Thought for the day. Is it for Christ or in Christ?

51i+Y3xmiiL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_“Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”  C.T.Studd.

Only what’s done for Christ will last. This verse has often been used to motivate Christians to get on with it and join in the work for the Lord. And so it is, we get excited and work what we believe is for the Lord.

Isn’t that putting the cart before the horse? We can see in Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

The old hymn-writer John Newton understood this. The old hymns have a reverence for God and how we can praise and worship Him with the proper perspective.

So it was one crisp fall evening on the night of a full moon. Our church had a family hayride through the countryside, and we sang the old hymns, one after another. The next night, when it was time to put the children to bed, as it was time to sing the good night song for my five year old daughter she said: “Daddy, daddy, sing Crazy waisy.” There was no way I could figure out what she meant, but she said “We said it yesterday at the hayride” I was clueless so she helped me: “You know the one about lost and found”. This rang a bell so we both sang:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

This is what separates true Christianity from all other religions. It is not man seeking God. It is God seeking man.

Thought for the day. Jesus Christ and gravity waves.

 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  (Colossians 1:15-17, NIV)

In 1905 Albert Einstein proposed that the speed of light in vacuum is the same, regardless of the speed relative to the observer. That being the case, if the relative speed of light does not change, then something else must change. After much thinking and a few false starts he determined the dimension that changes is time, and published the theory of specific relativity. He then spent 10 years  trying to include acceleration in his equations and published his theory of general relativity in 1915. In it, he determined that massive objects cause a distortion in space-time, which is felt as gravity.

The equation for general relativity is elegant in its simplicity:

Rmn – ½ gmnR = 8pG Tmn.

It is not as simple as it seems, the suffix mn  describes curved space-time and the equations grow until the whole blackboard is filled, and then, that was just the beginning.







On Feb 11 it was published that Einstein’s prediction of gravity waves were confirmed. A billion dollar set of gravity detectors verified gravity waves from a pair of rapidly rotating black holes. This was a giant step forward of science, we now can understand mathematically what holds the universe together.gravity-probe-b

gravity-wave-spaceAt the other end of the space-time spectrum is the question: What holds the nucleus of an 1d4e605e0

atom together? Using the curvature of space-time as a model the scientists derived mathematically 11 total dimensions that can explain the glue that holds everything together. They stopped there, for the 12th dimension would be  an alternate time, and since we are bound in space-time there is no way to verify the existence of alternate time.

All of these mathematical formulas describing the universe and how it is stable assume that the laws of Physics are unchangeable through time and space. This is the universal question: If the laws of Physics cannot change, how come we exist? There must have been a creation. Current scientific thinking is the Big Bang, creating the whole universe out of a singularity, and maybe an anti-universe as well filled entirely with anti-matter. But even this indicates there was a beginning, during which time the laws of Physics were established.

This begs the question: Are we really only a product of time plus chance plus nothing? The probability of this being the case is much less than finding the needle in a haystack, more like finding the right elementary particle in the universe. Yet, that is what is taught in school.

It is far more reasonable to assume the existence of a God, a God that created it all including the mathematical formulas which rules the universe.

The Bible explains Creation in the first three verses of Genesis: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

To believe the Biblical account requires a step of faith; it is free from all scientific explanations, concentrating on the spiritual truths. In the first three verses it introduces all three members of the Godhead, the Father, the Word and the Spirit. (In other passages of scripture Jesus Christ is described as the Word: And the word became flesh and dwelt among us.)  Reading the Bible from a spiritual perspective made a believer out of me, and this explains the meaning of Colossians 1:15-17.

Now the little song for kids makes perfect sense:

He’s got the whole world in His hands,
He’s got the whole world in His hands,
He’s got the whole world in His hands,
He’s got the whole world in His hands.

He’s got my brothers and my sisters in His hands,
He’s got my brothers and my sisters in His hands,
He’s got my brothers and my sisters in His hands,
He’s got the whole world in His hands.

He’s got the sun and the rain in His hands,
He’s got the moon and the stars in His hands,
He’s got the wind and the clouds in His hands,
He’s got the whole world in His hands.

He’s got the rivers and the mountains in His hands,
He’s got the oceans and the seas in His hands,
He’s got you and he’s got me in His hands,
He’s got the whole world in His hands.

He’s got everybody here in His hands,
He’s got everybody there in His hands,
He’s got everybody everywhere in His hands,
He’s got the whole world in His hands.


Thought for the day. Real love on Valentine’s day.

