About Evan Olsen
This Wednesday is a potentally historic day for Florida. Representatives in the FL House will be voting on 6 pro-life bills, some being quite monumentuous – one of which could potentally add to the Florida Constitution a ban on public funds to be used for abortions. What God is orchestrating in the FL House is truly great, but we must also raise our voices in partnering prayer and intercession. We can’t do God’s part, and God won’t do our part. Your voice must be heard before God. Please be praying over these bills.
Here are few ways to pray:
- That Reps are able to feel what God feels concering these bills
- For pro-life leaders to be a strong voice for righteousness, especially during debate (Pro. 31:8-9)
- That truth would be upheld and that lies & deception would fall on deaf ears
- That eyes that are currently blinded would be opened (Eph. 1:16-19)
Here is a list of the bills to be debated/voted on Wednesday:
It has been an intense week in Congress, with a complete government shutdown looming over the nation last Friday that hinged on whether or not to fund abortions with tax-payers money, as well as clashing ideologies clearly portrayed to the American people. “The lines have long been drawn on this controversial issue and are about to divide deeply once again,” says CNN.
Yesterday the House and Senate passed the federal budget – and while the House voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood (PP) from receiving tax payers money, the Senate inevitably voted to keep them funded. This is the House of Representatives second time voting to end tax payer funded abortions through PP – an historic gesture that the American people are once again declaring their pro-life views. Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life said: “Recent polls reveal that an overwhelming majority of Americans—whether pro-life or pro-abortion—oppose the use of federal monies to support abortion.“
While de-funding PP and overhauling obamacare did not pass in this year’s federal budget, some really great things did pass. Here’s a quick look:
House votes to de-fund Planned Parenthood. House members voted 241-185 for a resolution that would prohibit the Planned Parenthood abortion business from qualifying for family planning funds. The vote saw almost all Republicans supporting de-funding while Democrats generally opposed it.
Ban on abortion funding in D.C. reinstated. On a 260-167 vote, lawmakers approved a funding bill that reinstates the abortion funding ban in the District of Columbia that President Barack Obama and Democrats overturned in their budget bills last year. In addition to the ban on DC abortion funding, the continuing resolution also cuts funding to the pro-abortion UNFPA (United Nations Family Planning Agency) that has worked hand-in-hand with Chinese population control officials who have enforced the one-child rule with forced abortions and other human rights abuses. Republicans trimmed funding for the agency from the $55 million President Barack Obama put in place to $40 million.
GOP Continuing Resolution lowers Title-X funds. The GOP long-term CR also cuts the Title X domestic family planning funding, the pool of money from which Planned Parenthood is funded. The cuts take the program from the $317 million it received in 2010 to $300 million, the level of money it received in 2008 and decreasing the pool of funds from which Planned Parenthood can draw.
Committee passes bill to add Constitutional amendment that bans tax-payer funded abortions. On Wednesday I sat-in on a HHS committee hearing of Rep. Dennis Baxley (R. Distric 24) introducing his bill that would allow Floridians to vote on an amendment to the Florida constitution that would ban tax-payer funded abortions in Florida (essentially the Hyde Amendment). The bill passed with 12 yeas, with 6 nays.
Florida Senate Committee Passes Ultrasound Before Abortion. The bill requires abortion centers to do something they don’t normally do: show women considering an abortion the results of the ultrasound they typically take beforehand to determine the age of the baby at the time of the abortion. Senate Bill 1744 received the support of a committee in the state Senate today and now has just one more committee to go before heading to the state Senate floor for a debate and vote. This bill is similar to HB 1143 that former Gov. Crist vetoed last year.
One of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible for me has always been Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart." It just means God will give you what you want at the right time, DUH. While some of that may have some truth – God definitely does give good gifts to us – it is missing the mark. I think the main problem is in the phrase what you want. What do I want? Currently, I want to move out, start a Bible-study and get married, etc in the next 5 years. But if I think that Ps. 37:4 is only talking about what I want, then I’ve missed the mark again.
