Let’s Fight Principalities and Powers Now (Part 1)

The angel reached over and grabbed my left hand. We took off at the speed of light. I looked down as Albert disappeared quickly into a black dot and heard a faint “wolf” fall out of his mouth.

The dome of the San Francisco City Hall appeared directly ahead of us. It looked like we would crash into it. But before I could scream aloud, we passed through it and landed in the Supervisors’ meeting chamber on the second floor. A wooden bench somehow telescoped out of the wall, up near the ceiling, which he motioned for us to sit down on it.

The eleven supervisors sat in leather swivel-chairs down below us. Each had a laptop computer on the desk in front of them. They talked and carried on. It was the weekly San Francisco Supervisors’ meeting.

The angel turned toward me. His robe whispered softly as he pivoted around. 

“Open your eyes and see,” he said with a quiet power filled with heavenly authority.

I looked down again. This time my spiritual eyes opened.

There I saw grotesque creatures sitting on the right shoulder of each of the eleven supervisors. The chimpanzee-size beings had a mixture of what looked like reptile, dragon, and wolf-like body parts with stubby tails, talons for feet, scale-covered wings, web-like hands, and misshapen faces which protruded into long snouts and were filled with sharp teeth. They resembled dingy, gray gargoyles.

Each creature held its right wing over their assigned supervisors’ eyes. Their right hands were curled into a megaphone shape so they could speak directly into the supervisors’ ears. Their left hands looped behind the supervisors’ heads and covered their left ears.

The creatures never rested. When they were not speaking into ears, they looked up, around and at each other, their heads constantly moved about, their eyes searching to and fro. They seemed to be driven by a deep dread, almost as if a cruel slave master’s power instilled a fear in them about possible future punishments.

What is this? I thought. Why am I here?

“Today is show and tell day, preparing you for your first assignment next week,” said the angel.

“First assignment, next week?”

“Quiet, I’m the teacher. You’re the student. Understand?” he whispered a stinging rebuke at me. 

His voice contained no anger and love cushioned the blow, but yet, I felt the power behind the rebuke. I shuddered and nodded. 

“Earlier today, you had a vision. In it, you saw yourself being used as a sword by the Lord Jesus against a brass gate. The brass gate you saw was a gate of Hell over this city. It must be attacked so the truth from heaven can be heard in San Francisco. You are His chosen weapon for the undertaking.”

I bit my tongue, but my brain continued to be plugged in. I wondered if His weapons ever suffered pain, especially with the vigorous way the Lord swung the sword against the gate. O Lord, will it hurt? I thought.

He paused a beat before continuing. 

“Your spiritual eyes have only been dialed up two notches, but that’s more than enough for you to get an idea of what’s happening in the Supervisors’ meeting room,” he said. “As you can see, demons sit on the supervisors’ shoulders, blocking information that is contrary to Satan’s agenda. At the same time, evil ideas are constantly spoken into the supervisors’ ears.”

He pointed a finger at me. 

“Remember: our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the hordes of Satan.”

I nodded.

He pointed at the supervisors. 

“Look again.”

This time I saw words streaming through the ceiling on what looked like hologram ticker tapes carried on laser beams. These words flowed to the ears of the creatures, the supervisors, and everyone in the room. I read them: “Alternative life style.” “Pro-choice.” “Gay pride.” “Toleration.” “Christians are bigots.” “Abortion is a woman’s right.” “Separation of church and state.”  “San Francisco Pride.”  

With each new message, the creatures spoke into the ears of supervisors. A source from above orchestrated everything.

The angel pointed up. 

“Look.”

The ceiling and roof opened up, allowing me to see into the second heaven. My eyes took a few moments adjusting to the spirit realm, but then, I saw a creature sitting on a large brass throne, blocking a portal coming out of the third heaven. Light rays attempted to flow through the portal, but only a fraction of the rays was able to pass by the large creature.

The creature’s appearance alternated between looking like a beautiful angel dressed in white and that of a gigantic monster version of the dingy, gray gargoyles, sitting on the supervisors’ shoulders. Like the smaller demons, the creature never rested. It caused fear in the hierarchy of demons below it and, at the same time, seemed fearful of its own cruel masters in the ranks above it.

