Posts Tagged ‘peace

21
Dec
08

“In his name all oppression shall cease”

peaceAt church today we sang the old hymn “O Holy Night”. Today one line stood out to me. We sing about Jesus’ birth and we proclaim this interesting truth:

“IN HIS NAME ALL OPPRESSION SHALL CEASE!”

In Jesus’ name ALL oppression shall cease. All of it. All oppression in the whole world. Shouldn’t it have said something like: “some oppression will cease some day …maybe… possibly…at least in some places…and in a number of people…definitely maybe….“.

Some people may even take offense when they hear a line like that, because their experience is the opposite. The feel oppressed and burdened by people who claim to follow Jesus. Many atrocities have been committed in the name of Christ, and it’s hard for people who have been hurt to see the truth about Christ as the Freedom giver. 

I love Jesus’ mission statement in Luke chapter 4, verse 18-19 where he stands up and quotes Isaiah 61:1-2, and says the following about why he has come to the earth:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

He came to set the oppressed free. How thankful I am that this is true. For more than 20 years I mistakenly thought that Jesus “just” came to set people, including me, free from Satan’s power and free from the punishment of sin (eternal condemnation in hell). This is part of the good news of Christ, but it’s only some of it. He also came to give me life today. And he has. And he is. He is setting me free from lies, misunderstandings and wounds in my life that use to define my relationship with him, with myself and with other people. He is tangibly, even for a slow learner like yours truly…, giving me more and more freedom and peace. He is doing exactly what he promised in the Scripture from Luke/Isaiah: He is preaching the good news of freedom, peace, joy, meaning, and purpose today, tomorrow and forevermore to me who is poor in myself. I can’t make myself experience abundant life. I am dependent on Christ within me – he is my only hope of glory! 

He is bringing me to places in my walk with him, where I get to experience more freedom. It’s a road of brokenness, and it’s a road with many tears, but it’s bringing me real freedom. I can feel free, and peaceful in the midst of hard times and good times. And he is opening my eyes to see more and more of who he really is. He is not the distant, disinterested, harsh God that I imagined most of my life. He is very different. And he has begun to reveal more and more of the truth about who he is, and who I am in him to me. 

Hopefully that’s what you see when you read through many of the blog entries on this page. It’s thoughts, insights, revelations, questions, frustrations, fun stuff, and randomness from a young(ish) man from Denmark who is on an interesting journey with Jesus Christ, who is not only the reason for the season, as the bumper stickers proclaim, but he is the reason for my life, my joy, my peace, my experience of love, and my hope for today, tomorrow and the rest of eternity. 

I wish all of you dear readers a very Merry Christmas! May you meet the child in the manger and see that he is the Messiah. He is the promised one. He is the one who is setting people free. And may you see your own freedom and Christmas peace in him!

Merry Christmas!

Torben

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28
Jun
08

Peace

It struck me as I was sitting in my home away from home (our local McDonald’s) and was chatting with a Norwegian friend of mine how incredible it is what’s been going on in my life these past couple of years. My teenage years and my early twenties were filled with a lot of confusion. A lot of frustration. A lot of crying out to God and trying to make my life work, but always coming up short somehow. I longed for peace, but hardly ever felt any.

But God is good. God is faithful. “He will complete the good work he has begun in you” (Philippians 1:6), he promised, and I see more and more that that’s my reality. God has known all along what he was up to in my life. When I look back at the first 31 years of my life, I can see how he has been forming me more and more into the image of his son, Jesus Christ. Romans 8:28 is one of the more (mis-)quoted passages of Scripture. It says: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Many people are confused about what “the good” means. Some say that you’re supposed to find something that’s (feels) good in any situation in a “there are always two sides to a coin”-logic. But that’s not what this verse is talking about. There are many things that are difficult in life. God has never promised that all things have something in them we enjoy, but Paul shows in the next verse what “the good” is: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers“. “The good” that God will bring out of every situation no matter how hard or difficult it may be is that he will conform us more and more into the likeness of his son. The good is looking and being more and more like Jesus. 

