Monthly Archives: January 2018

Occupying the land

Not long after we arrived in Japan in the fall of 1982, I was asked to teach a class at the Munakata Free University, a community program of teaching on various subjects about which people in the city may have had an interest. Such subjects included art, pottery, music, calligraphy, sewing, cooking, etc. Once a month a well-known professional would come and give a lecture on a particular subject matter. My subject was that of “situational problems in the world.”

At that time, and even today, one of the most talked about problems was that of war. I did some research and found that one of the major causes of any war was that of the aggressor wanting (or needing) more land in order to continue its existence. This was the particular case in World War II when Japan began its aggressive expansion into and occupation of countless countries in Asia, including China, Korea, Formosa (now Taiwan), Indonesia, The Philippines, Malaysia, and many more. Since Japan had very few natural resources, they felt it necessary to expand its rule and occupation into countries that had resources. *(refer to end note). It may have been my lack of vocabulary and communication skills, but needless to say, it was difficult teaching this group of mostly Japanese men. The class did not continue very long.

The idea of wanting control of more in order to build a regime, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual, is very evident today in our world, and will become even more evident as we face the future. World countries vie for position and control of their economies, people and even religion. Demonic powers in the spiritual realm also volley for control and power of domains. We’ll see this increase more and more as we approach the end. We can easily call it, ‘The One World System of Economy, Politics and Religion.’ Some may say, “Yes, I’ve read the end of the Book, and I understand what’s happening today.”

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 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 24:12-14

As Christians, if we want to be able to stand in the perilous times that are ahead of us, we need to be constantly being filled with God’s Word and Holy Spirit.

I’d like to take you way back in history and take a look at something that happened when twelve spies went into Canaan, the land which God promised Israel, to spy out the land. The story is found in Numbers 13:21-33.

Grapes in The Land

21 So they went up, and searched the land from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath. 22 And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs. 24 The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence. 25 And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.

26 And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. 27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. 28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan. 30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. 31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. 32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. 33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

Twelve went. Ten saw that the inhabitants of land were bigger than they. “We cannot do it,” they said. “We cannot go in and drive out these giants. There is no way we can occupy this land.” Their attitude was one of unbelief, and unbelief disappoints God. The Word says, “I CAN DO all things through Christ (the Holy Ghost), who strengthens me.” God had promised them a land flowing with milk and honey, the whole works, but they did not believe His Word of promise.

They were to go in and possess, that is drive out the occupants. What may be occupying our hearts, our lives, our emotions, our bodies, our churches? Sin, bad habits, attitudes, unforgiveness or unbelief? If we want to go in to the land of the great awakening and revival God is about to pour out on the world, we’ve got to drive out these kind of inhabitants that dwell in OUR hearts and churches.

Two brought back a good report, plus evidence of the goodness of the land. In scripture, GRAPES and wine always speak to us of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ first miracle was that of turning water into wine. These grapes that were brought back as evidence of the abundance in the land were not the kind of grapes one buys at the supermarket. Here’s a picture collage of what the grapes of Eshcol actually look like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t be surprised, because The Holy Spirit is represented in this cluster of grapes. The cluster is H U G E. So is the eternal vastness of the Holy Ghost!

Can you envision the immensity of the Holy Spirit now? Immensity, my that’s a big word. It means “vastness, enormous extent.” That’s what the Promised Land had to offer, but because of unbelief, all those that were over twenty years old were forbidden to enter and be partakers of God’s promise.

In these last days, if we who call ourselves Christians are destined to go in and occupy the realm of miracles, signs, wonders, healing and the salvation of multitudes as God promised in His Word . . .

17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh (the good and bad): and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

. . . then we need to believe there are grapes there. We need to believe the Holy Spirit is the same today as He was yesterday! Take another look at that huge cluster of grapes on the left in the photo above. See if you can begin to count the number of grapes, one-by-one. Each work (grape) the Holy Spirit has performed since He was poured out on the Day of Pentecost far outnumbers whatever figure which you can imagine. This scripture declares there will be a move of God’s Holy Spirit on all people, good and bad. There will be healings, deliverances, miracles, signs, wonders, unimaginable visitations of God and multitudes of people from every tongue, tribe and nation who “call on the Name of the Lord.” God is interested in the one-by-one, but the only way to reach them is through the ministry and gifts of the Holy Spirit being operated in and through the local church.

Yes, folks, there are grapes in the Promise of The Father

4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Jesus commanded them to not take another step into the future without the endowment of power that is made known by the Baptism of The Holy Ghost, His fruit and His gifts. Endowment: provision with a permanent source of power. How about you?

