First the Blade (Chapter 32)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 32

Faith Summary

 

You’re probably thinking this book should be entitled Faith One-O-One because of my emphasis on faith. But my deep belief is that we need to have a solid foundation of faith to persevere in our journeys with the Lord.

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Walking with God always takes faith. Always. Always. Always.

I wrote this a few years ago, but it shows why we may need strong faith in the near future:

So, let’s say that you’re staying with your family at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (where the movie, Pretty Woman, was filmed), just off Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. But all of a sudden, terrorists arrive and begin shooting their AK-47’s and exploding grenades, killing, and maiming everyone they see. Confusion and havoc reigns.

Somehow you’re able to barricade your family and yourself in a first floor cafe. You hear the terrorists walking your direction.  Who can you expect to help you?

Will the president help you? He’ll make a statement on TV, deploring terrorism, and will probably add, “Most Muslims are good people. These are just a few bad eggs!” After all, he needs the Muslim vote in the next election and doesn’t want to offend CAIR.

Will the governor help you? This is California, not Texas, so the Governor will first take a quick telephone poll to discover what the people think. You know, he’s running for office again and the election will be a close one. He also will appear on TV, deplore terrorism, announce that he is considering all options, even calling out the National Guard and will take a helicopter to the scene.

Will the mayor and city council members help you? These guys will be relegated to low-level radio interviews. And of course, they will deplore terrorism: yada, yada, yada.

What about the police? They and their SWAT teams will surround the hotel. Phone calls will be made to the governor, mayor, police chief and whoever else needs to be contacted before taking action. Valuable time will pass before a decision is made.

What about a DMORT team? This is the one positive that will happen almost immediately. A Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team from Region IX will be dispatched as soon as they hear about the attack. They will bring victim identification equipment, body bags, and storage units for the expected dead people.

Our only hope will be our strong faith in God.

 

If you do not have a great faith revelation, I recommend reading and studying the Word of Faith teachings by Kenneth E. Hagin. I disagree with him about his teachings on the doctrine of grace, but he’s by far the best faith teacher. His teachings will build strong faith in you.

If you are wondering about the prosperity teachings taught by many Word of Faith preachers, Kenneth E. Hagin never agreed with those teachings. Before he died, he warned those teachers of their greed and asked them to repent. Few listened to him.

You can read many of his books on line by Googling his name or purchase them, used or new, at Amazon.com. If you have time, check Salvation Army stores and other used bookstores, often you can buy them for pennies on the dollar.

Studying Kenneth E. Hagin’s teachings may be a good investment of your time, which may pay off in huge dividends for you in the future.

(Continued…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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First the Blade (Chapter 31)

 

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 31

Building Mustard-Seed Faith (p)

As far as churches go, the church building was not much to look at. The paint had peeled off its white clapboard siding and covered the ground with white flecks. The roof sagged. The sidewalks and steps had huge cracks. The small sanctuary seated a hundred and thirty people − at best.

During a four-year period in the late 1980’s and early 90’s, I attended that small Charismatic church. Its membership never surpassed thirty members, and for many Sunday services, just ten or twelve people sat in the pews.

Regular services were held on Sunday mornings and evenings, and of course, a Bible study on Wednesday nights. Every morning at 7a.m., there was a prayer meeting for revival in the city.

The city’s food pantry for needy people was located in the church’s basement. Most of the food items came from Second Harvest (now called Feeding America). The church also received a monthly stipend from the 700 Club to cover costs of the program.

Finances were always a problem for the church. The members were poor and there were not enough of them. Maintenance and repairs for the church building were always put off until something happened. We then all chipped in enough money to fix the problem.

The church’s pastors were an older couple. The wife was the head pastor and the husband was an associate pastor.

Okay, do you have the picture? Small church. Few members. Little money. Two pastors.

Yet, if Christians in the area needed a prophetic word, they came to the church. The pastors prophesied, I prophesied, and so did most of the other members. Any person who asked for prayer would leave with numerous prophetic words for his life. This happened all the time.

 

How could there ever be a problem with a group which had such strong prophetic gifts and who supposedly heard the voice of God?

