Prayer is really something special, opens up amazing opportunities, creates an inner turmoil before starting, causes every telephone to call simultaneously and attracts the presence of God into our lives. Why is it so hard to pray sometimes I ponder about today? Even though I know, from the bible and from experience the amazing power of prayer, still after more than 25 years as a believer the inner resistance is just as strong as ever in my life.
Prayer is really something special for us as believers.
Paul writes to the Philippians ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;‘ is an amazing promise to us who believe in Jesus. And still getting to pray is kind of a mystery to me. We should at least pray out pure self-preservation.
Prayer is a way of let go of our burdens, lay them down at the feet of Him who knows no limits, are hindered by no borders, are well-known with the unknown, who has both present and future in His hands, He walked on the water, opened blind eyes and set the oppressed free. He is the same today as He was yesterday, He still lives and still works, He still speaks and He still makes the impossible possible.
Let us seek the Lord, open our hearts to Him to let Him speak to us and lead His with His word.
Today is one of those ‘nothing special days’ in my life. I am little bit sick, not much, but enough to stay at home not to contaminate others with this flu. Sitting at home trying to get something creative done but it just doesn’t work. The weather is a little grey, I feel grey and bored. I came to think about Jesus, He most have had those days as well. Hebrews says He was tempted in all things yet without sin, so He must have had some boring days.
This Wednesday is such a day for me!
Paul must have been bored sitting on some rocking boat travel across the Mediterranean Sea, which got be boring. Still believing, still praying, still serving God even if it is a boring day.
I remember reading an article a few years ago written by a child psychologist in Sweden that had specialized on burnout among kids. She stated that kids need boredom regularly to regain their strength and energy. If we always live on the top we could get energy drainage and risk being burned out. This day is a day when I regain energy and inspiration, a day when the Lord works in the hidden, I cannot see it nor sense it but surely He is in control even when I ma bored.
Sometimes when I read social media outlets I can get the feeling that everyone is on the top all the time. Well if the top become the normative then it also gets boring. Life is not about having only fun but about fulfilling the destiny God has planned for me!!
Now I take a little walk with my 8 year old son to a soccer shop nearby, then back home again.
Jesus cleansed the temple in the beginning of His ministry and during the last week, the Passion Week. The same things as He drove out the first time had crept back into the temple again. Today we are the temple of God and I believe we can experience a parallel thing in our inner man, our inner life or also called our soul. At Salvation God dealt with the obvious sins in our lives but through time He goes to the very root of those sins, our inner life.
As a man thinks in his heart so is he declares Solomon in Proverbs, to have a real change in life our hearts need to change. Jesus gave man the diagnosis ‘heart-problem’ when He described from where sin is flowing in man’s life, out of the heart of man comes….
So during Passion Week Jesus again drives out the money changers, those buying and selling in the temple and proclaimed ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’. What is prayer? Prayer is another word for talking with God, communicating with God. It’s not supposed to be a one way communication but a two way conversation. The temple was created to be a meeting place between man and God, just as new creations in Christ we are the temple of God and God has planned our hearts, our inner life to be the meeting place between man and God.
When this space is being filled up with all kinds of stuff not needed for that meeting to take place, the relationship breaks. The way to restore it is prayer. Not just long and loud but lovingly and intimate, silent and passionate. Prayer means worship, adoration and expressing my love for the one I love. This simply means time!
All love relations needs time, place and occasion otherwise they slowly die, fades away, disappears without us even notice it sometimes. And one day we wake up to the fact we’ve lost what we’ve had, we’ve become strangers living under the same roof, involved in some common projects and have maybe some common interests, but the passion is gone, the loving touch has long gone into hiding. What do we do then
Prov 1:23 ‘Turn at my rebuke; Surely pI will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you’
Jesus went into the temple in Jerusalem and looked around, took notice, went His way sat down and made a whip and came back starting to drive out those selling and buying in the temple saying: ‘Do not make my Father’s house a house of merchandise’. At the end of His ministry He came back into the temple and what He some years earlier had destroyed and thrown out of the temple was now back and the commerce was going on just as usual, this time He turned over the moneychangers tables and drove out those buying and selling this time shouting ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’.
It seems like we humans have an unstoppable ability to twist God’s purpose and turn things our own way, to benefit ourselves, to reflect our desires instead of His will, plan and purpose. The first of the Ten Commandments commands us not to make ourselves any idols and carved images. We seem to have a un-bend, inbuilt force to build idols that are reflections of ourselves turning things our own way. This what I believe Jesus was after when He drove those selling and buying, not just those selling, but also those buying, they were just as guilty.
Jesus cleansed the temple then and today when we are the temple of the Holy Spirit He will some time after time to restore the order in the Temple of God. What was Jesus really doing in the Temple? He restored it back to its god given purpose, the temple was different from everything else, it was supposed to be a place where people worshipped God, sacrificed and that way healed their relationship with God. It was a meeting place between man and God, a place of restoration, a place of prayer for the nations.
What are we doing with the church today? Are we turning it into an activity center where everything center’s around ourselves and our own desires or are we keeping it clean and tidy to be a place where people can get their relationship with God restored, worshipping Him and giving praise to His holy name. Prayer and worship is a way to keep the temple, the church clean and tidy, keep it focused on Him who is the very purpose of its very existence.