The Eye of A Needle

copyright Bill Frymire Oct 2003

Luke 18:18-27 — 18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. 20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. 21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. 22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. 24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? 27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

On the other side of any needle’s eye is a vast area that cannot be measured. Simply speaking, on the other side of a needle’s eye is eternity. The area cannot be measured; it goes on for infinity. However, on this side of a needle the area becomes very narrow, and possibly even darkened by our shadow because we stand in the way. So now you can understand how it is impossible to go through a needle’s eye. Our ways of thinking, our personal and church traditions, doctrines and culture get in the way so much that all we can say is, “No way, it’s impossible to get through the eye to the other side.” That’s what the disciples said, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus went on to tell them how to get through the eye. Humility. Lay it all down: Your ideas, learned concepts, denominational barriers and so forth. If we learn to humble ourselves put away our adult ways of questioning everything, and accept what the Word of God says about the Holy Spirit, as little children with simple faith (i.e. believing what God’s Word teaches about the Holy Spirit), we will slip through the eye into the vast, eternal realm of the Kingdom of God. About which Paul said, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Romans 14:17

  • end note:                                                                                                        Contrast this wording — Since the church has very few spiritual resources, it is necessary for her to earnestly and ardently go in and possess all the resources of the Holy Spirit which God has promised. — i.e. Greater works than those Jesus did, gifts of healings, miracles, faith, salvations, signs and wonders, supernatural visitations, etc.

—nils olson

 

Man, oh man, what a friend!

Other than John Newton’s hymn “Amazing Grace,” perhaps the world’s most well-know hymn is Joseph Scriven’s “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” This hymn is sung in almost every chapel wedding service that is performed in Japan. Gentle, yet very powerful, this hymn has touched the hearts of countless millions all over the world.

My wife and I have had this hymn hanging on our bedroom wall for years and years. It’s a constant reminder that in times of joy and even the greatest sorrow, our best friend’s name is still ‘Emmanuel,’ which being interpreted is “God with us.”

The hymn books in the pews of our churches are the testimonies of men and women who have gone through heaven and hell experiences in their lives, yet give all the glory of such experiences back to God. The melodies have embedded themselves into our hearts and become a part of us as well. How many of us have found ourselves humming, whistling, and tapping them on a kitchen table, desk, or steering wheel while we drive our cars?

Like Emmanuel (God with us), hymns we sang, even memorized when we were young, go with us wherever we go, they are embedded in our hearts. For instance, how many of us remember: The Old Rugged Cross, There Is Power in The Blood, I Come to The Garden, Just As I Am, Silent Night, Joy to The World, How Great Thou Art, Just A Closer Walk with Thee, I Love to Tell The Story and Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow? The list goes on and on and on. Like we said, those hymnals in the pews of your church are “the testimonies of men and women who have gone through heaven and hell experiences.”

Here’s a real challenge: Why not go get a pencil and paper, sit down and write your testimony of a personal heaven or hell experience like Joseph Scriven did in 1855? To add to this challenge, try writing it poetically! Before you begin, sit down and listen to this presentation of “What A Friend We Have in Jesus.” Lyrics by J. Scriven, Music by C. C. Converse. Sung by Jeremy, Tabitha (Lewis), Lisa, Ralph, and Michael Eldridge.

Read here the true story of Joseph Scriven’s “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”

The great American evangelist Dwight L. Moody incorporated this song in his sermons, writings, and teachings. This caused many people to believe that the song is an American hymn. Not so. It was written by an Irishman in Canada.

One hundred fifty years ago two businessmen stood on a Port Hope, Ontario street corner as a little man carrying a saw walked by. One of the businessmen said, “Now there is a man who is happy with his lot in life. I wish I could know his joy. Perhaps I can get him to cut my winter’s supply of wood.”

“I know that man. He would not cut your firewood. He cuts wood only for the financially destitute and for those who are physically handicapped and cannot cut their own firewood.”

That young woodcutter was named Joseph Scriven. Son of a captain in the British Royal Marines, Joseph was born in Ireland in 1819. After receiving his university degree from Trinity College in London, he quickly established himself as a teacher, fell in love, and made plans to settle in his hometown. Then tragedy struck. The day before his scheduled wedding, his fiancé drowned.

Overcome with grief, Scriven left Ireland to start a new life in Canada. He established a home in Rice Lake, where he met and fell in love with Eliza Rice. Just weeks before she was to become Joseph Scriven’s bride, she suddenly grew sick. In a matter of weeks, Eliza died.

A shattered Scriven turned to the only thing that had anchored him during his life — his faith. Through prayer and Bible study he found not just solace, but a mission. The twenty-five year old Scriven took a vow of poverty, sold all of his earthly possessions, and vowed to give his life to the physically handicapped and financially destitute.

Ten years later Scriven received word that his mother had become very ill. The man who had taken a vow of poverty did not have the funds to go home to help care for her. Heartsick, and feeling a need to reach out to her, he wrote the story of his life in three short verses he called “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”

Later, Scriven said, “The Lord and I together wrote the song.” Several of his friends got a copy and one of them carried a copy to a music publisher. Within two years the little poem of inspiration had been published and coupled to a tune written by an American lawyer, Charles Converse.

Two decades later the great American evangelist Dwight L. Moody came across the song and believed it to be the most touching modern hymn that he had ever heard. It was Moody who gave the song a national platform and caused so many to think that the song had been written in America.

Ironically, Joseph Scriven drowned in a Canadian lake in 1886. He did not live to see his song carried to every corner of the globe.  ⏤James Q. Salter

Source: Ace Collins, Stories Behind the Hymns that Inspire America, (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2003). https://www.sdretire.com/blogs/?p=125.

⏤nils olson