Invitation to Bohuslän, as sung at the funeral service of Gertie Bilén.

July 27, 2018 was the funeral service of my mother, Gertie Bilén.
She was almost 99 year when she died July 4.
She had a rich and fulfilling life, so rather than the normal sorrow it was more of a celebration, we do not sorrow as those who have no hope.
My niece and brother performed my mother’s favorite song. “Invitation to Bohuslän” It is in Swedish but describes her life  since she knew many of the places and people in the song.  Enjoy!
Som blågrå dyning bohusbergen rullar
I ödsligt majestät mot havets rand
Men mellan dess kala urtidskullar
Är bördig jord och gammalt bondeland
Dit tränger Skagerack med blåa kilar
Och strida strömmar klara som kristall
Och lummig lövlund står med björk och pilar
Och ask och ek vid ladugård och stall
Kom ut och lufta vinterdävna tankar
På stigar vindlande i berg och myr
Där vinden blåser in från Doggers Bankar
Med doft av tång och salt och äventyr
Och kom till Långevik, till sjökaptenen
Herr Johansson, som, mätt på havets skum
Nu vårdar äppelträden och syrenen
Och örtagården kring sitt Tusculum
Ja kom och se vårt Bohuslän om våren
Du Rönnerdahl, som äger blick för färg
Här går på vinröd ljung de svarta fåren
Och rosa skyar över druvblå berg
Här svallar myllan lilabrun kring plogen
När Anders plöjer med sin norska häst
Och skutor med kinesiskt vitt om bogen
På golfströmsgröna svall styr mot nordväst
Kom ut till oss! Här kärnar Hulda smöret
Och leghornshönsen värper ägg var dag
Här blir du frisk till hälsan och humöret
Här trivs du, Rönnerdahl, det lovar jag!
Här bygger Anders båtar och fioler
Här kan du fiska torsk och spela vals
Och tjusa oss med kullrande trioler
Ur Anders felor och din egen hals
Kom ut till stränderna, de ödsligt sköna
Med slån och hagtorn, böjda djupt av storm
Med gamla båtvrak som har multnat gröna
Men än, i brustna skrov, bär vågens form
Där mellan hav och land, på sand som skrider
På tång som gungar, kan du ensam gå
Och leva i de längst förflydda tider

Och i ditt släktes framtid likaså

But God. Why evangelical Christians have hope. “How Great Thou Art”

Twenty-two years a girl was born with undeveloped optical nerves and mild cerebral palsy. She was not expected to live more than at most one year. But God had other plans for her. At age two she began to sing. Her love for singing praises to God has never ceased. And so, in God’s providence she was chosen to sing at the 2017 inauguration interfaith prayer service. And sing she did! Her name is Marlana VanHoose, a little girl, but with a voice.

Image result for the 2017 inauguration prayer breakfast how great thou art

Meanwhile, the media was busy tracking the protest rallies all around Washington that day. I watched all day and never saw it.

How did the audience that was privileged to watch react? It is worth to listen to it a second time, this time around watching the reaction of the public in attendance, notably Melania Trumps reaction.

After the song Melania led the standing ovation to acknowledge God’s grace, not only for the song, but for the whole day and for the whole presidency.

This is what give us evangelicals hope. She not only sang it, she also sang the third and fourth verses, so often omitted in public settings, especially in interfaith services. Why is that so important?

Let us look at the history of “O store Gud”, and how it came to be the most favored Hymn of at least three presidents before Donald Trump!

Clouds have always been my fascination. They come and go, form and disappear, cool by day and warm by night. But most impressive of all are thunderstorms, forming when the temperature and humidity are high, transport a lot of water vapor to higher elevations, there condensing as rain or ice, coming down, cooling and watering the earth. Clouds and thunderstorms are the thermostat of the earth. Without it the earth would respond like climate models, predicting a sharp temperature rise as carbon dioxide levels increase. The models are all flawed, since they predict a hot spot in the troposphere over the equator, but there is none. The thunderstorms in the tropical doldrums take care of that. “Settled science” instead has settled on ignoring the lack of the hot spot, for to acknowledge it would make the global warming claim invalid.