He shall give you the desires of your heart
A want is much different than a desire. A want is the 10% of the iceberg that is visible, while a desire is the 90% hidden beneath the murky ocean of my heart, mind, soul. Every single want could have up to five desires hidden behind them. Why do I want to move out? Because I desire independence, greater accountability, growth, maturity, first step to other desires. Want isn’t possible without desire.
Every day our desires affect our wants which affects how we act, what choices we make, and who we decide to be. The friends we choose to be close with, the job we take, the way we spend our free time – all of these reflect our desires; yet it’s common to feel unattached to our desires and have almost no idea what it is we really want. Our struggles with sin and addictions are rooted in desire. Most of the time we sin cause we feel the need to fill a lack. A kid who spends 5 hours a day playing video games desires adventure; a person with an eating disorder feels the desire for love quenched by rejection, the desire to be beautiful and accepted; a girl who spends her time in abusive relationships desires to quell the rejection of her neglecting father or other relationship. These carnal fleshly sins are manifestions of deep, legitimate desires. Of course, there are some sins that are from rebellious, hard hearts, but I believe a lot of sins are from misplaced desire.
Does that mean that desire is bad? I think the church in the West would jump to the conclusion yes! Desire gets me into trouble, I need to avoid it at all costs. Yet I would argue that unowned desire is what gets us in trouble. When we don’t understand what our desires our and when we don’t ‘own them’ we are controlled by them.
Take time to look into your sins as well as your wants to find your desires. We cannot repent of our desires, they are God-given and legitimate, but we can repent of seeking to fulfill them in the wrong way. Let God show you what desires He’s placed in you and own them. Don’t be controlled by them. Live your life fueled by desire under control and guided by God’s Word.
I’ll cut to the chase: The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a racist eugenicist. Here’s a couple of quotes from her: “The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”  Elimination of certain people she considered “human weeds” was central to her Eugenics philosophy: “In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation…“ 
Don’t think Sanger’s vision lives on? Think again. Two out of every three of their abortion facilities are located in Black American neighborhoods.  Factor in that they are now targeting growing Hispanic families, and that number shoots up to 76%. Planned Parenthood’s Mission Statement from their Oﬃcial IRS Tax Return states,
The purpose of the federation is: in making effective means of voluntary fertility regulation, including contraception, abortion, sterilization, and infertility services, available and fully accessible to all as a central element to reproductive healthcare in achieving, through informed individual choice, a U.S. population of stable size in an optimum environment
Planned Parenthood’s modus operandi for achieving a ‘stable sized’ population? Contraceptives and abortions. Some may try and say "Abortions only account for 3% of P.P.’s operations.” Here’s what that 3% really means:
So pro-aborts say 3% of abortions as if to ‘lessen’ the true number: 332,278.
Planned Parenthood’s business model is centered on abortion. Former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson has written that she was given an “abortion quota” and was even told by her superiors to double the number of abortions in order to bring in more revenue.  Abortion patients constitute 12 percent of Planned Parenthood clients — 332,000 of 3 million unduplicated clients in its most current report. 37 percent of all Planned Parenthood clinic income revenue is from abortion procedures, according to conservative estimates. Planned Parenthood has issued a directive instructing that all affiliates must have at least one clinic that performs abortion by 2013. 
I’m sure you’ve heard of LiveAction.org’s exposé videos of Planned Parenthood workers giving advice to a fake pimp on child sex-trafficking, underaged abortions, sex crimes against women, as well as lying about services they offer. These workers exude Planned Parenthood’s morals and true ethos.
Planned Parenthood is not safe for women and young girls. These undercover videos show Planned Parenthood employees in several states willing to aid and abet in acknowledged human sex trafficking of girls as young as 14.  The undercover footage resulted in the firing of Amy Woodruff, manager of the Central New Jersey Planned Parenthood clinic.  It also caused Planned Parenthood to call for mandatory training sessions of thousands of its employees across the country on reporting requirements. 
Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms and is not a significant primary care provider to women. Despite claims made by Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards and members of the media, Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms. They are also not a significant primary care provider in general. In recent reports, Planned Parenthood acknowledges that it provided primary care only to about 19,700 of its 3 million unduplicated clients. These services have been trending downward for years, from 21,247 in 2007 to 20,235 in 2008, to today’s 19,796. 
Check out this free .PDF version of John Piper’s book Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. I would highly recommend this devotional-styled book as a tool for meditating on the character and worth of Christ.
“What makes Christ glorious, as Jonathan Edwards observed over 250 years ago, is “an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies.” For example, we admire Christ for his transcendence, but even more because the transcendence of his greatness is mixed with submission to God. We marvel at him because his uncompromising justice is tempered with mercy. His majesty is sweetened by meekness. In his equality with God he has a deep reverence for God. Though he is worthy of all good, he was patient to suffer evil. His sovereign dominion over the world was clothed with a spirit of obedience and submission. He baffled the proud scribes with his wisdom, but was simple enough to be loved by children.”“
Download this book (PDF)
Supplemental Bible Reading Plan (PDF)
Life can be a mystery. But that doesn’t mean there are a shortage of opinions about what to make most important. The Bible teaches that every single person will be evaluated on what they did with their lives, but beyond that there are still many questions: Who will evaluate me? What will the evaluation consist of? What if I’m a Christian—do I get judged too?
Understanding the Judgment Seat of Christ brings a ton of clarity. This weekend, Mike Bickle taught on the judgment seat. He uncovered a number of myths and replaced them with really helpful truths from scripture. Here’s the MikeLite version.
Myth #1 Only unbelievers will be judged.
False. There are several scenes of Judgment in the New Testament, one for believers and another for unbelievers. Only believers stand before the Judgment Seat (JS), Unbelievers do not stand at the judgment seat. They will be evaluated at the Great White Throne (GWT). While both the JS and the GWT are places where people are evaluated, they are very different, and it is important to understand how they are different.
For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ…then each of us shall give account of himself to God. —Romans 14:10-12
Myth #2 The Judgment seat is where people get Sentenced for Punishment
Truth: In the ancient world, the judgment seat was a place for athletes to receive a wreath as a reward for their achievement, something like a gold medal at the Olympics. God has designed the Judgment seat as a place to reward his people. That means the JS is a massive indicator of God’s intent to honor His people for their dedication and faithfulness to Him and His kingdom during their lives. The only punishment would be if a believer arrives at the Judgment Seat and, after being evaluated, receives no rewards. Our goal as believers should be to stand at the JS and have no regret about how we lived our lives before God.
Myth #3 Works don’t matter
Truth: Some Christians confuse the role of good works in the life of faith by pitting works against grace. Though we’re not saved on the basis of our works (it’s a free gift of grace), our position and reward in the age to come is based on our works, which is our response to the free gift of grace. Scripture says we must be judged for what we’ve done, whether good or bad. This is not the same of impact in our personal ministry; we have no control over how big our impact is in ministry. We will be judged according to our capacities—the gifts, talents, and opportunities given to us by God. Jesus will evaluate believers at the JS based on the measure we loved him and followed through in dedication and obedience in our capacities and assignments. We may be willing in our hearts to serve God, but the reward system set up by Jesus is based on works. What matters is not our plans to be diligent or whole heartedness (a good place to start), what matters is the actually doing it.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. — 2 Cor 5:10
Myth #4 There are no rewards besides salvation
Truth: Jesus taught more about rewards than any other person in the Bible. Sometimes people protest saying, “we should serve God out of love without any thought of rewards.” But this protest overlooks the fact that Jesus clearly used rewards to motivate his people. Jesus understands rewards more than anyone else. Rewards in the Kingdom’s economy are not about dominating other people and strutting around in the age to come. They are about proximity to Jesus: greater rewards leads to having more of the glory of God expressed through our life in the age to come. That may be new information, but if we neglect this important truth, we will severely regret how we’ve spent our lives when we stand before the JS. We cannot lose our salvation at the JS, but we can lose out significantly in our destiny.
