alone. I am not alone even when my fears, self-pity, anger, hurts, wounds, lies and other ugliness is having a heyday.

And, to get very practical, I’m not alone when I’m asking people to support us. Jesus has already chosen some people whom he wants to be our new supporters. He has already gone ahead of these specific people, and they will follow him, and give to the ministry Christ is doing through us, because they know Jesus’ voice and long to follow his will for their lives (Ezekiel 36:26-27). He goes ahead of them, and he goes ahead of Jeannette and me, and the journeys of some people and our own will intersect and this will bring glory to Christ, because it’s not us who made it happen. We were just following him.

Blessings, Torben

28
Apr
08

David’s insights

As you’ve been able to read a bit about on my blog in this entry I’ve been fascinated by David from the Bible these past months. As I was reading through some of the book of Psalms the other day, I was once again struck by the simple, clear faith that David possessed. Here are just a few pearls from the Psalm showing David’s trust in God.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14)

“(…) weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b)

Into your hand I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth” (Psalm 31:5)

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7)

Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34: v. 8 )

What simplicity, what trust, what clear understanding of God being the source of all goodness, deliverance, truth and strength. David always knew who was his source for love, acceptance, protection, significance and worth. He chose to find it in God. He chose to taste God. What an interesting picture that is. How do you taste God? I think you do that by “eating” his truth and his life. Jesus said that he was the true bread from heaven (John 6), and he said that he was the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Get to know Jesus. Spend time with him. Allow him to reveal himself to you as life. Experience Christ being your life and living your his life through you. And more and more you’ll experience that less and less things are truly important. Søren Kierkegaard said: “Purity of heart is to will one thing“. David knew this. He only wanted one thing. He only wanted God. Nothing else mattered. 

I want to experience more of this simplicity, purity and life. So I continue to ask God to take me to places where I can get rid of all the things that I so often build my life around. I ask him to take me deeper through the process of brokenness and where I come to experience that ONLY God is the constant one, and only he will be my daily and eternal hiding place.

Blessings, Torben 

26
Mar
08

Honesty and laments

Honesty is a hard attribute to find when we all want to seem like we’ve got it all figured out” Lifehouse sing in their song Trying.    

Honesty…..transparency…..being real…..openness…..vulnerability……All these words are very popular words in the churches of 2008. And Hallelujah that there is a growing awareness of the importance of being honest, transparent, real, open and vulnerable! It’s much to prefer from closing down everything, shoveling everything under the carpet, keeping up appearances, having a straight religious face and other similar alternatives, but there is still much confusion about what these things mean.                                                

Over the years I’ve met many young people who claim to be real and honest and who unfortunately get respect from other people for being so. You know the types, I’m sure. Often they’re categorized by being very honest and real especially about all the negative things they see in others and in their church, missions organization, etc. Very rarely do they have anything positive or constructive to say. They seem to be convinced that the Spiritual gift of discernment can be boiled down to noticing what’s wrong with everybody else and then talking to all other people about somebody’s issues or problems. They don’t have much interest in changing, because as they say “I am just the way I am” (which probably has to be my least favorite statement from a Christian’s mouth. A Christian who claims to have the Spirit of the living God in him….!). They rarely learn anything, because they’re convinced that they know most things already and really should be teaching the world. They don’t take responsibility for how they affect other people, they seem to think that they can do whatever they feel like and other people need to change if they don’t like it. They like to hide behind their hurts which have made them the way they are today. Often they claim that they have been healed of their problems, so I’m the one who have a problem if I still claim that they’re hurting….                                                                           

In my four years working with discipleship training I have met quite a few people who match the description above. They have many different skin colors and passports, so it’s not a problem that can be nailed down to one country or a certain part of the world.                                                             

It’s true that God wants us to be honest, open, vulnerable, real and transparent. No doubt about that. A true disciple rests in who he or she is in God and has no problem sharing about defeats, shortcomings, weaknesses as well as victories, gifts and strengths. He is a broken cup, and he knows it. No pretenses are necessary. He is broken, he knows he is and will always be and he trusts God to be the one living and loving through him.                                                                             

My Mac-dictionary tells me that to lament is to: express grief, sorrow, disappointment, regret, complaints or frustrations. I have been thinking about laments these last days since Saturday where I met up with my wife Jeannette’s Bible School group and read through the two books of Samuel. What stood out to me was king David and his life. So full of so many problems. He was on the run from Saul who wanted to kill him for 8-10 years hiding in the wilderness. Where did David get the strength from to not take matters into his own hand and kill Saul on the different occasions where he had the chance? A Bible teacher I heard yesterday suggested that we need to look to David’s Psalms of lament to find the answer.                                                                             

David used the Psalms of lament to vent to God, to get his hatred, frustrations, anger, feelings of loneliness, etc. out. He was not afraid to invite God into all his feelings and thoughts both the good, the bad and the really ugly (look at for example Psalm 109 if you want to see some ugly-looking feelings). The Psalms of lament was David’s journal. He was writing directly to God, telling him exactly how he felt, and then he left it to God to act the way he chose to be best. I love this approach. I love that we see this brutal honesty in David’s prayer life, which I’m convinced is one of the main reasons David had the wonderful title a man after God’s own heart. How could an adulterer and a murderer be a man after God’s own heart? He could because he was brutally honest, real and never afraid to face the consequences of his actions. He knew how to ask for forgiveness. He didn’t hide his sin, minimize it or tried to explain it away or blame others. He took responsibility for his own wrongdoings. David laments openly to God. He doesn’t hide a single emotion or thought, but he always comes back to who he knows God to be. He always comes back to the truth, and this is something our generation of young people trying to be honest can learn a lot from.    

Too many (young) Christians, including myself often (!), are good at the first part of sharing feelings and thoughts no matter how ugly they look, but we also have to acknowledge the good things in our lives. We have to learn to come back to the giver of life and focus on who he is and point to him as the ultimate solution to our problems and other peoples’ problems.                           

“I have a really bad day. I am so irritated at this person who keeps hurting me with spiteful comments. I feel like taking matters into my own hands and seek some kind of revenge, but I bring the situation to you, God. I want to punish him and fight back, but I offer him to you. And I acknowledge that you’re much wiser than me and you know what’s best for him and for me”.                                                                                  

I have learned to love journaling, but if you saw many of my entries you probably wouldn’t want to spend much time around me or get to know me more. It’s often not pretty. It’s messy. It’s raw. It’s unedited. It’s real emotions. And I offer it all to God. I offer my good-looking days and my bad-looking days. I offer the days where I judge myself to have failed and the days where I feel like a success. That’s real, honest, transparent, vulnerable relationship. Nothing hidden. I offer it all to God, and I trust that he will continue to work out his life in me. I hope to become better at resting in God and who he is and not be so prone to anger, irritation, loneliness, self-hatred, etc. But I trust that God knows what he is doing. I trust that his timing is perfect. And I trust that as long as I cling to him and continue to stay real with him and obey him and go where he wants me to go everything is going to be okay.                                                                    

Openness without hope of more and better life is not Christian openness. Honesty that doesn’t acknowledge that I am the way I am today, but I trust that God will change me over time more into who he has called me to be, is not real honesty. Being real is always being real about both the things we like and the things we dislike in our lives not one or the other.                                               

These were a bunch of somewhat scattered thoughts. And I offer them to you, dear blog reader, to make some kind of sense out of if possible 🙂                                                                                               

Torben – who is somewhat nervous about his medical check up this Friday at the Clinic for Oil-Refining Industry of Ukraine…..did they understand that I’m a person and not a car?




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