I thank God for providing us with a thermostat that protects the earth from overheating, and especially for thunderstorms!

Such was the case in July 1885, when Carl Boberg,  a 26 year young pastor of a Mönsteråsvikensmall congregation of the Swedish Missionary society was the honored guest of the ladies’ auxiliary annual picnic, held in a meadow near Mönsteråsviken, (a bay of the Baltic Sea in southeastern Sweden). The day was perfect, the sky was clear, pleasant temperatures, the cows were grazing on the meadow, the birds were singing, in short,  a pastoral idyll. Then it happened. In a few short minutes thunderclouds appeared out of nothing. There was no time to go home, so they all sought shelter in a barn close by. The rain came down hard, and lightning struck a nearby tree. Then as suddenly as it started the rain stopped and all was calm. In Sweden it turns much cooler after a thunderstorm, and the birds sing like they got a new lease on life.

They all went home, and the young pastor pondered the events of the day. He

080419-11, digital 28,8 mb RAW, 12-00 Koltrast, Turdus merula Uppland
080419-11, digital 28,8 mb RAW, 12-00
Koltrast, Turdus merula
Uppland

heard the Coalthrush singing its melodic, beautiful drill and in a distance he heard the church bells ringing from Kronobäck’s church. The bay was calm like a mirror, and inspired he started penning the song “O store Gud”. Here is the first verse:

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the works Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Refrain:
Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

He continued to write and write of all the mighty works that God has made and what He has given us through His word, and continued long into the night. Before going to bed he had penned over twenty verses. The next Sunday he wove the poem into his sermon. They all loved it, but that was about it. Slowly the word got around the poem was pretty good, after much editing down 9 verses were published in the local newspaper Mönsteråstidningen in 1886. Carl Boberg didn’t make any efforts to publish it further, and was surprised when he heard it sung a few years later to a Swedish folk melody (in 3/4 tempo). This was then published in the periodical “Sanningsvittnet” (witness of the truth)  in 1891.

It was translated into German by an Estonian, Manfred von Glehn. Five years later it was translated into Russian by Ivan S. Prokanoff, the Martin Luther of modern Russia. It was published in a book with the title “Cymbals”.

Later, while in the Carpathian Mountains of what is now Western Ukraine the English Missionary couple Hine heard the song sung in Russian, this time as a wandering song in march tempo. He got impressed by God’s great works in the Polish mountains, and as Stuart Hine heard the people singing it on their way to church he penned a translation. This become the second verse:

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Refrain

From now on the English version is different than the Swedish original. This is the origin of the third verse: It was typical of the Hines to ask if there were any Christians in the villages they visited. In one case, they found out that the only Christians that their host knew about were a man named Dmitri and his wife Lyudmila. Dmitri’s wife knew how to read — evidently a fairly rare thing at that time and in that place. She taught herself how to read because a Russian soldier had left a Bible behind several years earlier, and she started slowly learning by reading that Bible. When the Hines arrived in the village and approached Dmitri’s house, they heard a strange and wonderful sound: Dmitri’s wife was reading from the gospel of John about the crucifixion of Christ to a houseful of guests, and those visitors were in the very act of repenting. In Ukraine (as I know first hand!), this act of repenting is done very much out loud. So the Hines heard people calling out to God, saying how unbelievable it was that Christ would die for their own sins, and praising Him for His love and mercy. They just couldn’t barge in and disrupt this obvious work of the Holy Spirit, so they stayed outside and listened. Stuart wrote down the phrases he heard the Repenters use, and (even though this was all in Russian), it became the third verse that we know today:
And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Refrain

The second world war broke out, and the Hines were forced to return back to England, but they continued their ministry. The fourth verse was was added by Stuart Hine after the Second World War. His concern for the exiled Polish community in Britain, who were anxious to return home, provided part of the inspiration for Hine’s final verse. Hine and David Griffiths visited a camp in Sussex, England, in 1948 where displaced Russians were being held, but where only two were professing Christians. The testimony of one of these refugees and his anticipation of the second coming of Christ inspired Hine to write the fourth stanza of his English version of the hymn. According to Ireland:  One man to whom they were ministering told them an amazing story: he had been separated from his wife at the very end of the war, and had not seen her since. At the time they were separated, his wife was a Christian, but he was not, but he had since been converted. His deep desire was to find his wife so they could at last share their faith together. But he told the Hines that he did not think he would ever see his wife on earth again. Instead he was longing for the day when they would meet in heaven, and could share in the Life Eternal there. These words again inspired Hine, and they became the basis for his fourth and final verse to ‘How Great Thou Art’: 

