A journey in creativity and faith

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Free neck

Remember where the Lord is – where the Holy Spirit is, there is freedom (2 Cor 3,17)

Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and that he died and arose from the dead for your sins, so that you are forgiven? Do you know that this faith gives eternal life in heaven? (John 6,40)

In Danish, the word for “salvation” is “frelse”. It comes from “fri hals”, which means “free neck.” So to be saved is that Jesus removes  the chain from your neck. You were a prisoner and a slave of your sins and fear, but Jesus set you free when he, who is without sin, took the penalty you deserved (Gen 2,17) and died in your place.  With his blood He paid the price for your life and freedom. You were guilty, you didn’t deserve to be set free, but he had mercy on you and saved you by grace. He saved you because he loves you:

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5,8)

Maybe it’s many years ago you got your faith in Jesus. Maybe you’re 60, but you’re still a child. Do you believe in Jesus, then you’re God’s child (John 1,12-13).

You are God’s beloved child. He has always known you and loved you since you lied in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139,1-6 and v. 16-18).

Did you know that when you believe in Jesus, the Spirit of God lives in you? You are a temple for the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3,16)

The Holy Spirit is not a spirit of the world. He is not a spirit of fear and slavery. He gives you freedom where you’re bound to Jesus in love (it’s like a marriage), and He is the spirit of adoption. He testifies that you are a child of God:

 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”
(Rom 8,15-16)

You are a child of God, and you’re dependent of Him. He takes care of you and carry you; he leads you to the right paths and gives you rest and strength. He knows what you need and will give it to you in the right timing according to his will (psalm 23). He calls you by your name (John 10).

Father, we give thanks for your goodness and faithfulness. You are our good shepherd. We thank you for your salvation. We don’t want to “be children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” (Eph 4,14) We want to grow up to your son, Jesus Christ. We want to remain in your Word and follow you, Jesus. If we are separated from you, we can’t do anything (John 15,5). We don’t want to listen to any lies. We want to listen to your voice. Your voice is a voice of truth, love and life.

Take some food

Paul was a prisoner in a ship with 276 people. They were sailing to Rome, Paul was on his way for trial. It was a very hard sailing. There was a storm and the ship drifted on the sea. Paul had warned the crew many times, but they didn’t listen to him.

Finally, they listened to him:

“As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. 34Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength,f for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.” 35And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. 36Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves” (ESV Acts 27,33-36)

The people needed to eat so they could get strength. He didn’t want any hair to perish from any head.

Afterwards, he took the bread, gave thanks to God and broke the bread. The were alle encouraged.

It was as if he shared communion with the people. He knew bread and life came from God. He honored God and thanked Him. He knew his wisdom came from God. He didn’t just eat for himself; he didn’t just think about himself. He was a prisoner, but he urged them all to eat. He didn’t want anything to happen to them, he wanted to save their lives and he had the courage to speak up.

He broke the bread and shared the bread with the people.

He shared his faith in God and God’s life, goodness, love and grace with them all. And they were encouraged.

Encouraged – Greek:  euthymoi – Adjective – Nominative Masculine Plural

Euthymoi =  cheerful, having good courage. From eu (which means good) and thumos; in fine spirits

They were encouraged to eat, to live, to keep fighting for their lives, to not give up.

Paul shared God’s word and testified of Jesus.

Many of us are on a difficult journey, but we shouldn’t stop fighting for the good or stop eating or reading God’s word, and we’re encouraged to continue seeking and trusting God. As God lead us, we can also share with and encourage other people on our journey.  

Follow the simple and hard Way

This post is written from a personal Christian Biblical point of view.

For most religious people the way to God is men’s religious and good work. For the Muslims the way is proclaiming their faith in Muhammed and Allah, praying five times daily, giving charity, fasting in the Ramadan, and go on a pilgrimage to Mekka. Their religious leader is the imam, and probably, he has the same authority in Islam as the rabbis and priests have in Judaism, and the pope and the priests have in Catholicism and the pastors had in old times (and in some other Christian congregations).

