The Most Awesome Helper

Remember the happy couple from the previous blog? The guy that was supposed to stay home for a year and make his bride happy? Time has gone by and here they are with a happy set of grandchildren!

I gave my artist 500 points for this picture. I wish all grandparents could sit with their grandchildren telling them stories of the past, the children relaxed and enjoying every word.

Eleazar is telling about when he was a kid and Moses sent spies to explore the land of Canaan. Only two gave a good report, one of them Caleb (pictured here). He’s one of my favorite Bible heroes. At age 85 he felt just as strong as when he was 40! That’s the vitality I want to have!

Because of the unbelief of the people and the negativity of ten of the twelve spies, the people of Israel had to wander 40 years in the desert. Read about the spies in Numbers 13&14.

But this wasn’t what I was going to write about. I just had to brag a little on Absalom and the awesome pictures he makes for my Bible-story ministry. He is an awesome helper. So is Cristina. Here is a picture from her vacation in Mexico. She is an awesome helper.

The most awesome Helper is the Holy Spirit. I’ve had living proof of that this week and I have to testify to the glory of God.

When Jesus said to his disciples that he was going to send another Helper (Counselor), I’m sure he wasn’t thinking of  the twenty-first century, computers and programs like Photoshop and inDesign. But that’s the help I needed.

I’ve been desperate for help this week. I pleaded with the Holy Spirit to enlighten me, to “unfreeze” my brain, because that is exactly what I felt had happened. I needed to work on a project that has an urgent deadline. I’ve done the kind of job required before (I have files on my computer to prove it!), but my brain was frozen! Try as hard as possible I could not remember how to do it!

I called around for help, but people are busy, they have their own projects. Some call what happened to me to draw a blank… yes, that was me! My beautiful helper Cristina was not available until yesterday, so that was a draw-back.

When she was back, we prayed! We asked the Holy Spirit to be our Helper. I told him I was happy to do this project, which I have been translating all winter, a book on Spiritual Gifts. Now, that should have high priority for the Holy Spirit, don’t you think? I’m not trying to be disrespectful. I have the highest regard for the Holy Spirit of God.

I told Cristina to get online (she loves YouTube tutorials) and find out everything about document design for books, giving her the specific steps I needed help with.

As the title for my blog says, the Holy Spirit is the most awesome Helper. I sat down by the computer, opened up a file… the ice melted! Or whatever happened! Suddenly I KNEW how to do the job! I kept at it for 11 hours with just a short lunch break. (Can you tell I was excited!) I showed Cristina one step, today she’ll learn another step so she can help me move forward.

In the midst of this, some friends in Sweden felt they wanted to encourage me. Talk about encouragement at the right time! A gift for the ministry was deposited in the bank! Or was it meant for me personally? I put everything in one pot, to keep my ministry going! That gift was for that “pot.”

Now, if I’m gong to meet the deadline, no more talking (writing). I could not pass up this opportunity to express my thankfulness to the Holy Spirit by testifying of his help.

Are you in a bind? What has you worried? Have you had a brain freeze? Whatever it is, go to the Lord in prayer. Talk to the Holy Spirit as a Friend. Tell him all about your troubles. He is the one who comes alongside us. He is the most awesome Helper! Read John 14&16.

Got to go! My Spiritual Gifts project is waiting!

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An Entire Year to Make your Bride Happy

What is this all about you might ask? Or maybe you have read about this clever instruction. It amazes me how wise is our God! It shouldn’t be amazing because HE IS WISDOM! I think what amazes me is this rule he gave the Israelites.

When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife (or: to make happy his wife) whom he has taken. Deuteronomy 24:5

I’ve just written a story (in Spanish, but it will come in English) including this part. The imaginary boy and girl who are the main characters in The Great Escape are married and receive Moses’ blessing. Then he tells the boy that he doesn’t have to go into the army for one year, but that he should stay home and make his bride happy.

That’s an amazing instruction! I’ve been thinking about how different our world would be if that part of the Jewish Law was practiced today. Probably there would be lots less divorce and more happy families!

This is my imaginary couple, with Moses giving the blessing

I have 20 lessons about Faith Adventures with Moses and Joshua. It’s a wonderful opportunity to teach children about obedience and being brave in serving God. I’m writing these imaginary stories to accompany the lessons.

I wish I was a good story-teller. I am a better Bible teacher. I have no problem writing Bible lessons. To write these stories is really stretching me. But it’s a good thing. This gives me the opportunity to “teach” some of the interesting facts.

Apart from God providing nutritious food for his people during the 40 years of wandering in the desert, God saw to it that they had clothes to wear. There were no stores where they could go shopping!

I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet. Deuteronomy 29:5

Something else, very important! Have you ever traveled in hot climate? Have you walked days on end? Then you know what usually happens to your feet. God saw to that detail, too.

Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Deuteronomy 8:4

No swollen feet for forty years! I struggle with swollen feet daily, one of the side-effects of my chemo treatments. Maybe that’s why this little bit of information hits home.

This has been a “trying” day — trying my patience! I felt like the tortoise in the fable where the hare and the tortoise had a competition. That’s how slow I advanced but I didn’t stop to take a nap, I just kept at it. It’s a computer problem. Just as we humans slow down as we get older, so do the computers. But they don’t last for 70 years! Mine is getting very slow after five years of wear and tear! Never before has it taken 5 hours to publish my story — but patience pays off. Now I know that thousands of children all over Latin America will be reading about Eleazar staying home for a year to make his bride Rachel happy!

That’s what I had on my mind to share. Let me finish with the verse that comforted my imaginary friends. May it comfort you!

The eternal God is your dwelling place,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Deuteronomy 33:27

 

 

 

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Happy Memorial Day

 

HOME OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE!

God Bless America!

This is the 150th Memorial Day celebrated in the USA. I have celebrated 29, because this year it will be 30 years since I came to the United States. I will celebrate that happy occasion and write about it in July. For now, I want to extend my thanks to the million soldiers that have sacrificed their lives so that we can be a free nation. Of course, they cannot hear me but many of the families left behind can “hear” my voice.

There are today 2 million men and women in uniform.  To them and their loved ones go my heartfelt thanks. And especially to those who are grieving because their loved one in uniform did not come back from the field.

I also want to thank those who were hurt while doing their service. It saddens me that there is not enough financial help for them to get the adequate treatment. They should have priority! But, who am I to have an opinion about it?! I still do!

May God bless each one who is out there fighting the battles, so that I can sit peacefully in my living room fighting another kind of battle, the battle for boys and girls who need Jesus.

Thank you!

 

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Beware of the Little Foxes

In the center of the Bible is a beautiful love song in a book called Song of Solomon. It is the expression of love between the Lover and the Beloved. I remember as a teenager how excited it was to read this book, dreaming about a Lover that one day would take me in his arms and declare his love as beautifully as the Lover does in this book. And I would kiss him! That was very exciting for me (see chapter 8).

When I found my Lover, and he found me, it didn’t take us long to “tie the knot,” as they say. I have a picture of the light post where I got my first kiss, but couldn’t find it. I found another picture I haven’t shared here. I’ll let it represent the years of happy smiles we had together. There were also tears many times, but that’s life!

In Sweden today they have celebrated Mother’s Day. With the 7-hours difference it’s time for all the Swedish mothers to go to bed now. That brings me to a funny detail, taken from Song of Solomon.

One of the first things my dad taught his Son-in-Law was the biblical way that the Lover and the Beloved should sleep. See here:

His left hand is under my head,
and his right hand embraces me!

The Lover sleeps on the right and the Beloved on the left. The Bible has all kinds of practical tips! When my daughter and her husband got married, Dad gave them the same advice! Find it in Song of Solomon 8:3.

I’ve gotten sidetracked. I was going to write about the little foxes, those “invisible” things that can creep in and undermine a marriage, but also life in general. The advice is to catch the little foxes before they cause unreparable damage.

The little foxes, that couldn’t reach the grapes, would start to nibble on the vine itself. If they weren’t caught, they would finally tear the vine apart and it would die. The big foxes were easy to chase away!

We had a good sermon about this at church today; that’s what inspired me to write. It’s the little things that can cause the greatest damage. The man you see smiling on the picture was innocent and sincere. He didn’t nibble on the vine. Neither of us did! But don’t think we didn’t have our share of little foxes to catch. The secret was to catch them early! Like Barney Fife used to say, “Nip it in the bud!”

Our preacher today mentioned:

  • Covetousness
  • Disobedience
  • Lust
  • Pride
  • Arrogance

Let’s just talk life in general, not only marriage. These things can so easily come in and cause havoc. God has a hedge of protection for us when we walk in love and obedience. Jesus is the True Vine. If we abide in Him and keep His Commandments, our life will bear fruit and be filled with joy. Read about this in John 15. He will help us catch the little foxes!

Live a transparent life before God and your fellowmen.

Here is an excellent prayer:

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

Psalm 139:23,24

Beware of the little foxes. Don’t let them get in between you and Jesus!

Have a super-blessed week!

 

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Don’t Borrow Sorrow from Tomorrow

I wouldn’t say that I’m a person to borrow sorrow, but I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t wonder sometimes about tomorrow. My conversations with the Lord about that subject mostly have to do with my ministry endeavors. I believe I’ve written about the way it works for me, that I need to find work, so I can provide work. Isn’t it the way it works for most of us?

