Tag Archives: Personal / Personlig

Wrongly attributed powers

Something that happened earlier this week have made me think a lot about how many people in this world believes in “forces” outside the purely physical realm. It can be the “power of pyramids”, power from idols or different sorts of “spiritual powers”.
And I won’t deny that there are such powers. The power of God is clearly a power that by far exceeds the physical realm.

The problem is that except from the power of God, there is no powers that will do us anything good in the perspective of eternity. Another problem is the fact that most things we humans may say have these kinds of power only has this kind of power because people GIVE them that kind of power.

The idols of old are a good example of this. A carpenter may go into the forest, find a tree and axe it down. Then taking the wood back to his home, he put some of it into the stove to make food for himself, and put of the trunk he carves out an idol. Then he polishes it and puts it up to worship it. As he worships it, he believes it to have powers; otherwise he would not have any reason to worship it. He may be praying for a good harvest, for a drought to end, or for good luck for himself and his family.

But the piece of wood that he carved out does not really have any real powers. Still, because he believes the piece of wood have this power, he is essentially giving it a power. The power does not live in the item, but in the fact that he puts trust in an item outside himself that got no powers of itself. This have the consequence that spiritual influences that does not shy away from lying can seek to confirm this kind of belief in the different ways these spiritual influences can. These influences have a good motif to do so; they want to ensure that this man won’t seek the real power. The power of God.

So what the man is essentially doing, is giving power to evil spirits to influence him. Some of his prayers may indeed be answered, although most won’t. But the evil spirits will do what they can do to strengthen tendency to worship his own creation, or for that case any item of this world he may be directing his worship to.

This also applies to items that are said to “strengthen” or “focus” the powers of God. Powers some people believe pyramids, crystals or for example amulets have. These are essentially a subclass of idolatry where our focus is actually brought away from God rather than towards God. This doesn’t mean that some items may be useful to use while for example meditating over the bible, but this is not due to any powers in the items themselves. They are merely tools similar to a saw. The saw does not have any power in itself which it can saw a piece of wood into two. It must be used by a human in order to work.

Thinking of “powers” and how things really does not have any power over us unless we give them to them, I realized that the same can be said about the things we Christians say prevents us from doing what we know we should do… or even those things we really want to do.

For example: I want to spend much more time praying and reading the bible. Still, even when I think at work that “When I have eaten my dinner, I’ll try to pray for an hour”, I usually get distracted somehow and end up never doing it.

Afterwards I may say that I was distracted by that phone that called, or that mail I got. The problem is really that I let these distractions have the power to distract me. Often the initial distraction that starts off our chain of distractions could easily be done away quickly and then we could’ve easily got started on what we wanted to do. Our problem is that we let our distractions feed the sinner part in ourselves, the power we have given away to our distractions can be used as entry points for negative spiritual influence. This is an influence that definitively does not want us to spend time with God. And the chain of distractions that we often encounter may very well be explained by negative influences ganging up against our plans in a small but effective way. We end up never spending that time with God that we intended to.

One kind of power that can work either way is our habits. If we get into a habit of reading the bible or praying at certain times of the day, or always immediately before or after something we do every day, like eating dinner or sleeping, can help us do ignore our distractions. But bad habits can provide for far too many kinds of distractions as well: “I just need to check my mail before I do anything.” Not necessarily a bad habit, but it can be a really bad habit to do if you always or often do it before a planned prayer time.
Worse is the bad habits that are of a more sinful nature, for example pornography, overeating, smoking, drugs or alcohol. Many Christians may have problem with something related to these, or other things we really shouldn’t do. We think to ourselves that our sinful habit got a power over us, and yes it does have a power over us. But WE are ourselves the one that gave this habit its power over ourselves.

