Hope – What if…

Hope displayed by Anemone flowers

What if I tell you there is hope, there is always hope? Would you blame me for just conveying the biggest cliché? The all-time-high lie that we tell people when they’re suffering and can’t find their way through the wilderness of sorrow? But what if, what if it is true?

The worrying monkey-mind often keeps repeating these terrible and fear inspiring “what ifs”. What if this is what he thinks of me? What if I am going to die from an awful disease? What if the plane falls down? What if I won’t pass this exam? What if I am going to loose my job? What if I can’t find help for my problem? What if there is no goodness in this world? What if, what if, what if….constantly repeating.

Another cliché is, yes, I have been there too. Like that’s very comforting in the middle of the deepest pain? And maybe it’s just something people say anyway to give others some false comfort, or even in order to turn the focus on themselves when the other person is the one truly suffering? But again, what if it’s true?

What if there is hope? What if I have been there? What if I’ve been to this really dark place where I had no hope of returning to the living? Would you believe me if I told you about it? Would it be an important message to you if you are the one now that has gone all dark?

I am telling you, whispering softly and shouting loudly again, THERE IS HOPE!! Yes, I’ve been there, and yes, I have returned, even though I didn’t think it was possible. I gave up everything, but something brought me deeply back to life. Back to colors and back to the joy of living.

Now I am sensing this energy breaking barriers within, and this river flowing again from within to without. Now I want to express myself and share the good news! If you will listen, dear, beloved, of God. There is hope! There is I way through! I know some of you don’t think so. I did too. But was surprised by the help I found. Reach out, and next maybe to your complete surprise, you’ll find new life from within and all around.

Blessings and new light to you, as you journey true your deep pain and darkness. There will be light again! There is hope! Always!

PS! Reading other posts on this blog, may partly help you find your way. This blog has followed me through later life, and what I share here is mostly from my own experience or inner longing.

Love Last

Love last

Earlier I have written posts called Love First and Love Now. Now I have to write a post called Love Last. This is probably for some the most controversial of the three posts, since it communicates an inclusive view on the afterlife and eternity. So if you want to hold on to your traditional view of Heaven and Hell, or if you would like not to be provoked, read no further. And for the rest, keep your minds and hearts open.

We have heard that the Christian message is the Gospel, also called the Good News. Now in my later years after going through valleys of darkness, the thinking, reading, listening and rethinking has brought me out into an open landscape of, in my view, truly good news.

Karl Forehand, a friend of mine and an author of several books, and among them the book Apparent Faith, asks the question, can God’s love be any less than the parent’s love for his child? The point is that a parent would do anything for his/her child and never give them up or leave them for good. Why would God leave people for good and let them go to a place called hell? A parent would never do that. Why our Creator?

Let’s get things out of the way, I do not believe in hell as a place in the afterlife anymore. I believe there are enough hellish experiences and suffering in people’s lives and in our world. Going to hell for an eternity (eternity!!) makes no sense. And heaven for just a few chosen faithful people, is that truly heaven Off course both Karl and I are only trying to find answers that make sense, and off course we do not have “God’s mind” and understanding. So we can’t claim we get it right 100 percent. But some would not even want to work with the question, and some would rather hide behind the biblical phrase, “God works in mysterious ways”.

I already mentioned Apparent Faith by Karl Forehand. Another good read is Love Wins by Rob Bell. I think Rob has the same message in Love Wins, that I try to communicate in this post, Love Last. I would also say, for the Gospel to be truly good news, it must be good news for all, it must be all inclusive. Love must win in the end. I do think Richard Rohr’s book The Universal Christ also speaks about this.

I say, we are created by love first, to live our lives in love now, and early (for some too early) or late we will find rest in eternal love at last! People and the Bible talk about the good road to be a small road. But what if this small road actually is very wide, if we only had a change of heart and understanding? I will not go into details here in this small text, but also remind us all, of the words of Jesus, “In my Father’s house there are many rooms”.

Off course not everyone chooses the path of love in this earthly life. There are many reasons and explanations for that. And there’s only one Judge. Yet, can you imagine being judged by the Lover of Souls?

If there’s any truth to going to a spiritual reality in the afterlife and for an eternity, I do think people also somehow choses their direction after death. And for those now living a life in pain, of evil and destruction, why would they not choose or search for love and restoration in the spiritual realm? Would a God of Love really close the door for all eternity? Sorry, if this makes you think, I am lost and far gone. I feel safe that I am not, and that’s enough for me.

I believe we are eternal souls and the bodies are our huts. Our deepest selves are also the Spirit of Love and of God. This Spirit will, at least when it freely can, and when it is released from our decaying bodies, travel back to the Loving Source it came from.

