Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this. Psalm 139:14 GW

I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt. CEV

The conversation between two little babies in the womb might be a stretch of the imagination (see previous blog), but the wonderful and intricate way in which we are formed is incredible and true. We are here! We were born! There is life after the womb!

When I was formed in my mother’s womb she had complications. The last month of the pregnancy Mom  had to spend in the hospital because her albuminuria had increased alarmingly. It wasn’t fun for her because no visits were allowed due to epidemic influenza. She didn’t see my father for several weeks.

I had to listen to what other mothers told about earlier deliveries. One night the measure of sorrow was filled and I went to the bathroom to cry. I had seen twelve mothers leave with their newborn babies before it became my turn. That night a nasty midwife was on duty. She was the horror of the maternity ward. I asked God not to let me give birth during the night. I knew that another midwife who was a Christian would come in the morning. She came at seven and I got a feeling of security. Two hours later I was holding a little bundle in my arms. Such a nice little girl! So very cute! (from the book A Life of Adventure)

When I made my entrance to the world the delivery was critical because of my mother’s increased percentage of albumin. It was so high the doctor told her to have patience because she might have to stay a long time in the hospital. But a miracle took place and she could leave after only a week. The percentage was normal!

My first home was in a small town called Hjortkvarn, where Dad was serving as a minister in the Filadelfia church. They lived in a tiny one-room apartment above the sanctuary. “Tiny” is the key word! I visited there as a young girl and I could not imagine how the little family of three fitted there.

Daughter Eva-Marie singing at the church in Hjortkvarn

It was winter and cold when I was born. Mom tells me that Dad would rise early, light a fire in the stove that heated the room, change my diapers, wrap me in a blanket, and bring me joyfully to Mom so I could have my morning meal. “Here comes the package!” he would declare.

When fall came, my precious grandmother Signe took care of me so Mom and Dad could go to Bible School in Stockholm, in preparation for their life as missionaries.

I have been reflecting a lot lately on the wonders of life, the miraculous way we are woven together in out mother’s womb. For sure there is a Creator that has thought out every little detail. See this here . Yes, I meant the dot! That was my beginning! Yours too! In that little seed was everything needed to start the marvel of a new life, of a unique creature, given all the possibilities to conquer the world!

What a privilege to have received life! That cozy environment where I spent my first nine months, was just a cozy, warm place to prepare for what was to come, just as my walk on earth is a time to prepare for the next phase.

Here it gets very important! God made us to have fellowship with him. We’ll talk about the in a later blog. Due to our first father’s disobedience, the fellowship was severed, but Jesus came to bring us back into fellowship with our Creator and Father.

We make the choice! Just as there is life after the womb, there is life after this world. We are eternal beings and we decide where we want to spend eternity. Through Jesus, God invites us to spend it with him!

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

I can’t begin to express my thankfulness for getting to know God as my Father from those first days, spent in that tiny room above the sanctuary in Hjortkvarn, and later the time spent with grandma Signe. My life was conditioned in the perfect direction! There aren’t enough words to say Thanks!

Thousands of years back, King David, the second king of the nation of Israel, reflected like this on the marvel of God’s creation of man (and woman):

For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you. Psalm 139:13-18

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.  (The Message)

Here is the account from Genesis:

Then God said, “Let us make man[a] in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26,27

The Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. Genesis 2:7,8

 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made[a] into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Genesis 2:21-23

We are eternal beings. We have a Creator. We are purposed to have a wonderful and successful life. How do I know? Because God made “everything beautiful in its time.” There is no end to the wonders of creation!

The choice is ours. King David ended his reflections of the miracles of life with this prayer. And that how I’ll end my reflections today, too.

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

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Life after the Womb

I once read a parable about life after the womb.

Two babies were discussing life. The womb was such a comfortable place, but rather crowded. It was cozy, it was warm. Their every need was provided. But, could there be something more?

They fantasized, wondering if there could be something beyond their present stage.

“There must be something more than this,” one of them said.

“What could there be?” said the other. “This is it! I love it!”

So, their discussion went, back and forth. If they only knew all the wonders that awaited them after the womb! What a big and amazing world they would encounter!

I asked my faithful artist Absalóm-León Sixco to illustrate this for me. He did a good job! It’s thought provoking. Look at the picture and make up your own story. Imagine those two little babies and their questions and uncertainties. Picture them when they leave the womb and are born into the world.