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

Refrain

The complete song was soon published, not in England but in the Soviet Union (in English).  The famous Gospel singer George Beverly Shea got hold of it, liked it a lot, but he wanted to change two words in the first verse: Instead of works, he wanted to use worlds, and instead of mighty he wanted to use rolling. Very reluctantly Stuart Hine agreed, but only for use in the Billy Graham Crusades. It was first sung in Canada in 1955. It became so popular that in Billy Graham’s 1956 New York Crusade it was sung at all 99 events, and from there the song spread out through all the world, even back in Sweden where the new version became the popular one. One of the visitors to this Crusade was the little boy Donald Trump, who went with his Father and Mother and Brother (and Sisters?) to listen. God’s word never returns void.

God works in mysterious ways.

God works in all and through all.

God is.

 

At 99, after affecting millions on earth Billy Graham is finally gone home to meet his savior and also his wife.

The Rev. Billy Graham passed away this morning, the 21 of February at the age of 99. What a life this man had! And God even gave him the grace to give a “final” message on God’s grace, ending with the sinner’s prayer. I watched the moving messages, but with his passing it hit me;  In the form of a Limerick:

sarah-palin-billy-graham

He spoke to the millions on earth.

How much is a life like that worth?

In God’s eyes it’s the same

As that bum that just came

to the cross. Of God’s grace there’s no dearth.

Picture above: Sarah Palin congratulates Billy graham on his 95th birthday. Franklin Graham and Todd Palin are the other two. At the 95 year celebration Sarah Palin gave the tribute:

Who tempted the Pope to want to change the Lord’s prayer?

Pope Francis has called for a rewriting of the Lord’s Prayer, saying the current translation gives God a bad name and, essentially, does not give the devil his due.

Described in the Bible as a prayer taught by Jesus, the Lord’s Prayer is viewed in the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church as “the summary of the whole gospel.”

In a TV interview this week, Pope Francis said that the line asking God to “Lead us not into temptation,” or in Italian, “non indurci in tentazione,” should be changed.

Jesus spoke in Aramaic and this prayer in the gospel of Matthew is originally written in Greek, and it says:

και μη εισενεγκης ημας εις     πειρασμον            αλλα ρυσαι ημας απο του πονηρου

and not  bring         us   into temptation(or testing), but rescue   us   from   –     evil.

The Roman Catholic church of France has changed the translation of this verse to “and do not let us fall into temptation” and somehow the Pope thinks this would improve on what God has said.

This is Apostasy.  What the Lord Jesus has said is consistent with other passages in scripture, starting with the Garden of Eden. In it God had planted the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God also gave man free will, knowing man might make the choice to eat the fruit even if  God had specifically forbidden it, since eating from it made man able to make their decisions apart from God. This is what the serpent promised Eve, and she fell for the temptation. Adam on the other hand ate from the fruit willingly, following the advice of Eve. This is why Adam’s sin was worse than Eve’s. The consequence was spiritual death, and the need for a redeemer arose, in due time represented by Jesus.

Jesus too was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted(or tested). There the Devil tested him using scripture taken out of context to try to make Jesus fail the test. Jesus answered back with scripture applied correctly, and so he passed the test.

The Pope seems to want to give the Devil full credit for all temptations, “The Devil make me do it” when in fact we have free will and are perfectly capable to fall for temptations all on our own without the Devil’s input.

The Pope wants to change the world into one with no temptations, no guns, no hard liquor, no illicit drugs, no evil capitalism and no borders.

But it is getting worse: By attributing to the Devil what the Lord is doing when he is testing us and we fall for the temptation, which we do, the Pope is elevating the Devil and diminishing, if not ignoring the final atonement:  Christ’s death on the cross for our sins, rendering his resurrection of no value. It would then be all up to us to save ourselves.