The two pastors had apostolic callings with a vision for forming a network of churches. They hoped to plant new churches and add existing ones to the network. All would be under their apostolic guidance.

This sounded exciting enough at the time, but the two pastors had a chink in their vision: me.

The two pastors heard numerous prophecies spoken by various people about my life and had spoken many themselves. They interpreted all of my personal prophecies to mean I would be a part of their team. They wanted me to be their Silas, a prophet who would encourage and strengthen the brethren in their network of churches.

Their vision for my life did not match the one I had for me.

I shared with them what I believed the Lord wanted me to do, but they told me I was deceived. These conversations never ended well and usually one would say, “Larry, you need to really seek the Lord about your life. You don’t want to be deceived, do you?”

Why didn’t I just leave the church?

Part of the problem was the mixed-up pastoral authority teachings, which I believed at the time. These teachings taught that all believers needed to be submitted to a pastor and under his/her authority or be out of the will of God.

There was another side to the pastoral authority teachings. This one taught that because the pastor was the shepherd and head of the local church, the Lord would first speak to the leader about what a member should do with his life. This particular teaching was an offshoot of the Shepherding Movement.

I eventually knew I had to confront the pastors about their control issues in my life. A meeting was set up to air our differences.

I fasted and prayed ahead of time and had scriptures and prophetic words for them. But as I began speaking to them, one of the pastors spoke in tongues and the other one interpreted the tongues. As this happened, I felt a suffocating power overwhelm me so I felt drained and afraid. Along with the fear, I became confused.

The meeting ended with me submitting under their authority and wondering what had happened to me. So, I sought the Lord.

The answers did not come quickly for me. I struggled in the church for the next few months. A woman from another city eventually knocked on my apartment door one evening. She said the Lord had sent her to pray for me.

After she prayed, the fear of the two pastors left me and my spiritual eyes were opened.

You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. (2 Corinthians 11:4 NLT)

The spiritual gifts are awesome tools given to us by God for the common good of all people. They contain the power of God and are distributed by the Holy Spirit.

But sadly, sometimes the prophetic gifts are not from the Holy Spirit, and may be from a familiar spirit or a lying spirit or another spirit. This is not a game. It’s an all-out war.

The last thing the enemy wants is for us to boldly walk in faith. To stop us, he will take advantage of every opportunity to derail us.

We need to have our faith built up so we understand there is only one mediator between man and God. His name is Jesus.

(Continued…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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First the Blade (Chapter 30)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 30

Building Mustard-Seed Faith (o)

Tiger Woods finished third in the 2011 Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, and won $330,667 for his four-day effort. Not bad, right?

Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters’ Champion, would have been satisfied with Tiger’s four days of golf scores because he missed the cut that year. Zach is not Tiger Woods nor is there another athlete like Tiger in the whole world. He is a minority of one.

Yet, Tiger by his own words was a failure: “Second place is first loser.” Third place would mean an even bigger loser by his definition, not a flattering description of his efforts at the 2011 Masters.

I myself cannot imagine the intense pressure Tiger must feel as he plays in a major golf tournament with thousands of media people checking him out from every angle. His swing. His putting. His attitude. His girl friends. His mistakes. It’s a wonder he can even hold a cup of coffee in his hands without spilling it all over himself.

What do you think drives Tiger Woods to keep putting himself through such a meat grinder like major golf tournaments?

Golf enthusiasts will say, “Its his deep pride which keeps him going. That’s the sum total of what Woods is all about: pride.”

To that, I will answer, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!”

I think Tiger Woods is driven by fear.

“Fear!” Woods’ fans may scream. “Not Tiger. He’s never been afraid of anything!”

What did Tiger first do when his infidelities and his marital problems became public? He hid out for months. Why? Because his life was a lie and his brand image a sham. He reacted in the exact same way Adam and Eve did because of fear.

I think Woods now heads to each major golf tournament, struggling to keep his fears in check. Fears that he will never ever again live up to the image of who he was in the past. And when you think about it: his image was a lie, not even a reality of who Tiger Woods really was.

Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)

I’m not against Tiger Woods, nor am I putting him down, but I hate the dark system, which drives him with fear: the kingdom of the world. And nothing would make me happier than learning Tiger has surrendered his life to Jesus and become a member of the Kingdom of our Lord.

In the Kingdom of our Lord, it’s not my successes or failures which matter, but instead it’s who Jesus is and what He’s done for me. I am already a success in His eyes because I am a member of His royal family. Any earthly successes I might possibly attain will only pale in value when compared to my citizenship in the Kingdom.

I can walk in the faith of knowing I am a royal prince, son of a great King, who loves me, owns me, and is always for me.

With this great revelation, have I ever known fear? Yes and it came from an unusual place: a church.

(Continued…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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Hey Senior Citizens! The American Church Needs New Leaders, Why Not You? (Part 5)

 

I am seventy-three years old.

You can call it pride or whatever, but I have always wanted to see the Lord return in my lifetime. That is until recently when I felt the Lord speak to my heart, “I am not returning in your lifetime. Help prepare your children and grandchildren for the End-Times.”

Whatever disappointment I might have felt at the time was erased by the urgency of His words.

Many preachers talk about the “great falling away” as if it will be just a slight bump in the road for the American church. After all, America has the greatest concentration of Christians within its borders of any nation in the world. 80 to 90 million Evangelical or born again Christians by many estimates.

Let no one in any way deceive or entrap you, for that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first [that is, the great rebellion, the abandonment of the faith by professed Christians], and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction [the Antichrist, the one who is destined to be destroyed] (2 Thessalonians 2:3 AMP)

Do you actually believe the Apostle Paul was talking about a slight bump in the road when he wrote about the “great falling away?”

I don’t.

It’s my belief that if we don’t take drastic steps that 50 to 75% or more of America’s Christians will abandon their faith during the soon coming End-Times period. That’s forty to seventy million believers!

Why such a large number?

Corrie Ten Boom’s 1974 letter about the Rapture explains most of my reasoning:

There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days.

In China, the Christians were told, “Don’t worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured.” Then came a terrible persecution.  Millions of Christians were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly, “We have failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution, rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when tribulation comes — to stand and not faint.”

Somehow, most American believers have swallowed the same poisonous Pre-Trib Rapture doctrine and believe we won’t suffer even though Jesus said –

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. See, I have told you beforehand. (Matthew 24:21-22, 25)

We believers are the elect and He is warning us to prepare ourselves ahead of time.

(Excerpt from my series, Will We End Up Being a Part of the Great Falling Away. You can read the whole series here.)

If you’re like me, your first thoughts after reading the above is to check your own walk with the Lord. This is a normal reaction, but I believe we’re missing the main point of this article. You see, we should be more concerned about our children and grandchildren than ourselves.

How would you feel about learning at some future time in eternity that your children and grandchildren were a part of the Great Falling Away? I’d be devastated. How about you?

So, if I’m accurate about the Great Falling Away, with as many as seventy million believers falling away from the faith, what must we do now?

(Continued…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

 

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Inside Israel

Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is —

Now also many nations have gathered against you, Who say, “Let her be defiled, And let our eye look upon Zion.”  But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord, Nor do they understand His counsel; For He will gather them like sheaves to the threshing floor.”   (MICAH 4:11,12)

O Israel, your prophets are like foxes in the deserts.  You have not gone up into the gaps to build a wall for the house of Israel to stand in battle on the day of the Lord.  They have envisioned futility and false divination, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord!’ But the Lord has not sent them; yet they hope that the word may be confirmed.” (EZEKIEL 13:4-6)

Greetings sisters and brothers,

In The Name of Yeshua, Jesus, King of kings, Lord of lords, the brightness of the image of The Father, our Peace and our greatly anticipated Joy.  May HE be glorified and blessed and may you be encouraged and blessed too through Him. 

How many times can I say, “What times we live in!” and how can I encourage and share when I know so little?  I must go back to what He told me to do from the beginning: “What you see, hear, WRITE.”  

