About Stephen Nielsen

I'm an author, a self publisher, and a painting contractor. I live in beautiful Minnesota, USA . Welcome to my blog site.

Managing Fear, Walking by Faith

When I heard my pastor say this morning that we need to manage our fears and walk by faith, my heart perked up. Will this be an answer to my prayers? For the last few days, I have felt aggravated by what’s going on at work, and I also know that I am struggling with fear; fear of the person that I work for. Well, last night I was not able to sleep and so I sat up in my bed with my bible in hand, trying to find a verse of Scripture to help me—but nothing. So, I prayed that God would soon show me a good Scripture passage and tell me what to do. Then this morning I really didn’t feel too good and almost didn’t go to church. Then I thought: well, maybe the Lord will give me something; maybe He will answer my prayers. And He surely did.

This morning’s sermon was from the book of Numbers, chapters 13 and 14. You may remember what happened. Twelve spies went into Canaan to spy out the land. They found that the land was very good, but that the people were huge and their cities were well-guarded. Ten out of the twelve spies had great fears; they reported that they were not able to go up against them, that they were not strong enough. They said, “We became like grasshoppers in our own sight and so we were in their sight.”

Here are a few notes that I wrote down from the sermon:

  • When they went into Canaan and looked around, they didn’t manage their fears and so they didn’t walk by faith.
  • God said, enough of the whining, just trust Me.
  • We are to walk by faith, not by fear.
  • There is a high price for not managing our fear.
  • “Fear is a reaction; courage is a decision.” – Winton Churchill
  • The people of Israel wept all night at the peril they faced, but they didn’t turn to God in faith.
  • “If we do not fear God, we fear everything else.” – Oswald Chambers
  • When we fear and don’t trust God, we will miss His gifts.

So, what should I do with my situation at work? First of all, I will be praying and will trust God in what to do. I will not let fear rule my life. I will not let myself stew over any further potential problem. I will have a positive attitude as I manage my fears. And I will follow the example of Caleb who said (in Nu. 13:30), “We should by all means go up and take possession of it [the land], for we will surely overcome it.”

My Update: Work, Writing on Martyrs, Retirement

I think it’s time for another update. I’ll try to be positive, though I am having a few problems.

My Present Job

I’m a retired house painter, but I still do a little work. The job I am working on now is not going well. Actually, I thought I was finished, but when the owner got home (from a vacation) and looked it over, she was not pleased. I very rarely get complaints, but she had plenty. What went wrong?

Well, I’m not going to tell you everything, except to say that she let me know that I am not a perfect painter—as I sometimes think I am. I am feeling quite humbled. I have a lot to do over (second coats). I had Thanksgiving and today off, and Saturday I will try to finish up. My prayers this morning were three-fold: that I would do the work well; that my mind would be at peace and I will not worry about it; and that she (the owner) would settle down and not be so upset with me—to also be at peace.

Thanksgiving Day

My sister’s first husband invited me over to his house. He is a good friend, so I was excited to see him and his two kids, also to see some of his family I have never met. It was such a good time being together and making some new friends.

Reading and Writing about Christian Martyrs

I’ve been reading and blogging on Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. It’s been a struggle for two reasons: The reading is so difficult; the translation from that time period (about 1500) is not good. I will try to find a more modern translation. Also, though it is very inspiring to hear how the Martyrs believed and endured suffering, it is troubling to hear how evil things were in the Catholic church and how they were, and still are, so blinded by the devil.

I am also at the same time reading and writing about the coming Tribulation. I am now wondering if the Tribulation martyrdom will be a return of the same Catholic inquisition. I think it may be, but worse! I am so happy though, to know that when they die they will immediately be with the Lord and will be forever rejoicing with Him (as a few Revelation passaged tell us).

Old Age and Retirement

I don’t want to bore you or complain about things, but I do sense that my emotional make-up is breaking down. Maybe I should read a good book on retirement. I know that I need to learn how to relax more, etc. I don’t want to just sit and vegetate. But maybe there are some changes I need to make.

Well, that’s all for now in this update. I wish you all well—you who regularly follow my blog. And I will keep you all in my prayers.

5 Ways to Deepen Your Desire in Prayer

Prayer A to Z

Desire is the beginning and the basis of prayer. We cannot pray at all without desire. Now if you want to really deepen your prayer life, you must deepen your desire in prayer. Here are five ways to do it.

1. Pray for desire. Since prayers are somewhat meaningless without desire, if you have just a little desire, I think it would be wise to focus that desire in praying for more desire.  While you are praying you may discover that your lack of desire is even worse than you thought—because you may not feel much like praying at all, for anything!  If that’s the case, it may be that God is already at work in you to answer your prayer. He is creating in you what is necessary to have desire—recognition of your need, which is your first step to achieve it.

Your next step is to focus your…

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Foxe’s Book of Martyrs: On William Tyndale

William Tyndale came around one hundred years after Wickliffe and Huss. But though there is no writing in this book on any martyrs in-between that time, we know that there were very many martyrs—thousands of them. The Roman church was relentless in killing true Christians. It was part of their Babylonian roots.

Well, Tyndale was brought up from a child in the University of Oxford, where Wickliffe taught. But he moved on to Cambridge and other schools to pursue more degrees. He became a master at translating the Scriptures, as Wickliffe was. And, it was not uncommon, wherever he abided, that priests of the church came against him, saying that his words were heresy. So, Tyndale, rather than fight, moved around from place to place seeking for places to do his translation work. He went to London and also to Germany—where he had good words and learning from Martin Luther.