The words I saw, streaming through the ceiling like hologram ticker tapes, emanated from this creature. I saw additional word streams coming out of the creature’s mouth, heading toward Sacramento, Hollywood, Washington, D. C., New York City, newspapers, television networks, movie studios, publishers, corporations, and thousands of other places.

The angel interrupted my thoughts. 

“What you are seeing is the spirit of depravity. It is a ruling principality over San Francisco and guards a gate of Hell over the city. This spirit is so powerful that its wickedness is spread throughout the nation.

“The reason the spirit switches back and forth between appearances is it is creating confusion by this maneuver in the minds of people, whereby good is called evil and evil good.”

(Excerpt from Jonah by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2012 by Larry Nevenhoven, Amazon eBook)

Obviously, the above is a fictional story on how I perceive the demonic realm may influence our earthly realm.

(Continued In Part 2)

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New Book Release: “A Black River”

“I had a vision that showed a black river flowing out of America’s inner cities, filled with black apostles and prophets. Their moralcharacters were at a level never before witnessed in America.

“No longer would believers have to gaze back at John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, D. L. Moody, Billy Graham or whomever for examples of godly men because these black apostles and prophets would raise the bar of godliness to a level approaching the character of Jesus… This is the generation of men that America has been longing to see. (Excerpt from Chapter 13 of A Black River)

God is never late, but He sure misses lots of opportunities to be early. This is especially true for Black Americans who have suffered through four hundred years of oppression and discrimination while chasing the American dream. The years have all merged themselves together into long days of weary hopelessness. 

But now at last, hope arises. The same God who looked upon Israel’s captivity in Egypt, is looking down on the Black Americans living in our nation’s inner cities and is preparing to act.

How? What? Why? 

A Black River is one of the most important books published in 2021, especially for those believers hungering for revival.

81 pages    Author: Larry Nevenhoven    

Kindle eBook: $2.99 

Available for Kindles and Kindle Apps

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New Book Release: “Still in the Fight”

“Do you really believe God would ask you to do something like this in the twilight years of your life?” asked the young pastor.

Seventy-year old Dylan set his cup down a little too hard. The coffee splashed out of it onto the table.

“Excuse me!” Dylan proclaimed.

The young pastor cleared his throat and sipped coffee while Dylan wiped the spilt liquid up with a napkin. 

“Shouldn’t you just enjoy your children and family for the remaining years of your life? After all, you’ve pretty much run your race. What can you really accomplish this late in the game?” said the young pastor.

Dylan stood up, put his hands on the table and leaned toward him.

“I don’t have any answers right now,” Dylan proclaimed three levels louder than normal. The people sitting nearby stopped their activities and stared at them.

“As far as my legacy, I’m going out to make a new one because I’m not satisfied with mine. And mistakes? Or my age? I couldn’t care less about either one right now. I just want to stay in the fight until I take my last breath.” (Excerpt from Still in the Fight)

Dylan and Jane Matthews, a seventy-year old married couple, decided to toss religious orthodoxy aside. So, they quit sitting in pews, walked out the doors of their institutional church and followed the leading of the Holy Spirit into their divine callings. What began as a way to do church differently ended up being a life and death battle to save the city of San Francisco.

Are the adventures of Dylan and Jane blueprints for other senior citizens? Why not? Our legacies in Christ are not finished until we breathe our last breaths. 

Still in the Fight is a must-read novel for all senior citizens!

Available on Amazon for Kindles and Kindle Apps.

174 Pages Author: Larry Nevenhoven

Kindle Price: $4.99

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New Book Release: “What Did God Accomplish in the 2020 Election?”

After writing quite a few blog posts on the 2020 election, I decided to write a short book on the 2020 Presidential Election:

Over forty years of America treading down a path of superficial spirituality has brought us to this moment of time, with Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States.

How could the Lord have let Evangelical Christians down? What about all of the prophecies proclaiming a victory for Donald Trump? Didn’t God understand the importance of the 2020 presidential election? What about Israel? What about Planned Parenthood and abortions? What about our religious freedoms? What about this? What about that?

