Choose Life

Yay! It’s Friday, again. Great end of the great week. I’m so happy today because of the children in my class. They have done great choices lately and they are growing amazingly. I’m very grateful to be with them and teach them.

Today is also time to write for five minutes. Here are more details about Five Minutes Friday. The prompt of the day is CHOOSE. What a great word! ūüôā

So here it goes…

CHOOSE

choose

I have heard this verse for a week now. After winter break these words have stayed with me. There is always a choice for me to do. I can choose life or death. I can step forward or stay back. I can be positive and grateful or negative and bitter. Whole life is about choices and those are not always easy to make.

In the class I’m teaching I have chosen life. There have been some children with very bad attitude. I tried my best to put them in order but it wasn’t working. I thought surely I can tell them how to behave and it would work. Well, it didn’t. But God. I love those two words. When God steps in it’s always great and will work. Simple words from Him; ‘Choose life’.

I started to sow life to them. There are so many ways I can speak life into their lives. I bless them even though they don’t know it. And this life is now growing in them and starting to bloom and give some fruit. It’s amazing to watch how some so closed and distant children start to get closer and trust and receive love and life. There is always always life to choose. And it’s not so hard if I’m just ready to be open and make some mistakes. If I just know it’s not me, but Christ. He is the Life, not me.

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Move on – forgiveness is the key

don't waste your time looking back on what you've lost move on

I saw this sticker today and I knew God was talking to me. When we hit a rock bottom in our marriage and I wasn’t sure if we would ever get back together, I though it was the hardest thing in my life. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than that except death. At the moment I was preparing myself to get divorced God stepped into and spoke His word. And that word changed everything over night. I knew the only way to go was obedience. That’s simply my heart. I love God and when He speaks I will follow.

I thought surely people around me would be happy about our restoration and about my decision. Many of them were, but not everyone. That decision cost me a lot. Things which mattered the most to me suddenly were closed because of this decision. Some long lasted friendships ended because of this. My dreams and things where I had given my last 10 years and my carrier didn’t exist to me anymore. I felt the bottom of my life was suddenly disappeared. I thought I had focus, but suddenly I was wondering aimlessly. I didn’t know where to go or what to do. I was happy God finally spoke into my situation, but the price felt so huge, almost impossible to pay. I couldn’t understand it. At the moment I the most needed a friend to walk with me, I didn’t have the best one anymore. The pain was unbearable but I couldn’t do anything. I knew God spoke to stay with my husband and He showed there would be a blessing in that. I had learned God will never abandon and He surely is trustworthy, but those didn’t take my pain away. The lost was huge and even though I did have some other friends, they weren’t as close as the best one.

I do realize there are¬†perhaps other things I don’t know about that caused this situation. This is my part of the story and my focus is not put anyone¬†down.¬†The main thing isn’t who or what, but how did I go¬†through it (and still am going) and what God did and is doing. :o)

It has taken for awhile to get my balance back and see that there is the future in Christ. It doesn’t help me at all if I keep looking back and grieving about what I have lost. That is gone and won’t come back. I still don’t understand, but rather than looking back I have decided to keep walking and focus at this moment, NOW. My life will continue and it’s not depending on people, but God. I would love to have everything, but as one friend said I am happy I have followed God and saved my marriage and my family. That alone is a blessing. If I keep looking back on the things I have lost, I won’t see things I have gained. By doing that I will loose this moment, my now and all good what it’s bringing now. It’s time to grieve, but then it’s time to let it go. It doesn’t mean I won’t have hard days and hard moments still. But even though I do have them I choose to keep walking.

images-40Forgiveness is a great key to let go of the past. It’s amazing thing, but it’s the progress where I have to deal my heart again and again. Every time I face something which reminds me about my past, I choose to forgive and let go of it. It’s not always easy, but it’s my choice. I know there are greater things before me because that is the promise of God. For everyone of us. It doesn’t matter what has happened in my life or in your life, that is what God speaks over us. His way is always from glory to glory. And the key is forgiveness. Just let you past go and see what God will have for you now and in the future.

I’m looking forward new things. It’s like a sunrise after long dark winter in Finland. It’s bright and brings joy and colors whit it.

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Every change brings a shift – smaller or bigger

DSC09795I’m packing boxes and thinking. These are not boxes of my own this time, but for other people to send their stuff after them. This work is very familiar. During my life we have moved countless times before kids and with them. I have also helped people to move, wrapping their stuff into boxes, packing their furniture and move them from one place to another. I have helped some churches to move. I have been part of founding them. And not just physically but also on the paper. And I have also been the one to shut them down. I should probably run a business like this by now. But I don’t and probably won’t.