Myth #5 Every believer will have the same reward
Truth: The New Testament uses stars to illustrate the exact opposite point: just as stars are diverse in their size and brightness, so believers will be rewarded with differing degrees of reward reflected in our bodies, clothing, dwelling places, and authority in the age to come. Some people imagine that it’s humble just to be content with “a little cabin on the edge of glory.” But if on the day we see Jesus at the JS we find out that he actually cares about our response and our eternal destiny in a different way, we probably won’t agree with that idea . If Jesus desires to honor a greater response to his grace with a greater reward of His glory, then we should desire that as well.
There is one glory of the sun…and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. 1 Cor 15:41-42
The Judgment Seat is supposed to inspire believers to go hard after God in their life with bold confidence that God rewards those who abandon themselves to His Kingdom and His ways. Understanding the Judgment Seat causes a profound shift in the way we think about our lives—time, money, and relationships. Instead of asking, how much can I get away with and still be saved, we begin to ask, how far will you let me go, how abandoned will you let me be?
I was reading an article in WIRED magazine today from an atheist about how science can point us to better morals than religion or any other ideological thought process. He mainly stayed on the broader spectrum of morals and somewhat ignored ‘personal’ morals. I agree with some points he made, because his ideas morals were just plain common sense: people dying from hunger is obviously wrong, just as terrorist groups are wrong.
What really annoyed me was what he said about Christianity. He is either ignorant as to what Christianity is or he has had it portrayed to him poorly. He said this:
“The problem is that religion tends to give people bad reasons to be good. Is it better to alleviate famine in Africa because you think Jesus Christ is watching and deciding whether to reward you with an eternity of happiness after death? Or is it better to do that because you actually care about the suffering of your fellow human beings?”
Is that really what he thinks it’s all about? Have Christians done a horrible job at portraying our relationship with Jesus?
We shouldn’t feed people to ‘gain a reward’, or just because we love human beings (that’s called humanism), but we feed those who are hungry because we love Jesus and we want to love what He loves – and He loves people. We feed the hungry, help the orphan and widows because we love what Jesus loves. But it’s not just enough to feed them food, we must also feed them with the Word of God and the good news of salvation. What good is it to feed someone for a week only to let them spend eternity in hell?
So to respond to his question: Yes, it is better to alleviate famine in Africa because you actually care about the suffering of your fellow human beings. So much so that they be eternally secure in the love of Christ.
Immaturity is an interesting thing. I don’t believe there is such a thing as willful immaturity in a sincere believer (well, maybe, but that’s besides the point). The very act of realizing your immaturity is the first step into maturing, depending on what reaction you have to the revelation of your immaturity. We are often embarrassed when we realize we are immature. Oh man, what will people think of me? I’m not as mature as they are in this area of life. It’s kind of a shameful thing. No one wants to be ‘stupid’ or ‘less than’ what they could be.
But what brings great joy to my heart, as well as hope to my spirit, is that God sees us in our immaturity – and not just the immaturity that we are unaware of. He sees the same immaturity that we see, and yet He calls us lovely.
“I am dark, but lovely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
Like the tents of Kedar,
Like the curtains of Solomon.”
– SOS 1:5
In this passage the Shulamite (allegorically you, the Church) is confronted with her immaturity in her sins. She recognizes suddenly that she is dark. It’s clear through the passages around 1:5 that she is sincere. She is not in active rebellion against God. She is weak and immature. She is dark in her heart, yet sincere. Her sincerity to God causes Him to say she is lovely.
The tents of Kedar were made from black goat hair. This is in contrast to the white curtains of Solomon. This speaks of the further picture of how her heart is: dark, but lovely.
