Cloud Formations

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Ten Signs of Self-Deception

Stephen Nielsen

I have been following the sermons of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. In the last few posts, particularly on Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus has told us straight out that at the judgment day many will be surprised when He tells them, “I never knew you.” Hence, they have been self-deceived probably their entire life. They believed they were Christians but were not. What makes a person think he is a real Christian when he is not? What are the signs of self-deception in this matter? Lloyd-Jones gives us ten signs. I will abbreviate them in my own words.

1. When a person counts on attending church meetings. I don’t understand this point, but I suppose some may think that attending meetings will give them good standing with God.

2.When a person takes an interest in his denomination or fellowship. For some reason a…

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America, What Can We do?

Stephen Nielsen

What’s happening in America and what can we do? I just heard Newt Gingrich on his podcast. He has good things to say about what’s happening. I also listen to Bill O’Reilly and he also knows what’s going on and what should be done. The problem is, no one is stepping up and doing anything. The President needs to be impeached, now. But no one is willing to start the process. Of course, who wants to or is good enough to replace him. We don’t want Harris in there, or Pelosi. So, we may be stuck with who we have. And do we know who is really holding the reins? Do we know who the real President is? I think it is among those who are telling him to “build back better.” It is no doubt a group of globalists. It is the same group that illegitimately got him into…

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Why Prayer is Necessary: #6 – To Obtain Mercy and Grace

Stephen Nielsen

Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, is fully human and fully God.  The human side of Him makes Him able to be sympathetic and merciful toward us, and the God side of Him makes Him able to help us at any time with any of our needs.  What this means to us of course is that when we pray to Him we are assured of His sympathy for our needs and also of His ability to help us.  Thus we can pray with great confidence, even boldness.   Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

This mercy and grace is God’s gift to us—it is free for our taking! But unless we choose to go to Him in prayer, and unless we confidently pray and ask for help, His mercy will…

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Unconscious Hypocrisy

Stephen Nielsen

Unconscious Hypocrisy is actually the title of a sermon by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, which was recoded in his book Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. The following is just a few notes I took on that sermon.

Lloyd-Jones began by saying that there are many people who are not aware of the fact that they are not really Christians when they are convinced that they are; and so, they have a kind of unconscious hypocrisy. They think they are good Christians but they are in fact reprobates.

  • They are of the “many” who have passed up the narrow gate and have instead gone down the broad path with most of the world.
  • They are like the five foolish virgins, and like the man who built his house on the sand.
  • They are of those whom Jesus spoke of (in Matthew 7:21-23) who did wonderful works, but yet didn’t…

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Why Prayer is Necessary: #5 – To Obtain Fullness of Joy

Stephen Nielsen

Jesus said in John 16:24, “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.” 

The teaching here is that when we ask in His name and receive the things we ask for, the result, after receiving those things, will be a fullness of joy. And I suppose you could say that our joy will come in degrees. To the degree that we recognize that God has answered our prayers, to that degree we will receive joy. The person who doesn’t realize that God has answered his prayer may have a certain amount of joy just because he has received what he wanted. But the real and full joy is a joy that comes from knowing absolutely that God has answered our prayers.

R. A. Torrey has said, “When we ask something definite of God, and He gives…

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The Dried-Up Mississippi River

Stephen Nielsen

Here in Minnesota parts of the Mississippi River is all dried up.

It’s kind of a sad sight.

A grey Heron is on a scavenger hunt.

I few low spots still have water, but not much.

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Paper Tiger — Ernie’s Musings

Stephen Nielsen

The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. (1 Samuel 2:4) Unless you have completely isolated and insulated yourself from the outside world (and I would not blame you if you have; sometimes I wish I could completely detach from the constant flow of bad news), you […]

Paper Tiger — Ernie’s Musings

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Those who say to Him, “Lord, Lord”

Stephen Nielsen

Thenarrow way and the broad way

The Bible says that on the judgment day it will be revealed that some who think they are Christians are really not. In the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus said,

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

This may seem to you to be a very strange thing, that some people will be so self-deceived, that they think they are Christians when they are not. How can this…

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Why Prayer is Necessary: #4 – To Obtain Good Things

Stephen Nielsen

God really wants us to have things—many things.  But He wants us to have only those things that are good for us. 

Sometimes we will desire something, and it really does seems to be a good thing; but then later, after we have prayed about it and sought God’s Word about it, He shows us that He isn’t pleased with what we desire.

Whatever we pray for we should ask ourselves these two questions:

1. Are these things going to bring me closer to the Lord or further away?

2. Will these things I desire help me to be a friend of the world, or a friend of God (James 4:3-4)?

There are many good things that God wants us to have, but if we don’t ask for them we will not receive them (James 4:2). And when we do ask, perhaps we don’t ask correctly—with the right motives (v…

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