Twins of Hope

Yesterday was my day to get a haircut. I have this precious hairdresser that loves the Lord and sees it as her mission to use her “shop” as a mission field. Her name is Melba.

I decided to take my “Joy Book” with me and read her some of the entries. It’s the book in which I’m writing things about joy.

I don’t remember where I found the following entry. Melba liked it and wanted it for her Sunday school class. You might like it too!

Your life is your garden

Your thoughts are the seeds.

If your life isn’t awesome

You are watering the weeds.

 

I have quite a few entries about joy in my book. I also have many entries about peace.

Melba calls peace and joy the “twins.” That’s how I came up with the “Twins of Hope.” I realize I’ve already written about peace and joy, but it’s what consumes me at the present. We can never have too much of the twins of hope. Peace and joy, the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

The God of Hope

fills us with Joy and Peace.

 

This is Holy Week, when we remind ourselves of the wonderful redemptive work of Jesus.

  • Jesus came as our Savior.
  • Jesus died and rose again as our Lord.
  • Jesus will come back as our King.

This summer we are going to have small groups for Bible study. That’s exciting! I found out that Melba and I signed up for the same group. We start the studies on a very special day. It will be my celebration of 50 years since I married the love of my life. Sadly, he will not be here with me. He would have loved to celebrate the evening in a Bible study group. I’ll celebrate for both of us the 38 years we spent together. That means I’ve had 12 years of missing him.

Let’s pretend you are listening in on my reading of some “twins of hope.”

May the JOY OF GOD overflow in my/your life.

Gratitude is a powerful way to choose JOY.

Joy is always possible, because
there is always something to be thankful for.

A GRATEFUL HEART IS A HAPPY HEART.

God didn’t design us to be sad.
He created us to have joy and peace.

May the Lord of peace himself give you peace.

 

I WISH YOU

 

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Peace from the Lord of Peace

I have two wonderful assistants in my Spanish ministry–Cristina in Peru and Ximena in Bolivia. Thursdays is my day to talk with Ximena about the projects. As a compliment, I told her today she was my left hand. The right hand was already taken by Cristina. It turns out she is left-handed, so that fit perfectly. Ximena writes articles and lessons.

My “right hand” and I talk in the mornings and many times late in the evenings. Last night she told me about the first picture she did for me, drawing through tears!

Here is the story:

When I started putting my children’s stories on-line at the close of 2009 I had some pictures from my time of doing story-papers in Bolivia (1980’s), but then I started running out of pictures. I put out a plea to find an artist.

Cristina’s parents told her about this. Why Cristina offered to help out is a mystery, because she could not draw. When she got my story, that was about Fanny Crosby, the blind song-writer, it devastated her. That’s why she cried! How would she draw a picture of someone from old times?

Her mother encouraged her. Cristina started using the computer to put together pictures, piece by piece. They had an old laptop that everyone  wanted to use and it was difficult for Cristina to have the access-time she needed for the pictures, so I provided her with a computer. For me, that was the least I could do, since she was volunteering to do the pictures.

In 2013, on Cristina’s birthday, she lost her job. I’m glad that she felt the confidence to confide in me. That’s when I offered her to work for me full-time. I promised her work for three years, since I had a free-lance contract for three years. She has been my right hand for six years now. What a blessing! And every day she becomes more precious to me.

As the Lord of Peace has provided for these extra three years, I believe he will continue to provide, so we can go on working with the ideas that seem to  have no end.

If it had not been for those initial tears, and the struggles of doing the first pictures, we would not be working together today, because when she lost her job she would not have had any reason to call me. She would not even have had my contact information.

Every step we take is important. You have probably seen in your life how one thing has led to another. That’s why it’s so important te keep our eyes and ears open. Especially to have eyes and ears open to God’s leading.

The latest “idea” Cristina has illustrated for me is the circle at the top of this page. It was probably Monday morning that I was blessed to read the Apostle Paul’s greeting of peace to the Thessalonians, as he wished them peace from the Lord of Peace–peace at all times and in every way.

I thought of a circle to illustrate that thought, drew a sketch, took a picture, and sent it to Cristina. You see the result! The circle of peace encompasses everything. At all times and in every way. That’s right!  Peace at all times and in every way, in other words: every time and in everything!

Jesus the Lord of Peace is the Prince of Peace.

The last thing Jesus promised his disciples in his farewell speech was peace.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

How did he greet the disciples after his resurrection?

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” John 20:19

Peace! I wish you peace this Easter Season!