Just yesterday I was having a conversation with the Lord about this situation. My question was if I ‘m supposed to continue. I’ve signed a contract with my assistant in Peru for the coming year. “If no work comes in, I’ll use up my savings,” I said to the Lord. Then I was thinking about how I would break the news about ending this work relationship. And should I cut down even more on the number of pictures my artist does?

I’ll spare you the length of my conversation. I would not call it to borrow sorrow, other than it would “sorrow my heart” to cut off the relationship. As I always end these conversations, which really are monologues, in which I pour out my heart before the Lord, I said, “Lord, as long as you provide for me, I’m willing to continue this ministry of publishing stories and Bible lessons.”

That was it. I wasn’t borrowing sorrow from tomorrow, just thinking about my plans and projects.

Guess what?

I got an answer today. A check for a job I’ve done has been approved and is on its way! I will not have to dig into my (meager) savings to go to Walmart the 31st of this month to send off money through MoneyGram. I don’t have to worry about this for half a year. I offered another job! I will be translating and formatting another book on my favorite subject, about the Holy Spirit. It can’t get better than this!

Just the other day I had found in my journals a poem about this subject about borrowing sorrow. It was copied in the early days of my grieving, after the death of my daughter and the loss of my job. I believe I lost my job because I was shipwrecked emotionally. After coping for 31 years with the challenges of my daughter’s cystic fibrosis and all other ailments that were added to it, when she passed, I collapsed!

But whatever our sorrows are, the Heavenly Father’s arms will always hold us tight. About the loss of my job, I got it back two years later. By that time, I had “rested” doing other projects. I don’t know how many times I thanked God for the “pink slip” that came my way. Amid it all, God provided for us. He never leaves us, he never forsakes us. Even when we must go through the fire or walk in deep waters, we can trust our Lord.

What’s my point? I had to tell someone about the exciting news I received this afternoon. Since I don’t have the love of my life anymore to share things with, this blog helps me unload. This time I feel the need to unload my excitement and thankfulness. Hopefully, I can encourage you to trust Jesus in all circumstances.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34

 

Borrow no Sorrow

There’s a stream of trouble across my path;

it is black and deep and wide.

Bitter the hour the future hath

When I cross its swelling tide.

But I smile and sing and say,

“I will hope and trust always;

I’ll bear the sorrow that comes tomorrow,

But I’ll borrow none today.”

Tomorrow’s bridge is a dangerous thing;

I dare not cross it now.

I can see its timbers sway and swing,

And its arches real and bow.

O heart, you must hope always,

You must sing and trust and say,

I’ll bear the sorrow that comes tomorrow,

But I’ll borrow none today.”

–Streams in the Desert

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Pentecost—Fulfillment of Expectation

On the first Pentecost after Jesus death and resurrection, there was an expectant body of believers, all together in one place. We know that there were at least 120 waiting in expectation. Jesus had promised that he would send the Holy Spirit and instructed them to stay in Jerusalem until they were filled with power from on high.

They could never have imagined how it was going to happen. The sound like the blowing of a violent wind that filled the house where they were sitting; the tongues of fire that came to rest on each of them; the infilling of the Holy Spirit with speaking in other tongues; the crowd that came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.

  • Parthians
  • Medes
  • Elamites
  • Residents of Mesopotamia
  • Residents of Judea
  • Residents of Cappadocia
  • Residents of Pontus
  • Asians
  • Residents of Phrygia
  • Residents of Pamphylia
  • Egyptians
  • Residents of Libya near Cyrene
  • Visitors from Rome
  • Cretans
  • Arabs

All of these heard them declaring the wonders of God in their own tongues!

The wonderful promise of the Holy Spirit was not only for that first body of believers in Jerusalem. The Apostle Peter explained:

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38,39 

Jesus’ words:

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for[f] a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:9-13

In his farewell address to his disciples before going to the cross, Jesus pointed out at least four times about asking and receiving. (See John 14:12-14; 15:5,8; 15:16; 16:23,24.) In the last of these, Jesus said to “ask,” so their joy would be complete.

Have you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Have you asked the Father? The church in Jerusalem waited in expectation.

King David laid his request before God and waited expectantly.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning
I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
Psalm 5:3

I received a newsletter from David Ingles of Oasis Network in which he wrote about God impressing him with two words, one of them being “expectation.” That struck a chord in my heart and raised a question: What am I expecting?

The church in Jerusalem was expecting the fulfillment of a promise. God surprised them in a big way! They were baptized with the Holy Spirit and power.

I was eight years old when I was praying to receive this promise. I stayed on after church praying and expecting. I was not disappointed! Jesus baptized me with his Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. That was more than sixty years ago. How empowering this gift has been in my life!

