My Update: 5 things

Okay, I’ll get right to it…

My work. I’m a retired painter—not a lot going on. Tomorrow or the next day I will wash a deck and paint it. I do this particular deck every 3 or 4 years. The next two jobs are doors—to repaint a few doors—easy. After that I have a bedroom to paint. So, what I have lined up is easy, a little boring, but just enough to keep me out of trouble.

Bible reading. I always manage to keep myself busy, but for some reason I feel that I have sadly neglected my time in the word. Yesterday I decided that I would spend two half-hour periods reading the bible—where I am at in Exodus. I liked it. It did me good. I’m gonna try to keep doing that. I have sort of prided myself for being faithful to a morning quiet time. But recently I feel the need for more and something less structured. My goal is to fill my mind with the word of God; to meditate more on it.

My book writing. I’m sort of at a lull in my writing. I had two different books going, but I finished them. Now I’m going through them one at a time, editing them; so I am basically just checking grammar and spelling and to make sure everything is said right.

Photography and walking. For me those things go together. Without my camera walking would be too much of a chore. But walking with my camera is like hunting and an adventure. I’m always hunting with my eyes for the perfect shot. Yesterday while walking I was quite disappointed by all the overgrown weeds and grass, but I did spot two beautiful purple Morning Glories (pictured). My walk was worth it just to see them. And the way the light reflected out of the middle of the trumpet bell is gorgeous!

The Coronavirus and globalism. I am getting so turned off by all the hype and news that the pandemic is getting. I really don’t think that it is as serious as the media is telling us. But the globalists are ecstatic about it. Finally, something came along that will help unite the world. Now all they need is one vaccine for the whole world. The only disappointment they have is the US, Israel, and the Christians.

They are so angry at Donald Trump and his nationalist views. If only they could somehow get Biden to win the November election. We will see what happens. But I have a feeling that they will be in for a constant fight until the Rapture. But after the Rapture everything will change. The Rapture itself will be the driving force for globalism. It will propel all the world leaders to come together to strategize their global agenda. I think, instead of being horrified at all the disappearances the devil will cause them to be gleeful at the new global prospects.

When Am I Most Believable?

If you’re like me, you hate it when people don’t believe what you say. There is no worse feeling than when you share an important bit of information with a friend, and he or she immediately turns to someone else to get a different opinion—to check the validity of your statement.

I hate that. Why don’t people just believe me? But then I ask, what makes me unbelievable? Maybe it’s the way I look. Do I look like a dork? A crazy person? An imbecile? Uneducated? Not confident in myself? What is it?

Or maybe it’s more than just the way I look. Maybe it’s the way I come across. The way I act. Maybe I don’t come across to people with confidence. Or maybe they just don’t know me well enough.

Maybe the question I should be asking is, when am I most believable? That’s easy. I am most believable at my job. I’m a house painter; have been for 30 years. Most of the people that call me for work are repeat customers. They know me and know that I do a good job for them. I love it most when they give me a key to get in if they are not going to be home. I love that because that tells me that they trust me.

You know that I’m a blogger; but I’m also a self-published author. It’s important for me to know, or at least to believe, that people believe me, to believe what I say in writing. But it has been especially hurtful when someone I regard as a friend has had no interest in reading one of my books. I don’t mind if they judge me after they have read some of it; but to judge me before they read one word of it is especially hurtful. It is almost like telling me that I have no business writing a book on anything, because I’m just not of that caliber; that I should prove myself first; that I should make a name for myself before I put a book out.

I think it’s most important for people to believe in an authority figure like the President or the governor or a policeman. These days people are really distrusting the police—that’s so sad. But it’s even more devastating to know that they mistrust our President. Many love the President; but sadly, far too many despise him—thanks to the media who constantly spew lies about him.

I think everyone has watched the TV show Bonanza. Out of all the characters in that show, who is the most believable? Well, it has to be Benjamin the father. He is the oldest and has proven to be the wisest. Adam, the oldest son, I think is also quite believable. He just has that look of maturity about him. But little joe and Haus, not so much.

