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.

The Glorious Evidence of Freedom

I have just read The Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass. It is the story of his slavery–from his young years to the time he escaped to freedom (I think he was about 19 or twenty). He went through the usual treatment, being whipped often and regarded as an animal and as the property of the slaveholder-the master. But at the same time he secretly educated himself–leaned to read and write. I have not read any more of his life than this narrative, but I have read that he came to be a very great leader and brilliant. In fact I read that Lincoln sought his advice on a few matters.

Anyway, I was so struck with what happened shortly after he escaped to freedom in the north, in New Bedford. What he experienced was not what he expected. He all along thought that free states would be full of poor people and without comforts and wealth. I will quotes some of the lines in his book.

I had very strangely supposed, while in slavery, that few of the comforts, and scarcely any of the luxuries of life were enjoyed at the north, compared with what were enjoyed by the slaveholders of the south. I probably came to this conclusion from the fact that northern people owned no slaves… I had somehow imbibed the opinion that, in the absence of slaves, there could be no wealth, and very little refinement.

Anyway, Douglass went on and on describing his surprise at what he saw. He wrote,

I found myself surrounded with the strongest proofs of wealth.

When he visited the warehouses and places of work, he wrote,

I heard no deep oaths of horrid curses on the laborer. I saw no whipping of men; but all seemed to go smoothly on. Every man went at his work with a sense of his own dignity as a man.

Then when he strolled around the town he wrote,

[He] gazing with wonder and admiration at the splendid churches, beautiful dwellings, and finely cultivated gardens; evincing an amount of wealth, comfort, taste, and refinement, such as I had never seen in any part of slaveholding Maryland.

He went on to say,

Everything looked clean, new, and beautiful. I saw few or no dilatated houses, with poverty-stricken inmates; no half-naked children and barefooted women…the people looked more able, stronger, healthier, and happier…

Well, I can’t help but think of what slavery does to people. And Fredrick was deceived in thinking that the slaveholders were not also slaves–to to their evil wretchedness, how they continually whipped the salves every day without thinking anything of it, and how many of them cursed at the slaves and at the same time thought themselves to be good Christians. The slaveholders I think were in the worst bondage, the worst slavery–the slavery of their sins of prejudice.

As Fredrick Douglass saw, where he came to in New Bedford, that town of freedom without slavery was glorious, and wealthy. The freedom we have in Christ is the most free, the most glorious. As I read how Fredrick described the surroundings as clean, new and beautiful, so I also recall how things looked directly after I prayed to receive Christ. All things looked brighter and new and so wonderful. Even the air was fresher. I invite you to always be vigilant to confess your sins every day. Don’t let sin take a hold of you. The devil and sin is out to make you their slave–to put you in deep bondage. There is no freedom or comfort in sin. Be free of sin and you will be free indeed.

Hallowed Be Your Name – What It Means To Hallow God’s Name

Prayer A to Z

cropped-copy-of-northern-lights1.jpg This first petition in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) is designed to bring us further into the presence of God, but with the aim that God would be glorified.  Hence, when we pray “Hallowed be Your name,” we are in fact praying as such: “Lord, let Your name be hallowed in me so that I will experience who You are and give You praise; and let Your name be hallowed in my friends so that they also can know You and praise You.”  Therefore, though we are asking God to show Himself to us in all His glory, and though we are seeking to ascend further into the heavenlies to experience the awesomeness of God, the aim is not to get our personal needs met, rather it is that God would be lifted up and glorified.  Hence, in this first petition, Jesus is teaching us that we should start our…

View original post 392 more words

First Bowl: Malignant Sores (Revelation 16:2)

This first bowl describes the plague in only one verse. It is a plague of a “loathsome and malignant sore on [all] the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshipped his image.” We can’t be exactly sure what this plague will be like, but we can get a good idea of its nature from three sources: from Job (Job 2:7), from the sixth plague of Egypt (Ex. 9:9-11), and from the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Lu. 16:20-21).

First of all, we know that in these three cases, the word for “sore” is the same as in this bowl judgment. In the New Testament case with Lazarus, it is the same Greek word helkos; and in the two Old Testament references, the same Greek word from the Septuagint is used.

In the earliest case of Job, the plague is described as “sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” It was a terrible infection of the skin directly caused by Satan, to test his loyalty to God. In this particular case, Job found some relief from his suffering by scraping his boils with a piece of broken pottery, perhaps to break the boils open and release the infection.

In the case of the sixth plague on Egypt, it is said to be “boils breaking out with sores on man and beast.” Here it seems to be the same as in Job’s case and in the Tribulation, except here the animals will be infected too.