God has been changing me more and more into looking like his son throughout my life. Hard experiences and difficult struggles have given me insights I can share with people who are struggling. It doesn’t mean that I’m insanely happy about everything that has happened to me. I still struggle to understand why certain things happened, but I trust God to bring life out of even hard experiences. Everything I have learned can be used in the kingdom of God somehow. I have often been blown away these past few years about the randomness of things God can use for his glory:

  • God has used my insight into sports, particularly football (soccer) to open countless conversations with young men from all over the world that I’ve met. And often these conversations have ended up in me sharing about who Christ is.
  • God has used my passion for and knowledge about geography to open up conversations and to give me a platform to be able to relate to and care about people from the whole world.
  • God has even used my size, the way I’m built, to open up peoples’ lives. I will never forget the time where a smaller built Ukrainian DTS student came up to me during a time of prayer and said that she was so happy she could trust me. I was, according to her, the first bigger guy she had dared to trust in her life. Other times other girls have said something similar that seeing a big and strong guy cry and share his heart has helped give them faith back in men and that men can be sincere and sensitive. 

But this blog entry is titled “Peace” and to me that’s one of the biggest miracles that have happened these past couple of years here in Ukraine. I experience more and more peace. I still have questions, struggles, frustrations, my flesh, my pride, etc. that want to press me down and stress me. But it seems like more and more I experience the peace that Paul talked about: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). I have seen this in my life that I can feel and experience peace even when it seems like everything is difficult. And it has nothing to do with me trying really hard to be peaceful. It’s a gift from God. A gift of peace. And a gift that I believe he wants to give more of to me. And a gift he longs to give to his children. Jesus talked a lot about leaving his disciples with peace (John 14). God wants for us to experience peace. A peace that transcends all understanding. A peace that goes beyond and right down the middle of our circumstances. 

I thank God that he has calmed a lot of my fears. I thank God that I’m learning more about allowing Jesus Christ to live his life through me. “He himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14). When I experience peace it’s a clear sign that I abide in Christ (John 15). When I allow him to God and myself to be a human being in need of his help, I get to experience peace. When I don’t strive and try to fix my problems and fix myself (!), I experience Jesus’ peace. 

I want to experience more of this peace. I don’t want to be worried about today, tomorrow or what will happen in 10 or 29 years. I know that Christ doesn’t want for me to worry. Worrying brings nothing good. I know that. And I thank God that he has given me more peace. I’m still me. I still have days where peace is not my default setting. Absolutely. But I can look back on the past two years and say with certainty that I experience more and more peace. 

Peace be with you!

Torben

07
Jan
08

Revelations

And to conclude the list of top experiences of 2007 here is a little list of some of the greatest revelations that God gave me during a very interesting, hard, frustrating, fruitful, joyful, exciting, passionate, and fun year:

 – I’m loved just the way I am, NOT in spite of who I am or the way I am 

– I’m a friend of God

– I don’t have to defend, promote or explain myself, because I know who I am in God, and he’ll do all of that if he sees it’s needed 

– I don’t have to do anything to improve myself, even if I all I do is sit in a chair and eat donuts the rest of my life, God wouldn’t love me any less

– I’m a broken cup, and God’s water will run through me, bless me and bless other people around me. Brokenness is a life long experience for me as a Christian (brokenness: having been fractured or damaged. No longer in one piece or in working order)

– All God asks of me is to abide in him and believe in him, he will love and live through me and change me and the world through me. It’s never about me pulling it together so I can make a difference!

 Wow…..I’m amazed just sitting here writing about some of the wonderful things the living God has chosen to reveal to me in the past year. And I continue to pray that he’ll give me the spirit of wisdom and revelation so I may know him better and better (Ephesians 1:17)

Torben 

 




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