Archive for May, 2011

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Capitalism–Socialism

May 31, 2011

The problem of capitalism-socialism is rooted in the dilemma of freedom vrs justice. If you have freedom, you have freedom to oppress and no justice. If you have justice you have imposed justice and no freedom. The reason you can’t have full freedom and full justice at the same time is because men will always behave unjust. The problem is thus rooted in the sinful nature of man.

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Do Re Mi Fa Sol

May 25, 2011

I have started to tell my kids a story.

Once upon a time there were two buildings. They were right next to one another. There was only one apartment on each floor, and both had eight floors. One of the buildings was Israeli were everyone speaks Hebrew. The other was Swedish were everyone speak Swedish. Each had its own flag on the roof. This is the story about the people who lived in it.

At the bottom floor lived the landlord who had a lot of keys and fixed things all the time. The Israeli one was named Dominique, and it was written “Do” on his door. The Swedish one was named Cesar, and he just had a big “C” on his door. On the second floor in the Israeli building was Reu’el. On his door he had written “Re”. On the Swedish side lived a guy named Dennis with a big “D” on his door. They used to run around and make up mischief, and would sing morning songs every morning (using well known morning songs the kids know in Hebrew vrs Swedish).

I’ve continued to improvise as I go along. I’ve told them also about the third floor where we find Miss “Mi” on the Israeli side, and Miss Elsa (with “E” on the door) on the Swedish. The fourth floor where both ladies actually have the same name – Fanny. But the one on the Israeli side writes “Fa” on her door, and the one on the Swedish side only writes “F”. And then we have the fifth floor with Soledad (“Sol”) on the Israeli side and Gudrun (“G”) on the Swedish side.

I started with only the first 3 floors yesterday. Today I told them about 2 additional floors and made up some stories around them (Fanny and Fanny are both elderly ladies with ten cats each, that were disturbed when Dennis and Reu’el started playing the drums when they tried to listen to classical music).

Eventually I will also tell them of floor 6, 7 and 8 where we will find on the Israeli side Laurentius (La), Sissi (Si) and Doris (Do), and on the Swedish side Adam (“A”), Beata (“B”) and Cecilia (“C”). And eventually also the two songs that the both buildings use to remember who lives where: Do, Re Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si, Do, and C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C.

I remember from the third grade how our music teacher used this story to teach us notes for the first time. I’ve never forgotten it since. Of course, that was only one building. I need to teach my kids both.

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Some Reflections on 1 Thess 5:16-24

May 18, 2011

16 Be joyful always, 17 pray at all times, 18 be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.19 Do not restrain the Holy Spirit; 20 do not despise inspired messages. 21 Put all things to the test: keep what is good 22 and avoid every kind of evil.23 May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being—spirit, soul, and body—free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful.

(1 Thess 5:16-24)

 

This passage is very rich, and very confusing. Paul tells us here:

On the one hand to always be joyful and thankful, not to despise inspired messages and to trust the Lord to keep our being free from every fault. In other words – trust in the Lord with everything, accept what happens since it’s from him, accept what we hear from him, and trust in his salvation to keep us free from sin. Trust the Lord, not yourself. But doesn’t that free us from responsibility…? Should we just “sit around” and wait for God to act?

On the other hand, Paul also tells us to pray at all times, to put things to the test, and to avoid every kind of evil. In other words – Don’t accept what happens but pray for it; don’t accept what we hear unless we test it, and do all we can to avoid all kinds of evil. But doesn’t this responsibility mean that we don’t trust God, and his sovereignty…?

Is it God’s “job” to keep us pure, through His salvation, or is it our own responsibility to avoid evil? Should we accept difficulties as something from God, or should we pray that God takes it away? Paul weaves these two ideas together in a marvelous way in this passage where he claims – both!

He tells us to be joyful whatever happens – but to pray constantly. If we pray for a situation that usually means we are not joyful with it. Then he again says to be thankful in ALL circumstances – even if it’s something we’re praying for. This is already confusing. My wife has a childhood friend who is in her twenties and has cancer. We pray for her a lot, but it is very hard to be joyful about her situation, or to be thankful. Why should we be thankful? Paul’s answer is that “This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus”.

Paul goes on to tell us not to restrain (or quench) the Holy Spirit. Not to quench the spirit? That must mean that He is lit! We have His fire and light in our lives – we don’t need to get it from our own strength.

Paul then tells us not to despise inspired messages. On the other hand he also tells us to test everything. We should not dismiss things we hear from people just because they say “God told me this and that.” But we shouldn’t accept everything we hear either – test it! Avoid “Jerusalemsyndrome” people, but don’t be too fast to dismiss it only because a person seems to be “infected”.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, Paul tells us to keep what is good, and avoid evil – and then tells us to trust God to do that for us. In other words – do everything you can to be good in your own strength, run the race, keep it up – but remember that it won’t save you, because you can’t be entirely good and totally avoid evil in your own strength. Only Jesus can save you.