First, it’s a shock when they leave the warmth of the only environment they know… but very soon they are embraced in the loving arms of their mother. And their father. And Brother and Sister. And Grandmother. And another grandmother. And grandfathers. And aunts and uncles. And cousins. The list goes on… They are welcomed by a love they could never imagine.

There is life after the womb! We know it by experience!

The best part of life is not life, but what awaits us after this life, if we are in agreement with God’s purposes. There is hope! The best is yet to come!

It all hinges on Jesus. He is our hope for today and hope for tomorrow.

It all starts with Jesus. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. Like the A and Z. Think of the alphabet. There are a lot of letters between A and Z. But it’s complete from beginning to end with A and Z.

Jesus is the Creator. He is the one that holds everything together. The image of the invisible God. In him we can see God. I once heard of a little girl who wanted to have “Jesus with skin on.” In Jesus we have God with skin on. He dresses himself with a human body, so the eternal and invisible God could show himself to us in a way we could understand.

[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Colossians 1:15-20

I am in the dark about who my readers are. What I know is that I have readers from all over the world. I can look at statistics and see all these different countries popping up. When I see India’s flag my heart skips a beat! When I complete my series of Bible lessons in Spanish, I’m going to focus on India. I can’t explain it! It’s just something God has put on my heart.

Something else I want to do is to write about why I believe what I believe. Maybe you have logged in to this blog and you are uncertain about life, about the meaning of life, and if there is an afterlife.

There is so much wonder to discover, so many awesome surprises awaiting. My faith is based on the Bible and on my personal relationship with Jesus for 65 years. I accepted him as my Savior and Lord at age six. Let me tell you my story.

There is life after the womb!

 Google: Search “A Parable of Life After Delivery” if you want to read the discussion the babies have in the womb. There are several versions. You might find a better one than I did!

Harvested for Eternity

Is he is Heaven? That is my big question.

Who?

My late husband’s brother!

I just received word that he was harvested for eternity. But what was his destination? I don’t know! Many times I talked to him about getting his life right with God. But he wasn’t interested.

I told him he had his parents in Heaven, and also his sister and brother. Did he not want to spend eternity with them? He was just one step away! Did he take that step? It hurts me to think that maybe he never did.

I have to believe that my prayers were answered. My husband prayed for his brother all his adult life. Where those prayers in vain? It was up to Leif to make the decision!

Yes, Leif Lundkvist was his name.

Leif and BengtOne of the few childhood pictures we have of the two brothers

How do I know about his passing? Thanks to this blog the person in charge of the estate inventory found my name and contacted me. My daughter is the only family left. Leif was not married. There is no other immediate family.

Once again I have been reminded of the futility of life. We do not have a promise for tomorrow. The Bible tells us that TODAY is the day of salvation. You and I are still here. Are we ready for eternity?

I have many loved ones who are in the same condition that Leif was in. He used to tell my daughter Eva-Marie she shouldn’t let her missionary parents brainwash her. She would argue with him. She was not brainwashed. Eva-Marie had made a personal decision to follow Jesus. Fifteen years ago she was harvested for eternity. I have the confidence that she is with Jesus and soon we will meet again.

If it was your time today or tomorrow to face eternity, where would you go? There are only two places: heaven or hell. We have to choose. Jesus is the way to Heaven. No one comes to God without Him.

Leif lived in Sweden. He never left his hometown of Karlskrona other than for some vacation trips. Once he visited us in Springfield. He held my granddaughter Brianna when she was only two weeks old. That is the only baby he ever held!

Life is serious business. Death is not a myth. Death is as real as life. During the time I’ve written this entry, at least 6000 people have been harvested for eternity. An average of 150,000 people die each day.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:27,28

Are you eagerly waiting for Jesus’ return? We don’t have to face judgment! Jesus has paid the price for our sins so we can receive forgiveness and the hope of eternal life in Heaven.

Prepare yourself to meet God!

 

Seventy in the Bible

I am fast approaching the age limit. Ten more days and I will have reached what the Bible states as the years of our life, but I pray for vitality to make it to 80 or 90!

The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Psalm 90:10

70 blessed yearsReflecting on 70, I thought it would be interesting to see the times 70 is mentioned in the Bible. Here is my study and some personal thoughts to go with it. You will find a file in PDF to print at the end of the study.