Tyndale was constantly grieved that people everywhere did not have the Scriptures available to them in their mother tongue. So, it was his goal to translate the Scriptures for them, even though the evil church did the opposite. They wanted to hide the Scriptures from their eyes in order that they could delude and control the people. Some said that Tyndale’s translations were wrong, that there were thousands of heresies in it. Some said that it was not possible to translate the Scriptures correctly and that it was not lawful for the people to have them in their mother tongue, and that it would make them rebel against the church and the king.

There was one (and others also) that plotted against Tyndale. He would buy his translations, then would burn them. Another time the devil came against him so that he suffered shipwreck, in which he lost all his books, writings, copies, and money so that he had to begin his work all over again. Yet, there were some copies that survived, and Tyndale’s work became a key link in the translation of the Scriptures, even from the original manuscripts—so important.

At the end, he, being plotted against, was brought to prison in England. And by the emperor’s decree was tied to a stake and consumed with fire. As he began to be burned, he cried with a loud voice, “Lord! Open the king of England’s eyes.”

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs: On John Huss

On about the same time period as Sir John Oldcastle and his brave martyrdom, was John Huss—about 1415. They were both faithful disciples of John Wickliffe, a brilliant professor at the University of Oxford in London. His bible commentaries are still popular to this day—and very reliable.

There is much more writing on John Huss than Oldcastle or even Wickliffe. I think it is because he seemed to argue more with the Pope and cardinals in presenting his innocence and the truth of his writing about the errors of the Catholic church. And the church, evil as it was in that day, was persistent against Huss and called him an “obstinate heretic.”

And Huss had procurators who fought for him and ended up being cast into prison and punished. Likewise, the Bohemians (where Huss was from) also fought for him and daily complained against the Pope in stopping the word of God from being preached.

But, as it happened, Pope John began to give “full remission of sins to all those who would war on his side to defend the church”—and in response, John Huss raged back and called the Pope Antichrist! So, there was a holy war, some on the side of the church and some on the side of Huss and his followers. Also, during this time Huss continued to write articles against the false doctrine of the Pope. These arguments were the same as were proclaimed by John Wickliffe and John Oldcastle.

Well, as it happened, two jolly fellows (“mad men”) who knew they would be rewarded by the Pope, gathered certain article against Huss and brought them to the Pope. Huss was therefore asked to come and defend himself; and surprisingly, he decided to come willingly to answer their charges. Well, from that time on he was shut up in the prison of the abbey. And the conditions were so bad that he became sick. It was written that during the day he had “fetters on his legs,”  and at night, “he was fastened up to a rack against the wall hard by his bed.”

And still, being sick he presented his arguments about the popish church, and also wrote a few books. And, as it was written, when he tried to present his case many mad men “spitefully mocked him,” and they overwhelmed his speech with “rude and barbarous noises” until Huss finally decided to be silent. Then they said, “Now he is dumb, now he is dumb: this is a sign that he doth agree with his errors.”

So, his judgment was delayed until the next day. And he, “accompanied with a great number of armed men,” was brought before a council to be judged (this reminds me of when Jesus was judged). Well, there were so many things that were done before they burned him; I won’t list everything, but just try to hit some of them.

  • It was ordered that all of Wickliffe’s books were to be taken and burned.
  • At one point Huss appealed unto the high judge Christ (he fought to the end!).
  • Huss all the while was derided and mocked by the council.
  • Huss said, “he wished his soul to be in the same place where John Wickliffe’s soul was.”
  • The council presented eleven articles from the books of John Huss and he was directed to give answers to them. And in every case, he gave them his answers, and he did not back down in the least. My comment: unlike Jesus who was silent, Huss was very vocal and wanted them to hear his case. In this respect he was much like Paul.
  • It was determined that with the answers Huss gave, he was branded a heretic and worthy to be punished. But they said that if he would recant and submit to them, they would lighten his punishment. But if he was determined to defend his articles, he would suffer “great hurt, detriment and peril.” Well, as expected, Huss did not give into them.
  • After the trial, in which they gave Huss every chance to answer what he had written and a chance to recant, they wrote out a lengthy condemnation. My comment: It is interesting that just as they were condemning John Huss by their lengthy trial, they  were condemning themselves before God. They were putting into history how they condemned a good man and how they were evil before God. They gave themselves no excuse for their own evil.
  • His trial was very similar to the trial of Jesus Christ. They made him put on priestly garments and then mocked him. They gave him a crown, not of thorns but of paper, which was written on it, “Now we commit thy soul unto the devil.”
  • Before his death he kneeled down, and lifted up his eyes to heaven and prayed, and also quoted certain Psalms.

The way of his death was like this:

  • They stripped him of his garments
  • They put his hands behind his back and tied them with wet ropes to a stake.
  • With a chain they tied his neck to the stake.
  • Under his feet they put straw, and from his feet to his neck he was enclosed with wood.
  • Before the fire was lit, he was given a chance to speak and renounce his errors. But it was written that he said, “with a cheerful mind and courage, I am ready to suffer death.”
  • When the fire was kindled, John Huss began singing loudly.
  • When his body was partly burned and all the wood was burned up, they made a new fire. They were determined to burn him up completely.
  • At the end, it was written that “with great diligence they gathered the ashes together and they cast them into the river Rhine.” They did not want any part of him to be left upon the earth.

But they were not able to abolish the story of John Huss out of the minds of the godly.

Ammunition’s Plant Poisons the Land and the Trees

The site of an old abandon wwII Army ammunition plant has poisoned the land and you see here the remanence–dead tree.

There are a few small building left, but most of the over 200 buildings have been bulldozed and taken away.

The county has done some work on restoring the land, but they are very slow at it.

The plant provided these women a job for a while.

Here is an abandon building that never did get taken down.