 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

Once at bible study as we studied John 15, a great chapter on love, this verse came up and the leader asked if we really were willing to die for someone we loved. Trying to be spiritual I volunteered I probably could die for my wife. She immediately answered “Oh no, you don’t get away that easy; you have to live for me.” She has a way to put things in perspective. I had forgotten all about that episode until one day I heard Ravi Zacharias speak on the air, and he said: All love is costly.   Suddenly I realized, this is true for all real love.

When we got married we gave our vows, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health until death do us part. There is no excuse. We have to live for each other. This is God’s plan for our lives.

Looking around at recent trends this seems to be more and more a minority view.

My grandson goes to preschool. As Valentine’s day approached his teachers came up with rules what to do on this very special day to celebrate its core message: Love. So the little ones were encouraged to make Valentine’s cards, but as they did, they had to write identical messages to every other person in the class, something like: Be my Valentine (printed) , make a heart and add the names. To do any less would hurt some student’s feelings, causing envy and strife. Group harmony must be enforced.

This is how far we have come in our understanding of love. We are only important as a part of a collective, no longer equal opportunity, but equal outcome. This seems to be designed to stamp out initiative and the entrepreneurial spirit from preschool on. They get indoctrinated in collective thinking, so by the time they finish high school they are convinced individual responsibility is no longer in, it has been replaced by collective thinking. That is in my opinion why so many of the millennials are ready to campaign for Bernie Sanders, even to the point of giving it all in the campaign.

What I still cannot understand is why so many New Hampshireans agonized over whether they should vote for Trump or Sanders.  All I know is that love has nothing to do with it.

Thought for the day. Finding God’s love in unexpected places.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” (Luke 6:32)

After becoming a follower of Jesus Christ many years ago but as a mature man I thought I already knew what love really was, having a real wife, two wonderful children with a third on the way, a good job and no known enemies. Yet I knew, and everybody kept telling of God’s love, especially around Valentine, saying that God’s love is different.

Having joined the choir in church it became my passion to sing as often as possible, even to waking up in the morning with a song in my heart. This was nothing new, but the words and the melodies changed. So I volunteered to sing solos, but they were hesitant to add me to the roster, and instead suggested that I sang once a month at the downtown rescue mission. I had made the promise to God that what He wanted me to do I would do if possible, so I went. One thing led to another, and I became responsible for the music, and also to select a preacher for the service.

I complained to God: Why do you insist that this is the only opportunity I have to minister, I don’t even like those  down and out people? It was like I heard God answer: I never asked you to like them, I asked you to love them. So once humbled I persisted, and I did it faithfully for 15 years, until moving from the area. My pastor liked to coach a number of “preacher boys” and I got the privilege to present them one at a time as the featured preacher. The crowed really appreciated that since the boys only spoke for less than 10 minutes. We spent the rest of the time singing, and since I always had a good accompanist I took requests, trying anything they suggested. The audience was more than half black, some were good singers, and they sometimes  laughed at me for my lack of rhythm. They thought me a lot about singing in the joy of the Lord, and they  did it differently than I was used to. One time they asked to sing “Just a closer walk with thee” and I started in what I thought was a normal tempo, but was overruled by four young black men  starting to sway and slap their legs in a very slow beat. Suddenly the song took on a whole new dimension, and I found the joy of the Lord in the song. Looking at the men, happily and triumphantly smiling that their way of singing won the day, I felt a love for the men I never thought possible.

I never learned to like the men, seeing them destroy their lives with drugs and alcohol, estranged from family, and with no ambition to change their position in life. Some were repenting of their ways, but were usually back in even worse shape after a few months. During the 15 years I found they went under at a younger and younger age. What usually took 10 years to make an alcoholic could be accomplished in 3 with drugs.

Yet, with God all things are possible, and rescue mission fulfils an urgent need, standing in the gap.  The social agencies act too slowly and with a bureaucracy that sometimes makes matters worse. It is also far more cost effective than to involve the social agencies.








Thought for the day: Pray for persecuted Christians!

We have been commanded to pray continually, and especially for each other. We usually pray for those nearest us, people we know and are familiar with, including their problems and heart aches. When it comes to people in faraway countries with their different cultures and customs it is not so easy. But it is true that persecution of Christians is increasing, and there are now more Christian Martyrs than at any time in history, and is increasing.

The 2016 World watch list on Christian Persecution is out: and it lists the 50 countries with the strongest persecution of Christians. There are 57 countries participating in the Organization of Islamic Corporation (OIC), and makes for interesting reading, since a few of the countries have Christian majorities

What follows is a list of 70 countries to pray for: It consists of the 50 countries on the persecution watch list, and the 57 countries in OIC.

