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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Another Case of Bad Reporting in the Pioneer Press

Stephen Nielsen

This morning I was attracted by the article in my Pioneer Press entitled “Trump ads target Minnesota, Wisconsin.” This article was doing so well for me, until I came to BIDEN’S ADS RESPOND. The first line which introduces Biden’s response begins like this: “Trump’s false depiction of Biden as a champion…”

What’s wrong with this? What’s wrong is the word “false.” Everything else is okay, but that word ruins the entire article. Why? Because journalists are supposed to report the news, not give their opinions. If there is one thing that turns me off to the media is when a reporter slips in his or her opinion of who is right or wrong. Come on; I just want to read the news. I don’t want your opinion. I can judge that for myself. If you were God or an angel or one of Christ’s apostles, I would…

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Boogaloo: Terrorism in Minnesota

Stephen Nielsen

If you have been hearing that the George Floyd protest is more that just local concerned people, here is proof. I read today in my morning newspaper, the Pioneer Press, how Federal authorities in Minnesota caught up with two young men, Michael Solomon from New Brighton, MN, and Benjamin Teeter from North Carolina, who are part of a radical anti-government terrorist group called Boogaloo, and were operating within the George Floyd protest group, or, you might say that they were piggy backing off of the group.

Generally speaking, this group is a loosely organized anti-government movement with the goal of starting a second American Civil war. And their method is to invade protest groups—wherever they find them—and then stir up the group to riot.

According to Wikipedia, their beliefs are not all the same. Some of them absolutely condemn racism, but others within the same group are white supremacists…

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Thick Trees and Foliage

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Planting Seeds of the Gospel

Stephen Nielsen

In my reading today I was struck by the passage in Mark 4:26-28.

And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil;  27 and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows — how, he himself does not know.  28 “The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head.

My observation here is that God calls us to plant the seeds of the gospel. I think for a Christian that is his primary task. And that task is very simple; just plant the seed and leave it alone. God will do the rest. He will cause it to grow. Too often I think we are too concerned that we will do something wrong or not enough. So, we do nothing out of…

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My Update: 5 things

Stephen Nielsen

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…

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Update: Book Reading, Book Writing

Stephen Nielsen

I can’t think of anything in particular to write on that would be enough for a blog. But there are a few things I’m thinking about that, put together, would give you an update of what’s going on with me. Let me first tell you about the books I’m reading. The book I just put down a minute ago is Nikki Haley’s book, With All Due Respect. It will never be a best seller, but I enjoy reading it. I liked her before I started reading it, but now even more. She has a good character and I loved how she stood up to the people at the UN over their disrespect for Israel. I also love how she stood up to Kelly and Tillerson over their divisiveness against President Trump. It was refreshing.

Another book I’m reading is a very large book, The Presidents Fact Book, on…

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Denying Self

 

In Matthews Gospel, chapter 5, verses 39-44, Jesus shows us what the Christian character should be: to turn the other cheek, to go the extra mile, to give to the one who has needs, and to love your enemies and bless those who curse you. But how do we do it?

Some would say, just do it. No matter how you feel about it, just do it. Well, I suggest that it is important to first put yourself in the right frame of mind. To be selfless, like Christ was. To be poor in spirit. That is one of the first things He taught His disciples. If we are to act with Christian character, we must do it with a genuine heart, with a Christ-filled heart. And it all starts with denying self and looking to Christ. How do we do that? I’ll start with Paul’s example and teaching. In 1 Corinthians 4:1-4 he writes,

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.

So Paul was focused on his service to Christ, not on what others thought of him. He didn’t even judge himself. He left all judgment to God. I suppose we could say that He judged himself only with the judgment found in God’s word. And all other opinions that others had of him and the opinions of himself that were not of the word he disregarded.

And I thing he was especially careful not to think on himself too much, as to where he ranked himself compared to others. I don’t even think he spent too much time developing ambitions or goals, or even preferences. His single thought was to serve Christ and to follow Him, no matter how he felt or thought about it. And he did it for the glory of God and not for his own accomplishment.

Now if you are thinking, that’s impractical and too hard for anybody to do. Well, it definitely is too hard without the Holy Spirit helping us. In fact, only the Spirit-filled Christian can do it. According to the world, we should fight for our honor and our name. And we should always be thinking of what is good for us and how we can get there. But for the Christian, the name of Christ and the honor of His name is most important, not our own.

I struggle constantly with self-sensitivity, which is an indication that I am not strong in Christ. I get my feelings hurt by what people say about me. I am too concerned about my reputation, my pride and my honor. And I spend too much time thinking about myself—my likes and dislikes, my ambitions, my comforts, and my needs.

God wants us to be like Him and His Son, who humbled Himself and was obedient to God in all things, even to the point of dying on a cross. We should have the same attitude—of a servant, a servant to God, which requires that we have an indifference to self. That is, we are to be dead to self and alive to God. We are to always be looking to serve others, which requires that we stop thinking all the time about our own needs.

So then, if you want to do God’s will and love others, you must first be delivered from a self-centered life. Don’t just force yourself to do good deeds. First, have the mind of Christ, which is to have a proper attitude toward self—denying self. All the words Jesus spoke were not of Himself, but were of God. He didn’t consider Himself at all. He made Himself dependent on His Father. He came to do His father’s will, not His own.

If you have any goal or mission, make this your mission: to die to self in order that you can follow Him and do His will. He died in order that we might have a selfless life like His. Ask God to fill you with His Spirit and help you to have that kind of a life.

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3 Reasons Why Hydroxychloroquine Is Kept from the U.S.

Stephen Nielsen

I can’t help thinking that there is something very diabolical going on with the prevention of hydroxychloroquine in the United States. I keep hearing of very good reports from very good doctors and scientists of how good and safe hydroxychloroquine is. Yet, for some reason these reports have been banned from the internet. And also, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U. S. has clamped down on it, issuing their safety rules, which I find not true. Their June 15 Update states:

Based on ongoing analysis and emerging scientific data, FDA has revoked the emergency use authorization (EUA) to use hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to treat COVID-19 in certain hospitalized patients when a clinical trial is unavailable or participation is not feasible. We made this determination based on recent results from a large, randomized clinical trial in hospitalized patients that found these medicines showed no benefit for decreasing the…

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