Back to Presidents. Which President do you think has been the most believable—trustable. George Washington is a good choice. But FDR I think is a better choice. He took us through over 3 terms—12 ½ years. Everybody loved him and trusted him (Democrats and Republicans), even though we knew he was less than perfect.

You know, now that I have had a chance to think about it for a while, is it most important that people believe you, believe me? After all, most haven’t and don’t believe in Jesus as they should. I think our greatest effort should be to convince people to believe in Him. But can I convince them if they don’t first believe in me when I try to tell them about Him?

I don’t know. All I can do is try to make myself believable and present the gospel as well as I can—and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. That’s a good thought. I think the Holy Spirit will help to convince a person to believe where I can’t. He will do the work in a person regardless of my inadequacy, my clumsiness, my lack of wisdom and maturity. Thank God that we have such a helper available to us. With His help I indeed am most believable.

My Writing: Rewriting and Writing More

I’m not sure exactly what I expected in terms of sales for my books. I thought that I would get some sales, at least for my e-books that I was selling on the Lulu website for just two or three dollars. But nothing! —for months and months. Finely, I decided to make them free. That way at least people wouldn’t have the excuse of not being able to afford them. Well, right away people were starting to order the free e-books. And I felt better, because now the books were at least getting out there.

I know there is a lot more I could do to sell my books, but I hate that part of it—the marketing part, which takes money, something I don’t have. But maybe someday. In the meantime, I will just keep writing. My first project was to rewrite, or edit my prayer books. After reading a few chapters I realized there was so many things I could improve on—ways to make the writing better, clearer. My mom told me that I repeat myself a lot. She was right. My roommate James also mentioned that I use the words thus, therefore and hence far too much. He was right too. Then I found a book by William Zinsser entitled On Writing Well. I learned so much from his book about how not to be so wordy, to say things in less words. So anyway, I went over my book (and that also included my six smaller books), and in just about every paragraph I found something to change. Basically, the content remained the same, I just did some editing that made it read better. It took about a year.

After that I was eager to move on to my next project. I chose the subject of bible prophecy. That entire field has intrigued me for many years, and I really wanted to write a book about it, particularly on the subject of the rapture of the church. I have been a big proponent of the pre-tribulation rapture, and I was ready to lay out the biblical evidence for that view. Even before doing any work on the subject I decided that the title of the book would be, Biblical Evidence of a Pre-tribulation Rapture.

The book was outlined in four parts. In part one, in four chapters I lay out the ground work for the rapture. I describe it from key Scripture passages, including from Daniel 9:24-27. I also talk about Israel and the church, particularly the false teaching of replacement theology.

In part two, I decided to take a detour from the rapture study and look briefly at the kingdom of God—the Millennium. I thought it would be good for the reader to get the big picture of what God would be doing in the future, especially for the Jews. That was a great study. In fact, I got so into it that I decided to make a separate book from it, which I entitled The Coming Millennial Kingdom. Wow! What a detour that was. So, what I did for part two was to just write an abbreviated version of that book.

Part three is basically a bible study of all the Scripture verses of both the rapture and the second coming, which I refer to as two phases of His coming. The first phase is the rapture, and the second phase is His second coming to the earth to set up His kingdom. I concluded from the study that there are 29 verses that refer to the rapture, and 34 verses that refer to the second coming. I also found 16 characteristics of the rapture and 16 characteristics of the second coming. I remember that I thought it was so profound to find 16 characteristics for each phase of His coming.

In part four I show why the rapture must come before the tribulation. First, I give 19 reasons why the pre-tribulation view is the correct view. Then in the last chapter I look at four conflicting views and offer my rebuttal. The four views are: the partial rapture theory, the mid-tribulation rapture theory, the pre-wrath rapture theory, and the post-tribulation rapture theory.

At first, I admit that I was a little afraid of doing this study, thinking that my view in my mind would be weakened. But the reverse was true. I was able to very easily bring a good rebuttal to each and every point. None of their views hold any water. I found that the only view that is biblically correct is the Pre-Tribulation view.

