15th of October
Norway went through a crisis for a little more than a year ago. One person caused the death of 77 people. This was an act of terror, the worst since the last world war. The person that did this had not expected the reactions that followed this tragedy. Everybody wanted to help, comfort and show concern in one way or the other. The King and his family became very visible and they were an example for everybody else. The Prime minister and other politicians were there for those mourning and they showed a lot of love. Great crowds joined in a parade of roses and they sang. Lots of people got involved and were very touched. I was actually very proud to be a Norwegian then. A few weeks ago a young girl disappeared and thousands of people were engaged in searching for her. Do we need a crisis in order for us to get involved and show goodness toward each other? Most of the people I have mentioned now are not born-again Christians.
How do we react when somebody dies or a friend gets divorced?
My husband left me many years ago and I could describe some very bad reactions, especially from my sisters and brothers in faith. I have forgiven and I have no need to write in details about them, but I do not think that I am the only one met with so much ignorance and misunderstanding. It was worse than a funeral. One is at least receiving flowers and some consoling words then. I am not for divorce and I do think that many use that as an easy way out of a relationship problem, but for most people it is quite painful.
Many people do not know what to say or do when they meet a person who lost a dear one either through divorce or death. The worst you can do is to do nothing. The devil is lying to us when we think we can’t do anything. The Lord is not helpless. He lives inside of us and we can ask Him. He does not want to keep anything back from anybody. Ask Him what you should do. I have many times met people in these situations and I might say that I do not know what to say and do, but please tell me how I could be of any help. One is very vulnerable when one is in sorrow and honesty is more important than ever. I do not like to attend funerals, but I have understood that it means a lot for the persons in sorrow that people come, so I go whenever I can and it is natural.
I have mentioned more difficult situations now, but how do we act in more common situations? I recently heard about a pastor who paid for the goods that a person couldn’t pay when he got to the cashier. I heard about a church that offered people around them practical help, everything from painting to shopping. I really believe that people got attracted to this church. Nobody asked what they believed in. The church showed unconditional love in practice. I recently gave an old lady a big flower. She immediately got skeptical and wondered what I really wanted. She might have become skeptical since some of us had testified to her just before, but I really wanted to encourage her without any strings attached. She received and became happy and I have continued to pray for her.
What about people we meet on the bus and tram or in the store? A woman started to talk to me and my daughter in a store not long ago and I became both surprised and happy. We are so often acting like robots. We Christians are often forgetting that we have a living Jesus inside of us. He loves everybody and He wants to have a relationship with everybody. He is very creative and He will use a lot of different means to reach people.
The best thing that we can offer people is Jesus Himself. We must never get so introvert that we forget those who are non-believers. We might give money to a mission project far-away, but might forget those who do not belong to Jesus in our own staircase or in our own street.
I am really talking to myself now as much as I am talking to you. How can they get to know Jesus? Through us. Many of those coming from other countries really want to get to know us. It is very good to invite them home or bring something with you and offer them a visit. Most people appreciate a gift. When I came to Sweden, I really missed somebody to offer us some help. Several people from our congregation lived around us and they knew that we came to attend Bible-school. Even if Norway and Sweden are neighboring countries, a lot of things are different. Many, many words are different and we spent a lot of time and energy to get acquainted in the shops. This lack of interest for us, didn’t reduce our faith in Jesus, but what about those who do not believe? Many people say that they do not want to become like those Christians and sometimes I understand them. We are like a small Jesus for all those around us. Do they see Jesus in us? Do they hear Him speaking? The Bible says that we should witness about what we have seen and heard. I really believe that the personal testimonies are the most effective. When you can tell about your own experiences, it is not so easy to explain away Jesus.
When my sister meets somebody in difficulties, she is quick to ask if she should pray for them. She does not do it there and then, but when she comes home. She is especially doing this if the person doesn’t have a personal faith in Jesus. I want to lay hands on the sick and I believe that I will become bold and do that more for people whom I do not know personally in the future. I hear more and more about people that pray for people on the street, in shopping-centers and other places where you will find lots of people. They ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and feel driven to certain people. Lots of people get healed and that leads to the fact that more and more receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Many of us have received spiritual gifts. Why are we so careful in using them? We are actually stingy with what belongs to the Lord. I think that we are hesitant because of fear for being rejected. Maybe they will not get healed and we are afraid of being blamed. Do you take the credit when they get healed? The disciple Peter said: “Gold and silver have I not, but what I have, I give to you.” We never received anything only for ourselves.
When our children were small, we sang a song that goes like this: “Share with others and you will be happy.” I really believe that is the truth. We do not become satisfied when we hold on to the things we have. The Bible says that when we give, we should give with joy. Jesus gave His own life voluntarily. It was not easy and His suffering was beyond our understanding, but He did it voluntarily. If He had refused, it would never have happened.
I want everything I have to prosper. I do not give everywhere, but only where I believe to see fruit. When I am doing counseling, I look for improvement and I ask if the person does some of the things I have recommended the person in question to do. I certainly do not want to control a person, but I can give advice. I really want to see if they seek the Lord. My goal is to be more like Him and I have the same goal for others. I do not waste my time on something that does not bring any results. I also want my money to multiply and be a blessing for others. My home is not my home, but His and I could continue with all the other areas of my life. I do not want to be known for holding back. God wants the best for us as well so He does not want us to give away everything.
Some people think that it is sinful to be rich. The Bible doesn’t say so. It says that we should not put our trust in money. It is also sinful to envy those who are rich. Those who lack money can talk more about money than those who have them. I recently met a family who helped a lot of people. They could not have done so if they didn’t have more than enough money. It is actually very selfish to say: “I am satisfied as long as I have enough for my own living.” What about all the others?
PRAY FOR MORE AND YOU WILL HAVE MORE TO GIVE!