We are living in a very interesting time in history, sometimes I get the feeling it is a time that will, especially in the west, be remembered as the new dark ages. Spirituality in Christianity has officially come to dead end, even though people are seeking meaning of life and cannot find neither in materialism nor consumerism (where consuming is the point not buying and stewarding but throwing away to buy more) has brought culture to the end of destruction in my opinion. Recently I heard about a man here in the Ukraine, talking to one of the pastors in our church saying, ‘I have everything but still I am void on the inside’.
This last week’s I’ve been reading some works of Martin Luther and Augustine and it struck me to see and understand the tremendous hunger they both carried to experience God, a hunger for true spirituality. Sometimes I can get a feeling that Christianity is losing ground concerning experiencing God. I have my self said many times ‘we shouldn’t live by our feelings’ but today I regret these statements. Why? Because as people and as Christians we live in two worlds at the same time, outer and inner. The outside is very real and practical but that doesn’t mean that the inner world is unreal and like a pseudo reality, not at all. It’s the place where everything any man has ever created first was created, the place where the most divine music first was heard, long before it was played on instruments. Inside man is a whole world, a world much greater than what we see with our eyes and touch with our hands. And this is the place where God chose to dwell through His spirit, to quicken, refresh and anoint the inner life of the believer.
This is what I call true spirituality, and as I read the old saints and about modern saints I realize this is the place where miracles begin, great things for God are prepared. To try to have a true spiritual life without involving the move of God in the inner world is like trying to drive a car without gas! And when the Spirit of God moves feelings are stirred, tears of repentance are flowing, laughter of joy experiencing the great forgiveness of the Lord is heard, deep thoughts of figuring out more about God are thought, creativity comes with this inner freedom that only the Spirit of God can give and want to give us.
Spirituality is not first and foremost lots of activities but deep, sincere prayer and fellowship with God. It’s an inner walk with the Lord to the still waters where we find rest from our own deeds, meets the Savior, hears His beautiful voice and are touch but His presence. Both Augustine and later Luther sought this mystery, experiencing God.
Let us seek God, come to stillness and hear His voice and sense His touch. That’s the place where our souls are filled with His presence.
The further the soul advances, the greater are the adversaries against which it must contend
Blessed are you, if the struggle grows fierce against you at the time of prayer.
Do not allow your eyes to sleep or your eyelids to slumber until the hour of your death,
but labor without ceasing that you may enjoy life without end.
A couple of days ago a good friend challenged me with the above statement. Mats-Jan, for each kilo you lose until Christmas I will give you 1000 Skr (~100 Euro)! I took the challenge like a hungry fish, and shouted ‘Yes, let’s do it’!
So yesterday Sunday I weight in like a boxer before a title fight, I am ready to go below the magic level of three digits, under a 100 kg! It was so long time ago so I can’t even remember but it must have been last century sometime. My start weight was 105 kg and I started today, Monday 22/8 with a slow diet without sugar and carbos’. My guess is that I’ll reach below the magic line in about 3 or 4 weeks. O’ how I long to fit in those nice slim shirts and again go to size 54/56 (56 due to my solid shouldersJ)
What I will do with the money? Well I guess it will be the beginning of a new wardrobe with nice suits and well-polished shoes. I really like challenges like this, it gets me going, it’s like when some repressive government takes u to court for preaching the gospel accusing you of antigovernment activities…
I will start to blog regularly again after my wonderful vacation and I hope it will be a blessing for many people, we do have some surprises coming during the fall, some nice media outlets to challenge your faith and your walk with Jesus.
See u soon!
Well now I’ve been on vacation for little more than a week and I am enjoying my family, 3 nice boys and a princess. After being alone for nearly 3 weeks meeting my wife and kids is so wonderful. I realize that sometimes I don’t miss people until I’ve been away from them for a while. During these weeks I had lots of time to think about family and what it means to me. It means a lot and it has come to mean more and more year by year actually. It’s safe around my family; they know my faults and weakness and still love and respect me (I hope!) just as I do with them.
My oldest son, probably he is reading this blog, always comments on my dreadful English (and Swedish) grammar, it’s awful according to him and I believe him. It’s a result of totally neglecting Swedish and English lessons in school for years. I really disliked Swedish in school, actually I cheated my way through both 5th and 6th grade by sitting in the back of the classroom, putting the study book on the floor with the page of the test open and I just copied it, I thought it was brilliant! But today I am suffering because I would like to write more than I do but my grammar is just so ugly and my motivation to learn grammar is just as low as it was back in 5th and 6th grade.
It’s hard to have someone correcting the text as well because the personal touch easily disappear, writing should be like Bob Dylan singing, sometimes out of tone but with a very personal feeling, but there is still some basics that needs to be right. So here I am with a desire to write, to share experiences and thoughts that might bless people but missing the gramatical capability needed, so what to do? I’ll write anyway:)
It’s raining today and the sky is grey and Swedish. Actually it’s pouring down right now, but we are in a nice and cozy hotel room on the way out for lunch