Yearly Archives: 2014

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A very well know scripture found in Matthew 19:24 KJV  says, “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

Have you ever thought about what’s on the other side of the eye of a needle? Man, it could be mind-boggling and very adventurous, only if one could get through it.

When a person looks through that “eye of the needle,” it seems impossible to get through. The only place it’s really narrow and impossible-looking is the side from which one peers. On the other side of that “eye” is the realm of eternity. It goes on forever and ever. There are no limitations, boundaries, fences, barriers, railings, blockades, roadblocks, bars or obstructions in that realm. Wow, an eternity of freedom.

The things that keep one from this eternal place are pre-conceived ideas, traditions, cultures, customs and even religions of human beings around the world that oppose and refuse to believe in the Almighty God, Creator of all things in heaven and earth, Creator of human beings, the first of whom were Adam & Eve. That’s why this side of that “eye of a needle” is so narrow.

The other side of that needle is referred to in the above scripture as “the Kingdom of God,” the realm of eternity.

Did you know that God put His very thoughts of eternity in our hearts when He began creating us in our mothers’ wombs? That’s right! It says so right here in Ecclesiastes 3:11—

“He has made everything to suit its time; moreover He has given men a sense of time past the future . . . ” NEB

“He has made everything beautiful in its time; He has also planted eternity in men’s hearts and mind [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun, but only God, can satisfy] . . . ” AMP

No person can say they have not thought about what happens, or where they will go after they die. You see that is when eternity begins. Where we spend eternity is up to us to decide before we die. That decision is what will either get us through the eye into eternity (Heaven), or cause us to remain on the narrow side throughout all eternity (Hell).

The only way to possibly get through the seemingly narrow “eye of the needle” into the Kingdom of God (eternity) is to humble oneself — lay aside all preconceived ideas about Jesus Christ. As mentioned above, many cultures, customs, traditions and even religions around the world are what keep one from getting through the narrow passage. But once those are laid aside long enough to hear a word about Jesus Christ, then it’s as if a special oil is applied to a new way of thinking about the One we so long opposed, and we can slip through that narrow passage into the realm of eternity. 

A word about Jesus Christ

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son (Jesus, the Christ), that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son (Jesus, the Christ) into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:16-17 KJV

Jesus Christ provides us with eternal life on the other side of the “eye of the needle.” On this side of the “eye of the needle” can only be found narrowness, bondage and squinting judgmental eyesight. The Rolling Stones sang a lyric in a famous song typical of this side of the “eye of the needle” —

I can’t get no satisfaction

I can’t get no satisfaction

‘Cause I try, and I try, and I try, and I try

I can’t get no

I can’t get no

Thanks be to God for the “thoughts of eternity” He breathed into us when He gave us life. An infusion of a Word about Jesus Christ will enable one to lay down preconceived ideas about God and begin a journey through the “eye of the needle.” Gaining entry is simple: b-e-l-i-e-v-e and r-e-c-e-i-v-e.

The vastness of God and His love waits to be explored. Why wait any longer?

—nils olson

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All I ask is that you think about it, discuss and consider this request.

I have been a Type 1 diabetic since age six, over 60 years now. I’ve been using the insulin pump for the past 12 years. This fundraiser is for accruing funds in order to cover the cost of monthly diabetic and heart medications, insulin pump supplies and doctor visits for the next two years.

Being missionaries in Japan for the past 36 years, our monthly income is not a guaranteed amount and varies from month-to-month. We never know exactly how much we will be receiving. So, when a monthly doctor visit, medications and insulin pump supplies come up, most always there is not enough to cover the cost.

I’ve been using left-over funds from donations that were made almost two years ago when people offered donations to provide me a new insulin pump. Those funds are almost depleted.

I would encourage any Type 1 diabetic who is not currently using insulin pump therapy to consider contacting your doctor(s) and asking about it. It can change your health dramatically like it has mine.