When we recognize our immaturity and make a step towards Jesus, He loves it. The Yes in our spirit for Jesus ravishes His heart (SOS 4:9). Next time you come face-to-face with your immaturity, admit it, repent of it if necessary, and let your heart shout a great Yes to Jesus’ working on that area. Don’t live in embarrassment and shame.
After all, Paul said,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.“
-2 Chor. 12:19
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.” – Hosea 2:14-15
God says he will allure his people into the wilderness. So often, God leads his people to where it is dry, lonely, and dark in order to bring them to himself. God has to bring us to a place where sin is no longer appealing, no longer satisfying so that we might hate it and want more of Christ.
When Israel arrived in the wilderness, God gave “her her vineyards and [made] the Valley of Achor a door of hope.” And so it is for us today. There God will bring us back to spiritual vibrancy and prosperity. He will take our trouble and turn it into hope — “Achor” in Hebrew means “trouble.” Valley of Achor references Joshua 7:10-26 and Achan’s sin of plundering spoils in battle. Achan had silver hidden in his tent and Joshua’s men found it. Achan, his wife, his sons and daughters, and his oxen, donkeys, sheep and all his possessions were stoned by Joshua and all of Israel for their sin. They were stoned in the Valley of Achor (v. 24). They broke the very command that God made in 6:17-19. God said, “But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD” (vv. 18-19). After Achan and all his family and possessions were stoned, God’s anger was lifted. In verse 26, it says, “Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor,” because in verse 25, Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The LORD brings trouble on you today.”
So, in Hosea, when we read that God has made the “Valley of Achor a door of hope” it is no small thing. He will take Israel from a place where they deserve to be stoned because of idolatry, sexual immorality, false worship, and wicked hearts to a place where hope is all they see.
In the same way, God has taken us from the trouble of our own sins that we once were in as children of wrath and sons of disobedience and given us mercy found in his Son Jesus. God took us from a place where we should have been stoned to a place where Christ reigns with the hope of glory. Only Christ can lift the trouble that we have on our hands because of our transgressions and give us life. Now we can believe what Titus 3:7 says: “Being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
At the end of verse 15 in Hosea 2, it says that God’s people will answer him when he gives them this hope. When God gives his people back their vineyards and gives them hope in spite of their trouble, they will answer to God, “as in the days of her youth” (meaning when God and his Bride were first married), with the song of Moses — that is a song of exodus from their sin. After Moses and the Israelites crossed the Red Sea to escape Egypt, they finally sang praise to God for deliverance (see Ex. 15:1-21). This is the song that all God’s people will sing before the throne for eternity (Rev. 15:3-4). This song in Revelation is called “the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.” The song of the Lamb. It is the song of Jesus, because he supreme and preeminent over all creation. Everything revolves around Christ — from eternity past to eternity future, from beginning to end in Scripture. Who is the Savior who brought Israel out of Egypt in Exodus? Jesus. Who is the Savior that will bring Israel out of their idolatry in Hosea? Jesus. Who is the Savior that has rescued us from the domain of darkness and the kingdom of Satan? Jesus.
How awesome is our God! Let us worship the Lord Jesus who has brought us out of the Valley of Achor and given us a living hope that we might be redeemed and live with him forever.
(Source: Beneath The Cross)
Here are some good thoughts from Spurgeon:
“This is a singular kind of power: ‘I will allure her;’ not, ‘I will drive her’ not even, ‘I will draw her,’ or, ‘I will drag her;’ or, ‘I will force her.’ No, ‘I will allure her.’ It is a very remarkable word, and it teaches us that the allurement of love surpasses in power all other forces. That is how the devil ruins us; he tempts us with honeyed words, sweet utterances, with the baits of pleasure and the like; and the Lord in mercy determines that, in all truthfulness, he will outbid the devil, and he will win us to himself by fascinations, enticements, and allurements which shall be stronger than any force of resistance we may offer. This is a wonderfully precious word: ‘I will allure her.’”