So this passage tells us that we can put our faith entirely in God as our sovereign Lord – but we must also use the intellect and abilities he has given us in order for him to use us for His purposes.

How can God use you today?

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Small Pictures – one for each book

May 17, 2011

If you were to illustrate a small easy to draw picture for each book of the Bible – which would you do?

I sat down with my kids the other day and talked about the books of the Bible. We went through them one by one and I drew a small picture (a few centimeters each) that illustrate the book. We only got through the Torah and the Prophets, and we still have to go through the Writings and the New Testament (We use the Jewish division of The Old Testament).

Genesis – a snake

Exodus – Ten Commandment tablets

Leviticus – The tabernacle

Numbers – A talking donkey

Deutronomy – Moses on a mountain speaking and a lot of people beneath listening

Joshua – Walls falling down

Judges – Gideon with a shofar in one hand and a torch in the other

1 Samuel – David and Goliath

2 Samuel – King David on his throne

1 Kings – Solomon’s temple

2 Kings – Elijah’s altar with fire from heaven

Isaiah – A cross

Jeremiah – Solomon’s temple burning

Ezekiel – A skull

Hosea – An empty grave

Joel – Fire over the head of the disciples

Amos – A shepherd

Obadiah – A finger from heaven pointing at the word “Edom”

Jonah – A fish with Jonah in his mouth

Micah – A nativity scene with Betlehem’s star above (drawn as a Star of David of course)

Nahum – A flood drowning Nineveh

Habakuk – A man praising God (but didn’t know how to draw “difficulties” around him

Zefaniah – A heart

Haggai – The Second temple

Zecharia – Jesus coming on the donkey to Jerusalem

Malachi – A sun (“sun of righteousness”)

 

So… any ideas for the rest of the books…? How will I distinguish between the gospels? And whaaaat to draw on the epistles???

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Saved from what?

May 16, 2011

The LORD then passed in front of him and called out, “I, the LORD, am a God who is full of compassion and pity, who is not easily angered and who shows great love and faithfulness.
Exodus 34:6

R.C. Sproul once told a story of how he taught a class and asked that they hand in an assignment by a certain date. A few students were late, begged for mercy, and he postponed their deadline. The month after that, 30 students were not done in time. After postponing their deadline too, the month after that half the class was late with their assignment. This time Sproul gave an F to whoever didn’t hand in the assignment on time, and got the response “That’s not fair”, and he replied that “fair” would’ve been failing everyone who were late. The students got so used to the grace; they were no longer able to appreciate it.

Sometimes we do the same with God. It is easy to take his salvation and his grace for granted. He is full of compassion and love. But let’s stop for a moment. Why did he have to save us? We are saved from what? The answer is that we are saved from God’s wrath! Until we fully comprehend the ugliness and the horror of the sin, we will not be able to appreciate what he saved us from. God hates sin. See Isaiah 64:6-7, Psalm 5:6,7:12. Since we know this, how God abhors sin, and since we know that nothing can be hidden from him (Hebrews4:13), and that “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” (Hebrews10:31), we can start to understand better why the salvation is such a grace. But do we also understand that we do not deserve it, and it’s all God’s loving grace?

Why did God save us? Why does he want us to be with Him for eternity? The best and most noble cause there is – for His glory! “I want you to know that I am not doing all this for your sake. I want you to feel the shame and disgrace of what you are doing.” (Ezekiel 36:32)

Let us humble ourselves before the Lord and thank him for his grace that he has given us. To be able to be called children of God, and to be loved by him. ” The LORD will take delight in you, and in his love he will give you new life. He will sing and be joyful over you” (Zephania3:17) – we do not deserve this love. It is all a gift from Him. Let’s embrace it and rid ourselves of sins that hold us back.

Read Hebrews 12 and go forward strengthened in the amazing grace of God.

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Salvation

May 13, 2011

“12When Christ went through the tent and entered once and for all into the Most Holy Place, he did not take the blood of goats and bulls to offer as a sacrifice; rather, he took his own blood and obtained eternal salvation for us. … 14 Since this is true, how much more is accomplished by the blood of Christ! Through the eternal Spirit he offered himself as a perfect sacrifice to God. His blood will purify our consciences from useless rituals, so that we may serve the living God.”
Hebrews 9:12,14

How often do we stop and think about what Christ’s sacrifice really means? Do we sometimes see the salvation as the “milk” of the faith – the first important thing we must understand, and then, we move on to “solids” such as understanding deep theology or speculating about the end of times? We must understand that the salvation is not the milk of the faith – it is the very center and the essence of everything we believe and it must be central to us at all times.