On Sunday we celebrate the Triumphal Entry of Jesus to Jerusalem. Here is the donkey on its way!

I have put together some pictures for Passion Week. Our artist, Ab-Shalom, is enjoying his eternity with Jesus. I am so thankful for all the artwork he has left behind for us. We don’t take anything with us when we go, but our works will follow us. His art is going to bless children for generations to come. Until Jesus’ return, I hope!

Ab-Shalom was a God-send when I “found” him after launching my plea for an artist. Now Cristina can use his artwork as basis for her computer generated art.

This week’s story was written by Ximena. I had no pictures to illustrate it other than a shield we had introduced last week for the question, What would Jesus do?

Surprise! Last night when I checked my Dropbox to see what Cristian had worked on, there were four pictures to illustrate the story (Ab-Shalom adapted picture). I had wanted to give her a break, but she could not think of us having the story without pictures. That’s “my” Cristina!

Passion Week Pictures

To color:  For coloring       In color: Images CO     

Power Point: Passion Week PPT     PDF:  Passion Week PDF

 

Here is a story of a special boy and a special egg:

Video on YouTube:  Jamie’s Special Easter Egg

PowerPoint: James Easter Egg    PDF:  James Easter Egg

Flashcards for the story: Jamies Egg CO     Jamies Egg BW

Do you want some more components? Go to:

MX1414.wordpress.com

Blessings!

 

Rejoicing in Hope

According to the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome, they were judging each other’s eating habits. “One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables” (Romans 14:2). This is Paul’s response to them:

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17

Righteousness, peace and joy. In my previous blog I introduced a shield with the first three words of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace (see Galatians 5:22,23). I’ve added a word to the shield: HOPE.

Paul’s desire for his Roman friends was that they would abound in hope. And hope does not disappoint.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1,2

Let love, joy and peace fill your heart with hope, and the God of hope will fill you with joy and peace. It’s a never-ending circle, because the fruit of the God of love and hope is joy and peace. You can rejoice in hope!

The most wonderful hope is the blessed hope of Jesus’ soon return. I hope you are waiting for that day!

Enjoy these ABC’s of hope.

ABC’s of HOPE

Anchor for the soul (Heb 6:19)
Blessed hope (Psalm 146:5)
Character-building hope (Romans 5:4)
Discipline
gives hope (Prov 19:18)
Eternal life hope (Titus 1:2; 3:7)
Future hope (Prov 23:18; 24:14; Jer 31:17; 29:11)
Glorious hope (Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 1:21)
Hope stored up in Heaven (Col 1:5)
Inspirational hope (1 Thess 1:3)
Jesus Christ, our hope (1 Tim 1:1)
Keeping hope, not disappointing (Rom 5:5)
Living hope (1 Peter 1:3)
Mystery of hope (Col 1:27)
Name for the nations to hope in: Jesus (Matt 12:21)
One overflowing hope (Eph 4:4; Rom 15:13)
Purifying and protecting hope (1 John 3:3; Psalm 25:21)
Quiet hope (Lam 3:25-26)
Renewing-strength hope (Is 40:31)
Strong hope all day long (Psalm 25:3-5)
Trusting hope (Psalm 39:7)
Unwavering hope (Heb 10:23)
Victorious hope (1 Cor 15:57; 1 John 5:4-5)
Word of hope (Psalm 119:49, 74, 81, 114, 147-148)
‘Xpectant hope (1 Peter 1:13; John 6:68)
Yielding hope (Psalm 25:5)
Zealous in hope (Heb 11:1)

But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more. Psalm 71:14

May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. Jude 1:2 

 

 

My March Miracle

You might remember that I started March declaring it a month of Miracles. Little did I know what miracle God would bring my way.

If you have friends from Norway, that come to Texas to visit their daughter, and they borrow  her car to drive several hours to Oklahoma, exclusively to visit you, I call that a Miracle!

My friends, Missionaries John & Gro Agersten

This was more than a regular miracle. They came to be with me the day my late husband would have celebrated his 80th birthday. Well, I already mentioned this in my previous blog, but one can never talk too much about miracles.

My daughter and her family would not be with me. They were on spring break celebrating their own miracle, visiting their first granddaughter. How exciting for Carina. She loves babies!

My friends were supposed to come on a previous date but due to cold weather they changed their plans. I believe the Lord knew I needed company on that special day. He gave us a beautiful sunny March 21st and we had an outing to the Cherokee Heritage Center and enjoyed the museum.

