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.

Update: Divine Encounters

This morning I’m hanging out in one of my favorite places for breakfast: Panera Bread. It’s cool in here but hot outside. It will be 100 degrees today, the hottest day yet.

I’ve been reading Killing the Killers, by Bill O’Reilly. So far in the reading it’s just been a lot of killing by terrorists. I’m waiting for the good guys to show up.

I’m taking some time off from work—my painting. I know I will have some jobs coming up soon. I always do. People will call. Actually, some have called but I said no. I like my days off too much.

Divine Encounters

I’ve been thinking some on “divine encounters.” What I mean is the encounters I would have with people as an ambassador for Christ—when I am walking in the Spirit. Thus, when he or she meets and engages with someone, since we as Christians have the Holy Spirit in us, we normally have a divine encounter with them. And so, everything we say to them is as if God is talking to them through us. We are the instrument of God bringing His message to them. This is a concept that we don’t always think about, but it is true. And we realize it most when we are walking in the Spirit—walking close to God in obedience.

I want to remind myself constantly of this idea—that I am always His ambassador and that normally every encounter I have with people is divine. I must not waste my time. I must make the most of it. If I am walking in the spirt, everything I say to people will be from His (God’s) mouth—from His heart. But if I say what is trivial and not of the Spirit, I am blocking the flow of His Spirit through me. That is a tragedy, and unfortunately, it happens too often in too many Christians. Too many of us are walking around as zombies (dead to the Spirit), and what we say is contrary to what the Spirit is trying to say in and through us. We must open our heart to Him; we must clean out our mouth and let the Spirt flow through us and out to others—so that we have those natural “divine encounters.”

Six Reasons to Be Holy

Prayer A to Z

Not everyone desires holiness. But just in case you do, just in case God has put it on your heart to be like Him, I think you will find these point helpful. Here are six reasons to be holy.

1.  To be like God.  God created man and woman in His own image, according to His likeness (Gen. 1:26).  This of course included His holiness.  God wanted all mankind to be holy like Himself.

After the fall of man sin marred that image.   But God’s purpose for us did not change.  He has always wanted us to be holy like Him, even in a sinful world (Gen. 2:14, 15).  In fact, throughout the Old Testament He commanded His people to be holy, saying to them, “Be holy because I, The Lord Your God, am holy” (Lev. 19:2, NIV).

And we can be holy!  God has provided a way for us…

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Finishing My Life Well

Lately, I’ve been giving some thought to finishing my life well. I’ve been asking myself these questions: what will I have achieved in my life? or, Will I have done all the things that God has called me to do?

I suppose the unspiritual person would concentrate on worldly achievements, on greatness, wealth, and popularity. And even the Christian may be tempted to measure himself with these things: how much wealth have I stored up? How popular am I? or even How great I am, as far as my position in the community?

Then when I looked at a few Scriptures, I was pulled another direction. I first looked at Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” It’s hard to judge how much I have done that. I would say that it’s a daily thing—to walk in His Spirit and obey Him every day.

I also looked at Micah 6:8: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”  This is another one of those daily things and hard to judge how much I have kept up with this. It is something that I can only do when I am constantly walking in His Spirit.

Then I was led to a very familiar passage, Psalm 131:1-2:

1 Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.

2 Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.

It is a song of accent of David, and tells us of David’s childlike trust in the Lord. Here we can definitely see in David how we ought to conduct our lives; and if we are old, how we ought to finish our life.

For me, I ought not to give my thoughts to greatness or high achievements, even if they are regarded as spiritual, or “for the ministry.” I ought rather to quiet myself and be contented with the Lord—meditating on His word, listening to His voice, walking in His Spirit and doing His will.

Moreover, I ought not to pressure myself with how many books I should write, or blogs I should write, or with ministry goals. My focus should be to daily and hourly keep my heart right with Him and to walk humbly with Him—and then to be open to see where He leads me.

The Sixth Trumpet (Revelation 9:13-21)

Studying Bible Prophecy

This sixth trumpet judgment, and the second woe, is every bit as terrible as the first woe; and it leaves us scratching our heads with questions. We will break up the verses into three parts.

Verses 13-15. Then the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind.

So when the sixth angel sounded his trumpet John head a voice coming from the four horns of the altar of incense—presumably, the voice of God responding to the prayers of His saints; prayer for vengeance. And He told…

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The Meaning of Holiness

Prayer A to Z

I think we have a good definition of holiness in Psalms 15:1-2.  Here David asks, “Lord, who may dwell in Your sanctuary?  Who may live on Your holy hill?  Then he answers himself: “He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous” (NIV).  Hence holiness is two things: being blameless, or not doing what is wrong; and it is also doing what is right. 

We have this same definition in Job 1:1. Here we read, “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job.  This man was blameless and upright; “he feared God and shunned evil” (NIV).  Thus, those who are holy fear God—have a reverent respect for God and seek to obey Him in everything.  They also endeavor to conform to His holy character, which would include shunning or hating sin

In the simplest terms, holiness is living “without sin.”  That is what…

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The Fifth Trumpet and the First Woe (Revelation 9:1-12) 

Studying Bible Prophecy

This fifth trumpet judgment is the first woe pronounced by the flying angel in Revelation 8:13. As we view this judgment in the next twelve verses, you will see why the angel was warning us. It is indeed something no man or woman would want to go through. We will approach this fifth trumpet in six parts, working our way through the verses.

Verses 1-2. Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him. 2 He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit.

There are two questions that need answering here. First of all, what is this “star?” Well, there is no doubt that…

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God’s Ten Purposes for Prayer

Prayer A to Z

 

 

This is an excerpt from my book Purpose of Prayer.  You can get it as an e-book at mywebsite.

1.  Prayer is God’s idea as the way to acquire salvation.  Whether it is verbal prayer or a silent prayer of the heart, God has designed that salvation will come to us when we cry out to Him in prayer.  For He has said in His Word, “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13).  Hence, God has made prayer a tool that gives expression to our faith and works it out.  Therefore, our prayer of faith acquires salvation—as we ask Jesus into our heart and He comes in and redeems us from our sins.         

2.  Prayer is God’s idea as the means for His will to be carried out in accordance with His great plan.  God has planned from eternity…

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The Fourth Trumpet (Revelation 8:12-13)

Studying Bible Prophecy

When the fourth angel sounded his trumpet a third of the sun and the moon and the stars were struck so that a third of their brightness and heat would be reduced.

Again, we don’t know exactly what the cause of this phenomenon is. John MacArthur suggests that it is a supernatural act of God, that He “will supernaturally reduce the intensity of the celestial bodies by one-third.”4 Hal Lindsey believes that the “light reduction will result from the tremendous pollution in the air left from nuclear explosions.”5

In either case, the result will be a radical drop in temperature, producing great changes in weather cycles as well as botanical and biological cycles. More importantly, these changes will make it much harder for all humans to live on planet earth.

But there is a second part to this trumpet judgment. As the earth is still suffering from a…

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