Some of these habits can even have a real physical power over us, like drugs or alcohol, while other are often more psychical or even spiritual. Since they are habits, they can be hard to get out of in varying degrees, especially those that are connected to hard addictions or those that have become almost a part of your personality and/or character. Habitual swearing for example can be a very tricky habit to overcome, since it is something you may do so often and easily that it is hard to see it coming. It is simply second nature.

Still it is often easy for us to think that “God, I can’t do anything about this bad habit of mine… YOU must do it for me!” and then think nothing more of it and maybe not even attempting to do your own share of the job of getting rid of the habit or habits in question.
But the purpose of this little piece of writing is to tell you that you CAN do your part of this. You may not be able to get all the way all by yourself, but since YOU were the one to give your habit the power it have over you, you can also remove its power over you. It is quite possible that the devil will try to keep the hold your bad habits have on you, and it is quite possible he will whisper into your mind that you won’t be able to get rid of this habit. “What use is it to even try?” But know then that not only do you have the power to break your bad habits; you have also the power to stand against the devil. And if you do, he will fly! James wrote in James 4;4-8:

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

I tell you: Resist the devil! God have indeed given you the power to do so! In 1 Peter 4;4 Peter says:

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Greater is God in each and one reborn Christian, than the devil’s power over us. Fear not what the devil can do against us, because as long as we stay close to God, he cannot touch our soul, only our physical body. His rage against us will then only serve to purify our faith and to strengthen our dependence on God.

There is a LOT more to say about this topic, and I myself haven’t finished thinking through this for this time yet. I really wish I could sit down with someone with quite a few more years bible reading than me to talk through this topic. But that will have to wait until God puts that on my schedule.

God bless you all!

Who am I? Johnny Michael Danielsen

Dette er noen tanker om navnet mitt og hva det betyr for meg, og hvem jeg tror Gud kaller meg til å være. Den er også tilgjengelig på engelsk om du scroller ned til den engelske tittelen.
These are some thoughts about my name and what it means to me and who I believe God is calling me to be. It is also available in English if you scroll down to the English title.