 I see and hear horns of war and drums of unrest and dismay.  This is what I see and hear all around me etched on burdened faces. 

 We still have no government.  We have not had a government for a very long time and things are heating up around us.  We are still not sure if we will have to go to a third round of elections, and if we do, will the results be the same deadlock?  There is grief and discouragement with the uncertainty. 

 The air is hot and dry as a drying wind is blowing across our country.   There has not been a November like this since 2010 when the Carmel forest fire disaster stunned the country. It is hot and dry like that again.  I always listen when the weather here is strange because it often speaks of strange events waiting around the next corner.

 On the bus I was listening to the morning news trying to explain the re-opening of the Iranian nuclear facility at Fordo…and the name jarred me.  There was something particularly foreboding about that plant being deep underground, having been hidden from inspectors. 

The next morning I woke up with the name “Fordo” ringing in my ears. After prayer I went and looked up the meaning: 

translation and definition of “fordo” (English-Persian Dictionary  online):

fordo

IPA: /fɔːˈduː/; Type: verb;

کشتن

(فقط به صورت اسم مفعول) خسته کردن

(قدیمی)

ازپا درآوردن

مرکز هستهای فردو

نابود کردن

To kill, destroy.

To annul, abolish, cancel.

Fordo has a goal, a purpose that is announced in its name. 

At the Friday morning IFI meetings, Chuck has been saying that God appears to be calling the nations to the threshing floor and we are the bait. You know, it does not feel very comfortable to be bait.  Surely the nations around us are boiling.  We do not have a government but we have a promise that the government will be upon HIS shoulders, and I believe that. 

 GOD also has a goal and purposes that are also announced in His Name! 

————————————————————————-

 WELL, I wrote the above two days ago. I was EVEN going to tell you about how our bus drivers individualize their buses, but there is no time to discuss that now.  

You see, we are again in what appears to be the beginnings of a war.  I am sure that most of you know by now (thank you social media even though it’s not always accurate) but I am also sure that some do not know.  So I will share with you what I know.  

 Our south has been under constant increasing low level attack for about a year and a half.  Most of your nations would never allow a few rockets a week or weekly violent riots at your borders or sending of countless incendiary devices over our forests and fields setting them alight to raging fires.  An attack here, a murder there and so many more uncovered and diverted! 

 Apparently the main instigator for most of these attacks has been a charismatic leader of Islamic jihad named Abu Al-Atta. 

At about 4 am yesterday, Israel assassinated him as he was planning an imminent attack.  Concurrently, IT SEEMS, (these reports are less concrete) we MAY have targeted another Islamic jihad leader in Damascus.  The results were and continue to be a barrage of rockets targeting most of our coast into our central region. 

At this point the battle is escalating and Israel is targeting strategic sites in Gaza.  Schools and businesses were closed today for some 2 million people from the Gaza periphery to targeted areas along the coast and into the center.  Tel Aviv was closed down and shelters were opened.  Naturally, we are on high alert. 

At this point, Jerusalem is quiet, but still, Jerusalem is the prize.

So, it is time for prayer, because this is HIS people, HIS city and His nation. HIS plan and purposes are SO much bigger than my puny understanding of it all.  I am thankful for every ray of His light that He shines into me that I might see and understand a bit, but I am finally aware that it is really, only a BIT! 

 I would like to refer you to a fairly accurate site for local news that is continually updates itself on a live basis.  Many of their articles I do not agree with but they seem like the most accurate English source right now:    https://www.timesofisrael.com/

I will close my part of this letter here.  THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR FAITHFUL PRAYERS INTO THE PURPOSES OF GOD FOR HIS GLORY.  MAY YOU (AND WE HERE) PRAY HIS HEART AND NOT OURS.  MAY WE GLORIFY HIM AND FINISH THE WORK. 

Lovingly,

your sister J

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First the Ear (Chapter 29)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 29

Building Mustard-Seed Faith (n)

 

“Well, Larry, you have to be a little realistic, you know? God helps those who help themselves,” a Christian said after learning I had no health insurance and had not visited a doctor in years.