In this passage Paul speaks of an “eternal salvation” and later he says that Jesus gave himself “through the eternal spirit”. The salvation is eternal. Jesus did everything on the cross – he obtained an eternal salvation. But this is also many people’s stumble stone. “It can’t be that easy, there must be a catch”. But it is that easy. That’s what’s so amazing! It has all been done, and all we need to do is to accept that fact. We cannot add anything on our own. Jesus atoned all of our sins, past present and future. And when we comprehend this amazing truth, we will no longer want to sin. The atonement can never be used as a license to sin. Good works is a consequence of – not a precondition for – the salvation.

“He gave himself for us, to rescue us from all wickedness and to make us a pure people who belong to him alone and are eager to do good”. Titus 2:14

What is the goal of the salvation? Paul sums it up to be “so that we may serve the living God.” God saved us so that we may serve Him as our living God. Not through useless rituals, but in grace and truth. We were created to be with God, to serve Him and worship Him. And when the end of times will come – that will be the only thing that counts for anything.

“It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. This life that I live now, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me”. Gal 12:20

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Titta vem som kommer nu

May 12, 2011

Today me and my son have had fun singing a well known Swedish kids song, making up more verses as we go. Apologies to my many many millions of non-Swedish readers. Actually, apologies to my Swedish readers too. Both of you.

 

“Den här sången, förstår du – den skrevs för jättelängesen när bara pojkar kunde jobba och nästan alla flickor fick vara hemma – så att nästan alla familjer var som oss. Tokigt va?”

 

Titta vem som kommer nu

Bagarn och hans söta fru

Lycklig den som baka kan

Håll ögonen öppna och gör som han

Här bakar jag, här bakar du

Här bakar bagarn och bagarns fru.

Har du hört vad bagarn sa?

“Var glad, och sjung, så går allting bra”.

 

Titta vem som kommer nu

Doktorn och hans söta fru

Lycklig den som doktorera kan

Håll ögonen öppna och gör som han

Här doktorerar jag, här doktorerar du

Här doktorerar doktorn och doktorns fru.

Har du hört vad doktorn sa?

“Var glad, och sjung, så går allting bra”.

 

Titta vem som kommer nu

Springpojken och hans söta fru

Lycklig den som springa kan

Håll ögonen öppna och gör som han

Här springer jag, här springer du

Här springer springpojken och springpojkens fru.

Har du hört vad springpojken sa?

“Var glad, och sjung, så går allting bra”.

 

Titta vem som kommer nu

Hemmafrun och hennes söta man

Lycklig den som hemmafrua kan

Håll ögonen öppna och gör som hon

Här hemmafruar jag, här hemmafruar du

Här hemmafruar hemmafrun och hemmafruns man.

Har du hört vad hemmafrun sa?

“Var glad, och sjung, så går allting bra”.

 

Titta vem som kommer nu

Piloten och hans söta fru

Lycklig den som flyga kan

Håll ögonen öppna och gör som han

Här fkyger jag, här flyger du

Här flyger piloten och pilotens fru.

Har du hört vad piloten sa?

“Var glad, och sjung, så går allting bra”.

 

Titta vem som kommer nu

Polisen och hans söta fru

Lycklig den som polisa kan

Håll ögonen öppna och gör som han

Här polisar jag, här polisar du

Här polisar polisen och polisens fru.

Har du hört vad polisen sa?

“Var glad, och sjung, så går allting bra”.

 

Titta vem som kommer nu

Mäklaren och hans söta fru

Lycklig den som mäkla kan

Håll ögonen öppna och gör som han

Här mäklar jag, här mäklar du

Här mäklar mäklarn och mäklarns fru.

Har du hört vad mäklarn sa?

“Var glad, och sjung, så går allting bra”.

 

Titta vem som kommer nu

Fotomodellen och hans söta fru

Lycklig den som posera kan

Håll ögonen öppna och gör som han

Här poserar jag, här poserar du

Här poserar fotomodellen och fotomodellens fru.

Har du hört vad fotomodellen sa?

“Var glad, och sjung, så går allting bra”.

 

Titta vem som kommer nu

Revisorn och hans söta fru

Lycklig den som revidera kan

Håll ögonen öppna och gör som han

Här reviderar jag, här reviderar du

Här reviderar revisorn och revisorns fru.

Har du hört vad revisorn sa?

“Var glad, och sjung, så går allting bra”.

 

 

Ja… och så där kan man fortsätta hur länge som helst. Kasta om könsrollerna lite fram och tillbaka kan man också göra. Då blir det ännu roligare.

 

Titta vem som kommer nu

Sjuksystern och hans söta fru

Lycklig den som systra kan

Håll ögonen öppna och gör som han

Här systrar jag, här systrar du

Här systrar sjuksystern och systerns fru.

Har du hört vad systern sa?

“Var glad, och sjung, så går allting bra”.

 

Titta vem som kommer nu

Bilmekanikern och hennes söta man

Lycklig den som meka kan

Håll ögonen öppna och gör som hon

Här mekar jag, här mekar du

Här mekar bilmekanikern och bilmekanikerns man.

Har du hört vad bilmekanikern sa?

“Var glad, och sjung, så går allting bra”.

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