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.

 

Before the “Big Bang” was “I am”. A Limerick.

Before the “Big Bang” was “I am”.

Creation is not a big scam.

God said: “Let there be light”.

And there was: With God’s might.

Three in One: The eternal “I am”.

Political Cartoons by Ken Catalino

We are bound in time and Space. God is not.  As the Prophet Isaiah wrote a long time ago (In chapter 55)

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

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?

 

 

Genesis 3. The Fall of Man.

Why the serpent? It has since the fall of man become the symbol of sin and Moses used this symbol during the Hebrews wandering in the desert when a disease broke out.

And Jesus himself used this symbol to explain its messianic and redemptive value.

And the serpent figures most prominently in Revelation, the last book of the New Testament.

Back to Genesis 3:

Satan quotes God, but changes one vital detail. Eve corrects the snake, but adds one touch.

 

Satan’s approach is always the same, repeated in the temptation of Jesus 40 days after His baptism:

The approach is: First flatter and appeal to vanity. If that doesn’t work, quote scripture to test God’s promises. Finally, if that doesn’t work, promise power and authority.

Fig leaves are lousy. They break very easily and does not cover well.

No, Adam and Eve did not die physically, but they both died spiritually, their perfect communication  and trust in God was broken.

Yes, the human mitochondria and RNA tend to suggest we all come from one mother.

And people have been dreaming of finding the tree of life ever since.

 

Genesis 1. The Creation.

Now it must be said, it is attributed to Moses. He did not write it all down himself, but had help from the local scribes. After Moses death it was completed, including even his burial.

 

Yes there was a beginning. The question is, before energy and matter does time and space even make sense? Since we are bound in space and time, and all observations we can make are from our experiences in space and time. Yet the Bible is clear: Before Creation there was God!

Which leads us to

 

This is the first hint of the triune aspect of God, three, yet one. God the Father creator, God the Son – Jesus Christ is also called the Word, and the Holy Spirit – God’s spirit.

Footnote: Elohim is Hebrew, the corresponding Arab word is Allah, which is also plural.

 

Notice God omitted saying it was good – for the second day only! Why?

It takes time, and a full cycle to build a stable eco-system.

Clouds are God’s way of stabilizing temperatures. If there were no clouds, temperatures in the tropics would be as high as 140 degrees F.  There are many different cloud types:

Of these cloud types the cumulus clouds and the cumulonimbus (Thunder storms) are the most important in stabilizing the temperatures. They appear during day and afternoon if temperatures are high enough, and  they cool significantly, mostly by reflecting incoming sunlight back into space.

 

Footnote. We are all created into God’s image, male and female.

A man has an X and a Y chromosome, a woman has two X chromosomes. There are a few other combinations with an extra chromosome, rare, but they do exist. Total combinations, XX, XY, XXY, XYY.

 

Yes, it was very good. Time for a day of rest.

The source of wisdom according to Job. Look up to the sky.

20 “From where then does wisdom come?
And where is the place of understanding?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living,
And concealed from the birds of the air.
22 Destruction and Death say,
‘We have heard a report about it with our ears.’
23 God understands its way,
And He knows its place.
24 For He looks to the ends of the earth,
And sees under the whole heavens,
25 To establish a weight for the wind,
And apportion the waters by measure.
26 When He made a law for the rain,
And a path for the thunderbolt,
27 Then He saw wisdom and declared it;
He prepared it, indeed, He searched it out.
28 And to man He said,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
And to depart from evil is understanding.’” Job 28:20-28 (NKJV)

These are the words God gave Job, originally written in old Aramaic, before Moses wrote the Torah. We do not know much about him, but this we know: Before the law was given, God revealed Himself in his creation and how the environment works. Job even knew and wrote about his redeemer: “I know that my redeemer liveth“, and his language and images are from nature in all its form.

This is where it hit me. Even in this, the oldest book of the Bible they grasped the source of all wisdom: Fear God and shun evil. Truth comes from God and is manifested in His creation, even in the way water vapor plays a role in keeping the earth not only watered, but in ecological balance and prevents the earth from overheating no matter how much damage we as humans do to it.

Let me explain. If there was no water the earth would be a dry planet with the average temperature much colder than today at the poles, but warmer near the equator. The night would be more than 100 degrees colder than the day and no life would be possible. With water the oceans act as a stabilizer, and at sea there is really not much difference between day and night temperatures. What does matter is if you are in the sun or in the shadow. In the winter you welcome the sun, but in the summer “All sun makes a desert” as the Arabic proverb says. Thanks to clouds there will never be a risk of the earth overheating, or even get warmer than it was 6000 years ago during the Holocene peak temperature between the ice ages.

People living in the country side can and do look up to the sky to see what the weather is going to be. When they see the cumulus clouds (the fair weather clouds) form they know it is going to be a pleasant morning. Those clouds reflect up to 300 W/m2 of the sunlight back into the sky, heat that would otherwise warm the air.  This is a major reason the earth will not be overheated. Yes, water vapor is a greenhouse gas, and keeps the earth at an optimum temperature for plant growth and as long as there is enough humidity to produce clouds. The best example is the monsoon in India.  Springs are unbearable hot. The air is dry and temperatures can reach 120 degrees F during daytime. Come summer the monsoon arrives,  thunderstorms roll in and temperatures return back to the low 90’s, still uncomfortable because of the humidity, but the rains water the plains and produce a rich harvest.

People living in cities seldom make the connection that the clouds are the major temperature governor of the climate. In the tropics it works nearly perfectly, and as long there are clouds the amount of CO2 does not matter much, in fact a doubling of CO2 will heat up the earth much less than one degree.

Yes, people living in the country can see daily how the clouds work and keeps the earth from overheating. People living in the great cities are experiencing the urban heat island, it is getting warmer and warmer, and they are more likely to believe climate change leading to all kinds of catastrophes.

In short, next time you see a cloud forming in the sky, thank God for arranging everything so beautiful. If you see a thunderstorm, thank God, but get inside, if you are expecting a hurricane take precautions, if you are expecting a tornado take cover, but above all, in everything give thanks, for this is is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

If you are interested in a more technical explanation read  https://lenbilen.com/2017/04/10/thanks-to-clouds-the-temperature-governor-is-alive-and-well-on-planet-earth/