Remember: The Coronavirus is Only a Shaking Allowed by God to Wake us up. Thus it will end, but…

If you haven’t read my article – “Is the Coronavirus from God or Satan?” – maybe you should. It will help explain my reasoning on why the coronavirus should be thought of as  a shaking from God.

The prophet Jeremiah was struggling a little over twenty-six hundred years ago. The wicked King Jehoiakim was the ruler over Judah and hated Jeremiah and his prophecies. His friends and family in Anathoth, a small village just three miles from Jerusalem, dealt treacherously and ridiculed him behind his back.

Plus, God told Jeremiah not to get married, not to go to the Temple, not to attend any feasts and not to attend funerals. As a consequence, Jeremiah was cut off from everyone except God.

How did Jeremiah handle his predicament?

Why? …Why?…How long? (Jeremiah 12:1-4)

Jeremiah veiled his complaints and whining with a few pious asides, but God wasn’t fooled because He knew Jeremiah’s heart.

[But the Lord rebukes Jeremiah’s impatience, saying] If you have raced with men on foot and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? And if [you take to flight] in a land of peace where you feel secure, then what will you do [when you tread the tangled maze of jungle haunted by lions] in the swelling and flooding of the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5 AMP)

In Larry’s simple words, God said, “Jeremiah, if you can’t handle this small stuff, how will you handle the bigger stuff when it soon hits the fan in Judah?”

A little later, the Lord added, “If you return wholeheartedly to Me and My ways and do not follow in the footsteps of your family, friends and countrymen, then I will deliver you.” (Jeremiah 15:19-21 in Larry’s simple words)

Jeremiah made up his mind to follow the Lord without hesitation and no matter what the costs were for him. He is still considered one of God’s greatest prophets.

Okay, what does this have to do with us today?

 When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a horse whose color was pale green. Its rider was named Death, and his companion was the Grave. These two were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals. (Revelation 6:7-8 NLT)

There will soon be a time when the Lord will hold up His hand and say, “Stop! That is enough!” The coronavirus will then end and our lives will return to whatever is considered normal at that time.

But the important point at that time will be — have we allowed this coronavirus shaking to remove our blind trust in government, politicians, medical science, our jobs/careers, finances, family, friends and ourselves so that we will only trust in the Lord?

You see, there is soon coming a time when one quarter of the earth, or approximately two billion people, will die. It won’t matter what governments do or propose at that moment, this prophecy will be fulfilled in the End-Times.

Let’s allow this coronavirus shaking and other shakings in the near future to prepare our hearts so we can teach our children, grandchildren and others to depend wholly on the Lord now!

 

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A Little Humor Helps

 

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If you read my testimony above, you will see an insurance agent named Bill mentioned. His full name is Bill Sheridan. He is a true man of God, but also a great writer. The following is an excerpt from his memoir, which I recommend to everyone. It’s a great read and only $2.99 on Amazon.

MIRACLE IN PEW 24

I begged my mom to let me stay home.

“I’m sick, Mom. I really, truly am!”

She didn’t believe me for a minute. And with good reason. After all, she pointed out, I had already been sick every school day during this 1955 Brooklyn Dodger-New York Yankee World Series, and had miraculously healed on travel days and weekends.

“You, young man, are going to Mass and then to school. Enough of this fooling around.”

When she said “young man,” I know my goose was cooked. Mom always saved that for when she meant there was nothing left to discuss.

Why couldn’t she cut me some slack? I was eleven years-old and the Dodgers had already broken my heart so many times before. The ’51 Giants game in the Polo Grounds. That stupid Bobby Thomsen. Those creepy Yankees year after year. And having to face George Timlin, my good friend but Yankee fan, every fall and argue that Mickey Mantle was just lucky and my Bums “was robbed” by bad calls.

This was their year and the Dodgers couldn’t blow it again. Didn’t she understand that I couldn’t miss Game Seven? I just knew that Johnny Podres could do it. I just knew it. We would finally win.

And I could swagger into Mt. Carmel Catholic Grade School in Lawler, Iowa, with my head held high.