Love first, Love now, Love last, I do believe this is for all of us. Yes, it is all inclusive! Yes, the Bible even talks about a new heaven and a new earth, a great recreation. So salvation is not only for you and me, but for all, even for the whole Earth and the whole of creation. The Colossians talks about everything (every single thing!) coming together in Christ! This for me, is the good news. This gives me hope. This casts out fear of living and fear of death. It is true freedom! I truly believe in a loving Creator or even Creational Energy loving us all. This love is as the Bible talks about, strong enough for a earthly life, but also even stronger than death.

Last I would add that coming to these thoughts and conclusions in such a way that I can see this as the Truth I believe in, has not been an easy road. Still, I do believe it is a road from fear to love. It also is a road into freedom and the joy of living now and with a real hope for the future. It’s like the the prodigal son coming to his senses and knowing he had always belonged to this his Loving Father. It is the greatest news for all! All you truly need is love, and love is first, and it is now and yes, it even is the last there is and will forever be!

Blessings!

Wounds

“Everybody hurts” is a well-known and popular song by REM. I guess one reason is that it resonates with most people one way or the other. We all hurt, we all have been hurt, and we also hurt other people. It is a circle where many spend much of their time and life.

We all need to experience love. And the less attention and love we were shown in our early days, the more we crave it when we’re older. No wonder the Christian focus on the Father heart of God is very popular both in preaching and reading. Most of us have been wounded by our parents slightly or deeply. And I guess very often the father is most lacking in love and acceptance. This partly because the feminine and nurturing side of men has been less embraced and therefore less developed. It’s not only the women who have suffered in a patriarchal society.

But okey, we are all wounded, so what can we do about it? I believe we need more love, acceptance and healing. If we open our eyes and realise how wound driven we are in our actions, it is possible to experience a deeper satisfaction, not only through the love of a Higher Father, but through the experience of self love. Self love has a bad reputation, and sadly, because it quiet different from self worship.

It is therefore paramount that our suffering and craving, leads us on a road through our blindness. The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence, especially when what we’re looking for is the love we lacked in our childhood.

Before we can bring the deepest and purest love and healing to others we often need to love and heal ourselves. This process consists of developing an acceptance and love for ourselves, and at the same time a realization that we are deeply loved by the Love that gave us life.

This healing I am pointing too, has no easy route. But a good way to start is to take a deep look at your wounds. Not to fall into the wounds and drown, but sense your wounds enough for you to be able to both grieve, forgive and accept them. This involves forgiving others, but very often also, since you may be quite grown up when you truly see this, it also includes forgiving yourself. I guess many we will be in this process for much of their lives, if they want to grow in love. Still, at first, it’s important to start, to embrace more and more of the pain, so you may grow through so much of it that you become free enough to be of more help to others, instead of clinging to people and things for love and acceptance. You may even become a much needed wounded healer as Henri Nouwen wisely wrote about, and the love grown out of wounds eventually becomes a gift to this often hurting world.

We need to come to our senses and to ourselves, as the prodigal son also had to do, in order to direct his life towards the great Source of Love again. And like this lost son, we often get lost in craving love from things and people, that cannot give us what we now must give ourselves, and what we also must receive from our Mother, Father God. A Divine presence that waits for and even chases us from around and from the deepest parts of our souls.

Ask yourself today, what drives your actions the most today? Is it the lack of contentment and a need for lost love, or have you walked the valley of grief and forgiveness, and come out of it, with a new or renewed selflove? At least, stop blaming and pulling yourself down. What you have not received, you cannot pass on. Those wise words I leave you with, and at last an important reminder: You are loved ❤️

Overflowed by Life

At the beach yesterday I witnessed the image above of stones and overflowing waters. Tumultuous waves were overcoming solid ground. Rohr (Falling Upwards, great book!) speaks and talks about a lever to stand. The lever is needed at different times in our lives. Some times outer pressure or inner turmoil are overwhelming. It feels like drowning.

I’ve been through times like the mentioned above on several occasions. Last not so long ago. I lost my zest for life and had no drive or motivation. It felt like I was overcome and lost, as in my last poem here, “I gave up and gave in”.

If you have read the whole poem though you have realized I have yet to draw my last breath, and gracefully things ended on a good note. I am meant to live and there’s still meaning and renewed meaning to be found in life, mine included. But for a long time it felt like the image above. Out of control, with no escape in going through the pain and darkness. Part of the reason for my troubles were great grief in my life, since I have slowly been losing my mother to early dementia. There has been other things too, among those an earnest search for truth and the deep desire for love and union with Spirit.