Every move shifts something in our lives. Something will always end with the move. And something new will start. Even if you don’t move too far from the place you are living. It just happens. With the move, some doors will close and others will open. These boxes I’m packing now indicates a total shift for me. Everything shifted by our move and by these boxes. It feels like my ‘old’ life ended and my ‘new’ life started. For most of the people around me it all looks the same. But it isn’t. Everything has shifted even though the location changed only 4 kilometers. It all shifted in the realm not seen.

One friend used to say ‘to really see you have to change your position sometimes’. I thought I knew what it meant, but now I at least know more than I used to know. My eyes have opened totally and what I’m seeing is Life before me. Just few months ago, all I was focused on was everything else than Jesus. I thought it was all about Jesus, but now I realize it was still about ministry, me, my destiny, my call and my future. My focus and my effort were for all that. I didn’t see it and my intention was to serve God.

Truth is that all that comes before God is an idol. If it’s a program or ministry or what do I get from this or how this will open the door for me or is this going to take me into my future, it’s an idol. Behind those thoughts is me, not God. If I put all my trust on Him and I really live in Him trusting that He will do ¬†all good for me because I love Him, I don’t have to worry about my future, my destiny, my tomorrow. Those all are in Him and under His control.

The more I’m packing, the more I’m getting free. Yes, I’m having tears in my eyes on some days. The last season was full of great things and experiences. It was full of many things I had dreamed about. It had¬†a hope of the open door in it. And especially it had a friendship I never thought I would lose. I do go through emotions, but that’s human side of me. Alongside of my sad emotions I have joy and peace. I know I’m exactly where I suppose to be. I’m in the right place and in this right place I know God is with me. I don’t have anything to show to anybody. I was part of the ministry. I was a leader. I was a teacher. I was a chair man. That’s all gone and I am not that anymore. Any of it. But there is freedom to be me. Those things used to define me. I tried so hard to be all that and more feeling always I wasn’t quite enough to be any of them. Not that it was said to me. It was this internal feeling inside of me, which forced me to try more and to strive. Now I have to learn to be me. I have to find what means to walk through every day life without any props to prove anything to anybody. I know it’s very good place to be, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Yet, it’s actually the best place to be with the Lord. And there is freedom to meet new people. And let them know me, not me as a minister, as a leader or as anything else. I see richness in it. It’s not always clear and sunny, but I see Life.

SONY DSC

On the other day one friend said to me. “I see how you are growing as a leader.” Those words hit me a little bit later when I was thinking something else. She knows my situation and she wasn’t saying it at all to make me feel good. She knows I’m not a leader of anything right now. But what she said to me was about my nature. It was something greater than I have heard in awhile. And it did make me smile. God is doing His work in me and for that I don’t need anything else than Him.

Some thought for today. If there is change going on your life, just know God is there with you. Trust Him and don’t be afraid. I keep hearing “go with the flow”. And I believe it’s for you as well as it is for me now.

Beauty of the Journey – it will get brighter

I’m driving to work almost every weekday. It has been this same road since August 2012. It’s 37 km to drive and mostly I’m just driving and thinking or listening something. This time of the year mornings are still dark and only things you can see are lights of other cars. By the time I have been getting off it has been twilight. But this week has¬†finally¬†been different. The sun has been up, sky has been clear of clouds, there is finally little bit snow on the ground and daytime is hour longer than SONY DSCit was month ago. Believe me, in Finland it makes a big different at this time of the year.¬†

Today while I was driving and view was phenomenal, I was thinking my own life. It has been dark, very dark lately. Mornings have been hard to get up, not just because of darkness, but because of heaviness I have felt. It’s easy to choose to start things new and it’s easy to say this year will be different than last year. And it will and already is. Totally. But change doesn’t immediately take away all you have gone through in life. Some things have to be dealt before lightness really comes.

SONY DSCWhen I was looking those remarkably beautiful frosty trees I was thinking how much I have beauty in my life. Yes, things has happened and they have hurt and tried to hurt me deeply, but there is still so many wonderful and beautiful things in my life which I just ignore too often. I could drive whole 37 km to home without seeing any of those trees OR I can drive and enjoy the beauty of my journey. I can see all variations of white and green in different lights. The more I see and recognize it, the more it blesses me and brings me joy. And that happens in my life too. I can ignore all goodness or I can see it and let it bring me joy. Life is multidimensional and even if I’m going through hard times I can enjoy my life and I can have joy and peace.