But no. She wouldn’t believe me. It was this Irish-Catholic thing about not missing Mass. Even for the Dodgers. I can’t even remember why there was Mass on a school day. It might have been a First Friday.

The nuns taught us that if we made Mass on nine consecutive First Fridays we would have a priest by our side when we died. As a kid, I always had this picture in my mind of my mom being really proud as I lay dying at a car wreck, wearing clean underwear, with a Father O’Brien or Monsignor Murphy administering me the last rites.

Or it may have been a Holy Day.

I just knew that Campy might knock a ninth-inning winner out of the park and I didn’t want to miss it.

Mom was right, of course. I wasn’t sick. Not the upchucking kind of sick anyway. Just the kind of sick that comes from knowing that The Duke, PeeWee, ‘Oisk,’ Junior, and the boys were finally gonna win a Series. And I was going to be stuck in Sister Mary Bernard’s sixth-grade classroom all day conjugating verbs and learning about the martyrs.

If only Dad hadn’t died a few years before. He would have understood. He would have let me have the flu one more time. Then I could see Junior Gilliam and Sandy Amoros finally win the Big One. But not Mom. She was a GIRL. She didn’t get it. And neither did my three brothers or two sisters. Not one of them stuck up for me.

They said, “He’s faking it Ma, and he should go to Mass and school just like the rest of us.” They thought it was funny that Mom knew I wasn’t really sick. Sometimes I hated my siblings. This was one of those times.

My fate was sealed. But I didn’t have to like it. And I could still whine and pout. I could skip breakfast, still pretending that I couldn’t hold anything down. If my life was going to be miserable, I could at least try to make their lives miserable, too. So, I did. I went to Mass still pretending that I really was sick.

And it happened. A real-life miracle. I swear on a stack of bibles. A gift from God. Like Paul on the road to Damascus. Like Moses and the burning bush. Like David when he dropped The Big G.

We were all kneeling in Pew 24 of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church. Pew 24 was halfway down the right side of the church from the back near the middle aisle. We paid something called pew rent to sit there.

I remember staring at the candles on the altar and everything getting blurry. And getting dizzy. And a strange sound. Father Delay’s back seemed to be swaying back and forth. I could hear a clunking noise and sensed commotion. Confusion.

Then, for a brief moment, total silence. Suddenly, I felt myself being carried out of church by Tom Cooney and Bob Emery. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had fainted! I had never fainted before and I’ve never fainted since. But on that day, when fainting is probably the only thing in the world that would have kept me home, I fainted!

Mom was in a tizzy. She was upset with herself for not believing me. I could vaguely hear her in my semi-conscious state. “He told me he was sick. He told me, but I didn’t believe him.”

It has now been 65 years and Mt. Carmel Catholic School has long since burned to the ground. Mt. Carmel Catholic Church has been torn down and replaced. And I still have no definitive assurance of why it all happened. Granted, I had not eaten breakfast and it was very warm in church. Perhaps that’s all there was to it.

But I have a better idea. Admittedly, it’s just a theory, but one that I like very much.

Could it be that God was a Brooklyn Dodger fan?

Being omniscient, He knew in advance that after the 1957 season they would be moving to Los Angeles and it would never be the same. And He knew that a little red-haired boy from Iowa could not bear to miss that game on television. So He let me gently collapse somewhere between the seat and the kneeler of Pew 24 in Mt. Carmel Catholic Church. In so doing, He gave me a glimpse of Heaven, a Dodger victory.

Later that afternoon I was in our living room watching our black and white Philco TV, cheering on my beloved Bums. I saw Sandy Amoros glide toward the left-field stands and make the most spectacular catch I’ve ever seen in my whole life, and then double Yankee Gil McDougal off first base to kill a rally! Johnny Podres went on to pitch a 2-0 shutout. Justice had been served on those Yankee Pinstripes; and I cried tears of joy.

My mom died a few years ago at age 87 and I’ve been thinking of her as yet another Major League season begins.

I’ll bet by now God has had time to clue her in about what really happened that morning. That she was right all along. I really wasn’t sick on that October day in 1955.