So if you’re experiencing grief and outer and/or more inner turmoil, know that I have been there. Hell is not a place in a God-willed afterlife. God’s love is for all, it upholds us all, whether we recognize it or not. Hell is also at times circumstances here on Earth, whether it is outer war and suffering, or inner turmoil and loneliness deep within. Fortunately, at the same time, heaven, God, God’s kingdom are also here on Earth, all around us and deep within each and everyone. This includes you, no exceptions. I also do believe with Rob Bell, that Love Wins (book recommended!). If that makes me an universialist, I am guilty of the “heresy”.

The Spirit of Christ lives within us and our bodies groan for freedom and union for eternity. Happily, this is something to be embraced and experienced in the now, if only in glimpses. Can you sense your inner Spirit calling you? Are you overwhelmed by the life you have lived so far? Maybe what we need when there is no solid ground to be found, is a surrender to the great vast Ocean? At least a surrender to the River within that Jesus spoke of to the Samaritan woman.

Now I dream of new projects and a future for contemplation in my country and across the globe. I connect with what Rahner supposedly has said, that the future Christian is a mystic. I truly believe that. I want to be among them. I do think more and more people will see and find the path of contemplation. Nothing else than contemplating the mystery of the Divine and beholding and experiencing its beauty can satisfy our hunger. Would you like to join me on this often messy but also blessed journey?

Blessings on your day and your further travel – never forget you truly are the beloved of the Great Lover! Even more, when darkness leaves you blinded.

Belief/Faith?

In the English language, there is a distinction made between belief and faith, belief in a particular doctrine or deeper trust. We probably need both, but I find more rest and wider horizons in trust. Then my life is less limited to what I believe, and more a liberating flow of life that my heart opens and surrenders to. This is a trust in a Creative Love first, creation and people second.

Are #Pentecostals Afraid Of The Spirit?

Are we afraid of the Spirit's work

I am asking myself and you today: Are (some) Pentecostals afraid of the Spirit (some times)? This question has come to my mind lately, and it was so pressing that I wanted to write a short blog post about it.

Looking back upon my own growing up in the Pentecostal church I have realised that some of the preaching and teaching heard and read was more fearbased than lovebased. Or you might say there was a lack of trust in your own ability to do the right thinking and even some times the critical mind was condemned and rejected.

What makes me wonder is why Pentecostals that so strongly believe in the Holy Spirit and the possibility of being filled with this Spirit at the same time can be in the danger of rejecting the listening to this same Spirit?

Jesus talked about the letter of the law that would kill the spiritual life. And this makes me wonder if the “sola scriptura”-focus (aka literal Bible interpretation) has been a hindering for seeing and trusting the Spirit’s work among the members of the church.

When the message is believe God’s Word, and God’s Word (clearly) says this, and this, and that, we may have lost the ability to trust the promptings of the Spirit within ourselves. Was Pentecost only an outpouring of the Spirit on the outside, or was it not also a filling of the Spirit within?

Another common teaching among Pentecostals is “don’t trust your feelings, rather trust the Word of God (in the Bible, and in the Bible only!)”. I wonder why Christians want to send the message that your feelings are not so important and often should be disregarded?

One thing I have learned is that the greatest a person can experience is a sense of love and freedom on the inside. I believe this love AND freedom is what God created us to experience as the Spirit keep revealing the divine and eternal truths to us. This freedom from within is what creates a profound joy in our lives. Yes, the feeling of true joy!

Jesus said he had to leave in order for the Spirit to come. The Spirit was going to teach us, each and everyone of us. Also the Spirt would grow fruits in our lives, as joy, patience, meekness and more. I believe Jesus also was serious when He said “Fear not”. God sent His Spirit to be with us, around us, AND also within. A Spirit to be trusted.

So in my opinion I think there is a lot of fear stopping people and even “Spirit-filled” Pentecostals to trust in the inner promptings of the Spirit in their hearts. Many are so afraid of mixing up man with God, and can’t trust the Spirit within because they think they make themselves gods or God! This is one of the greatest misunderstandings I think. This is also why many believe mystics are on the wrong path. That’s until they too experience that the scales are removed from their eyes, and they finally see what a Spirit God has blessed us with and filled us with!

Please, if you have read this far, I pray that you kindly ask yourself: Am I afraid of the Spirit in my life? The promptings and the intuition, the Still Small Voice, calling me not only through the whole of creation but also from within my very soul? Is my faith more fearbased than trustbased? Can I trust myself, and the Spirit God has given me to teach me? Do I long for more freedom and joy in my life? Have teachings I grew up with stopped me from trusting that God is with me in all my processes in life, and that He wants me to grow in freedom and joy?

