04 December, 2016

Kiss of Heaven

I have one day off (during the week) about every sixth week, and this day is very precious to me. I always plan to do way too much, and end up maybe doing about half of it.

A while back it was no different. Among other things, I had some shopping to do, and wanted to do it during the day, because i expected there to not be too many people at the mall at that time. Driving into the parking lot, I realized their were a bit more people than I expected, but I got parked okay and got some of my shopping done.

As I left the parking lot I decided I really (like REALLY) wanted this one special cinnamon bun at another shop nearby, so I drove into the other parking lot. Usually I park in the basement, but there was a line of cars going in there, so I tried to find a spot outside instead. After a while (that felt WAY TO LONG) of cars stopping without signaling, talking the few spots I saw available before I could get to them and blocking my way, my frustration grew and grew. I finally got sick of it all and while telling God how totally unfair I thought this was, I decided to leave. I kept telling God what I thought about it, why did there have to be this mange people on my ONE day off?!?!? I hit the steering wheel and screamed at the top of my lungs (yes, I just might be a bit insane...) just to get some of the frustration out.. Then I decided that, yes, I REALLY wanted that cinnamon bun, and thought I should give it ONE more try. So I turned back. This time there was no other cars going down to the basement, so I turned in there, but just before I got to the entrance, a car got in before me. There was several cars in there trying to find a spot. But as I got close to the mall entrance, a car drove out from the lane closest to the entrance. The car in front of me continued to go straight ahead, so I turned in. And as I saw the free spot TWO cars away from the entrance, I felt, what cannot be explained in any other way than a kiss from Heaven. And I heard that still, small voice on the inside, as clearly as I haven't in a long, long time, saying, ”Maria, I love you! I LOVE YOU! Yes, you might be acting like a spoiled brat at the moment, but I still love you!” I almost burst into tears, but managed to push them back (you know, I still had to go into the shop..)

I've heard it many, many times before, and in my head I know it to be true, but sometimes, it's hard to really know in my heart, that He truly loves me. I know me, I know what I've done, and what I haven't done.. but no matter what I have or haven't done, or what I will or will not do, He still loves me!

I don't know where you're at in your life, whether you've heard it a thousand times before, or not at all. Either way, know that God loves YOU! Not just the picture perfect person next to you, who seems do do everything right, He loves YOU! Just the way you are, nothing more, nothing less! You cannot do anything to deserve it, or anything to loose it, He loves YOU! Always have, always will. If you don't know anything else about God, know this, cause this is where it all starts, and what everything else need to spring out of. And this is what this season we're going into is all about, God coming down to earth, simply because He loves you too much to have heaven without you! So search for HIM this season, not just focus on all that you have to do. I know your heavenly Dad wants so bad to give you your very own kiss of heaven, just to show you how much He really loves you! (Even if you sometimes act like a spoiled brat...)

01 October, 2015

Babylon, Jeremiah and me…

I love Jeremiah, there’s just something about that man that resonates with me, something that inspires me, and challenges me. The more I learn about him, the more respect I get for this man of God, who had to sacrifice so much for what He believed, to do what he was called to do.

I read in chapter 29 a while back, and I’ve thought about it since. Verse 11 I’ve heart numerous times before, and know it by heart. But a few years ago I read the whole thing from verse 1 to 14, and suddenly it all just became so much more powerful (of course, the fact that, at the time, I was at a place where I really needed to hear it, might have had something to do with it, but it’s still powerful). Jeremiah is writing to a bunch of Jews that were taken capture and were far away from their homeland. They had grown up, learning how they were the promised ones, Gods own people, they were favoured, and He had great plans for them. They had heard the miraculous stories of how God had saved them so many times before, like the parting of the Red Sea, the walls of Jericho. They knew the stories of great Kings, like David and Solomon. And the hopes for the future had been great. But, as this country started believing in themselves instead of God, the blessings started to fail, until now, some of them had been shipped off to Babylon, like cattle, they’d been taken away from everything they knew, everything that was safe. But still, they were hoping God would do His miraculous thing once again, and come save them. But then they got the latest news from Jerusalem. Now even their king has been taken, everyone seems to be gone, and all hope seems lost. But then they get this letter from the prophet in Israel, the one who tried to warn them all, but no one listened to, least of all the king. He has a word from God to them, and the Lord says: “This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.”