What did God really accomplish by allowing Joe Biden to win the 2020 Presidential election? 

This book answers many questions about how white Evangelical Christianity, the Prophetic Movement and the Republican Party have ended up in the mess we are in right now. And what we can do to move forward.

One of the most important books of 2021.

Publication date : February 3, 2021

43 Pages                   Author and Publisher: Larry Nevenhoven

Kindle eBook: $2.99

Print length : 43 pages

Available on Amazon for Kindles and Kindle Apps.

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A Dream for Today

It was only a dream, but it seemed so real:

I stood on a starting line waiting for a race. A man dressed in a long white robe stood off to my left, wearing leather sandals on his feet. His dark beard and long hair framed his bronze face. He held a starter’s gun in his hand and nodded at me.

“Are you ready?” he asked.

I pulled up my red track shorts, yanked my white athletic t-shirt outside my shorts for more freedom of movement, and checked to see if my shoestrings were tied tightly on my Nike running shoes. Everything seemed ready. I nodded back at him.

“Now remember,” he said, “you need to go as fast as you can. This is a timed race. You only have a limited amount of time to finish it, okay?

I looked over the racecourse. In the distance, I saw the finish line with healing, deliverance, prosperity, miracles, wonders, peace, and joy awaiting me on the other side. Between the starting and finishing lines stretched an obstacle course. Posts sticking out of the ground. Fences. Brick walls. Quicksand pits. Mud bogs. Trees. Rivers. Water falls. Railroad tracks. Highways. Tunnels. Dangerous cliffs. A narrow path zigzagged its way through the course like a switchback jungle road. It looks easy enough, I thought, just stay on the path and run as fast as I can.

I nodded again to him.

“Get ready.”

I got down on my haunches.

“Get set.”

I rose into a sprinter’s position. My feet and legs strained, set to slingshot my body forward.

“But first, you’ll need this,” he said before firing the gun. 

He walked over and covered my eyes with a black blindfold. Not one ray of light touched my eyes. I could not see a thing, not even my feet.

“Now, don’t forget, you must go as fast as you can.”

I heard a faint whispering behind me, a soft voice saying something. I paid no attention to it.

BANG!

I took off like an Olympic sprinter, running as fast as I could.

BAM!

I hit a post and fell to the ground. My nose felt like it was broken with blood gushing from it. The warm wetness soaked through my t-shirt. It hurt so much I wanted to just lie there and quit.

The dark haired starter walked over and stood above me.

“Now, don’t forget this is a timed race. You need to run as fast as you can.”

I struggled to my feet. As I did, the same soft voice whispered words behind me. But again, I paid no attention and took off running.

YUCK!

I fell into a quicksand pit and found myself sinking under the heavy glop. The more I flailed my arms and legs, the faster I sank. The sandy goop soon reached my neck, not far from my nose.

“Help me, Lord,” I shouted.

My body relaxed and I floated over to the edge, crawling out of the pit. I flopped down there. It was all I could do to catch my breath from the all-out physical effort of trying to survive. I wanted to quit.

“Don’t forget. This is a timed race. You need to go as fast as you can,” the starter exclaimed.

Why I stood up, I don’t know. Maybe I was a glutton for punishment or possibly a modern day Don Quixote searching for futile endeavors to joust against. I brushed the sand off my legs and attempted to clean my shoes. I once more heard what sounded like soft whispers in the background, but like the earlier times, I ignored them.

My sense of direction was completely out of kilter. I could not figure up from down, let alone north, south, east, or west. However, I gave it the old college try and took off running.

SPLASH!

I fell into a deep river with fast-moving waters rushing over me. The hurtling rapids sent me flying downstream in a haphazard manner, smashing my body against rocks and floating logs. I attempted to swim toward shore, but the full force of the current battered my body, flinging me about like a rag doll in a typhoon.

“Lord, help me!” I screamed.

My hand reached out and grasped a tree limb. I pulled myself across the stream, hand over hand on the limb, and climbed onto the shore. This was the end. I couldn’t handle anymore.