Starting A House Painting Business

After I resigned from Seminary, and put my ministry goals on hold, I determined to look to the future. I immediately thought of starting a painting business, because I had been doing that already and it seem like a logical step. My brother Jim happened to be thinking along the same lines, so we decided to do it together. But after the first few jobs, it was apparent that we weren’t thinking the same way. I wanted to have a legitimate business (which included paying taxes) and he did not. So, we went our separate ways.

One of the first things I did was to go and talk to a man (I think it was in the Minneapolis Federal building) about how to start a business. It didn’t take long. He asked me what kind of a business I wanted and he set me up. The name of my company would be Nielsen Painters. I felt good about it. I had a business name, a business tax number, and I was good to go. All I needed now was some jobs and maybe some help.

The year was 1981. I was off. I put an add in the Newspaper and also did my best at making fliers to distribute. The first few fliers didn’t look all that great, but they got better. Sometimes I walked around a neighborhood myself and put the flier just inside the screen door or under the mat. Sometimes I would pay to have about 5,000 of them distributed as an insert in a local newspaper. And sometimes I had my nieces and nephews (my sister’s kids) help me pass them out. That was great fun for them, and I paid each of them one stick of Juicy Fruit gum for the day. They thought it was a good deal! And you know what? After forty years they still remember that day and laugh about it.

Surprisingly, the adds and the fliers worked. People started calling me and I went to give them a bid. I did paint estimates (bids) before, but I had never been trained at it. Some guys go around measuring everything and use certain calculations. But I was never comfortable with that method. The way I saw it, it was easier to just walk around and try to guess how long it would take me to prep and paint each section of the house, then add all those numbers together and multiply that number times what I wanted to make per hour—which at first was about $15 per hour. Almost always I gave them a firm bid, which most people wanted; but sometimes, if the job was harder to estimate, I tried to get them to agree on doing the job by the hour.

Usually people got more that one bid, so I didn’t expect to get every job I bid on. Normally, I got about a third of them. But I have learned some tricks along the way, like taking time to talk to the client. People like that. They want to know who is going to paint their house. And if I give them a good impression—even charm them a bit—that always helps.

Right away, after I landed a few jobs, I knew I needed some help. I asked a friend from college and he was more than willing to help me; and he was a pretty good worker too. The first house we painted I had to rent ladders, but I knew that couldn’t continue.  I decided right then to use all the money I made on that first job to buy two 32 ft. ladders, two 20 footers, a 16 ft. plank and two ladder jacks. We were all set!

Not long after that I bought and little blue Mazda pickup truck. Those were the days. Whatever I needed for the business I found a way to do it.  The first few years were kind of scarce, but each year was better. I had no big dreams; I was just doing my best to live by faith. And He was moving me, each day, one step at a time. I didn’t know what exactly He was calling me to do—with a painting business, but I knew that if I stayed obedient to Him, He would show me.   

6 Books on Prayer

This will be the last of my book promotions—for a while. I have to tell you about my other six books on prayer. These books actually are of the same content as my Prayer A to Z, but arranged differently. My idea was to give the buyer a smaller and less expensive choice. Instead of putting the chapters in alphabetical order, I arranged them under topics.

Book 1, entitled Basics of Prayer (see above), has 10 topics that I thought were related to the basics of prayer. And I really like the photo I took for this book.

Book 2, entitled Purpose of Prayer, has only nine chapters, two of which are my personal favorites, on the Lord’s Prayer and on Answers to prayer.

Book 3, entitled Principles of Prayer, has eleven chapters, all loaded with great prayer teachings.

Book 4, entitled Joy of Prayer, I’m sure is a favorite of many. The titles Aroma of Prayer and Xanadu will bring a delight to your soul.

Book 5, entitled Service of Prayer, is the longest of the six books. Five of its chapters contain all the prayers of the bible.