From the Old Testament we learn that the Jews had to obey the ten commandments and the law of Moses. Most jews couldn’t speak to God directly. Only the prophets and the high priests could come close to God. Only the high priests could come to the holies of holies in the temple and come close to God, and the high priests needed to give many animals to sacrifice to God for his own sins and his people’s sins, which we can read about in the Pentateuch and the letter to the Hebrews.

I only know a little about modern Catholics, but I know they pray Hail Mary’s, have many rituals, and they consider it very important to attend church. They believe the pope to be Christ’s vicar on Earth, and they think highly about their priests.

The way to God in different religions seems hard and complicated. They say, there is a lot of stuff man must do to find his way to God.

For the evangelical Lutheran Christians

For many evangelical Lutheran Christians, the way to God is Jesus. Most Christians know this verse:

Jesus said: I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14,6)

We need to be aware that man is not the way to God. We need to be aware that man’s actions are not the way to God. We need to know that we can’t build a way to God. The way to God is already there, and its name is Jesus.

The author of the letter to the Hebrews made clear that Jesus, by his blood, is the way to God. He is the direct way to God. He is our perfect, eternal high priest:

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb 10,19-22)

The fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ and the prayer for each other are important. Sometimes a brother gives an important word to another brother. In the end, Jesus is the high priest, and he is the one who has the authority. When we believe him, we have the Holy spirit and together with the knowledge of the Bible, which is important, we can through Jesus communicate directly with God.

The prophet Jeremiah predicted the new covenant of Jesus’ blood that gave the forgiveness of the sins, and he predicted that the believers in Christ would get the Holy Spirit and get a personal relationship with God:

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to[d] them,[e]” declares the Lord.33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord, ’because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jer 31,31-34)

While we need to know the Bible, the most important commandment is:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matt 22,37-39)

If we know Jesus, we must love his children:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13,34-35)

We can’t ignore the commandment of love.

The Jews found it very important to be a good person and they wished to do God’s works, so they asked Jesus:

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6,28-29)

It’s very important to believe in Jesus. That is a work of God.

Abraham was not a perfect man. He did a lot of questionable things. But God promised him that would bless him and make him into a great nation. Abraham was very old and had no children, but he believed God, and God credited it to him as righteousness:

“After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” 2 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir. 4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.”6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” (Gen 15,1-6)

The most important thing you can do, is to believe that Jesus is the son of God. Before Jesus told the disciples that he was the way, he said:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”

The first Christians didn’t call themselves Christians, but followers of the way, i.e., the way to God. The way to God is simple, narrow, challenging – and hard. We’re told that we should be like God:

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Eph 5,1-2)

We wish to walk in the way of love, but this is not natural for our sinful nature. It’s impossible to walk in this way without the Holy Spirit.

To follow Jesus is to believe in him and to get to know him. It is to learn from him and do as him.

Jesus “made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Phil 2,7-8)

We’re told to be humble in the same way as Jesus and deny ourselves:

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matt 16,24)

The way is simple, and hard and narrow:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt 7,13-14)

Pixabay, Olga Ozik

Religious people tend to be religious. They often have a lot of rituals, many rules and do a lot of religious things. They tend to listen much to their leaders, read a lot in their Bibles, attend church, fast and pray a lot. Whatever we do, it will never be enough. It will never be good enough.
It will never be easy to be a Christian. It will never be easy to follow Jesus. It will never be easy to choose to walk in the way of love. It will never be easy to admit that we’re sinners and need to repent. It will never become easy to see our own flaws and weaknesses. It will never be easy to realize that we can’t make ourselves holy and justify ourselves. We need God’s grace!

Let’s pray with Paul’s words in his letter to the Ephesians:

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Eph 1,17-21)

Taste that the Lord is gracious

These cattle looked calm and peaceful. Many of them stood or lied in the grass eating grass. Some calves drank milk at their mother.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” (psalm 23,1)

Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10,7-9)

Our heavenly Father provides for us. His word is important:

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
” (1 Pet 1,24 – 2,3)

Taste the Lord. Jesus is the bread of life:

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.” (John 6,53-58)

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