I heard the soft voice whispering to me once again. This time I gave it my full attention and listened.

“Stand up,” said the gentle voice.

I obeyed it.

“Okay, now turn to your right ninety degrees.”

Again, I obeyed.

“Walk four steps ahead and stop.”

I walked ahead and waited for the next command.

“Turn forty-five degrees to your left.”

I turned.

“You went too far. Turn to your right five degrees.”

I adjusted myself in accordance with the instructions.

“Walk ten steps forward and wait.”

I stopped after walking ten steps.

“Won’t this take a long time to finish the obstacle course,” I said.

The gentle voice laughed.

“My system is the fastest way through the obstacle course. However, you can always choose to return to your running blindly method, but as you have learned, that can be extremely painful. What do you want to do?” the voice said.

“Lord, what’s Your next instruction?”

Then I awoke with a Bible verse on my mind:

“Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left (Isaiah 30:21 NLT).

(An excerpt from my memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who.)

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Are You Willing to Pay the Price?

The vibrant sounds of Mozart’s Piano Concerto Number Seven swirled through the Beacon Hill mansion’s ballroom. The fifteen females seated around the grand piano, listening to the maestro, had proper Brahmin names like Cabot, Coolidge, Forbes, Lodge, or Shaw. Each traced her ancestry back to the earliest Puritan settlers of Boston. This blueblood lineage insured their invitation to the social tea, no nouveau riche Johnny-come-latelies were among the invitees.

When the pianist completed the piece, he stood and bowed. The women showed their appreciation with warm applause. One of the ladies put her white-gloved hands to her mouth and said, “Oh, I would just do anything to be able to play the piano like that.”

The maestro turned and stared at her. His eyes exploded with fire.

“No you wouldn’t,” he said.

The crowd collectively gasped. All felt sorry for the woman who had been openly rebuked by the man’s insensitive words.

As for the lady, she sat stunned, paralyzed by his harsh eyes, tears rolled down her cheeks. Then, as if she remembered her privileged pedigree, she mouthed three defiant words at the pianist: “Yes, I would.”

“No you wouldn’t,” he said again, leaning over the piano toward the lady.

“Because if you really meant what you said, you would have been willing to give up your youth, your teenage years, and eight to ten hours every day practicing on the piano. You see there is a price to sit on this bench. I’ve been willing to pay it, and you have not!”

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. (Matthew 16:24)

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I AM NOT RACIST…or am I?

It wasn’t until the death of George Floyd that the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the part my apathy had played in racism.

Apathy?

Out of the 807,391 words used in the New American Standard Version of the Bible, the word “apathy” does not appear one time. And the word “apathy” does not appear even once in the other top ten selling English translations of the Bible.

But a well-known synonym for apathy does appear in a verse in each of the top selling Bible translations –

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked (Revelation 3:15-17)

Lukewarm?

Most Christians think that term describes believers who give their lives to the Lord at a Jesus Crusade and then fall away, no longer fellowshipping with other believers, praying or reading their Bibles. They have their stay-out-of-Hell fire insurance card and that’s good enough for them.

Is this an accurate description of all lukewarm believers?

Let’s check out my life on the morning the Holy Spirit pointed His finger at my sin of apathy:

I climbed out of bed at 4:30 a.m. that morning and spent two and half hours in prayer. I read the Bible for sixty minutes and listened to some teachings by Mike Bickle on my iPhone throughout the afternoon as I worked. Plus, I fasted two days that week.

This was not an atypical day or week for me. It is the routine which I have followed for over thirty years. It does not matter whether I am struggling through the worst of times or enjoying a season of blessings, I continue to plod along and seek the Lord. It is my life.

One of the prayers I prayed that morning, as I do almost every morning, was this one from a psalm by King David:

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT)

“Point out anything in me that offends You, Lord.”

There is not much I could say to the Lord when He answered this prayer by pointing out my sin of apathy, except, “Forgive me, Lord.”

