Author Archives: Nils OLSON

We ARE in a boat, going through a storm

Greetings to each one this last day of 2020 in the name of our Lord, Jesus, the Christ, the Anointed One of God whom He promised to send to crush the head of “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world.” Yes, thanks be to the LORD God Almighty who gives us the victory!

I remind you of perhaps one of the most well-know episodes in the lives of the disciples of Jesus more than 2000 years ago. —Mark 4:35 through Mark 5:20

photo courtesy of Catholic News World

Jesus said to them, “Let us go to the other side.” 

He had a plan and a purpose for going to the other side. They all got in the boat and began their journey across the water, wondering what could it be  that He has in mind to do?  Then out of nowhere a vicious storm began arising. Because of an exhausting day of ministering to people’s needs, Jesus was in the hinder part of the boat sleeping. As the storm became fiercer, the disciples, like many of us today, began doubting the purpose and plan of their leader. 

Don’t lose focus

Well, as you already know, they woke Him up, He calmed the storm and asked them, “Why are you so afraid? Where is your faith?” In other words, He asked them, “Why don’t you believe what I said, ‘Let us go to the other side’?” They lost focus of the purpose and plan of God. Have we lost focus as well? Have we lost focus of God’s purpose and plan to see the gospel permeate the four corners of the earth?

When they got to the other side perhaps one of the greatest miracles of all in the three and one-half years of Jesus’ ministry happened. A man possessed of up to six thousand demons was set free and was restored to his right mind. Then Jesus told him, “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord has done for you and how he has had compassion on you.” 

He went back to his home town and led his neighbors, family and friends into a personal relationship with the Lord, Jesus, the Christ. This man going home to his family, neighbors and friends was the purpose and plan Jesus had in going to the other side. The man went into his world and preached the gospel to those around him. (Cf. Mark 16:15 — ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’)

Fierce storm

Folks, our world is in the fiercest storm since its beginning. There is a spirit of evil that permeates (and even possesses every nation on this globe. It desires more than anything to rule the hearts and lives of us all. It desires to steal away the freedoms that have been given us by our Creator. Let’s not be afraid of the winds, thunderings or bolts of lightening. Jesus is in the boat with us!

Finally

Listen, we are on our way to the other side. God’s purpose and plan to have the gospel reach around the world is still very real, valid and active. This next year, let’s not lose sight or be afraid of the fact that Jesus said, “Let us go over to the other side.”

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.” —Matthew 24:14

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage . . . For, brethren, ye have been called to liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” —Galatians 5:1, 13

Meet the カノコ (kanoko) lily

Meet the flower of Munakata City,  Japan — カノコユリ Kanoko Lily . It can be found throughout the fields and areas of green in our bed town city of about 97,000 people. 

I visited the city hall the other day and saw its magnificence in full bloom and smelled its fragrance right near the front door. Look at it closely! See the six petals? In the back there are three pointing downward, the one pointing lowest is kind of hidden behind the red stamens. In the front there are three pointing upward. Six altogether. Most of you know I’m a Bible teacher, but I must share again that in Scripture the number six ALWAYS refers to man — that includes you and I — because he was created by God (with a capital G) on the sixth day. 

The three behind-the-scene petals pointing downward I believe reveal the triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit . . . His love and compassion. Yes, God is always found behind the scene in people’s lives. We so often don’t even realize He is there, but He is! He’s always there, stooping (pointing) downward to lift us up when we look up and cry out, “Oh, God . . . ”  And then there are the three petals out front, pointing upward, significant of you and men (body, soul, spirit) when we cry out for God’s intervention. We can ALL relate, can we not? 

The most startling, visible part of this flower is the red spots, or what look like drops of red on every petal, the behind-the-scene petals and the out-front petals. Are you getting the picture?

Yes, our salvation, our restoration to fellowship with God has always been uppermost in the mind of God. In old Israel lambs were killed, butchered and offered as a sacrifice for the removing of the Israel’s sin, for the yearly restoration of fellowship with God. The blood of the lamb had the cleansing power. John, who wrote the most famous verse in the Bible (John 3:16), saw Jesus from afar off and declared — “Behold, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” John 1:29.Another early church leader declared — “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission (removing) of sin” Heb. 9:22. 

Wow! What a lesson — all from a flower!