Putting these together, we may conclude that in the Tribulation the sores will be similar, but I can’t help thinking that it may be worse. And though it will be a punishment by the Lord, He may use a man-made means to cause the boils like radioactivity in the air. Hal Lindsey writes,

This rash of malignant sores could easily be caused by the tremendous radioactive pollution in the atmosphere. After the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima thousands of people developed hideous sores because of the radioactivity.

As to the duration of this first bowl-plague, we can’t be sure that it will last for the entire length of the Great Tribulation (for three and a half years); however, it seems clear from verse eleven, that during the fifth bowl, people will still be suffering from their sores.

But there is one thing we can be sure of; the plague will affect only those unbelievers that took the mark of the beast and who worship his image. All true believers will be supernaturally protected as were the Jews in Egypt in the days of Moses.

4 Things that the Lord’s Prayer Address, Our Father in Heaven, Tells Us about Prayer

Prayer A to Z

An excerpt from my book Purpose of Prayer.

The proper way to start any prayer is with an address.  I suppose there are several ways to address God when we pray, but the address in the Lord’s Prayer is the best way—since Jesus gives it to us.  Here are…

Four Things that the Lord’s Prayer Address, Our Father in Heaven, Tells Us about Prayer — Matthew 6:9-13

 

1.  That prayer is only for Christians.  The words “Our Father” indicate that this prayer and all true prayer is only for those who can truly call God Father. In a general or physical sense, all people can call Him father, because all people were created by Him (Mal. 2:10).  But here, “Father” is used in a spiritual sense (Gal. 4:5-6).  Hence, Jesus teaches us here that only Christians, those adopted into the spiritual family of God, can truly communicate with God…

View original post 961 more words

Introduction To The Bowls (Revelation 15:5-16:1)

After John takes in the glad and victorious vision of the saints in heaven, rejoicing in their victory over the beast (Rev. 15:1-4), he then looked and saw the heavenly temple—where God dwells. And the door to the temple was open, so he could see inside, even into the Holy of Holies. And he saw the seven angels (referred to in verse 1). They came out of the temple clothed in clean linen, and they were girded around their chest with golden sashes. The clean and bright linen represents their holiness and purity, and the golden sashes denotes their royalty.

Then one of the four living creatures (God’s cherubim) gave to each of the seven angels, golden bowls full of the wrath of God. Take note that it is not the wrath of the Antichrist, but the wrath of God. Hence, all the terrible tribulation during the next period of time (approximately three- and one-half years) will come from the wrath of God as He pours out His anger on the sins of the world.

Suddenly, after the angels were out of the temple and had received the bowls of wrath, there came into the temple a cloud of smoke. It was not any ordinary smoke; it was smoke from the glory and power of God. And it was impenetrable, so that no one was able to pass through it to enter the temple until after the seven plagues were finished.

Now we don’t know exactly what this cloud of smoke was like, but I imagine that it was the same smoke as in the Old Testament, the smoke of God’s presence preventing Moses or the priests from entering the temple. Now I don’t think that its impenetrability had anything to do with its physical make-up. I think it has more to do with its spiritual make-up, with the holiness of God, mainly His wrath and judgment.

I dare not say too much—more that I am sure of, but I need to say something about this situation of not being able to enter the temple. The temple here is not the physical, Tribulation temple. Verse five tells us that it is the temple in heaven. So, I take it that it is the place of God’s presence, the place where we now go to draw near God when we pray. It is the throne of grace where we go to receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Heb. 4:16). Hence, during this Great Tribulation, I take it that the time of grace is over, that for unbelievers as well as believers, it is too late to call out to Him. For believers during that time, I believe that God will take care of them. But for unbelievers that suddenly want God’s help, I think it may be too late for them.

Suddenly, John was disturbed by a loud voice from inside the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”

4 Things the Lord’s Prayer Teaches Us About Prayer

Prayer A to Z

What the Lord’s Prayer Teaches Us About Prayer — Matthew 6:9-13

1.  It brings to us the way we ought to regard God when we pray.  Hence, when we pray “Our Father” we understand that we ought to regard Him as our father.  Likewise, when we pray “Hallowed be Thy name” we see Him as holy.  When we pray “Your kingdom come” we see Him as a king, our king.  When we pray “Thy will be done” we see Him as our master and teacher.  Then as we pray for daily bread we see Him as our provider.  When we pray for forgiveness we see Him as our savior.  And when we pray for leading and guidance we see Him as our shepherd and protector, the one who goes before us.

2.  It shows us the spirit of true prayer.  At each junction in the prayer Jesus conveys to…

View original post 329 more words