Book 6, entitled Zenith of Prayer, is basically the same as the last chapter of my book Prayer A to Z, and was meant to be a summary, or a condensed version, of that book.

How to Buy Any of These Books

As you can see above, each title has a link on it and it will take you to the Lulu book page.

You can also see them all together in two different places to order any of them you want:

If you want to see them at Amazon, you can go to Amazon books, and then type in “Books on prayer by Stephen Nielsen” to see all of my prayer books displayed. Or Just click HERE.

If you want to see all of my books at my personal Lulu store just click on the link HERE. Pay no attention to those free e-books. I will make no money on those. Just kidding!

Note: If you want to read some of the content of the books I would go to the Amazon link. Click on the book you want; it will take you to a bigger book; click on that book to see a few pages of content.

Prayer A to Z: A Book of 52 Chapters

Prayer A to Z: A Comprehensive Bible-Based Study of Prayer, is indeed comprehensive. In this post I will give you a brief breakdown of the book, chapter by chapter, 52 chapters in all.

When I began thinking of what I wanted the book to be like, my thoughts were drawn to some of the classic books on prayer I have read, books by E. M. Bounds, Andrew Murray, Hudson Taylor, R. A. Torrey, and Charles Spurgeon. I considered these authors to be powerful and holy men of God, and so I wanted to follow in their steps.

What would I do? How would I form its content? The first thing I did was to look through all the books I had (about 30 book) to get ideas. I wrote down all the possible topics or chapter titles. I came up with about 80 topics; and I also decided that I would take some time to read through the bible to find all the prayers of the bible. It took me over a year; and during that time, I also worked on the formation of the chapters. Eighty chapters was way too many. I eventually narrowed it down to 52 chapters, including five chapters on the prayers of the bible.

Then I had a brilliant idea. If a person would read and study one chapter a week, that would make a good year-long study. I also got the idea of trying to put all the chapters in alphabetical order. That took some doing, but it came together. Well, after I was done patting myself on the back for my brilliance, I suddenly got the thought that maybe God had something to do with it.  And the more I realized how everything came together, I was sure of it. It was all His doing!

Okay, here are the fifty-two chapters, with just a short comment on each chapter.

  1. Answers to Prayer. Seventeen pages on this topic. A great start.
  2. Aroma of Prayer. This is a favorite to many readers.
  3. Authority of Prayer. All our authority is in Christ.
  4. Burden in Prayer. In this chapter you realize God’s heart of compassion.
  5. Confidence in Prayer. Discover God-confidence in prayer.
  6. Definition of Prayer. Discover here what prayer is.
  7. Desire in Prayer. It is important to pray with desire.
  8. Earnestness in Prayer. Earnest prayer grows out of desire.
  9. Evangelism in Prayer. How to pray for the lost.
  10. Failure in Prayer. Why we fail in prayer.
  11. Faith and Prayer. Why faith is necessary in prayer.
  12. Fasting and Prayer. Instruction and guidelines for Fasting.
  13. Forgiveness and Prayer. Why forgiveness is so necessary for prayer.
  14. God’s Idea. Prayer is God’s idea.
  15. Holiness and Prayer. Holiness always goes with prayer.
  16. Holy Spirit and Prayer. Prayer and the Holy Spirit work together.
  17. How to Pray – Part 1. Eight of Jesus’ Teachings on Prayer.
  18. How to Pray – Part 2. A study of the Lord’s Prayer.
  19. Importunity in Prayer. Persistent and urgent prayer.
  20. Intercession – Part 1. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit’s Intercession.
  21. Intercession – Part 2. The definition of intercession.
  22. Intercession – Part 3. How we intercede for others.
  23. Jesus’ Name. Prayer in Jesus’ name.
  24. Kneeling in Prayer. Prayer posture.
  25. Length of Prayer. How long should we pray for.
  26. Ministry of Prayer. Practical help on how to have a prayer ministry.
  27. Necessity of Prayer. Nine reasons why prayer is necessary.
  28. Obedience and Prayer. Being obedient to God is so necessary in prayer.
  29. Possibilities of Prayer. Praying for big things.
  30. Power in Prayer. How to have power in your prayers.
  31. Praise and Prayer – Part 1. Praise as a vital part of prayer.
  32. Praise and Prayer – Part 2. Biblical examples of praise.
  33. Prayerlessness. The sin of prayerlessness.
  34. Quietness in Prayer – Part 1. Hearing God’s voice.
  35. Quietness in Prayer – Part 2. Our quiet time with God.
  36. Quietness in Prayer – Part 3. The importance of solitude.
  37. Quietness in Prayer – Part 4. How the Devil perverts our prayers.
  38. Revival and Prayer. What part prayer has in revival.
  39. Specific Praying. How to pray specifically.
  40. Survey of Prayer – Part 1. Prayers of the Bible, Abraham through Moses.
  41. Survey of Prayer – Part 2. Prayers of the Bible, Joshua through Samuel.
  42. Survey of Prayer – Part 3. Prayers of the Bible, David through Jehoshaphat.
  43. Survey of Prayer – Part 4. Prayers of the Bible, Elijah through Daniel.
  44. Survey of Prayer – Part 5. Prayers of the Bible, Ezra through John.
  45. Travail in Prayer. Why we need to travail in prayer.
  46. United Prayer. Praying together in agreement.
  47. Vigilance in Prayer – Part 1. Why vigilance is necessary.
  48. Vigilance in Prayer – Part 2. Overcoming the enemy through vigilance.
  49. Word and Prayer. The use of the word in Prayer.
  50. Xanadu. Experiencing the beauty of prayer.
  51. Yielding in Prayer. Why we must yield to God when we pray.
  52. Zenith of Prayer. This last chapter of 93 pages summarizes the entire book.

