Monday, November 30, 2009

a view from above

Give thanks!

Have you ever commanded someone to give thanks?
Maybe your child seemingly didn’t appreciate all the
comforts that you had provided for his life; maybe you
served some strangers in trouble and expected a bit more
gratefulness from their attitude.
You can get a person to perform the ritual of thanksgiving,
but you cannot create a grateful heart by commandments.
That’s why genuine thanksgiving is so powerful.
The higher expressions of human life such as faith, obedience,
worship, love and thanksgiving are possible
only by a personal choice.
They cannot be manufactured or tricked into by commandments
and rules.
Unconditional love is sometimes really hard to choose,
but it also serves as a defense for our soul’s welfare.
If we don’t expect anything in return, every thankful word
and a grateful attitude comes as a bonus blessing to our lives.
Even though God has always existed unchanged, he continues
to choose love and to forgive. He has a relationship with us,
not just a mechanical program.
Sin cannot stop him. Satan cannot.
Human failure cannot diminish the power of his love.
Pastor Schaller said in his Thanksgiving message, that if I were
surrounded by five thousand hungry people, I would be ready
to complain about my five loaves of bread and two fish.
Jesus gave thanks and blessed the multitudes.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love,
therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

November in Cairo

missing home, Cairo Nov.17-24

We've all been there . . .
far away from the family and friends,
far from familiar smells and tastes,
in another country -
missing home.
It’s a deep feeling of longing and
unhappiness in one’s soul.
All people experience it, even if they have never
traveled out of their own village.
I find it fascinating.
The world is full of opportunities for man
to admire and pursue –
so many things to see,
to learn and to buy.
As beautiful as the world is,
man has a strong sense that
it’s not enough. He doesn’t belong here.
Man was made for eternity. He cannot find
full satisfaction with the things from the earth.
He wants heaven.
He misses the lost paradise.
He longs for holiness.
These pictures are my personal attempt to
touch the pictures behind the pictures.
It’s a challenge to show man’s invisible,
eternal longing for God.
May heaven reveal it, if I have succeeded.

Shopping Center in Cairo

Please, surround us with your prayers!

surround us with your prayers as we are preparing for the three
day outreach in Cairo.

Tuesday November 17, 7 p.m. The opening reception of the Art Exhibition
Wednesday November 18, 8 p.m. Elina's Concert
Thursday November 19, 7 p.m. Bible Meeting

Friday -Sunday the team will be traveling in Egypt.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sudanese kids in the church yard in Cairo



It's the cross issue.

Justice can never be based on neutrality.
It must be strongly connected with truth.
People who try to get rid of all religious expressions
in publicity are being deceived and deceiving others .
It’s a dangerous direction to nothingness.
When “neutrality” is elevated
as the highest form of truth, people loose even their last
sense of true humanity. It will lead sooner or later to
a conflict of interests.
People will want different things.
If you cannot have what you want, because I want to have what
I want, we only have two options: We either go to war against
one another or we humbly just commit as suicide together.
Neutrality doesn’t work with honesty.
If you try to please everybody, you will end up pleasing nobody.
This all concludes with the exclusiveness of the Truth.
Truth cannot change and it cannot be controlled by man.
Day before yesterday, the European Court of Human Rights
ruled that the Italian Government must remove Crucifixes from all
the rooms in all the public schools of the nation.
The reason: they offend the religious sensibility of one Finnish student,
in a small village, outside of Padua, in Northern Italy.
As one of the newspapers pointed out :
“ It is ironic to note that the lawsuit was brought against Italy by a Finn,
whose Nation’s flag bears a light-blue Cross upon it.”
I’m sure the flags are soon next in line.
After that will come all the cross shaped jewelry.
Then all the street crossings will somehow be rounded.
There is no end to man’s rebellion against the love of God.
We will continue boasting “ in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.”
Galatians 6:14

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

friends visiting my painting balcony

tough job

We cannot follow God with a divided heart. John 10:27
We cannot love with a divided heart. Ex.20:5
We cannot serve with a divided heart. Luke 16:13
But, unfortunately, we can be Christians and go to church and
sing Jesus songs with a divided heart.
It seems like nobody knows.
God knows all things, but he doesn’t control our hearts.
We are called to guard our hearts.
He has left that challenging job for us to do.
Solomon received everything and much more from God.
God gave him power and riches, but God did not control
his heart. He did well until he allowed seemingly small
compromises to divide his heart.
His negligence of God’s advice not to marry foreign
women brought idols to his household. They were just harmless
decorations, but powerful enough to deceive this mighty
man of God. The king with a divided heart left behind him
a divided kingdom.
A divided heart looks manageable in the beginning, but
down the road it will, without mercy destroy a person from inside.
“Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring
the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I love these palms!


Yesterday was All Saints Day. What would be today, a day after
all saints? That’s sounds like the rapture,
that glorious day when sainthood is no more necessary.
Is it necessary today?
Yesterday I heard a great message by bishop Mouneer in Cairo.
He spoke about the difference between the Catholic and the
Anglican approach to sainthood.
He pointed out that in the Catholic tradition sainthood needs to be
earned by performance of miracles or other special virtues.
In the Anglican tradition saints are our brothers and sisters, the cloud
of witnesses.
I was encouraged by his thoughts of becoming a saint by receiving.
In Psalm 24:3 there’s a question about sainthood,
‘Who can stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart...”
Our hands are washed by receiving.
We are saints by grace.
This doesn’t steal our motivation to pursue holiness.
As I pondered over the message, I was encouraged by the finished work
of Christ. We don’t become saints by performing something,
but we end up performing something because we are saints.
This is the unfailing principle of bearing fruit.
Whatever you sow, you’ll reap. You cannot cheat in it. The resurrection
life is stronger and more absolute reality than any theory about life.
To accept this for ourselves is not as difficult as it is in relationship with
others. To accept one another’s sainthood takes a lot of faith.
The bishop used a story to comment on this.
In a monastery there were five old monks who were getting worried about
the future of the place. They didn’t see any new people who would be
interested in joining their community.
Daily they argued about the matter.
Finally they went to an old wise man to ask for an advice.
The old man simply said, ”One of you is Christ”.
That changed everything.
Their relationships changed into interactive holiness (this is my term, not the bishop’s).
We don’t know the end of the story.
Maybe they all left the monastery and started ministering to people.
We are called to see Christ in people,
in our friends, spouses, children, Turks, Jews, Egyptians, Azeris, Hungarians,
Americans, Russians, Swedes, Finns...
“Christ in us, the hope of glory” Colossians 1:27