Normally, I just keep on walking with Him and don’t look back after I ask the Lord for forgiveness. I know He isn’t angry with me nor does He love me less because I sinned and fell short of His glory. Yet, on that morning, I felt like I needed more information and asked, “Lord, how did I end up being lukewarm in my love toward my black brothers and sisters? “

The Lord eventually dropped His answer into my spirit. It was far different than I thought it would be – like hello! Doesn’t that always seem to be the case?

The Lord reminded me how for the first fifteen years after my salvation, I did not listen to newscasts or follow politics. I felt it was a waste of my time when compared to seeking Him.

This changed in early 2000 when I read a prophecy spoken by a man I admired – Bob Jones. “A burning bush shall come out of Texas and be elected the next president of the United States,” he prophesied.

Jones’ prophetic words stirred me to follow politics and to begin listening to newscasts and a few conservative radio shows while I drove my truck. I soon began thinking the GOP was God’s Own Party and the Democrats were controlled by Satan and his minions.

Almost 90% of black Americans vote for Democratic candidates. Thus, love for my black brothers and sisters became collateral damage in my new political thinking.

I continued on this political path until January of 2009. That’s when the Lord let me know He loved both Democrats and Republicans and I should do the same. He told me that I could be delivered of my attitudes toward Democrats if I quit listening to news programs and conservative talk radio – AND – quit voting in elections.

It took six months, but the Lord’s proposals changed my life. I no longer looked at a person through a political mindset. I saw each person as a valued being, created in God’s image, one who Jesus died for on the cross and one who He loved with all of His heart.

Take a deep breath, okay?

I am not you. The Lord knows my heart and how to set me free of my attitudes. If you have a bad attitude toward Democrats or Republicans, seek the Lord on how to love them as He does.

Just so you know: I don’t listen to the news, but I do read some news articles and check out headlines on news sites on the internet. Thus, I do keep abreast of what is happening in America and the world.

And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear. (Mark 4:24 AMP)

As I wrote earlier, love for my black brothers and sisters became collateral damage with my change in political thinking. My spiritual ears no longer heard their cries for freedom nor did I feel their pain anymore. This love did not return when the Lord delivered me of my attitudes toward Democrats, but instead my attitude was that my black brothers and sisters needed to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and join the twenty-first century here in America.

Sadly, I forgot how I wasn’t able to set myself free from most of my problems without the help of other believers.

Bear one another’s burden, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

Thus, I ask forgiveness from my black brothers and sisters for my sin of being lukewarm in loving them.

(Excerpt from my upcoming book entitled A Black River by Larry Nevenhoven)

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Pray for My Friends in Manila

A missionary friend, Mark Pedder, texted me yesterday evening asking for prayer for a sad happening in Manila, specifically BASECO:

Marco and Marivic’s oldest boy, Nicolai has had a girlfriend for I think the last four years. Her name was Mikey, just 21 years old, beautiful girl. She got pregnant etc, etc…she was full term this week.

She went in to deliver and both mum and child are dead. Then to add to the trauma of the whole thing, due to the virus getting out of control there, all dead bodies are being cremated, so no funerals.

So the body goes from the hospital to the crematory and instead of his girlfriend and a baby, Nicolai gets a pot of ashes. Neither of them were walking with God. No one was allowed in the room with her, so she went through that literally all alone, just very incompetent staff with her at the time. All just her horrific thoughts.

It’s Manila, in a povo’ hospital, so there will be no real way of ever knowing exactly what happened, but Nicolai went from waiting in a waiting room to see his new baby, then waiting at the crematorium for the body to be burn’t…not sure how you carry that.

It’s more or less a 12 hour turn-around from healthy, happy and having a baby, to literally ashes. Very, very sudden.

There is no way she’d be dead if she was in another country. Marco already has so much pressure on him, Marivic is overseas and there are no flights, it would take a miracle for her to be able to get home. There are a lot of other complexities, it’s really a mess. It’s all sort of madness.

My wife Christine is not doing well with it at all.

Mark

These are our brothers and sisters in Christ. If you can, pray for:

Nicolai – the young father.

Marco – Nicolai’s father

Marivic – Nicolai’s mother

Mark and Christine Pedder – missionaries to BASECO.