My friends were missionaries in the jungle of Peru. Our first experience when they came to Peru, was that we had a kids camp together. A few months later Bengt and I got married and John was the official photographer. So much fun to talk memories. Most interesting for me was to hear about how they started their jungle ministry.

My other March miracle? The Lord provided so I could pay my helpers in the ministry one more time. Now I have to wait for an April miracle. Every end-of-the-month is a miracle!

Love, JOY, peace

I’ve been thinking a lot about the first three words in the list of the Fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22,23

Love, JOY, peace… I asked my assistant Cristina to make a shield with these words. It’s very interesting that those are the first three words in the list. Love will bring you joy. If you have love and joy you will have peace. Without love, no joy. Without joy, no peace.

You can’t live without any of the three. Shield yourself with love, joy and peace.  Then work on

  • patience
  • kindness
  • goodness
  • faithfulness
  • gentleness
  • self-control

All these beautiful things the Holy Spirit wants to produce in your life. It starts with

  • Love
  • JOY
  • Peace

May your APRIL be filled with Love, JOY, and Peace…

 

80 Years ago a Peacemaker was Born

Eighty years ago, the love of my life, Bengt Lundquist, was born in the city of Karlskrona, Sweden. I wish I could celebrate this day with him, but he has reached his eternal destination, so I will just have to celebrate the memories.

Thirty-eight years of my life were connected to Bengt. Elven years ago, he went to be with the Lord. That is eleven years since a part of me died with him. I was left with a hole that has not been filled. When we bury a loved one, we bury part of ourselves. But life must go on. My daughter and her family are away on spring break, celebrating the birth of a grandchild, their first one.

Bengt would have been elated to be a great-grandfather. When our daughter got married, he could not wait to be a grandfather. We were both overjoyed when David, our first grandchild was born.

Bengt was a peacemaker. His mother taught him to live by Romans 12:18, that speaks about living in peace with everyone. In my opinion, she went to extremes, because she taught her son not to defend himself. That made him someone everybody picked on in school. Not fun at all.

Bengt was born and saved for a special purpose. He was protected as a boy, when he fell from the second story of their house and survived! Another time, riding his bike, he hit his head very bad on the concrete. They did not have a car, so his dad had to walk him to the health clinic with his head bundled up in a towel. That was the only way they had of getting there. Old times! Different times!

Bengt’s special purpose was to be a missionary among people in the Andes Mountains. He fit in like a pea in a pod! And people loved him. Bengt was very friendly and liked to laugh and joke around. He carried “peace” with him.

This peacemaker was not the Prince Charming of my dreams. I had another picture in my mind, but God reminded me that he doesn’t look on the outside but at the heart. Bengt had a good heart. I remember my brother Pepe telling me that it didn’t matter if he wasn’t handsome, as long as he was kind. But looking at the picture I’ve posted I see a very handsome young man.

We were both born in Sweden but were cultures apart. I was raised in South America. Our family had moved quite a lot and I had gone to school in four different languages. Bengt never left Karlskrona. After we married, I once told my mother, “I think I’ve married a foreigner!” We had a lot of adjusting to do. It took many years. But we made it. At the end we were like two peas in a pod. And then it was time for him to bid me farewell and go on ahead to wait for me in Heaven!

Our oldest daughter is there with him. And he has the company of his mother, his father, his sister, and his in-laws! And best of all, he is in the presence of Jesus! Might they be celebrating his 8o years?

Do you have the hope that when your day comes to leave this life you will go to your heavenly home? Is heaven your home? Soon we are celebrating Easter once again, the time of the year when we especially remind ourselves of the sacrifice Jesus paid on the cross to open the way for us to have peace with God.

Bengt received Jesus as his Lord and Savior when he was 20 years old. He never regretted that decision. It was the best thing he ever did. Because Bengt received Jesus in his life, ten years later I accepted to be his wife. Now our daughter loves Jesus and his grandchildren also love the Lord. What a blessed chain reaction! And our oldest daughter is in heaven!

I celebrate the memory of a very kind man; a peacemaker.

I just received a wonderful surprise. Some missionary friends from Norway came to visit me. We all worked in Peru many years ago. And now we meet in Fort Gibson. It’s very exciting!

No more blog-writing. I have to take care of my visitors. And I will not have to spend this celebration alone! It’s a gift from God.

Matthew 6:33, about choosing God’s Kingdom first, was our verse, and we practiced it. Everything we need is added to us. Today, God has surprised me with friends, so I can celebrate the day my Prince Charming was born, even if he isn’t here anymore.