There is a special warning in Matthew 12:31-32 when we attribute to the Devil what the Lord is doing through the Holy Spirit: Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

My question is: Who prompted the Pope to want to change the Lord’s prayer?

 

 

Thanks! In 2017 God is back in the presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation after 8 years of thanking each other.

After 8 years of Thanksgiving Day Proclamations under President Obama there was a concerted effort to take away the real reason for giving thanks. The mentioning of God were fewer and fewer as they ears went by and finally in the 2016 proclamation God was not thanked once. The only remnant left was the date “In the year of our Lord” , or Anno Domini, which in all scientific documents has been replaced by “Common Era” or C.E. to placate Muslims and atheists.
Now President Trump again proclaims it is important to give thanks to God Almighty, and to offer prayers.
Here it is:
THANKSGIVING DAY, 2017
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

On Thanksgiving Day, as we have for nearly four centuries, Americans give thanks to Almighty God for our abundant blessings. We gather with the people we love to show gratitude for our freedom, for our friends and families, and for the prosperous Nation we call home.

In July 1620, more than 100 Pilgrims boarded the Mayflower, fleeing religious persecution and seeking freedom and opportunity in a new and unfamiliar place. These dauntless souls arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in the freezing cold of December 1620. They were greeted by sickness and severe weather, and quickly lost 46 of their fellow travelers. Those who endured the incredible hardship of their first year in America, however, had many reasons for gratitude. They had survived. They were free. And, with the help of the Wampanoag tribe, and a bountiful harvest, they were regaining their health and strength. In thanks to God for these blessings, the new governor of the Plymouth Colony, William Bradford, proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving and gathered with the Wampanoag tribe for three days of celebration.

For the next two centuries, many individual colonies and states, primarily in the Northeast, carried on the tradition of fall Thanksgiving festivities. But each state celebrated it on a different day, and sometime on an occasional basis. It was not until 1863 that the holiday was celebrated on one day, nationwide. In the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the bloodiest battles of our Nation’s Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that the country would set aside one day to remember its many blessings. “In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity,” President Lincoln proclaimed, we recall the “bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come.” As President Lincoln recognized: “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”

Today, we continue to celebrate Thanksgiving with a grateful and charitable spirit. When we open our hearts and extend our hands to those in need, we show humility for the bountiful gifts we have received. In the aftermath of a succession of tragedies that have stunned and shocked our Nation – Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria; the wildfires that ravaged the West; and, the horrific acts of violence and terror in Las Vegas, New York City, and Sutherland Springs – we have witnessed the generous nature of the American people. In the midst of heartache and turmoil, we are grateful for the swift action of the first responders, law enforcement personnel, military and medical professionals, volunteers, and everyday heroes who embodied our infinite capacity to extend compassion and humanity to our fellow man. As we mourn these painful events, we are ever confident that the perseverance and optimism of the American people will prevail.

We can see, in the courageous Pilgrims who stood on Plymouth Rock in new land, the intrepidness that lies at the core of our American spirit. Just as the Pilgrims did, today Americans stand strong, willing to fight for their families and their futures, to uphold our values, and to confront any challenge.

This Thanksgiving, in addition to rejoicing in precious time spent with loved ones, let us find ways to serve and encourage each other in both word and deed. We also offer a special word of thanks for the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, many of whom must celebrate this holiday separated from the ones for whom they are most thankful. As one people, we seek God’s protection, guidance, and wisdom as we stand humbled by the abundance of our great Nation and the blessings of freedom, family, and faith.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 23, 2017, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all Americans to gather, in homes and places of worship, to offer a prayer of thanks to God for our many blessings.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.

DONALD J. TRUMP

Here is last year’s proclamation. Notice the name of God is missing, except for the date. All thanks is given to fellow members of society.

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Nearly 400 years ago, a small band of Pilgrims fled persecution and violence and came to this land as refugees in search of opportunity and the freedom to practice their faith. Though the journey was rough and their first winter harsh, the friendly embrace of an indigenous people, the Wampanoag—who offered gracious lessons in agriculture and crop production—led to their successful first harvest. The Pilgrims were grateful they could rely on the generosity of the Wampanoag people, without whom they would not have survived their first year in the new land, and together they celebrated this bounty with a festival that lasted for days and prompted the tradition of an annual day of giving thanks.