The list contains the name of the country, total population in millions (2014 estimate), Christian population in millions (estimate from Operation World with updates when known), GDP per capita (CIA 2014) and persecution index (from

First the 37 countries in OIC in order of persecution:

Republic of IRAQ                                 37    0.3      15,300    92      ISIS Sharia

Islamic Republic of AFGHANISTAN 33    0.001   1,900     88     ISIS Taliban Sharia

SYRIAN Arab Republic                       18    0.5        5,100     87     ISIS

Islamic Republic of PAKISTAN        192     4          4,700      87   ISIS Taliban

Republic of SOMALIA                        11     0.005      500       87    Failed state

Republic of The SUDAN                    41     3           4,300      84    Sharia

Libya                                                       6.3   0.15    15,900      79    ISIS

Republic of YEMEN                           27     0.01      3,800      78    ISIS   Sharia

Federal Republic of NIGERIA         186    90          6,100      78   ISIS   Sharia(north)

Republic of MALDIVES                       0.37  0.0003 13,300    76  Sharia

Kingdom of SAUDI ARABIA             32     1          52,300     76    ISIS  Sharia

Republic of UZBEKISTAN                 30    0.4         5,600     70

Turkmenistan                                       5     0.1       14,200      65

State of QATAR                                   2.3   0.2     137,200      65     Sharia

Arab Republic of EGYPT                   93     10       10,900      64     ISIS

(State of ) PALESTINE (authority)      5     0.07      4,900      62     HAMAS

BRUNEI-DARUSSALAM                     0.5   0.05    79,900      61

Hashemite Kingdom of JORDAN      9      0.2       12,000      59

Republic of DJIBOUTI                     0.9     0.04      3,100       58

MALAYSIA                                       30       2.2       25,100       58

Republic of TAJIKISTAN                 9       0.08        2,700       58

Republic of TUNISIA                     11       0.02       11,300      58

 Republic of AZERBAIJAN             10       0.4         17,800     57

People’s Rep. of BANGLADESH 163      1              3,400      57

People’s Dem. Rep. of ALGERIA  40      0.1         13,900      56   ISIS

Union of The COMOROS                0.8    0.005      1,500       56

State of KUWAIT                                4      0.2         70,700      56

Republic of KAZAKHSTAN           18      3.8         24,100      55

Republic of INDONESIA              260      40          10,700       55    ISIS  Sharia

Republic of MALI                           18       0.25        1,700        55     ISIS

Republic of TURKEY                     80      0.25      19,700        55

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES             9      0.5        66,300        55    Sharia

Kingdom of BAHRAIN                    1.4   0.08      49,000        54

Republic of NIGER                        21      0.05       1,100         53

Sultanate of OMAN                       4.7      0.08      43,800        53

Then the 20 Islamic Countries not in the top 50 on the persecution index

Republic of ALBANIA                    3        1.3          11,400

Republic of BENIN                      11         2.5         1,900

BURKINA-FASO (Upper Volta)   19         2.9         1,700

Republic of CAMEROON           24         13          3,000

Republic of CHAD                        14        3.2        2,600

Republic of COTE D’IVOIRE     23        7.5         3,100

Republic of GABON                    1.8       1.1        20,800

The Islamic Rep. of The Gambia 2         0.06       1,600

Republic of GUINEA                   13         0.5         1,300

Republic of GUINEA-BISSAU      1.9      0.2         1,500

Republic of GUYANA                  0.8      0.35        6,900

KYRGYZ Republic                        6        0.3          3,300

Republic of LEBANON                 6        1.3         18,100    ISIS Hezbollah

Kingdom of MOROCCO             34        0.03        7,800     ISIS

Islamic Rep. of MAURITANIA      4        0.004     4,300    Sharia

Republic of MOZAMBIQUE        28      12           1,200

Republic of SENEGAL              15        0.5        2,400

Republic of SIERRA LEONE     6.5      0.6        2,100

Republic of SURINAME              0.5     0.25      16,300

Republic of TOGO                     7.5       3             1,500

Republic of UGANDA                40      35           1,900

And finally 13 Non Islamic Countries on the Christian persecution index

North Korea                                          25        0.5        1,800       92

Eritrea                                                     5         2            1,200       89

Kenya                                                    48       36           3,100       68

India                                                   1326      30           5,800        68

Ethiopia                                               102       63          1,600        67

Myanmar                                              54          5           4,800       62

Central African Republic                     5          3.5            600       59

Laos                                                       7         0.14         5,000      58

China                                                1382        105        13,300       57

Tanzania                                               50          27          2,700       57

Bhutan                                                   3          0.01        7,700       56

Mexico                                                 129        120         18,000     55

Colombia                                              49           50         13,500    55

Thought for the day. The Hew Hampshire Primary or whatever.