The Lord bless you as you consider this fund raising request. ―nils

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bokudencollageI went to a calligraphic-art exhibit yesterday at the Oishi Gallery in the Shin Ten Cho shopping area of downtown Fukuoka City in Tenjin. Master calligrapher Bokuden MATSUDA was exhibiting various forms of his students’ artwork.

The title of this artwork by Taniguchi-san is 「輝」(kagayaki), meaning radiance, brilliance, glitter. When I saw it, I smiled and immediately thought of Creation in Genesis 1:2-3 where it states ―

kagayaki谷口“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light’: and there was light.”

Yes, even inspired art can make the Word of God come alive!

When you stop to view art, don’t just blink and go to the next one hanging on the wall. Use your imagination. Take a look at 「TKS25」by Tan-san.

I stared and stared at this one and saw a husband walking with his pregnant wife on his right side and his two other children on his left. I wondered if that was the 5 in the title. Then I stretched my imagination a bit more.

art

I saw the same expectant couple rejoicing together next to their melon-filled shopping cart as they come upon some cute baby clothes at their local COSTCO on sale.

I’ve found the older I get the more I appreciate art.

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mbccI remember well something an Assembly of God missionary to Japan said once that I’ve never forgotten. He said, “Love your own church.” Don’t you just love short, simple and, in this case, powerful little one-liners like this?

The Greek word for the word “church” is ek-klā-sē’-ä and means “a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly.” In the Christian sense it means “an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting,” or “a company of Christian, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake.”

Having been a missionary in Japan for more than 36 years, I’ve come up with my own definition of the word “church.” I think it is a pretty good definition —

The “church”

—is the people;

—is the building;

—is the fellowshipping, laughing and eating;

—is the worshipping;

—is the practicing, rehearsing;

—is the cleaning;

—is the studying;

—is the praying;

—is pulling weeds in the church yard;

—is the going to bed at night wondering how others are doing;

—is praying for them to keep on keeping on, to grow in knowledge and grace;

—is going to visit them;

—is building relationships with others outside the church.

I would NEVER think about leaving this group of people without definite confirmation from God and at least two or three others. The main reason people leave churches is because of not agreeing with leadership, not wanting to follow the leader. Yes, there are mistaken leaders, but we must learn to let God deal with them.

Let’s take a look at Romans 12:1-12.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.”

Church people belong to one another, just like our arm belongs to our physical body. Paul states here, “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”

Each member has a special ability (gift, talent) given to them by God.

“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation:he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”

We cannot choose which gift or talent we want from the list. We must discover the gift, talent God has given us. It may take some time, but it will be confirmed as we develop it. In the Proverbs it is noted that “a man’s gift makes room for him.” Proverbs 18:16 These gifts are for the edification, building up of other members of the body of believers, not for one’s self.

People in the church are to love one another, as God loved us, in spite of all our idiosyncrasies (modes of behavior). Our love is to be truthful, respectful and honorable. “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.”

How do you suppose people in the church should act and treat others? Paul gives clear guidelines. Read it here with me:

“Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath:for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

What is the secret to real JOY in any Christian gathering called a church? Let’s spell the word together.

J — JESUS first

O — OTHERS second

Y — YOU last

Love does not seek to benefit itself. Love always considers the other person more important. It’s an attitude of the heart — and that is where God lives.

Let’s love our own church!

―nils olson

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Yesterday at a family reunion in Bremerton WA my cousin gave me an envelope of old pictures that Andrea and I sent to his mother and father many years ago from the mission field in Japan. Written on the back of one of the old photos from 1984:

A little Japanese ‘grandma’ we met in late May, ’84. It was the first time she had ever heard the name of Jesus Christ. She’s in her 80’s. I’m not that tall (only 5′ 10″). She’s just super small!

grandma2

As I recall, Jim Morrison had been visiting us from Cordova, Alaska. He and I were passing out tracts door-to-door in the neighborhood where this little lady was tilling her garden with a hoe longer than she was tall. We stopped and talked with her a bit as Jim snapped the photos above.