Grace and peace to you!

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Growing Into Freedom

Sunset
I have a burning desire to know truth. Jesus Christ said that the truth would set us free. This tells us that knowing truth brings freedom. What is freedom like? How can we find this truth and this freedom?
              Freedom is an experience that brings joy, light and color into our lives. When you experience being trapped or shut down you are not experiencing freedom. Again, Christ came to point to truth. He even said that He was the truth, the life and the way. He also said to the people He met, “follow me”. As Richard Rohr also has pointed out in his books, Jesus didn’t focus on Him being someone to be praised or worshiped, but rather said, “follow me, take up your cross, deny yourself and follow me”.
             Jesus Christ proclaimed in the synagogue that He had come to set the captives free. The gospel is a lot about dying to self (the false self) and about freedom from our ego. A freedom I believe is something we can grow into. A dying to yourself, a dying from you own ego, is painful and creates suffering. But as someone wise started saying, “no pain, no gain!”. Or in Richard Rohr’s words (in his book “Falling Upward”), this is a “necessary suffering” and a prerequisite for growing into a deeper spiritual freedom and a closer relationship with God.
             We need to turn away from our own ego, our own selfcenteredness (the false self) and reach within to find the living water ever flowing from our innermost being. Also when we see our own (ego’s) sinfulness, we need to look to Jesus as many others before us (read Hebrews), and follow Him.
             Sometimes it’s the egos and sinfulness of others that brings us suffering and sadness, other times it is our own shadows and darkness that drags us down. Either way this may create a sorrow that may help us reach out and reach within for the Spirit of God. A Holy Spirit that even helps us when we don’t know what and how to pray. The Spirit that was promised to guide us by Christ Himself, and a Spirit that will help us grow into the knowledge of the truth. The Truth that has always been true. In Rohr’s words, “What is true, has always been true”.
             Again, growing can be painful. Yes, the Romans tells us that the whole creation groans and longs for redemption. The suffering that is part of the necessary suffering gives us new eyes so we can see and know truth. This seeing brings light to our soul. Jesus talked about this seeing that would bring light. Seeing brings light, light creates the experience of freedom. Sometimes you can literally see it in people’s eyes when they have grown into this freedom and joy.
             Paul talks about freedom in his letter to the churches in Galatia. He warns them about trusting in anything else than God’s grace. God’s grace is free, but before we are able to truly appreciate and receive God’s grace we may have to walk through valleys of darkness and suffering. But as we say in a Norwegian saying, “when you walking uphill, that is when life is going upwards”. It is this Rohr also talks about in his wise book “Falling Upward”. I think we can say with Rohr that we have to fall and experience our sin and lacking before we can really rise again.
            Be reminded again, that Christ came to bring truth and life, a truth that would set us free. This freedom that you can grow into brings joy, even amidst the continuation of some suffering throughout our lives (read about Paul and the torn in his flesh). A freedom that by the grace of God and by time brings forth all the fruits of the Spirit, that Paul speaks about, joy, peace, patience and more. What a freedom!
           Are you longing to grow with God, to grow into His freedom? Maybe you are experiencing a time of suffering? Trust in God’s grace and His Spirit within you, and know that He will guide you through the suffering. Eventually when your eyes are opened you will know Him and the Truth that will set you free!
                                                                                                                                                                              Recommendation: A book that I recommend and that has truly inspired me and helped me grow into freedom is Richard Rohr’s book, “Falling Upward”. So in a way this post could partly also be a kind of book review.

 

Not There Yet, but Close?

Forest

The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life! John 4,14b, NRSV

Grateful to the Creator leading me in the ways of ever deepening living in Spirit. Connecting to the Source of Life within is the greatest goal you can have. But also very often the most challenging.

Our minds are cluttered with thoughts and worries that only make us identify too much with our egos, instead of identifying with Christ living within. The Christ that wants to become our lives.

Rilke supposedly said, the only journey is the journey within. Since I believe God to be both transcendent and immanent, I would like to rephrase, the journey within is the deeper one. It is the journey we must take if we are to grow, in our second half of life (check out Rohr’s book, Falling Upwards).

So am I there yet? At times my experience is of a great energy and life flowing from my innermost. Other times my mind’s thinking and my feelings of fear and sorrow can be blockages to the flow. So, we must be patient and keep walking in the life that has been set ahead of us, a life filled with evergrowing richness and thankfulness.

Be blessed!