Reflections On the Water

Stephen Nielsen

No wind on this day, making it perfect for reflections.

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Deer

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Jesus and the Pharisees: from Matthew 23:25-26

Stephen Nielsen

This is our eighteenth study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study.

Matthew 23:25-26

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

Observations

The Pharisees lived as if external appearances were more important than what was inside of the life. They cared more about appearances than about the heart. They cared more about the body than the soul. Of course, they cared nothing about the soul because they were not converted; they had no spiritual life in them. All they knew to do was to clean up what they could see and what other could see. They were blind to God. They had no spiritual eyes.

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Falling Leaves

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Jesus and the Pharisees: from Matthew 23:23-24

Stephen Nielsen

This is our seventeenth study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study. Today we will look at how the Pharisees tithed.

Matthew 23:23-24

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Observations

It is a little puzzling to me why the Pharisees concentrated on the little things as the spices but neglected the larger and spiritual things. But here are my ideas. Maybe they thought people would be impressed with them, that they were so diligent in giving a tenth of their spices; or maybe it was all they knew how to do…

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Jesus and the Pharisees: from Matthew 23:13, 15

Stephen Nielsen

This is our sixteenth study. Please click HERE for an intro to this study. Today we will look at how evil the Pharisees were.

Matthew 23:13, 15

13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

Observations

The Pharisees must have known how to enter heaven, or else they would not know how to shut it off to others. It wasn’t out of ignorance that they missed heaven. They plain out rejected it. And when they made converts, they made them not…

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The News: Is Changing the Channel the Solution?

Stephen Nielsen

Changing the news channel is the solution to so many conservatives these days. I can see how that will reduce your stress and give you peace. But is that the real solution? Can you really go through life without knowing what’s going on in the world? Doesn’t God want you to be aware of things so you can pray intelligently? Isn’t it our Christian duty to try to make our country and our world a better place? If we are commanded by God to pray for our leaders, should we not also know what to pray for them (1 Tim. 2:2)?

I know that almost all of the news these days is slanted toward the left side. But there are things we can do. When I read the newspaper, I generally just read the title and only as much as I can stand. And I always talk to myself about…

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Update: Life Changes

Stephen Nielsen

Church change. I have been praying about this and churning it over in my mind for a few months. And I finely now have made the change. I feel a little sad about it—not to see certain folks regularly. But I feel I must move on to what I think is the right move. I’m not going to talk about the reasons, but there are doctrinal reasons. So, I feel that I am following the Lord, but yet I am sad. I feel a peace about it. Yet I know there will be struggles, and I must endure them and push on.

Working less. This last summer I worked much more that I figured I would. And I was suffering in the heat—90-degree heat for many days. I think I have to push myself to slow down. I have resolved to take more days off between jobs—I’m a house painter…

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More Fall Colors

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True and False Knowledge

Stephen Nielsen

For every person, the longer a person lives the more knowledge they have a chance to obtain. But what they do with it is what matters. Knowledge is knowledge, but what we do with it makes it true or false.

I’ll start with what I will call false knowledge.

  • False knowledge is knowledge, but it has no good purpose.
  • False knowledge is knowledge that is prideful in what it knows.
  • There is a gift of knowledge but it can become a snare to us. It makes knowledge an end in itself, in order to pass an exam, to get a grade or a degree. It does not lead to any good actions or deeds.
  • False knowledge puffs up. In this case he has an impatience with any opposing view or any correction. He enjoys his knowledge. He spends a lot of time reading just for the sake of reading. He…

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