But He looked down and decided it was more important for me to finally see the Dodgers beat the Yankees than attend Sister Mary Bernard’s classes on what would turn out to be an unforgettable fall afternoon.

And maybe—just maybe—He’s arranged for Mom to meet Roy Campenella and Gil Hodges and Carl Furillo and Sandy Amoros and Walter Alston—and they’ve had a big laugh about it.

Just the thought of it makes me smile.

(Excerpt from Depot Street Memories…The Lawler Stories by Bill Sheridan)

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Why Waste a Crisis?

In an off-the-cuff statement, President Barack Obama’s former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, gave us an insiders’ view on what some politicians really believe. “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that, it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

Sadly, some politicians seem to be following Emanuel’s advice to advance their political agendas during the COVID-19 crisis. Historians and fellow citizens will eventually be their judges.

But yet, from a Christian viewpoint, Emanuel’s words ring true.

I remember the former Iowa Director of the 700 Club’s Food Bank telling his salvation testimony. It happened while he was a U.S. Marine stationed at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, along with 400 others during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

During the thirteen-day standoff between Russia and the USA, Fidel Castro surrounded the Guantanamo base one morning with 10,000 Cuban troops and large artillery. Castro ordered the U.S. Marines to surrender, lower the America flag and leave the base by 4 p.m. or face annihilation.

The Marine Commander called his commanders in the states, asking what to do. The commanders stated, “We can’t get reinforcements to you in time, but American Marines never lower the American flag to its enemy. Don’t surrender. Keep fighting to the last man if need be.”

Every Marine knew this could be his last day alive because there was no chance to survive a battle against Castro’s superior forces and artillery. The hours and minutes flew by, but as it did, Marines – one by one – fell to their knees and surrendered their lives to the Lord.

The old Sarge laughed and made fun of the Marines who dropped to their knees. He called them all kinds of profane names, but at 3:55 p.m., old Sarge fell to his knees and surrendered his life to the Lord.

Every Marine at that Guantanamo base gave his life to the Lord that day. Every Marine!

The 4 p.m. deadline passed and Castro backed down from his threats.

The Kingdom of God always moves Jesus’ banner of hope and love forward against the kingdom of darkness during crises.

So, let’s not waste the COVID-19 crisis. Let’s use it “as an opportunity to do those things we couldn’t do before.”

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To Speak in Tongues or To Not Speak in Tongues? That is the question. (Part 3)

Praying in tongues quiets the mind. When Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist, compared brain scans of Christians praying in tongues with Buddhist monks chanting and Catholic nuns praying, the study showed the frontal lobes—the brain’s control center—went quiet in the brains of Christians talking in tongues, proving that speaking in tongues isn’t a function of the natural brain but an operation of the Spirit (1 Cor. 14:2, 14). (Adapted from Seventy Reasons for Speaking in Tongues by Bill Hamon(Destiny Image). Reproduced by permission of Destiny Image.

An early step in my heart renovation happened during the winter of 1993 when I scheduled a teaching at a home group in Story City, Iowa, a fifty-five mile journey from Fort Dodge. My 1975 Chevy gas-hog of a pickup truck sat outside of my apartment with a gas tank resembling my empty billfold.

I already had a teaching ready for the group and felt the Lord had a way to somehow get me there. I prayed in tongues on my knees for an hour before a scripture crossed my mind.

One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed (Proverbs 19:17).

“Lord, how will this scripture help me?” I asked aloud.

No response came, but I knew the scripture contained my answer. I memorized it and meditated on it while praying in tongues for another hour. The Holy Spirit eventually reminded me about giving all the money in my billfold to a poor woman who lived just down the street. The ex-husband was late with child support. The family needed milk and groceries.

“Okay, Lord. That builds my faith because I did give money to a poor person, but how am I going to make my faith work in this instance?” I said.

No answer again.

I returned to bowing on my knees and continued meditating on the scripture while praying in tongues for another hour. This time I felt the Lord instructed me to cut out a piece of paper and tape it over my gas gauge so the needle pointing to E could not be seen. My faith would then be in God and not in the gas tank. I followed His instructions.