Father,

We run quickly to Your throne of grace, asking to find mercy and obtain grace to help Nicolai, Marco, Marivic, Mark and Christine right now in their time of need. Our minds can’t wrap around this tragedy, but we know You, Father, can offer each one of them comfort and a peace that will pass all understanding. Only You can do that for them. They need Your Father’s heart of compassion, pouring out Your love on them.

And Father, out of this terrible tragedy, use it for Your good. Raise up Nicolai with a passion for You and Your ways and send Him to the nations.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

 

 

 

 

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Over 60? Is it too Late to Build a Prayer Life? (Part 4)

praying

Along with our friends, Tony and Janelle, Carol and I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, in late 1997 to join The Watch of the Lord prayer ministry and to attend All Nations Church. Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda headed both ministries.

Each of us felt the Lord directed us to move there. Our billfolds lacked money and credit cards, but faith filled our hearts, believing God would somehow supply our needs.

We pooled out money together and rented a room with two double beds at the Charlotte Residence Inn. The room contained less than two hundred square-feet of floor space with a kitchenette, two beds, four chairs, table, and a bathroom.

A mortgage financing company hired the four of us as telephone sales reps on our second day in Charlotte. The company paid its employees on a biweekly basis, which meant our first paychecks arrived two weeks later. This posed a problem because we only had enough money for one week of rent at the motel.

Each morning the four of us gathered together and prayed for our finances, as in, “Oh Lord, help! HELP!”

We introduced ourselves to the church and ministry as soon as it was possible. The members said we were the answers to many prophecies spoken to the group about people moving from different parts of America to be a part of the ministry. Their words encouraged us, but our money still dwindled daily because of food and gas.

A couple from All Nations Church invited us to their home for a small group meeting and Christmas party on the last night of our motel rental. The four of us agreed not to mention our dire financial needs to the group, but instead, we were determined to trust the Father, according to Matthew 6:6 −

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

The married couple lived in a beautiful new two-story home located in a picturesque area with tall pine trees. It had a large living room, three bedrooms, fireplace, two bathrooms, and large kitchen. A perfect place for four needy, soon to be homeless, believers like us.

The meeting began with Christmas songs and prayers, with the group then waiting on the Lord to hear His voice. The group leader broke the silence by turning to Tony and Janelle.

“Do you guys need something?” he asked, looking at them.

Tony and Janelle shook their heads.

“Not really. The Lord is taking care of us,” said Tony.

The group returned to waiting on the Lord, but the leader was not satisfied and again turned to Tony and Janelle.

“I just don’t feel good about your answers. What do you need?”

Tony and Janelle answered again in the same manner.

“The Lord is taking care of our needs. Thanks for asking.”

The leader would not quit. He continued to ask them what they needed.

“Okay, here’s the story,” Janelle finally said, “we’re out of money for rent and groceries starting tomorrow morning. We don’t know where we shall go or how we’ll survive until we get paid next week.”

How do you think these joyous, Christmas celebrating Christians replied to her statement? And remember: it was December and cold outside.

The group’s leader digested Janelle’s statement for a moment. He motioned with his hands.

“Let’s gather around these two couples and pray for them.”

Tony, Janelle, Carol, and I stood in the middle of the living room while ten Christians placed their hands on our shoulders and prayed. They cried out to the Lord with passion for our circumstances.

I cheated a little by keeping my eyes open and watching the group. Oh Lord, I thought, this looks like the sum total of their aid for our needs. If so, I feel like puking all over their carpet for their level of Christianity.

The rhythm of their prayers reached a crescendo and backed off, waiting for someone to speak.

“I see the Lord raining drops of gold on the four of you,” prophesied a woman. “And all you have to do is reach up by faith and grab what you need. Just reach up right now.”

The prayers ended and we sat down again.

What a convenient prophecy, I thought. They actually believe they don’t have to help us in our time of need because of the woman’s prophetic words. Shouldn’t someone ask how much gold we were able to cram into our pockets during the prayers? Why did the Holy Spirit unmask our financial needs? To reveal our lack of faith or to reveal the group’s hypocrisy?