Palm trees at Elim – 70
Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water. Exodus 15:27

And they set out from Marah and came to Elim; at Elim there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there. Numbers 33:9

Palm trees have a very specific significance for me. I saw them in my vision when Jesus called me to bring His Gospel to the children. I waited 30 years until I came to Miami, Florida and saw them. Thousands of royal palm trees!

When I needed a name for my translation business, the most natural thing was to call it Royal Palm Translations. Now I work under the name Royal Palm World Mission.

Elim is the name of the church where I was baptized, in Örebro, Sweden.

I see myself resting under the palm trees in Elim!

Palm with Psalm

The descendants of Jacob – 70
And the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two. All the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy. Genesis 46:27  All the descendants of Jacob were seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt. Exodus 1:5

Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven. Deuteronomy 10:22

Days the Egyptians wept for Jacob – 70
Forty days were required for it, for that is how many are required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days. Genesis 50:3

Elders to support Moses in his ministry – 70
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you.” Numbers 11:16

So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. And he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tent… Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. And as soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But they did not continue doing it. Numbers 11:24,25

When I was starting with the English ministry of Royal Palm World Mission, God put 70 people on my heart to write to and invite to come on board. I called them THE SEVENTY. What resulted from that letter is the wonderful help I have of my friend Nancy Crowson. I send her Google-translated stories (from Spanish to English) and she figures them out and does a wonderful job. For my 70th birthday I will be publishing on-line story #70 in English. In Spanish it will be 314. This is nothing I had planned but by God’s grace it will be 70 on my 70th! As for THE SEVENTY I believe that when the time comes to launch a full-blown English on-line ministry, I will count on a team of 70. At present we form a hand: Kerstin, Cristina, Absalom, Nancy and Ximena. God has THE SEVENTY on his mind, I know!

Kings with thumbs and big toes cut off – 70
Judah went up and the Lord gave the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand, and they defeated 10,000 of them at Bezek. They found Adoni-bezek at Bezek and fought against him and defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites. Adoni-bezek fled, but they pursued him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and his big toes. And Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to pick up scraps under my table. As I have done, so God has repaid me.” And they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there. Judges 1:4-7

Sons of Gideon – 70
Now Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives. Judges 8:30

Pieces of silver with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows to follow him – 70
Now Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother’s relatives and said to them and to the whole clan of his mother’s family, “Say in the ears of all the leaders of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal rule over you, or that one rule over you?’ Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.” … And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him.

Number of his brothers that Abimelech killed – 70
And he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself. … Thus God returned the evil of Abimelech, which he committed against his father in killing his seventy brothers. Judges 9:1,2,4,56

Abdon’s forty sons and thirty grandsons each had a donkey – 70
He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years. Judges 12:14

Men struck because they looked upon the ark of the Lord – 70
 And he struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they looked upon the ark of the Lord. He struck seventy men of them, and the people mourned because the Lord had struck the people with a great blow. Then the men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? 1 Samuel 6:19,20

Sons of Ahab that Jehu Slaughtered – 70
Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the rulers of the city, to the elders, and to the guardians of the sons of Ahab … Then he wrote to them a second letter … Now the king’s sons, seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, who were bringing them up. And as soon as the letter came to them, they took the king’s sons and slaughtered them, seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets and sent them to him at Jezreel. … And when he came to Samaria, he struck down all who remained to Ahab in Samaria, till he had wiped them out, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke to Elijah. 2 Kings 10:1,6,7,17

 Years of exile in Babylon – 70
And they burned the house of God and broke down the wall of Jerusalem and burned all its palaces with fire and destroyed all its precious vessels. He took into exile in Babylon those who had escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and to his sons until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days that it lay desolate it kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years. 2 Chronicles 36:19-21

This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the Lord, making the land an everlasting waste. Jeremiah 25:11,12

“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.” Jeremiah 29:12

Years the nations will serve the king of Babylon – 70
In that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, like the days of one king. At the end of seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute: … At the end of seventy years, the Lord will visit Tyre, and she will return to her wages and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. 23:15,17

This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the Lord, making the land an everlasting waste. Jeremiah 25:11,12

In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. Daniel 9:2

Then the angel of the Lord said, ‘O Lord of hosts, how long will you have no mercy on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, against which you have been angry these seventy years?’ Zechariah 1:12

Weeks decreed upon the holy city – 70
“Seventy weeks are decreed
about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Daniel 9:24