The truck’s engine roared to life when I turned the key and headed out into the cold, windy, snowy evening. There was little traffic on the highway. My thoughts on the ride centered on whether an angel had a gas can and continually poured fuel into the tank or if the Lord recycled the fumes. I never figured it out, but I arrived at my destination without any incident.

The Lord has built in my heart a deep trust in prayer over the years. He is my Father, who loves me enough to bankrupt heaven for me. I ask Him to provide for whatever I need in the quiet of the prayer closet and seldom have ever mentioned anything to others. Thus, I never told anyone about my empty gas tank at the house group.

The meeting and fellowship lasted until midnight, but just before I left, a man handed me thirty dollars.

“The Lord told me to give this money to you,” he said.

I thanked him and let him know how much I appreciated his obedience to the Lord’s voice.

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

Be still and know that I am God... (Psalm 46:10)

(Continued in Part 4)

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To Speak in Tongues or To Not Speak in Tongues? That is the Question. (Part 2)

 

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels… (1 Cor. 13:1)

Now, I wish that you all spoke in tongues… (1 Cor. 14: 5

I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all do. (1 Cor. 14: 18)

 I can hear the groans and the shouts. “Not tongues. Anything but that trivial twaddle. I ain’t doing it. No siree – no tongues for me. Never!”

Okay, relax. Take a deep, deep breath. Hold it for a minute or so. Now breathe out. Continue reading.

Let’s return to the same scenario as Part 2.

Your family is staying at the luxurious Beverly Wilshire Hotel (where Pretty Woman was filmed), just off Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. Your wife and daughter are enjoying the shopping spree, and you are carrying enough plastic cards to pay for everything.

Then, three Mumbai-type terrorists enter the hotel lobby, AK-47’s blazing away and hand grenades exploding. Chaos and confusion reigns as dead bodies hit the floor.

Somehow, you grab your wife and daughter, and hide in a first floor cafe. As you crouch behind a table, you hear the sounds of people begging for their lives and the lives of their children. But then, bursts from the AK-47’s let you know that mercy is not a part of the terrorists’ makeup.

You hear their footsteps approaching the cafe. It will only be seconds before they enter the door. You look at your wife and daughter, tears are streaming down their faces. They don’t want to die. They want you to do something. Anything. Just do something.

Are you going to pray? If so, how?

Now remember, your mind will be a pile of mush. You will have thoughts about wishing you would have stayed home, or should have gone to Hawaii instead of California, or spending a nice sunny day anywhere but not where you are at that moment. Plus, fear, not wanting your family to die, and total confusion.

How will you quiet your mind to pray at that moment?

Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which can not be uttered.

Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8: 27-28)

Remember: Radical Christians do not care what others think. They swim upstream against the religious current.

The above article was posted on November 19, 2014, as a part of a series on Islamic Terrorism vs. Radical Christians. I believe it still works for today’s fears, especially coronavirus.

 (Continued in Part 3)

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To Speak in Tongues or To Not Speak in Tongues? That is the question. (Part 1)

The Holy Spirit Showed Up

I drove our new Buick Station Wagon to Des Moines on Monday, July 8, 1985, the fiftieth day after my salvation. There I called on corporate accounts to introduce them to Hunter Ross’s advertising programs. After my last appointment at 4 p.m., I headed back to Fort Dodge, a ninety-mile drive, hoping to see my son play in a high school baseball game that evening. Driving past Webster City on Highway 20, I experienced what Peter and the early disciples did on the first Pentecost in Jerusalem.

My mind concentrated on driving one moment, and in the next, a holy Presence flooded the interior of the car. Every part of me tingled as if jolted by a lightning bolt. I felt like opening my mouth to express the joy bubbling up within me and when I did, I spoke in tongues.

The Pentecostals and Charismatics refer to this experience as the baptism of the Holy Spirit.If you have a different teaching on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and think it refers to a different experience altogether, I’m okay with that.  The label is not as important as the experience.