WHAT?!?!?!? HE is the one who got them there? Wasn’t He the One who was supposed to save them? But then He goes on telling them to live, really live and embrace life where they’re at. Increase in numbers, even be a blessing, and pray for the place where they’re at!

I love this, even if they had messed up, and because of it, were at a place where they should not have been, God wanted them to be prosperous, He wanted them to flourish, and even to be a blessing to the ones around them, to the country where they were at, to their enemies. Then He tells them to not listen to all these voices that they listened to before, all the so-called prophets, who, instead of telling what God says, tells them what they want to hear. He tells them to close their ears to all the wrong voices, so they can hear clearly the One True Voice; He is the One that will tell them the truth, the words that will bring peace to them instead of fear.

How often don’t we listen to every voice around us? TV, news, magazines, Facebook, every well-meaning person in our lives... I’m not saying we shouldn’t listen to people around us, they might have some very valuable insight to bring, and God might use them to talk to us, but we need to learn to listen to Him first, know His voice, so we can recognize and discern what’s from Him, and what’s not. “I will read my Bible and pray…” I don’t think there’s any better way to learn to know His voice and character.

Then He gives them a promise, and this is the part I really LOVE. God is so specific; He actually gives them a timeframe on His promise. “When seventy years are complete for Babylon…” Yes, it’s a really long time, and yes, it means most of the ones who hears this will be dead by then, but it does give them hope for the future and for their kids, it gives them a reason to keep teaching their children all the things of God, and all their stories, their history, it gives them a purpose. And THEN He tells them He has great plans for them, plans to prosper, plans to give them a future and hope (you know you’ve heard this verse before…) He tells them He’ll once again listen to them, they’ll pray, and He’ll let them find Him, just like before, the relationship between God and His people will be restored. And this is the sentence that really got me blown away: “and I will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile”. Yes, you might have messed up, done things you shouldn’t have, and because of it, you find yourself at a place where you should not be, outside of your purpose. And you might have a hard time to find your way, feeling lost and hopeless. But that doesn’t mean God has lost sight of you. Just because you’re at a place where you should not be, doesn’t mean you can’t be prosperous, it doesn’t mean you cannot be a blessing. And it most definitely does not mean you’ve lost your purpose in life. God can bring it all back, but you have to trust Him to do it in His timing, and in His way. You just keep trusting Him, and you’ll see, in time, all though it might be way longer than you like, He’ll bring you back (trust me, it’s way better to do it His way even if it takes longer…) You just keep living, keep seeking peace, keep being a blessing to those around you (and there are so many ways to do that..) and keep trusting Him, and in His time, HE will “bring you home again to your own land” (NLT), back into your promise, back into your dreams and purpose.

30 August, 2015

Wake Up Call

Wake up, Europe, WAKE UP!!!
I´ve written another blogpost that I was supposed to type in and upload today. But it will have to wait (don´t worry, it will come later). Because today, my heart got stirred by something else.

The last days the news, and my Facebook feed, Instagram feed, and pretty much everything else has been filled up with photos I´ve wanted to avoid (you might be shocked and appalled to hear this, but bear with me) because to see them does something with me, and leaves me changed, unable to go on just as nothing has happened. It makes me see and feel all the selfishness thats in me, that I don´t want to admit I still have. My church has had a fast- and prayer week this week (optional, off course, and fasting from whatever and as much as you want, but that´s besides the point here..) and at church today, my pastor, while talking about the offering, showed some of these photos, and read from Isaiah 58. And it moved me, left my heart stirred once again. And I realize I have to do something about my selfish ways, and I cannot stay silent anymore. 