This history teaches us that the American instinct has never been to seek isolation in opposite corners; it is to find strength in our common creed and forge unity from our great diversity. On that very first thanksgiving celebration, these same ideals brought together people of different backgrounds and beliefs, and every year since, with enduring confidence in the power of faith, love, gratitude, and optimism, this force of unity has sustained us as a people. It has guided us through times of great challenge and change and allowed us to see ourselves in those who come to our shores in search of a safer, better future for themselves and their families.

On this holiday, we count our blessings and renew our commitment to giving back. We give thanks for our troops and our veterans—and their families—who give of themselves to protect the values we cherish; for the first responders, teachers, and engaged Americans who serve their communities; and for the chance to live in a country founded on the belief that all of us are created equal. But on this day of gratitude, we are also reminded that securing these freedoms and opportunities for all our people is an unfinished task. We must reflect on all we have been afforded while continuing the work of ensuring no one is left out or left behind because of who they are or where they come from.

For generations, our Nation’s progress has been carried forward by those who act on the obligations we have to one another. Each year on Thanksgiving, the selflessness and decency of the American people surface in food banks and shelters across our country, in time spent caring for the sick and the stranger, and in efforts to empathize with those with whom we disagree and to recognize that every individual is worthy of compassion and care. As we gather in the company of our friends, families, and communities—just as the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag did centuries ago—let us strive to lift up others, promote tolerance and inclusiveness, and give thanks for the joy and love that surround all of us.

Now, Therefore, I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 24, 2016, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage the people of the United States to join together—whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors—and give thanks for all we have received in the past year, express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and share our bounty with others.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

BARACK OBAMA

The Statue of Robert E. Lee, revered in history, now history?

The Statue of Robert E. Lee,

A symbol of South history:

FDR praised his name.

All the Democrats fame;

They try to erase memory.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt is considered an enduring hero of the left, particularly for the New Deal. Few would say he was an avatar of white supremacy. Yet, he spoke at the dedication of the  Robert E. Lee statue in Dallas back in 1936 — and what he said about the general then is something that liberals everywhere would like to erase.

“I am very happy to take part in this unveiling of the statue of General Robert E. Lee,” FDR said at the dedication ceremony, according to the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“All over the United States, we recognize him as a great leader of men, as a great general. But, also, all over the United States I believe that we recognize him as something much more important than that. We recognize Robert E. Lee as one of our greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen.”

Things change. What once was the proud symbol of the Democratic South is now considered repugnant by people wanting to erase history, and in so doing repeat it.

Genesis 9, the rainbow, the Noahic covenant and “the curse of Ham”.

Yes, the days of Noah are referred to in the New Testament, but even Isaiah waxes eloquent about the promises God made.

The rainbow is not mentioned much in the Bible, but Ezekiel mentions it in his famous vision in chapter 1 of Ezekiel, a vision which resembles a modern day helicopter invasion. (An end times vision?)

And the rainbow displays its promise again, Aug 3, 2017 over the White House. It means different things for different administrations.

doublerainbow

Then in Revelation the rainbow is mentioned again,

Ham saw Noah’s nakedness, but the curse is on Ham’s son, Canaan, not Ham himself!

It is from the Muslim literature and oral tradition we find “The curse of Ham”. It is not found in the Bible (or the Torah), nor is it found in the Quran.

Ka’b al –Ahbar (ca 652 A.D) wrote that Ham lay with his wife and gave birth to a black boy and girl. He claimed they were not his. They are, his wife responded “for the curse of your father is upon us.” The story goes on, and all blacks come out from four black children of Ham. Wahb ibn  Munabbih (ca 730 A.D.) wrote that Ham was a fine white man, but because of his Father’s curse God Almighty changed his skin color to black. He then became the father of all the black people. In the story collection “One Thousand and One Nights” it is also found: Noah blessed Shem and Cursed Ham. (Source: The curse of Ham. By David M. Goldenberg)