I only spoke five syllables at first. So my biggest concern was whether I might forget the weird sounding words. I repeated them over and over again in my drive to the baseball diamond at Roger’s Park.

After parking, I sought Bill Sheridan to inquire about speaking in tongues. Did I need to worry about forgetting the syllables?

“Larry, it’s a gift of the Holy Spirit. He has a great memory,” said Bill with a laugh.

Speaking in tongues became my most used type of prayer from that day forward.

Excerpt from my memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who by Larry Nevenhoven.

Surveys by Barna and Gallup estimate that only 7 – 8% of born again believers speak in tongues (prayer utterances unintelligible to the speaker).

About one in four (in Barna’s survey) said the practice is a sign of spiritual maturity, but more than two-thirds agreed that tongues-speakers, though usually sincere, are engaged in emotional outbursts that have nothing to do with God.

“Forty percent say that if they were to speak in tongues, they would be frightened by the experience,” Barna said.

“That doesn’t surprise me,” said sociologist Margaret Poloma of the University of Akron. She said a graduate student recently told her that he spoke in tongues once while he was at a high school church camp, but he never repeated it because it scared him.

“A lot of people are afraid of letting go for fear of the unknown,” Poloma said.

Russell Spittler, an Assemblies of God minister who teaches New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, said he believes that there is a hesitancy to speak in tongues in most Pentecostal and charismatic churches because “one might be thought to be a religious nut.” (See full article here.)

Why am I teaching on speaking in tongues?

On March 14, 2020, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart:

“Listen to My voice. Teach others to do the same. Great confusion shall soon come upon the earth. Many will believe they are doing My will, but will be deceived. Stress speaking in tongues.”

So, hold onto your kippers, mitres and plain old baseball caps as we dig into speaking in tongues.

(Continued in Part 2)

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How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Conclusion)

 

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. (Proverbs 12:25 NKJ)

The foundation for anxiety and depression is fear.

Now, most Christians don’t have to be reminded that it’s wrong to be fearful because we have heard it over and over again. Yet, in our brokenness and our frailty, we fall short of trusting the Lord in all of our circumstances.

The “what if this happens or that happens, then what” scenarios continue to play over and over in our minds and drown out our trust in the Lord. Right?

The Apostle Paul underlined our struggles when he wrote:

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24)

Paul answered his question in Romans 8:1.

Many of us have memorized Romans 8:1, but how can we really walk in the truth of not allowing condemnation to derail our lives?

Yes, the Bible exhorts us to pray and study the word.  But let’s be honest, this advice fails to move most of us, which brings us back to Paul’s question: “who will deliver us?”

If we’re thinking the answer is going to a church on Sunday, sitting in a pew with 300, 600, 1000 or 8000 other believers, listening to a sermon-lecture and a few prayers, and returning week after week for more of the same, then why aren’t we all delivered from our fear, anxiety and depression as yet?

Maybe we need to look elsewhere.

Did you know that 50% of the members at Alcoholic Anonymous stay sober, another 25% relapse but return, and the other 25% do not remain sober?

Why is Alcoholics Anonymous so successful?

The meetings are small in size and open to all. Everyone is allowed to share what’s on his heart. Success stories – even small successes – are celebrated as victories. There are intense discussions. Each member is paired up with a mentor who helps them through any struggles.

HELLO!

Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you. (1 Corinthians 14:26 NLT)

Alcoholic Anonymous modeled its meetings after the early home churches. And it works!

Thus, I believe the only way for us to overcome our fear, anxiety and depression is to have small home groups (or home churches) with open formats, allowing the Holy Spirit to move in our midst. Members can pray and use their spiritual gifts to help set others free.

The reason I use a bold font to emphasize “with open formats” is that many churches have home groups, but have rigid formats that they follow. This won’t work!

Why is this so important?

I believe America is about to enter into a period of extreme tribulation and confusion that has never been experienced before in our nation’s history. The number of people who suffer from fear, anxiety and depression will multiply off the charts almost over night.

We need to prepare ourselves now.

(Conclusion)

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