If you haven´t realized yet, there´s a lot of problems going on around the world today, and I´m not gonna pretend to have the solution to solve every single one of them, but as a society, we in the so-called western countries tend to turn our back to it for as long as we possibly can. As long as the problem doesn´t involve us, we tend to look at the news, talk a whole two seconds about how terrible it is, and then turn around and continue with our lives. A few years back I were teaching some teenagers about injustice, and I showed them a short video-clip from the movie ”Hotel Rwanda” when a reporter has got on tape some of the horrible massacres that were going on in Rwanda. The hotel owner tells the guy he´s glad he filmed it, and hopes for someone in the rest of the world to intervene, to finally step in and do something. But the reporter answers: ”I think, if people see this footage, they´ll say, ”oh my God, that´s horrible” and then go on eating their dinners.” And unfortunately, he was right, the rest of the world, did nothing, until it was to late, and millions of lives were slaughtered down. I´m sad to see we haven´t changed much since then, we still turn our back when the battles and injustice happen in other countries, in other parts of the world. And partly, I get it, it´s hard to know what to do and how to help, there are so many examples of us trying to help that didn´t turn out so good. But still, if we´re silent and turn our backs then, the people there tend to try to run away. And then we end up with the horrible photos of refugees just doing everything they can to try to survive as they flood into Europe. We end up with countries like Greece and Italy, who might have enough problems of their own, to also have to try to handle this flood of refugees coming into their countries, simply because they are the closest. And is it fair that they should help them alone just because if not, it´s their coastlines that will fill up with the bodies of the ones who didn´t make it?

Wake up, Europe!! It´s time to act, time to take a stand, for those less fortunate than us, for those who´s just trying to escape the horror, war and injustice going on where they came from. We can´t let Greece and Italy stand alone, we need to stand together. It´s to late to just help them where they´re at, we needed to wake up years ago if that´s all we wanted to do. Now, we need to embrace them, take them in, and help them get a new life. Even if that might intervene with my comfortable everyday life. Trust me, before all of this started, most of them had good lives where they were. They might never have wanted to leave. But things happened, we turned our backs, and now all they can do to survive, for their families to survive, is to flee. Let´s stand together with them, let´s take them in, make them feel welcome, help them overcome all the trauma they´ve been through, both before they left and during they´re flight. Let them, when they arrive and believes they´re finally safe, not still have to fight to survive, but let´s stretch out our hands and say welcome. Let´s give up our selfish ways (because, admit it, that´s really the only reasons we have for not doing anything), and let them in, take a load of their backs and give them hope for the future again.

«“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.»
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭58:6-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬

Wake up, Europe! (and yes, I´m talking as much to myself as to anyone else), it´s about time we stand together to deal with all the refugees coming across the Mediterranean. If you, like me, don´t know what to do, let´s stand together and pray, both for the refugees in southern Europe, and the situations in all the countries they come from. And let´s pray our hearts, minds and eyes are open to see the times and the opportunities we get to actually act. Let´s pray for our politicians to do the right thing, let them know that we want them to act, that we are willing to sacrifice some of our own comfort to see others get the help they need. Let´s get rid of our selfish ways.  Europe, it´s time to  WAKE UP, and ACT!!!

07 March, 2015


A few years back I was reading this thing in Jeremiah that I’ve read so many times before. But this time it kinda jumped out at me, and it felt as if God was giving me a promise. The time went on, and I didn’t see it fulfilled, but somehow I was still sure, this was a promise from God, for me, for this time. Have you ever been there? You can’t really tell how, but you just know. Then just after New Year’s about a year ago, being tired of the wait, of feeling lost, and wanting to really be able to move on, I got this feeling, that I really believed was from God; “next New Year’s Eve I’ll be able to look back at the year and point out the exact time the fulfillment of that promise came”. And, as always, I had my ideas of what it would look like, and how that would happen.

A year has passed, and when NYE came this last year, I really could look back at the year, and point out when, if not the total fulfillment of that promise came, at least the start of the process of getting there. But I have to admit, it didn’t look anything like what I hoped, or even wanted a year ago. The truth is; if I had known what it would look like, I might not even have wanted it…

Over the years, in trying to be someone else than who I really was, because I thought that was who someone else wanted me to be, I lost parts of who I am. It’s so easy, to drift away, without even noticing it. Until you suddenly find yourself at a place where you don’t recognize yourself, and you’re not even sure where or when you got lost. If you’ve ever been there, you know that’s a hard place to be, you’re just feeling lost and out of place. For me, it made it hard to trust, and my heart grew harder. But I just love the way God times everything just perfect. Using the right place and the right people, he started to soften my heart. And at the exact right time, when, even though you don’t know yourself, you’re ready, He touches your heart, and, what you might not have wanted a while ago, you now realize is what you really need. And you start to find yourself again. For me, I see it in the small things, like the fact that it takes nothing to move my heart and make me cry (which might not always be fun, especially not when you’re on stage, and have to stay there for at least one more song, before you can get off to check if your makeup is all over your face…), or the fact that I once again take time to really enjoy watching our Norwegian winter sports athletes, even outside the big events like the Olympics or, like recently, the World Championship. Yeah, I might sometimes still try to please everyone, but I know more who I really am.