 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:21-22)

Watching the New Hampshire primary election the thought came to me. How many have prayed for their candidate to win, and if so, how many did it in faith, without doubting? Regardless of how many prayed for their candidate, there can only be so many winners in any election. The rest, having prayed in faith, not doubting will be disappointed. Some will be disappointed in God. Did God fail them?

Some will say yes, God failed them, but even more will question their faith, and acknowledge their doubts that God is capable of doing anything. So they blame themselves, the disappointments mount, and their prayer life takes a hit.  Jesus’ half-brother James put it succinctly: You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. (James 4:3).  It is enough to forget the whole thing.

Or is it?

Many people are careful to add to their prayers: If it is your will, but even this caveat shows we acknowledge we really do not really know God’s will, and we resign us to the fate that our most sincere prayers are probably useless anyway.

Nothing could be further from the truth. God commands us to “be continually in prayer” and the promise in Matthew is repeated in Mark11:23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. And in John 16:23 the apostle quotes Jesus: “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. These are words from the Lord Jesus himself, so they must mean something, or God’s word cannot be trusted.

The answer is found in the age old question: What is the purpose of our being here on earth anyway? Does God really care? At first glance with terror, war and lawlessness spreading all over the world, God no longer cares. As one who has been reborn from above I can attest that God cares very much, and He really desires to have fellowship with us. There is nothing that compares to knowing you are loved by God and having fellowship with Him.

But back to whatever. The promise is not as ridiculous at it seems at first glance; all factions cannot get their petitions fulfilled. We must dig deeper: Jesus said in John 14:13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  And in John 15:14 Jesus states: You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. Jesus doubles downs in verse 16: You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. And the answer to how we should live is found just above in John 15:9-12:

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

There it is: The greatest commandment, and if we abide in Him we can ask whatever, because it aligns with His perfect will.

Lest we be puffed up, this is still true: In Isaiah 55:8-9 God states:“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says 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.

Yet, the Lord Jesus states in John 16:12-13  “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

There we have it: The Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth, enough to give us grace and lead us day by day, but not so much that we can go forward all by ourselves.


Thought for the day. My fathers testimony song.

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. (John 15: 7-10)

My father was a middle school teacher in a city with many immigrants and refugee children from the second world war. There were Finns, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Polish, Serbs and an occasional Jew. Many children came from single moms since this was a textile city.  So naturally he was a flaming liberal. But he had a very developed sense of right and wrong. He had a way with children, so the administrators gave him a large number of children from broken homes. He always tried his best to help them succeed in spite of hardships, and even now, 60 years later they call my mom in thankfulness, even going so far as to say “He saved my life”. Then in the 60’s and 70’s he saw the excesses of a socialist government, year after year taking more than the salary increases in additional taxes, so the take home pay every ear was a little bit lower. Meanwhile we had raging inflation. After his retirement my mom took a job as a therapist for people with cognitive challenges. Many had been in state facilities all their lives. The social administrators decided one day that they too should lead normal lives and gave them a dinner at the town’s most expensive restaurant. Not only did they not appreciate it, but they wanted to go back home and eat what they were used to. When my father found out the size of the bill he said bluntly: That’s it. From now on I am a conservative. But now he had to search out, how shall we then live, so he started going back to his childhood faith, the faith he abandoned as a young man because of the hypocrisy he saw in those to proclaimed to be Christians.

Meanwhile my wife and I had been saved and one of my brothers married a strong Christian, and he searched for the truth.

At his funeral we sang Eventide (Abide with me), and looking through his writings I found this poem:
There is a road that’s leading heaven bound.
A strait and narrow, not like others found.
It ends abruptly at a raging sea,
Don’t doubt, your faith your wanderer’s staff shall be.
That road is leading homeward just the same,
through evil seas of sin, and guilt, and shame.
There is a bridge appearing on the scene;
To land that no-one mortal ever seen.
This land of hope and grace and peace sublime.
Thank God, You let me find that road in time.
Written by my father (in Swedish) in 1978.

©Lars Bilén 1978 (1912-2004), tr. Lennart Bilén 2015

Wow! Looking at the poem I heard the roaring sea and i heard Finlandia in my head for the first verse. Then for the second verse, Eventide became the obvious choice.

My father indeed found the only way, reconciliation through Jesus Christ.  Only a few years later he lost much of his creative abilities, but he was ever thankful God had let him find that road in time.