Hvem er jeg? Johnny Michael Danielsen

Hvem er jeg? Jeg VIL være den navnet mitt sier at jeg er. Jeg heter altså Johnny Michael Danielsen. Et noenlunde normalt navn, uten noen helt spesielle særtrekk. Det eneste måtte i så fall være at det består av tre bibelske navn.
Navnet jeg har fått er naturligvis en del av min identitet som navn. Men det har også fått en betydning for meg i form av hva hvert enkelt navn faktisk betyr. Johnny kommer fra gresk ”Johannes”, som igjen kommer fra hebraisk ”Johanan”. Navnet betyr ”Gud er nådig”. Michael betyr ”Hvem er som Herren?” Daniel som navnet Danielsen kommer av, betyr ”Herren er min dommer!”
Navnet er for meg mer enn bare ett navn. Jeg ser det også som den første profetien som ble sagt over meg. Hvem Gud ønsker jeg skal være. Gud vil jeg skal se og ta i mot hans nåde, og jeg skal se at ingen nåde er større en Hans enorme nåde, og sist men ikke minst: Han vil at jeg skal se og forstå at HAN er min dommer. Ikke andre mennesker, ikke andre kristne, ikke en gang meg selv. Navnet mitt forteller meg også hvordan jeg bør se andre mennesker. Jeg skal ikke sette meg som dommer over dem heller. Det samme gjelder dem som for meg. GUD er min dommer. GUD er de andres dommer.
Litt fritt oversatt kan jeg si at navnet mitt sier ”Gud er nådig! Hvem er som han? Og HAN er det som er MIN dommer!” Navnet mitt er i praksis det Paulus sier til korinterne i 1 Korinterbrev 4,3. ”Men for meg betyr det ingenting om jeg blir dømt av dere eller av noen menneskelig domstol. Jeg er heller ikke min egen dommer.” Det betyr ikke at jeg ER den navnet mitt sier at jeg skal være i dag, men snarere at det er dette jeg skal strekke meg etter. ”For jeg vet ikke om noe galt jeg har gjort. Men jeg er ikke dermed frikjent, for Herren er den som dømmer meg. Døm derfor ikke før tiden, før Herren kommer. Han skal få fram i lyset det som er skjult i mørket, og avsløre hjertets tanker. Da skal Gud gi enhver den ros han har fortjent.” (1 Kor 4,4-5).
Om jeg skulle oppsummere navnet mitt i ett ord, er det ”frimodighet”. Jeg tror at Gud gjennom navnet forteller meg at jeg har all grunn til å være frimodig. At om jeg forsøker å leve opp til det navnet jeg har fått, frykten for andre mennesker aldri få tatt overtaket i meg. Men jeg er ikke der i dag, det vet jeg så alt for godt. Likevel stoler jeg på at Gud vil få meg nærmere og nærmere til det punktet at navnet mitt vil være sant.
Allerede før jeg var frelst ble jeg var på at det ligger en skjult frimodighet inne i meg, som i mange år har blitt holdt nede av det at jeg har vært sjenert og kanskje litt sky eller asosial. Men i tiden som har gått siden jeg ble frelst, har jeg sett at jeg i større grad våger å gå på det jeg har av frimodighet. At jeg oftere og oftere bare sier til meg selv ”Jeg gir blaffen i hva andre måtte tenke. Jeg gjør det for Gud!” Et eksempel er det at jeg noen ganger er redd for at andre kan tro at jeg gjør noen av de tingene jeg gjør for å tekkes mennesker. Eksempelvis rydding i storsalen på Betel, eller andre ting som er synlige for andre at jeg gjør. Mer enn en gang har jeg vurdert å ikke gjøre disse tingene av nettopp den grunnen. Men det er da jeg bare sier til meg selv ”Jeg gir blaffen hva andre tenker og tror om årsakene til at jeg gjør dette. Jeg vet jeg gjør det for Gud!”