So, wherever you find yourself, be true to who you are, don’t try to be someone else just to impress someone, or because you think that’s what they want (yeah, there might be things we need to change about ourselves, but that’s not what I’m talking about now…) Be yourself, the beautiful self that God created you to be. And if you, like me, suddenly find yourself somewhere where you don’t know how to get back, give it to God; He is able to help you find your way back, no matter how far you’ve drifted. Only there can you once again move forward in the right direction, into all the new and amazing (and sometimes scary) things God has planned for you. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11, btw, read all the way from verse 1-14, it’s quite amazing to read it in context... I might write something on that someday as well…)

11 February, 2015

center of my life...

I guess most have heard the story about how Jesus fed the 5000 men (plus women and children) with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. But then the story continues to tell how after everyone was fed and Jesus had preached to them and stuff, Jesus leaves everyone. And, as so often before, He goes up into the mountain to be alone. (I love how the Bible tells again and again how Jesus before or after big events went to be alone with God. When He needed it, how much more don´t I..?) The story goes on telling how, when evening came, the disciples went down to the lake. It was dark, Jesus had not come yet, and maybe they felt a storm coming on. So they decided to go on to cross the lake without Him. You´ve probably also heard the story of how Jesus then came walking to them on the water, probably almost scaring them to death before they realized who it was..

But the story goes on, and tells how the next day, the people started looking for Jesus where He had given them food. But He wasn´t there, they knew there had been only one boat, and they had seen the disciples leave without Him. They went over to the other side, and found Jesus there. When they did, they asked Him, ”when did You get here?” and I just love how He replies. Of course He could have gone on telling about this amazing miracle when He walked on water, and I can imagine the disciples jump in, telling how truly great it was, how scared they were (although some probably would pretend to have been brave..) and how even Peter tried to walk to Him on the water as well (even though John actually doesn´t write the bit about Peter). He could have really painted a picture of how great He is, and how He rules over everything, even nature. And then try to make them realize for real who He actually was. But no, Jesus doesn´t say anything about that. He goes on, almost rebuking them; saying ”you´re looking for me only because I fed you for free...” (the maria translation...) It goes on in John 6:27-30 ””Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” then they asked him, ”what must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, ” the work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” so they asked him, ”What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you?” ” and they go on into a debate about the manna the Israelites ate in the desert and so on. But through it all, it seems like Jesus is trying to make them realize this; It´s not about what work I do, or what Jesus does, all it comes down to, is who do I believe? Where do I put my trust? It´s not about signs, wonders, miracles, and all that stuff. All it really comes down to, is who do I believe? Do I put Jesus first, at the center of everything?

The vision of my church starts with: ”We see a Jesus-loving church...” and I just love that. A Jesus-loving church will always have Him as the center, will always start with Him, and end with Him. And then, yes, I really believe the signs, wonders and miracles will come. But it´s not built around that. It´s built on Him. I don’t know about you, but that´s how I want to live my life. Always choosing Him first, have Him as the center of my life. Whatever that might mean, and whatever that might look like. It might mean making some choices that are different, it might mean to get up a bit earlier just to spend some time with Him first thing in the morning, it might look like giving up something I really think I want… It might not always seem like the easy way, but in the end, I’m certain it’ll be the best way. Whatever it will be like, I want my prayer to be, today and every day: “Give me Jesus, only Jesus!”

23 September, 2012

Hjerteslag - om Jeremia og lovsang og sånn...

Jeg har tenkt mye på det med tekstene vi synger i lovsangen i det siste.  Og jeg må innrømme det, av og til synes jeg det er vanskelig å virkelig mene det jeg synger. Tekster som «Jeg vil gå dit Du går, hvor enn Du kaller hjelp meg å følge. Jeg vil se de Du ser, hvert knuste hjerteslag.» Skjønner jeg hva det innebærer om jeg virkelig mener det? Når jeg tenker over det, blir det ofte vanskelig å synge slike sanger. Jeg vil så gjerne mene det jeg synger, ikke bare synge noen fine tekster, men synge tekster med kraft i, og mene det.

