How to Engage in Spiritual Conversations

Stephen Nielsen

The sermon today at my church had to do with witnessing to our neighbors—or anyone we would have a chance to talk to. It was good for me, because, over the years I have become sort of lax in this area. I don’t know why. I was thinking that maybe it is because I just haven’t taken the time with people to get in a lot of deep, personal conversations. Or maybe I have become too Christianized, or too proud—if you know what I mean. Anyway, I what to give you a few questions (taken directly from the sermon notes) that every Christian can ask his friends in order to stimulate a spiritual conversation.

  • Do you believe people can change?
  • What brings you a sense of meaning of purpose?
  • Do you think our world is getting better or worse?
  • Is there a movie or book series that has meant a…

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My New Interest In Politics

Stephen Nielsen

During the Bush (Jr) years I was sort of interested in politics. But I think I was more forced into it by all that was happening in the country—you know, the Twin Towers. So tragic! Everybody was glued to their set, and concerned, and praying. And I was so proud of the President, the way he took charge.

I remained sort of interested in politics during the Obama years, but for a different reason. I was always praying that our people wouldn’t give up in the face of so much corruption in the government. As I witnessed more and more Christians around the world being persecuted and denied help from our countries it drove me to prayer. As I saw Muslims being let in and put in positions of government, my mind turned to bible prophecy—thinking about end times. You know, I just couldn’t believe how our country and the…

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My New Free-Flowing Blogging Style

Stephen Nielsen

This is my second article for my new personal blog. Actually, I wrote it a while back but now I’m rewriting it because I thought it would work well for this new blog. I have four other blogs going: a prayer blog which I started I think in 2011, then a few years later I began a bible prophecy blog, and then more recently I began a political blog and also a nature blog. The first two blogs are still going fairly well, but the nature blog and the political blog aren’t doing well at all. So, I have decided to delete those and put this one in its place. It will be freer flowing and easier. The following is the article I wrote a while ago. I think everything is still relevant.

My New Free-Flowing Blogging Style

Up till now, when I’ve blogged, I will usually study a subject…

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My New Personal Blog

Stephen Nielsen

For a while now I have been thinking that I really want to change my writing and blogging style. For so long now I have been blogging on one particular topic. I have a blog on prayer and another blog on bible prophecy. Those are good blogs, but I wanted to do something different. So far on the blogs I have, I have been very careful about getting all my information accurate. So I do my research before I write. But on this new blog my style will be different. I will be writing on things I already know about. I will be basically writing about me: my life,. my work, my interests, my thoughts or views on things. I think it will be much more free flowing and fun. I’m looking forward to it. I have so far thirteen different categorizes I want to write on–so I will be…

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How to Pray with Importunity – 4 Points

 

There is so much we could say here.  I think the following four points will give you a lot to work on.

 

Start by building up your faith

Since true importune prayer is aroused and energized by the Holy Spirit, it makes sense that if you want to pray with importunity you must be filled with the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. You can begin to do this by meditating on the Word.  When you get to know the God of the Word you will learn to trust Him and wait on Him in prayer.  Soon you will not yield to discouragement and weariness when you pray.  Likewise, you will say to God, “O my God, I trust in You” (Ps. 25:2).  And you will keep praying persistently for as long as it takes to gain the answer.

 

Strengthen your friendships

Since friendship is a great motivating factor in importune prayer, it behooves us to strengthen our friendships.  Strengthen your friendship with God by spending more quality time in the Word and by spending more intimate time with Him in prayer.  Likewise, you can strengthen your human friendships basically the same way, by spending more time with them.  In your time together of course, you ought to seek to get to know each other by asking personal questions and by praying together.  But the most important thing I think is to play together.  Yes, have fun together (as children do); and, with all your heart, seek to enjoy yourself with that person.  Out of your mutual enjoyment of each other will come a deep concern and love for each other.  This deep friendship will energize your persistent prayers for each other like nothing else.

 

Stretch out your praying

Plan your prayer times, and plan to pray for as long as possible. When you can, pray for an extended period of time: for a couple of hours, a half a day, or even a whole day. Don’t let petty activities get in the way of your praying.  Set your priorities on prayer.  When you are in the habit of praying longer, God will bless you and give you great joy.  He will make you want to spend more and more time in prayer.  You will never want to quit until He tells you, Stop praying now until our next meeting.  I like what E. M. Bounds has said: “Importunate prayer has patience to wait and strength to continue.  It never prepares itself to quit praying, and declines to rise from its knees until an answer is received.”6

 

Don’t give into laziness and selfishness

Importune praying requires a lot of work and is never selfish. If you want to pray with importunity, guard against the love of ease and seeking always to please yourself. Instead practice thinking and praying for the needs of others.  Try to feel and experience their hurts and needs as your own.  Put yourself in their place.  Ask yourself, “How would I feel and what would I do if I were them?” This practice will put you right on the cutting edge of prayer.  It will give you the passion and patience to continue in prayer for a person for as long as it takes.

 

6 E. M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer, p. 73.

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Majestic Clouds

Seeing God in Nature

I love the huge white majestic clouds. They remind me of God’s glorious majesty and purity.

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The Spirit of the Law

 

We have been looking at the Sermon on the Mount, from the teaching of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I have been summarizing his sermons from his book, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. Last time we talked about the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees, the fact that Jesus told us that our righteousness must exceed their righteousness. This time we will continue with that thought—how their teaching on the law was quite inaccurate.

 

Jesus Points Out That the Law Taught By the Scribes and Pharisees Was Not Completely Accurate

Throughout His sermon He gives us six statements of theirs—things that they taught, which He would correct (from Matthew 5:21-43).

  • 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’
  • 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
  • 31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’
  • 33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’
  • 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
  • 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

In these six statement notice how each began the same way: “You have heard.” The idea here is that the people were taught by the Scribes and Pharisees what Moses said in the law. But in each case they weren’t taught correctly. They left things out. They didn’t explain everything. Mainly they didn’t teach the Spirit of the law—what it really meant. And sadly, in that day they were dependent on the Scribes and Pharisees teaching, because they could not read it for themselves. In the same way the Catholic teaching before the Protestant Reformation was also false, but the people didn’t know it and they couldn’t do anything about it because they did not have the scriptures.

 

Jesus Corrects the Teaching

Jesus set out to correct the teaching. He said, “I say unto you…”

Now Jesus was not correcting the Law of Moses. He was correcting the wrong teaching of the Law of Moses. He did not come to correct, or change, or do away with the law. He came to explain it, to teach it the correct way and to fulfill it.

 

Jesus Revealed the Spirit of the Law

The law was not meant to be a code of ethics or a list of things not to do. The law was meant rather to be certain principles for life. The Lord was showing the meaning and intent of the law—the Spirit of the Law. Here are five principles:

  1. It is the Spirit of the law that matters. And the Spirit of the law gives us life. We must interpret the letter of the law according to the Spirit.
  2. Conformity to the law must not be thought of as actions only. Thoughts and motives and desires are equally important.
  3. The law must be thought of not only negatively but also positively. But not only to do what is right but to love it.
  4. The purpose of the law is not to keep us in a state of obedience to rules but to promote the development of our spiritual character.
  5. The laws of God must not be regarded as an end in themselves. Their purpose is so that we come to know God better. If all we do is learn to keep the law then the law becomes our death. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life!

 

 

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