The Sonshine posts by Pastor Walter Olsen

How Do We know If We Are Growing in the Lord?

The Sonshine
Walter Olsen
October 2020
 

Introduction

We have the truth of the Bible, but we sometimes wonder about our own walk with God. As believers, we often have many questions about Is it what it should be, is our life really pleasing to Him? How do we really know if we are growing in the Lord? Maybe we have all had the experience of traveling on the wrong road, a road that takes us to a place we don’t want to go to. Sadly, many believers have not yet found the right spiritual road to travel on. They are saved, but are still in the dark as to the true way of light.

Such a life is really not a life of satisfaction, of true blessing, or of ministry to the needs of others. We may know what the Bible says about our walk with God, but as we look at our lives, see so many inconsistencies. We can identify with Paul who said, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I” (Rom. 7:15). The result is, we often feel defeated and discouraged. We may become indifferent to the Lord and His Word and even going to church. 

Responding to the Challenges

The Sonshine
Walter Olsen
September 2020

Introduction

I assume most people living today would agree that we are facing very unique challenges in the world in which we are living. Looming large, of course, is the challenge of the coronavirus that is facing the entire world. Then, too, there are the challenges of the breakdown of law and order, the disintegration of moral standards, and the fears relating to our economic security. Added to that are the many personal challenges we all face from time to time.

The question is, how are we to respond to such challenges? If one does not know the Lord as Savior, he will respond according to his own wisdom and understanding. His personal emotions will play a large part in how he responds. While there is a place for our thinking things through, the believer has a more sure response because he has the truth of the Bible and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to guide him.

Turning Aside To See

The Sonshine
August 2020
by Walter Olsen
 

Introduction

Certain things cause people to turn aside to look, to see for themselves. A siren for an oncoming storm gets most people’s attention. They want to know where the storm is and what direction it is heading. Flashing red and blue lights as one drives down the highway are very attention getting, especially if the lights are close behind us! Waiting for a medical diagnosis is sure to get our attention.

God works to get our attention in many different ways. When God called Moses to lead His people out of Egypt, we read,

“And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt” (Exod. 3:2-3).

To the Ones We Love

The Sonshine
July 2020
Walter Olsen

Introduction

The witness of the life of Christ in the believer’s life should be consistent to everyone around him or her. We don’t change our behavior or attitudes to those about us because of who people are or how well we may know them or even like them. Still, we all have people in our lives who are especially important to us, including parents, children, other relatives, and special friends. They are the ones we pray for often and seek to influence for Christ because we especially love them. We pray for them because we have come to know the significance of Jesus in our lives and because of the unchanging truth of God’s Word, the Bible.

The purpose of this article is to discuss some desires that any true believer has for those he loves, to those who are very special to him. The following are particularly important.

The desire to see them truly saved, born again according to the truth of God’s Word. Of all the desires Godly parents have for their children, none is greater than the desire that they have eternal life. Yes, other things are important such as a good education, the ability to earn a good living, and to see them generally happy and successful. However, they fade rapidly when compared to the desire to see them truly born again.

Victorious Changes

The Sonshine
Walter Olsen
June 2020

Introduction

In light of the present pandemic the world is facing, many people are having to start all over again, or at least having to make many adjustments they had never thought about before.  The list of adjustments is almost endless. For many, there are adjustments to their personal financial situation, their employment or lack of it, their family life, their travel, their shopping needs, their relationship to their local church,  maybe medical needs, and the list goes on and on. Some of these adjustments are more difficult than others. Some are just inconvenient, while some are life changing, at least for the present.

I’m thinking, perhaps this is a good time to consider whether we may need to make some adjustments to our spiritual walk! Have we allowed some things to get in the way of our walk with God? If we are believers, is not our walk with Him  of utmost importance? Is this not a time to think more seriously about some changes we should make to realize His presence more in our lives, and to honor Him in all that we are and do?

What Are We To Do?

The Sonshine
May 2020
Walter Olsen

Introduction

We can all see what is going on in our country and all about us, but how do we respond to it? Can we do anything at all!? Certainly we and our families are all individually affected. Maybe we just find it a chore to stay inside all the time, or maybe we are fearful that we or somebody in our family  will get the virus. Maybe we are concerned about being able to provide for our families.