Har lest en del i Jeremia, og for en mann!! Midt i et samfunn hvor alle andre profeterte om fremgang og seier og bare bra ting, gir Gud ham et budskap om straff, at de skulle overgi seg til fienden, så ville de få leve. Kanskje ikke så rart at han ikke ble veldig populær. Han ble kastet i en gjørmet brønn, han ble satt i gapestokk, i fengsel… likevel valgte han å gå på det Gud befalte ham, komme med det budskapet Gud gav ham, ikke bare si det folket og kongen ville høre.  Selv om det kostet ham alt. Han levde alene, og jeg er sikker på at han hjemme kranglet med Gud mange ganger, gjerne ville slippe å komme med budskapet som gjorde ham til en utstøtt. Det var bare han og Gud. Likevel var han villig til å gå på det Gud fortalte ham, det Gud befalte ham å si. Gud var virkelig nok for ham! Kan jeg si det samme?

«Jeg vil gå dit Du går» - hvor var det Jesus gikk? «Jeg vil se de Du ser» - hvem var det Jesus så, var det ikke alle de som alle andre støtte bort, de som ingen ville henge med. Han så enkeltmenneskene, ikke bare folkemengden. Han brydde seg om folk, Han så dem. Ser jeg de rundt meg? På jobb, skole, i nabolaget, i kirka... Vi som kristne burde jo være de som var best på å bry seg om hverandre, ta vare på hverandre. Det var jo det Jesus gjorde, og er det ikke nettopp det som er å være kristen? Bli så lik Jesus som mulig? Jeg kjenner at det utfordrer, masse! Å skulle synge slike sanger, «Gud, vis meg Din vilje, for dit Du går er også der jeg vil» Vil jeg egentlig det? Hvis jeg virkelig tenker meg om, hvis jeg skjønner hva det egentlig betyr? Hadde jeg vært like villig som Jeremia til å gi det budskapet han fikk å gi? Det å virkelig mene det jeg synger er ofte ubehagelig, ukomfortabelt, det krever offer.

Noen ganger trenger jeg å bli utfordret til å gå ut av komfortsonen for å gjøre det Gud vil jeg skal gjøre. Men av og til, har jeg funnet ut at det er greit å begynne der jeg er, med å ønske å mene det jeg synger, eller kanskje til og med ønske å ønske å mene det jeg synger, for av og til er det alt jeg klarer selv. Så får jeg stole på at Gud da kan gjøre som Han har lovet, å hjelpe meg med det jeg ikke klarer selv, «i styrke og svakhet…».

Gud, vekk opp mitt indre, så jeg kan lære å tenke som Deg
Gud, åpne opp mine øyne, så jeg ser hvem som trenger Deg gjennom meg

Jeg vil gå, dit Du går, hvor enn Du kaller, hjelp meg å følge
Jeg vil se de Du ser, hvert knuste hjerteslag

Gud, løs fri mine hender, så de kan gjøre det de var skapt til
Gud, vis meg Din vilje, for dit Du går er også der jeg vil

Jeg vil gå, dit Du går, hvor enn Du kaller, hjelp meg å følge
Jeg vil se de Du ser, hvert knuste hjerteslag

I styrke og svakhet min tilflukt er, min tilflukt er i Deg

Jeg vil gå, dit Du går, hvor enn Du kaller, hjelp meg å følge
Jeg vil se de Du ser, hvert knuste hjerteslag,
Kan finne håp i Deg

18 March, 2012

Thoughts on worship

I reread this piece by Mike Pilavachi in the “Heart of Worship Files” the other day, and it’s really challenged my thinking when it comes to worship. He starts with this question: “How many songs do we sing that are just about God and do not bring us into the story? How often is God not only the object but also the centre of our worship?” And since I read it, I’ve been analysing every worship song I’ve heard and sung.

I was leading worship a Sunday just after, and tried to find the songs that were all about Him, and man was that hard! So many of my favourite songs bring me into the story, the talk about God being MY help, MY refuge, when I feel this, He helps, when I, when I, when I… I’m not saying those songs are bad; not at all I really believe they have their place and purpose. But sometimes, and I think maybe more often than we do, we need to sing the songs that’s only about Him, that exalts His name, not for what He’s done and is doing for me, but just because He IS, because He’s worthy, cause that’s what worship is really about. He really is worthy, no matter how my circumstances are, or how I feel. Worship is not about me feeling good, but about bringing Him all glory, and worship, and honour, forever and ever!