Det betyr ikke at jeg aldri gjør ting for å tekkes mennesker, jeg er på ingen måte perfekt på det området. Jeg er heller ikke alltid like flink til å trosse tankene på hva jeg tror andre måtte tenke. Kanskje alt for ofte kan det være at jeg velger å ikke ta kontakt med folk eller snakke med dem fordi jeg tenker noe sånt som: ”Jeg vil ikke forstyrre dem.” eller ”Jeg vil ikke oppfattes som påtrengende.” Dette er kanskje en hovedårsak til at jeg kanskje har problemer med å opprette virkelige nære vennskapsforhold. Jeg er rett og slett for redd for at jeg skal virke for påtrengende på vennene mine. Såpass sterkt at det forhindrer meg alt for ofte å ta initiativ til å møtes. Så om du er en av mine venner og har lurt på hvorfor jeg ikke tar kontakt, så vet du årsaken nå. Kanskje er dette også noe av grunnen til at jeg aldri har hatt noen kjæreste.
Uansett tror jeg Gud vil ta tak i disse utfordringene jeg har, og hjelpe meg til å komme meg forbi disse hindringene jeg har til å kunne få gode og tette vennskapsbånd. Noe av det han har gjort er at har gitt meg venner som jeg har kunnet åpne meg mer og mer for. Mennesker jeg bryr meg om og ønsker å bruke mer tid med, og som det i alle fall virker som at de ønsker å bruke mer tid med meg. Steg for steg virker det som om at Gud bygger meg opp til å ta nye steg i forbindelse med å etablere og utvikle relasjoner med andre mennesker.
Det er virkelig et eventyr for meg å se hva Gud gjør med meg. Før jeg ble kristen opplevde jeg livet mitt som kjedelig. Selv om at jeg viste at jeg kom til å bli frelst en dag, hadde jeg ikke på langt nær forventet at han skulle gjøre livet mitt så spennende som han har gjort så lang. For andre ser det kanskje minst like kjedelig som før, men så langt har mye av eventyret Gud har lagd for meg foregått i hodet mitt. Det har vært en tid for forberedelser, undervisning og oppbygging av Guds tankebygninger i meg. Men framover tror jeg det blir mye mer spenning. Sikkert til tider nesten litt for mye. Jeg er ganske sikker på at det vil være ting Gud vil jeg skal gjøre, som jeg tror at dersom jeg hadde vist det i dag, så hadde jeg gjemt meg under sengen eller rømt slik Jona gjorde fra sitt kall. Hadde noen sagt til meg for tre år siden at jeg kom til å gjøre spørreundersøkelser i Brussel slik jeg gjorde under Connect’09, hadde jeg ganske sikkert ikke trodd dem. Sannsynligvis hadde jeg til og med blitt skremt og hold meg langt unna de som hadde sagt dette, av redsel for at det skulle ha blitt en sannhet gjennom dem. Likevel, det var hva jeg gjorde denne sommeren, og jeg vet at enda har jeg nesten ikke en gang begynt på den reisen Gud har planlagt for meg.
Så jeg ser framover med en blanding av nysgjerrighet, spenning, uro og en ganske stor bit nervøsitet for hva Gud har på timeplanen for meg. Likevel stoler jeg på Ham. Jeg vet at Han er den perfekte læremester. Han vet hva jeg takler, og hva jeg ikke takler, til enhver tid. Han vet også hvordan han skal utfordre meg akkurat nok til at jeg skal kunne ta et steg videre på reisen, og han vet hvordan han skal gi næring til det i meg som får meg til å søke den veien han har for meg, og han vet hvordan han skal så de drømmene og visjonene jeg trenger for å ville fortsette til tross for min egen frykt.
Takk Herre for at du er min læremester. At du kjenner meg bedre enn meg selv. At du vet til enhver tid hva jeg trenger for å fortsette på den veien du vil jeg skal gå. Takk Herre! Takk for at du har sådd drømmer, tanker og visjoner om livet med og for deg. Jeg ber deg bare om å sørge for at jeg ikke løper raskere enn det du vil jeg skal, og at jeg aldri blir stående der jeg er når du kaller meg videre. Takk Herre! Takk for at du er min Far. Takk for all hjelp. Takk for din enorme nåde. Takk for at ingen andre er som deg. Takk Gud. Takk for at DU er min dommer. Takk for at jeg aldri skal trenge å være redd for hvordan mennesker dømmer meg. Ikke en gang hvordan jeg dømmer meg selv. Jeg ber deg Far, la meg alltid huske, vite, se og kjenne at DU er min dommer, og ingen andre. Takk nådige Gud. Jeg elsker deg, Gud! Amen!