Various types of Christmas cookies, fudge candy, sandwiches, chips, and potato salad kept the four of us busy after the prayers. We stuffed ourselves and then graciously said our goodbyes and left.

The four of us did our best to pray blessings on the group and forgive them for their lack of hospitality on our drive back to the motel.

We checked out of the motel the next morning, packed our cars, and went to work. After our phone sales shift, we drove to a large shopping mall and stayed there until it closed at 9 p.m. We then drove both cars behind a large motel and slept in our cars.

How we handled the cold December temperatures was out of necessity rather than comfort. We only started our engines when the cold became unbearable. As soon as they warmed up, we turned the engines off to conserve fuel.

This routine continued for days.

I now wonder about the what if’s, such as, what if we had been four fluffy Golden Retriever puppies abandoned by a cruel master on the couple’s front steps. Would the small group have ignored our pleading eyes and whimpering yelps, allowing us to freeze to death outside in the cold weather? I don’t think so because that’s too inhumane, right?

But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth (1 John 3:17-18).

If we want to build our prayer lives, we have to prepare ourselves for the possibility that we might end up being the answer to someone else’s prayers. If we don’t want to do that, why even pray, right?

(Continued in Part 5)

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35 Years Ago Today, A Baseball Game Was Rained Out and I Met Jesus

baseball_rain

 

In 1985, my life smashed into a brick wall. I needed thousands of dollars to start a publishing company and bail my family out of debt. My sources were all maxed out and the hope level in my reservoir was hovering at empty. I was finished.

The only untouched asset I had was a $125,000 life insurance policy. So, my solution seemed obvious: suicide.

As for taking my life, I had no problems with it because I was an agnostic. No God equals no problems with eternal judgment, right? It wasn’t personal, just a business solution for my family and me.

My plan was uncomplicated. I figured on enjoying one last weekend with my family and then committing suicide on that Monday evening.

Thus, on May 20, 1985, I spent the day finishing up loose ends. Then, for some reason, I stopped at an insurance agent’s office. Although we knew each other, Bill Sheridan and I were not intimate friends and had never really talked to each other before that day.

Bill invited me into his office. We discussed baseball. Then in the middle of our conversation, he stared at me and said, “You’re thinking about committing suicide, aren’t you?”

His words hit me like a sledgehammer. How did he know? I told no one. It was my secret $125,000 payday. I was speechless. As I sat there, a vision played across my mind about my car ramming into a viaduct and killing me.

I wept and although I tried to regain my composure, I could not. “How did you know?” I asked.

“Oh,” said Bill, “the Lord told me while we were talking to each other.”

His words shattered my unbelief. God was alive and He cared about me. We continued talking and he finally gave me a book to read: Power in Praise by Merlin Carothers.

When I arrived home, I began reading the book. After a few pages, I walked into the bathroom, closed the door and knelt in front of the sink. Looking into the mirror, I prayed, “Jesus, I’ve tried everything else and nothing has worked. I guess I’ll give You a try.”

Instantly, I was changed. Fear and shame were no longer a part of me, but instead, joy and hope filled my heart. Bowing and worshipping my new King, I promised to never let go of His hand.

If my story were a fictional Hollywood movie, perhaps it would resemble It’s A Wonderful Life. Jimmy Stewart would play me and Donna Reed my wife. The angel would get his wings and everyone would live happily ever after. The end.

But sadly, my life has not been a work of fiction. It has been a day to day journey, filled with a few good experiences, but also many mistakes, false starts and failures. Divorce. Loss of friends. Numerous firings from sales positions. Low-paying jobs. Poverty. Rejection. Loneliness. Not exactly, a picture perfect Christian life.

And yet, it has been in the deepest valleys where the Lord has truly revealed Himself to me. It was there He became my loving Father and I learned His grace was sufficient for me.

Oh yeah! The baseball game, right?

On May 20, 1985, the Cleveland Indians versus the Milwaukee Brews baseball game at Cleveland Stadium, became the first rain-out of the 1985 Major League season.

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