Love Your Enemies

Stephen Nielsen

In Matthew 5: 43-44, we have this teaching to love our enemies, in contrast to the teaching of the Pharisees and scribes, to love their neighbors, but to hate their enemies.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.

It is well known that the Jews in biblical times separated themselves from all others and regarded them as dogs. They drew their teaching from the Old Testament, where we find that God commanded His people to exterminate all the pagans in Cannon: the Amorites, the Moabites, the Midianites, and the Amalekites. And they also drew their teaching from the imprecatory Psalms, where the psalmist called curses on certain of God’s…

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Following the Path of Righteousness — Psalm 23:3

Stephen Nielsen

He guides me in the paths of righteousness (Ps. 23:3).

Your word is a lamp to me feet and a light to me path (Ps. 119:105).

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A History of Prayer Posture


Through both Old and New Testament times, standing for prayer seemed to be the norm for public prayer.  Such positions as sitting and kneeling were almost never practiced in public prayer, but were more often practiced in private prayers.

Shortly after the advent of Christ, however, kneeling began to be practiced more often, especially in public worship.  In fact, according to an article written by a Markus Bochmuel, the first entire half of the service was practiced while kneeling, followed by the rest of the service in which the congregation stood.  I presume that this new movement of kneeling in the service (during which a liturgy was said) began by the insistent teaching of the church fathers that kneeling was “a necessary expression of humility and submission.”  No doubt, all these holy minded church fathers had a clear and lasting picture of what they knew and heard about Jesus and the way he would kneel to pray.  And they also knew of James his brother, called James the Just; for it was reported that he was often found alone in the temple kneeling and praying for forgiveness for the people.  It has been said that his knees became calloused like those of a camel.5

In time, about the year A.D.200, a consensus arose in the church that kneeling in public worship on the Lord’s Day was not proper.

Irenaeus insisted that kneeling is appropriate during the six weekdays as an expression of our sinfulness, but on the Lord’s day not kneeling manifests our rising again by the grace of Christ and being delivered from our sins.  Others who agree with Irenaeus but ban kneeling both on Sundays and from Easter to Pentecost include Tertullian, Hilary, Epiphanius, Basil, Jerome, Augustine and numerous later church fathers and canons.6

Although kneeling had been banned for public worship on the Lord’s Day, private bowing and kneeling has always been more than appropriate, and a sign of great devotion to God.  There have been numerous saints through the years who have exemplified such devotion.  One man named Payson, it was said, “wore the hard-wood boards into grooves where his knees pressed so often and so long.”  Another named William Branwell, “almost lived on his knees…He often spent as much as four hours in a single season of prayer in retirement.”7

But where are we today?  I confess I really don’t know how people pray privately, nor is it any of my business; however, if most people pray in private like I have witnessed them pray in public prayer groups (myself included), it is no wonder that we are lacking in revival.  I long for the time when we will (when I will) in private pray more regularly (daily) on our knees.  What a time of refreshment that will be.  Oh yes, confession is so good for the soul, and it gets us going strong for the Lord.

Public prayer I think can and should be short, but private prayer ought to be longer, more intense, and more often.  Long prayers I don’t think are appropriate in a group, but in private long prayers on the knees are most acceptable; for our Lord sometimes spent whole nights in prayer.

5 Markus Bockmuehl, “Should We Kneel to Pray?”  p.16.

6 Ibid., p.16.

7 E.M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer (Baker Book House: Grand Rapids, Michigan) 1979, pp.49-50.


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Herons and Muskrats

Stephen Nielsen

I think this is a white Heron, but could be an Egret.

The bird above looks like a grey or green Heron.

This is a Muskrat.

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Breaking News Tidbits from Don Stewart

Stephen Nielsen

I just recently got to know Don Stewart. He has written quite a few books, mainly on bible prophecy and current events. I have been listening to his daily Breaking News podcast. It’s quite informative and I thought I would pass a few of his News tidbits on to you. Most of it is not word for word, but is accurate.

Minneapolis crime wave. Minneapolis city council is alarmed by a surg in crime (assaults, robbery, and homicides) months after voting to defund the police. This is news that is close to me. Though I don’t live in the city, I’m not far from the city limits.

Coronavirus made in a lab. A Dr Li-Meng Yan, a Chinese virologist, said that Covid-19 was made in a lab in Wuhan, China; and she has evidence to show it. Recently she has been black listed from Twitter. Apparently, many, especially Chinese people…

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The Hypocrisy of the Mask

Stephen Nielsen

It is interesting watching people. Some rarely wear a mask, even when they are in crowds. Others wear a mask all the time: when they walk around outside, with a partner or by themselves; when they are driving alone in their car; and I suppose, even when they are alone in their house.

Most people who always wear a mask say that they are following science and that science is reliable. But I have heard time and time again that the science says that masks are not 100%. Some are even saying that they are less than 20% reliable. And most of the scientists say that the mask does not protect you; it protects others around you from the virus. So, if that is true, those people who are diligent at always wearing their masks, must be doing it for a totally unselfish reason. Now do you really think they…

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Did I See A Mouse?

Stephen Nielsen

A couple days ago when I was sitting on my couch watching TV, I saw a mouse come out from under the couch; and then, as soon as I saw him, he quickly ran back under the couch again. I was startled. Did I really see what I think I saw? It was late, about midnight, so maybe I was half-asleep and it was part of a dream. I settled back into the couch, but I made sure my feet were up resting on the stool. If he came out again, I didn’t want him to crawl over my feet—or I didn’t want him to be tempted to run up my pant leg!

I will never forget the time, on the farm, when my mother was working in the garden hoeing, when suddenly we (me and my sister) saw her start wildly dancing and screaming. We found out later that…

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With All Due Respect, by Nikki Haley: Book Review

Stephen Nielsen

I just finished reading her book. I wish I would have highlighted more lines, because she had a lot of good things to say—much wisdom. But anyway, I’ll do my best at giving you my overall thoughts and just a few details from the book.

In the first couple chapters Nikki recounted the events of the Charleston murders and how she was affected. You could definitely see her tender and caring heart through the pages—how she had a hard time holding her tears back as she went to every funeral and spoke. This happened when she was still governor.

I’m not sure most people knew this, but Trump really wanted Nikki Haley as his Secretary of State. But she turned him down. A week later he had another offer—U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. At first, she was reluctant, but she eventually agreed, which had a lot to do with her…

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What Has Happened to Barnes and Noble?

Stephen Nielsen

Just a few months ago I thought Barnes and Noble was great. They would put out all the best-selling new releases and they were all discounted. But now it’s all different. It almost seems like they have an agenda. The only books that are up-front and discounted are the books they want to sell. And not coincidentally, they are all the anti-Trump books.

Okay, I should be fair; maybe they are putting up-front the books they think will sell. Maybe. But it is more likely that they are putting up-front the books they want to sell. Whichever it is, it is very evident and offensive—at least to me. The first think you see when you walk in the door is about 50 copies of Disloyal by Michael Cohen displayed very provocatively. Then a few steps down are 30 or 40 copies of the book, Too Much-Never Enough: How My…

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So Many Yellow Flower

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