Yesterday I celebrated 63 years since I was baptized in water. If I remember correctly, it was even before this water baptism that I had my Pentecost experience. It is for all ages. Just as a child can be saved and baptized in water, a child can be baptized in the Holy Spirit. I was also a child when Jesus called me to be his ambassador to children. How wonderful it is to serve Jesus! And I have been privileged to devote my life to take the Gospel to children.

This Pentecost of 2018 you can wait expectantly and receive the Holy Spirit’s power in your life. Sadly, many are blinded and don’t believe that the Promise is for today. Peter said it clearly, that it is “for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

“How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” said Jesus.

  • Ask, and you will receive.
  • Seek, and you will find.
  • Knock, and it will be opened to you.

What do I expect?

  • Renewed power in my life.
  • The cleansing fire of the Holy Spirit.
  • New opportunities to spread the Gospel.
  • Jesus’ soon return!

Let God hear your voice; lay your requests before him and wait expectantly. If you have not yet been filled with the Holy Spirit, expect the promise to be fulfilled in your life.

Pentecost is the fulfillment of expectation!

 

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A Happy Week

If you are an American you probably know how to pronounce emoji. I thought I did! I’m a naturalized American but I carry with me something that people comment on. They say I have an accent–a Swedish accent!

This beautiful girl had a good laugh. She immediately corrected me on how to pronounce emoji. Swedes have a particular way of pronouncing the “J” and I guess that is what made it sound so funny to her.

My first encounter (that I remember) with the “J issue” was at the boarding school in Tournavista, Peru. We had to submerge in the American culture. A few years prior we had spend half a year in Canada, so English was not unfamiliar, but not something we were good at. One of the boys was James and I remember how they made fun of me because I couldn’t pronounce it.

To pronounce the J you have to put your tongue towards the back of your upper teeth and make an effort to get a clear “hard” sound. In Swedish the J is soft. I can understand that it sounds funny when I say J.

There used to be a joke about singing a song in Swedish: “I have the Joy, Joy, Joy…” That really hits home! Sarah and I joked about the emoJi’s. With a conscious effort I can pronounce it. Someone that can’t say the J right, might be a Swede!

Even if the J wasn’t right, the week was! Sarah and I celebrated her 1oth birthday in Branson, Missouri. It was a happy week for us. Not really a week, but three days– five if you count the travel!

I call it a happy week, because how many grandmothers get to take their 9-year-old granddaughter on a trip and return her as a 10-year old?

Let me share a few pictures.

This was the highlight, to go swimming in the pool. Sometimes there were other children she could play with and other times just a grandmother looking on. I would have loved to jump in the pool with her but I have some issues with my feet so it was not recommended.

One evening two little boys (1 & 2) were having so much fun watching Sarah jump in the pool. Every time she jumped in they laughed at their heart’s content. Such a simple thing to make little boys happy! It made us all happy!

That was not the boat we had a ride on. We rode the DUCK! Those are old army vehicles that can drive on land and in the water. Sarah got to drive it for a bit and also have a picture taken with the Captain.

Another adventure was to visit the Titanic. But we were not allowed to take pictures, so no photos here. Everybody that visits gets to be one of the passengers. I was a sophisticated First-Class lady. Sarah got to be a little Swedish girl. Both of us survived!

This we don’t have in Fort Gibson! Andy’s Frozen Custard! That was our dessert on Thursday. There is no Olive Garden either. So that’s where we had dinner.

Three days go by quickly. Especially when you have to combine vacation with work! It was the week to finish off the Adventures in the Desert series in Spanish. We call it The Great Escape in English. Have you visited  MX1414.wordpress.com  to read the stories?

Sarah asked me why I always have to work? I told her it’s because I’m the boss. Then she had a brilliant idea. Why don’t I ask my artist Absalom to be the boss? Yes, why don’t I? That week he was away on vacation celebrating his birthday. This week and the next my assistant Cristina is on vacation. She and her sisters are visiting a friend in Mexico. So I guess the boss will have to continue being the boss.

To tell the truth I felt a little overwhelmed. But thinking of the thousands of children that are waiting for the story every week gives me energy to go on. But I am taking a break! These two weeks that Cristina is gone we will have no story in Spanish. That is a break! But the English will continue.

My biggest problem right now? To find someone to cut the grass outside my house. The man who cut it for me last summer had his equipment stolen, so obviously he is not cutting grass. Someone gave me a name for a company that cuts grass, the man came, gave me a quote, and promised to come back the next day. That was 10 days ago. I have called and called but get no answer. I had the phone number for another man, but I can’t find it. The grass is growing so tall that no one might even want to cut it! How I wish I was my “old” self that could move around freely. Every time these thoughts cross my mind, I thank God that I still have my feet. Some people are even born without feet!

I’ll be back. Hopefully, by then, my grass will be cut!

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