 Beyond that, many are fearful for our country. Will we ever get back to where we were before the virus appeared? Will we enjoy the same freedoms we have been accustomed to? What about our financial situation?

The current environment certainly arouses a plethora of questions, many of which we do not know the answer to. And yet, we do have a source of knowledge, a knowledge that is sure and comforting. It is the knowledge we can learn from the Word of God, the Bible. This time that we are going through as a nation is new to us, but it is not new to God or the world we live in.

Now What?

The Sonshine
April 2020
Walter Olsen

Introduction

Our world, our country, our family, and each one of us have entered into a different phase of living we couldn’t have imagined two months ago. Our normal way of life has been greatly influenced and changed by the now familiar coronavirus. Many employees have lost their jobs or in numerous cases are working from home. In many cases, it is mandated that people stay at home with little or no access to the normal conveniences of life such as restaurants, concerts, or sporting events. Of course, most schools in the country are closed. In Woodville, even the Sytende Mai celebration has been canceled!

Most of us have never faced a situation like this before and the result is that many are perplexed and, in some cases, fearful. We don’t know what a week, a day, or an hour will bring forth.

Christians and non-Christians face the same dilemma in different ways. Yet, the Christian has a definite advantage in many ways. The purpose of this article is to point to some of the comforting passages we can go to in Scripture, passages that will encourage and comfort our hearts with truth that cannot be found in any other place in the world we live in. Of course, we need to take all the necessary precautions in seeking to defend ourselves, our loved ones, and those about us.

Then It Happened!

The Sonshine
March 2020
Walter Olsen

December 29th, 2019, was a normal winter day. It was cloudy, a fairly cold day with much ice about because of an ice storm the previous day. BJ and I got ready for Sunday school and church and proceeded to drive to our church, First Baptist of Woodville. I let BJ out under the canopy, helped her into the church, and went to park the car, just a short distance from the entrance. When I was getting out of the car, I reached to get my Bible and a few notes in the back seat as I was to preach in the morning service. Then I noticed something unusual. I had forgotten my Bible on the kitchen table at home. Then I thought, well, this will be a little different today, but no matter. I can use another Bible and the notes were not essential. I got out of the car and proceeded to walk to the church. Yes, there was much ice, but I had walked on ice countless times before. Then it happened!!

Removing the Ancient Landmarks

The Sonshine
Walter Olsen
January 2020

Introduction

Decisions have consequences. We see that in our personal lives, our families, and in our nation. The life we live today is in great part the result of the decisions we have made. Again, this is true personally, in our families, and in our nation. God, in His grace, has given us Biblical truth by which we may live our lives for His glory and our benefit. When His truth and instruction are either disobeyed or ignored, we suffer the consequences.

A major part of our problems come from the fact that many churches, as well as our nation, have removed very significant Biblical landmarks. In the name of progress or political correctness, we have set aside God’s Word for our own self-righteous ideals.

God, in rebuking the nation of Israel for their defections, said, “The princes of Judah are like them that remove the bound [the landmark; the barriers between right and wrong]: therefore I will pour out My wrath upon them like water” (Hosea 5:10). The boundaries God sets are very significant and very important because they are from God! To remove or change them is to bring the certain displeasure of God and often his serious chastisement. 

Christmas - the Open Door

The Sonshine
Walter Olsen
December 2019

Introduction

Christmas means different things to different people. Perhaps most of us have special memories of Christmas that we seek to reproduce during this very special season. On a social level, Christmas often means a time of openness and friendliness that is more rare in other times of the year. For many, it is a time of generosity, a time to express special thanks to those who we love so much and who have been a blessing to us during the past year. Of course, food, fellowship, and fun constitute much of our time and effort as well.

All of the above are a normal part of Christmas, at least for most people it would seem. The problem is that we can participate in all of those things without giving much thought to the real significance of Christmas, the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and all of the attending blessings of His birth.

Actually, the birth of Jesus Christ is an open door to so many things, so many things that so many people ignore. The truth is, His birth is the open door to the most important and significant things of life. Let’s consider some of the wonderful things the birth of Christ opens to all who will look to Him and trust Him.