Who am I? Johnny Michael Danielsen

Who am I? I WANT to be who my name say I am. My name is Johnny Michael Danielsen. A somewhat common name, without any particular strangeness. If anything it would have to be that it is composed by three biblical names.
The name I have been given is of course a part of my identity as my name. But it have also got a meaning to me in what each name actually means. Johnny come from greek “Iohannes”, which again come from Hebrew “Johanan”. The name means “God is graceful”. Michael means “Who is like the Lord?”, and Daniel where the name Danielsen come from means “The Lord is my judge!”
The name is to me more than just a name. I also see it as the first prophecy that was said over me. Who God want me to be. God want that I should see and receive his grace, and that no grace and mercy is bigger than His, and last but not the least: He want me to see and understand that HE is my judge. Not other humans, not other Christians, not even me. My name also tell me who I should see other people. I am not supposed to be their judge either. The same is valid for them as for me. GOD is my judge. GOD is their judge.
My own free translation of my name says ”God is graceful! Who is like him? And HE is MY judge!”. My name is basically what Paul tell the chorintians in 1 Chorinthians 4;3 “I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.” (NIV) That doesn’t mean that I AM who my name say I should be today, but rather that this is something I should seek to become. “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.” (1 Chor 4;4-5 NIV)
If I were to sum up my name in only one word, I believe it would be ”boldness”. I believe God through my name is trying to tell me that I have all the reasons to be bold. That if I try to live up to the name I have been given the fear for other people will never win in me. But I know too well that I am not there today. Still I trust that God will help me closer and closer to the point where my name will be a truth.
Even before I was saved, I became aware that there was a hidden boldness within me that through many years was kept down because of my shyness and possibly a little asocial. But in the time that have passed since I was saved, I have seen that I in a larger degree dare to walk in what I got of boldness. That I more often just tell myself “I don’t care what others think. I’m doing this for God!” An example is that I sometimes am afraid that others may think I do some of the things I do to please men to get the praise from them. For example that I volunteer without being asked to tidy in the church room at Betel (my church), or doing other visible things. More than once I have considered just not doing those things for just that reason. But that’s when I tell myself “I don’t care what others think and believe about the reasons for what I am doing this. I know I do it for God!”
This doesn’t mean that I never do things to get the praise of people. I am absolutely not perfect in that area. Also I am not always quite as good at ignoring what I think other people may think. Maybe far too often I choose to not make contact with people or to talk with them because I think something like “I don’t want to disturb them.” Or “I don’t want to seem pushy.” This is possibly a main reason that I have a problem creating real close friendship relationships. I am simply too afraid I may seem too pushy or imposing myself too much onto my friends. This is so strong that it often prevents me from taking any initiative to meet up with friends. So if you are one of my friends and have been wondering why I don’t make contact with you, you now know the reason. Maybe this is a part of the reason I never have had a girlfriend too.
None the less, I believe God is going to challenge and help me come past these obstacles I have in creating good and close friendship relationships. He have already given me friends I have been able to open myself more and more for. People I care about and want to spend more time with, and that at least seem to want to spend more time with me. Step by step it seems like God is building me up to take new steps regarding establishing and developing my relationships with other people.
It is really an adventure for me to see what God is doing with me. Before I became a Christian I felt my live was boring and uninteresting. Even if I knew I would be saved some day, I had not expected that he would make my life as exciting as he have done so far. For others it may seem as if it is at least as boring as it was before, but so far most of the adventure has been in my head. It has been a time of preparations, education and building up Gods strongholds in me. But in the future I believe there will be a lot more thinks excitement. Probably at times it will be nearly too much of it. I am pretty sure there will be things God will want me to, that if I had known it today, I would either have hidden under my bed, or run away just like Jonah tried to run away from his calling. If someone had told me three years ago that I would be doing surveys in Brussels like I did during Connect’09, I am pretty sure I would not have believed them. Probably I even would have been so frightened that I would have kept far away from those who had told me this, fearing it would have become a truth through them. Still, this was what I did this summer, and I know that I have barely started on the journey God have planned for me.
So I look into the future with a mix of curiosity, excitement and nervousity for what God have on his schedule for me. Still I trust Him. I know he is the perfect teacher. He know what I can handle, and what I cannot at any moment of time. He also know how he can challenge me just enough that I can dare taking a new step on my journey, and he know how to nurture and sow the dreams and visions I need to want to go on, contrary to my own fears.
Thank you Lord that you are my teacher. That you know me better than I know myself. That you at any moment know what I need to continue on the road you want me to walk. Thank you Lord! Thanks for the dreams, thoughts and visions about the life with and for you that you have sown into me. I only pray that you will help me not to run faster than you want me to, and that I never stay where I am when you are calling me onwards. Thank you Lord! Thank you that you have become my Father. Thank you for all your help. Thanks for your great grace and mercy. Thank you that no one else is like you. Thanks God. Thank YOU for being my judge. Thank you that I never need to be afraid over how other people judge me. Not even how I judge myself. I pray Father, let me always remember, know, see and feel that YOU are my judge, and no one else. Thank you merciful God. I love you, God! Amen!