Too many times we forget this secret of life. And sometimes I personally want to forget it. Sometimes it would be so much easier just let it all go and just wallow in my own pain and circumstances. But then I would miss all the beauty. It is there whether I see it or not. It changes every day as this road I’m driving. It’s never the same. Everyday light makes it different depending on many little factors. One day can be cloudy and next day so bright that you need sunglasses. It can be snowing when I leave and before I get home sky can be clear and sun is shining. Everyday there is something beautiful if I just keep my eyes open. And whatever I go through in my life, I know God is with me and for me and His word is true and everlasting. His promise is that we go from glory to glory and all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according of His purpose. This is just a journey. I haven’t arrived and won’t in this time. But if my focus is on the end I will miss whole journey which is full of life with all kind of flavours. I have missed too much because my focus has been too far and because of trying to be something I wasn’t meant to. I thought I had it all figured out, but we don’t. God is God and we are human. Finding that place in Him as human brings me joy and peace and then I can enjoy my journey. I wish you can too.

brighter

Movement in Grace

The_Movement_by_tonyeliehI will use this verse again.

Matthew 11:28-30 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†28 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. 29 Walk with me and work with me– watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill- fitting on you. 30 Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. (The Message)

This verse is becoming more Life to me every time I read it. It says so much. For awhile I have felt that some people who preach about God’s Grace make me feel like there is nothing for me to do anymore. That I will just go about the life and everything will come to me just when I need it. That I am just going to enjoy all blessings and lay on the air mattress like in the lazy river in the water park. Simply doing nothing.

I’m not saying I have to do something to earn something from God or to prove anything for Him. No, that’s not what I try to say. Yes, Christ Jesus did it all and it’s called finished work of the Cross where we can’t add anything into that. But I still believe we are created to move and walk in Christ and grow in Him and learn from Him. It’s called relationship where we walk with Him and work with Him as He leads, not as we think He may want us to work. Or not as I would love to work and walk. In this relationship it’s not about me, but about Jesus Christ. He says “walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it.”

Sometimes I think so many of us have been burned out and worn out on religion and dead works so much that now we go to the other end and we don’t let anything set any kind of lines for us. Even well meaning guidelines are like a red cloak for bull. We are so afraid that someone puts a yoke upon us and leads us under bondage again.

Just thinking of one seed put into the field. There is constant movement going on when that seed takes moisture into itself from ground and starts to break a shell. How roots start to grow and finally seed starts to grow up and toward the sun. I’m not a farmer, but just thinking the process. That doesn’t happen without any movement. Or when spring comes after winter, all branches suddenly get hit by the sun and warmness it brings. There is movement when they start to grow and if you put your camera to take pictures in the chain you could see that movement. It’s life!

Jesus said also in John 15: 4-5 ¬† ¬†4 “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.¬†5” I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. (The Message)

Again He says make your home in me, abide in me. In Him we will have this movement and grow and mature and bear fruit. It’s not of ourselves. We can’t produce anything from us. But we are not dead branches in Him. We are full of life, His Life, and life stays never still. Jesus was never still and put. He moved as Father led Him. And now we are in Him and He is living in us. So even everything is done for us and given freely for us without any effort from our part, there is still movement in grace in Jesus Christ which we need to learn.

Intro

beautiful riverI want to write some things before I start my blogging here. You can go and see my old blogs in http://oneoftherivers.blogspot.fi. I started first in Finnish and shifted into English after one year. Why did I do it? Because English has become the language I am operating and bringing forth what God has revealed to me. I’m not saying it’s the only language to express what God is saying. But it’s main language for me. I’m part of the ministry called Rivers of Eden, which is the English speaking ministry, and I’m called to go out to the nations and that will not happen in Finnish. So forgive me still learning to express my thoughts in English.

When I have a look upon my life and openly with the Lord look what He has done in my life until this point I can only be in awe and be grateful for Him. I’m coming from a quite middle side town with no so called right-connections. I grew up in a quite religious atmosphere and was very fearful almost about everything. That fear put more condemnation upon me. Every decision in my life was made based on fear, not faith, yet I called my self as a Christian. But God has done so amazing and awesome work in my life and by Him I am free and by His Grace I have found that my past, present and future won’t define me, but He alone.

I have fullness of Him already in me, yet I’m learning everyday something new about Him who lives in me. It’s amazing and inspiring if I just let that reality consume me and let His Life flow though me and in me. When things happen in our life, we let them distract us too often. Reality is that they shouldn’t when my house is build upon the Rock, Jesus Christ. I myself am learning this more and more and I hope you join to this journey.