My Book, Prayer A to Z: Why A Book on Prayer?

In this blog post, and the next few, I will be writing about my books. I have written nine books and will soon be completing a tenth book. Today I will start with Prayer A to Z: A Comprehensive Bible-Based Study of Prayer. I began putting it together in 1992 and it was published in 2013. So, it took me a while to write it. But it’s long, 735 pages.

As you can tell by the title, it’s a book on prayer and was meant to be very comprehensive. Some may ask, why do I need to read a book on prayer? Especially a book of that length? I remember one person saying to me, just as I was beginning to write the book, that he didn’t need to be taught how to pray; he just needed to pray more. He was saying, in effect, that just by his practice of prayer, that, in itself, would make him better at prayer.

Well, I agree that the more we pray the better at prayer we will get and the closer our relationship with Him will be. But I also think that some instruction is necessary. In fact, we know that from what Jesus taught His disciples. He took the time to instruct them on how to pray. In chapters 17 and 18 of my book, I point this out. In chapter 17, I give eight of Jesus’ teachings on prayer. Then in chapter 18 is my study of the Lord’s Prayer, which is really Jesus’ lesson plan (or tutorial) on prayer to His disciples—and to us.

So, we really do need to be taught how to pray, and we especially need to pay attention to Jesus’ teachings on prayer. And really, all through the bible we can find prayer help and instruction. I especially like the Psalms.

And for those who think that all we need to do is pray, I want to give this warning: if you do that, you will be fighting against the Holy Spirit and your praying will not be according to His will or what He desires. For if He has given us instruction on prayer in His word, and we choose not to follow it, then we are being disobedient to the Holy Spirit and all our efforts at prayer will fail and may even cause us to be misled.

In my book, I not only present all the biblical teaching I could find on prayer, as I searched the Scriptures; I also read from about 100 books and articles offering their biblical studies on prayer, being careful not to include any material that was not biblical. I think there are too many books out there already that offer only people’s experiences. In my opinion, those kinds of books will do more damage than good. In terms of prayer, the only thing we need is God’s word and the testimonies of those who followed His word. Anything else is simply speculation.

I think this is enough for this post. Next time I will try to summarize the book by briefly going through the chapters.