Elders of the house of Israel – 70
And before them stood seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel,
with Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan standing among them. Each had his censer in his hand, and the smoke of the cloud of incense went up. Ezequiel 8:11

How many times to forgive – 70 x 7 or 77
Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:22

Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive him not just seven times, but seventy times seven times [or seventy-seven times; the Greek can mean either 490 or 77; the point is unlimited forgiveness]!” EXB

Appointed by Jesus to go ahead of him two by two – 70 or 72
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. Luke 10:1

After this, the Lord chose [appointed] seventy-two [the number may reflect the 70 nations listed in the “table of nations” in Genesis 10 (the Greek text of which reads “72”) and so foreshadows the mission to the Gentiles] others and sent them out in pairs ahead of him into every town and place where he ·planned [was about] to go. EXB

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” Luke 10:17

Horsemen sent with Paul to Caesarea – 70
Then he called two of the centurions and said, “Get ready two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea at the third hour of the night. Acts 23:23

That was a lot of soldier to protect Paul. Look up Acts 23 and read the story. Paul was a prisoner, but he was a roman citizen, and the Romans had to protect their own, even a prisoner. Paul was a prisoner for the Name of Christ. God was protecting his own!

How I praise God for being with me these 70 years. I fall on my knees and worship Him for allowing me to be his servant since my youth. I hope He gives me many more years to serve Him. And then I have eternity.

I praise God that we are made for eternity. Are you ready to meet your Maker the day your time on Earth is complete? Receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior! Nothing compares to Him! He is the Lover of my Soul!

Made for eternity

To print: Seventy in the Bible

 

 

After The Dash

You might have heard the question, How are you living your dash? As the “dash” on your tombstone! On the tombstones there is usually the date of birth and the date of death. In between there is a dash. You can take a walk in a cemetery and look at all those dashed and wonder what story they would tell. Thus the question, How are you living your dash?

The other day I read what happened to Jacob in the Bible after his dash. Jacob the Patriarch of old. The man who cheated his brother out of the birthright blessing and then had to flee from his wrath. The man who left home with nothing and had to sleep on a hard stone for a pillow. Read his story in the Bible, in Genesis chapters 26 through 50. He was chosen to play an important part in the family from which Jesus would be born.

Here is what happened after his dash!

  • His beloved son Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father, taking a full forty days.
  • The Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.
  • When the days of mourning had passed, Joseph asked Pharaoh for permission to bury him in the tomb Jacob had dug for himself in the land of Canaan.
  • When Joseph went up to bury his father he was accompanied by…
  • All Pharaoh’s officials: the dignitaries of his court and all of Egypt
  • All the members of Joseph’s household
  • His brothers
  • Those belonging to his father’s household
  • Also chariots and horsemen
  • It was a very large company
  • Joseph observed a seven-day period of mourning for his father; all who were with him lamented loudly and bitterly

Jacob’s sons did as he had commanded them: They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him there.

This is the first time I’ve stopped to consider this incident. Maybe because I’m reaching the time in life when the “dash” is getting shorter. I wonder quite a bit about my dash. What will it represent? What will my dash say to the next generation? How will I be remembered?

There will not be an extravagant burial and a long time of mourning, like there was for Jacob, I’m sure of that. But I hope I will be missed, even a little bit. But that’s not what’s important. What matters most if what will happen after the dash. As I wrote some days ago, we are made for eternity.

I hope to be welcomed by angels and my precious Savior. The most wonderful thing will be to hear these words:

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21)

Well done

Have you thought about how you are living your “dash”? Will you be welcomed with a “well done”? Stop and ponder about your dash!

 

 

Made for Eternity

While praying this morning for my loved ones, especially those that don’t know the Lord, this reality hit me very hard: we are made for eternity. I have been repeating it over and over, and I want to share it here. It is such a sobering truth. This life is just a pass-way to eternity. There are only two places to spend it. It’s either Heaven or Hell!

Made for eternity

So if somebody is not on the way to Heaven… there is no place in between. I just want to cry thinking of people who will spend eternity away from God, our Maker!

Read these passages from Scripture and let the Holy Spirit minister to you.

Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[ no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Hebrews 9:27
Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,

2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Matthew 16:26-27
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

Acts 10:42-43
He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.

I hope you can identify with the apostle Paul’s words to the church in Rome:

Romans 14:8
If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

We are made for eternity!