Blessings to you! I’m going to enjoy my visitors.

John and Gro Agersten are here with me. PTL!

 

Stones and Treasures

It was exciting to upload the final story in the series that follows the people of Israel on their long journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. It’s thanks to my friend Nancy that I have the version in English. I have been sending her Google-translated stories and she has edited and enhanced them.

Do you want to read the stories? Here are the links.

 

Find the stories at:

MX1414.wordpress.com

THE GREAT ESCAPE
The journey in the desert to reach Canaan

THE PROMISED LAND
Conquering Canaan

 

My dear friend wrote a poem for my birthday. I’m glad she followed up asking if I had received it. The poem was buried among unrelated emails, but digging for it I found a treasure.

Let me share it with you.

Aquamarine, your Birthstone

Kerstin, You are a Jewel in the Treasure
of God’s Kingdom,
You bring a message of Hope to the little ones
and a blessing of Love to their mentors
through your stories.

The hours you spend in meditation and labor
do not go unnoticed …
He sees.
He knows the hardships you daily encounter
and He wants you to know …
You are NEVER alone.

I AM is there in the midst of your pain and sorrows.
His ear is not deaf to your cries, nor His heart
hardened to your difficulties.
He knows … He cares …
and He is working on your behalf.
He knows that it is not easy, but He also knows
that despite circumstances,
Your faith is beyond reproach!

The enemy seeks to destroy you because
of the great work you are doing
for the Kingdom.
He wants to destroy all those who are making
an impact on this fallen world,
But he cannot destroy what God has ordained!
His leash only reaches so far before
the Heavenly Father pulls him back
and thrusts you into victory!

Yes, Kerstin, you are a Jewel
in the Treasure of the Kingdom …
Beloved by God, protected by Jesus blood
and inspired by the Holy Spirit
For such a time as this!

God loves you and so do I.

Nancy is a Jewel for me, and for all the children who, thanks to her, can read the stories in English.

The stories about conquering the Promise Land finish with Joshua’s farewell. He reminded the people of the things that God had done, and then he recorded them in the book of the Law of God. After that Joshua did something very interesting; he lifted a huge stone and placed it under a tree that was next to the sanctuary of the Lord. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the Lord has said to us” (Joshua 24:27).

A stone as a witness? A witness of what the people had promised! “We will serve the Lord our God and obey him!”

Joshua had been Moses’ servant. He had a front-seat view of all the struggles with the grumbling millions. Yes, it was a multitude of millions! After years or wandering in the desert, Joshua was put in charge. His difficult mission was the conquest of Canaan. With God’s help he did it! And at the end of his days, when he said his farewell to the people, he proclaimed what had been foremost in his life.

I hope each one of us can say a heartfelt amen to Joshua’s proclamation:

“As for me and my household,
we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:15

Nancy and I will continue providing stories. Enjoy them with your children and grandchildren. There will soon be a special place for those stories. But that’s for another day.

We are still in March. Let’s not forget to praise God for miracles. March is for miracles!

You woke up this morning, didn’t you? Thank God for the miracle of another day. Enjoy it! Are you going through some  difficulties? God is the expert in working miracles. Put all your need in his hands. He cares for you!

Stones and treasures… everything is in God’s care.

Have a beautiful second half of March!

 

Birthday Blessings

Today is my birthday! I feel like a kid, excited for one more year. When you reach 73 it sure is exciting to be blessed with another year.

I don’t know when your birthday is, but I wish you Birthday Blessings! Take them and save them for the exciting day when you can celebrate another year. Many do not have that privilege, because their life is cut short.

I’m studying the Sermon on the Mount. Today I reached Matthew 7:7-11. It was like opening the best present ever, with the key word: ASK!

Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

Then I did some digging in the Book of Treasures.

1 John 5:14,15 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

Matthew 21:22 “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

1 John 3:22 And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.

Ephesians 3:20,21 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

John 16:24 “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

Receive this “present” from the Father in heaven.

  • Ask, and it will be given to you – for everyone who asks receives
  • Seek, and you will find – for the one who seeks finds
  • Knock, and it will be opened to you – for the one who knocks it will be opened

In James 4:2 we read, “You do not have, because you do not ask…”

ASK! The Lord of the Universe gives us this blessing. Ask for big things, because he is a big God. But ask only for things that will honor his name.

Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.

Be blessed!

Have a great birthday! (whenever it comes)

I plan to enjoy my day, embraced by God’s love.