I shrugged my shoulders, not wanting to continue the conversation. What good would it have done? Her feet were stuck in concrete and so were mine. It most likely would have turned into a scripture-slinging contest.

Had she bothered to ask why I had no health insurance or had not visited a doctor for regular checkups, I would have answered her. “I’m not against doctors or health insurances. Both are important. But in our case, Carol and I had to make certain financial decisions. One of them was saving money by not having health insurance for me.”

I now have Medicare, but what about those many years when I had no health coverage? Did I ever worry back then about what would happen if I became sick?

No, absolutely not. I never lost a moment of peace over the decision and to be honest, I had some bad injuries from working on construction and selling cars. There were even times when Carol almost begged me to go to the doctor, but I would not.

Am I that stubborn? Probably, or at least many people, including Carol, tell me that. But my stubbornness is built upon solid ground: the promises of God.

The Lord gave me numerous promises for my life, most of which have not happened as yet. For those promises to ever occur, I can’t die. Plus, I have to walk, talk and write in order for them to be fulfilled.

Each time an affliction hit me, I reminded the Lord of His promises.

“Lord, you said I’d do such and such in my life which has not happened yet. I know You’re not a liar and that You foresee events like this before they happen. How are You going to get me through this affliction so I can fulfill the calling on my life and walk in Your promises?”

As they say, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” I’m still here and still seeking the Lord.

Is this great faith on my part? Not really, it’s just normal biblical faith based on the words of Jesus.

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (John 14: 27)

And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for you body, as to what you will put on. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” (Luke 12: 22, 31)

Fear is the opposite of faith with no neutral positions between the two.

Let’s look at how the world handles situations and how a Christian should handle them.

(Continued…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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First the Ear (Chapter 28)

 

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 28

Building Mustard-Seed Faith (m)

It dawned on me one day: I’m tired of Christian music. Every Christian song sounded like a spin-off of Shout to the Lord. I was bored with the same-o, same-o music.

Thus, when I drove my truck, I listened to country music.

The CD’s I listened to were mainly golden oldies sung by Johnny Cash, Glenn Campbell, Don Williams and others. Most were even Christians. Their music seemed quite tame compared to many of the newer artists.

Yet at the same time I began listening to country music, I started having nostalgic thoughts and dreams about my high school and college years. An overwhelming collage of thoughts invaded my mind about girls I dated, baseball games, football, 4-H, school subjects and more.

I found myself wondering about the “what-if’s” and the “if-only’s” of my earlier years. I even compared those choices with the realities in my life at the present. Focusing on prayer or reading the Bible became a battle for me.

I sought the Lord about my problem.

The Lord eventually showed me the music I listened to had hooks into my past. When I listened to the music, it drew me back into that time period and what I was doing at the time. I also felt the Lord showed me all popular music has some sort of hook in it, which grabs our thoughts. That’s why the music is so popular.

What I then had to do was give up listening to a steady diet of country music. I changed my MP3 player so that it had 85% Classical music, 10% Christian, and 5% country and other music.

Just to put my music listening into its proper perspective: I never listen to music outside of driving a vehicle. I like quiet. This is my personal preference, okay?

 

Then, there was the issue of talk radio.

During the 2004 and 2008 elections, I listened to conservative talk radio hosts when I drove a vehicle. Talk radio is a great alternative for understanding today’s political issues for most people as compared to the major media outlets. But this was not true for me.

I am more of a black and white, right or wrong type of person who also struggles with judgmental and critical attitudes. Listening to talk radio caused me to be upset with Christians who did not agree with me on political issues. I was angry with them.

The Lord was not lenient with me on this listening problem. I now seldom ever listen to talk radio or any TV news programs, which might have editorial comments as a part of their regular show.

As far as TV goes, I hardly ever watch regular TV shows. The rare exceptions are a few sporting events. I do like movies, but I prefer the old ones, such as African Queen, Quiet Man, Hoosiers, and North by Northwest.

There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages [voices] in the world, and no kind is without meaning. (1 Corinthians 14: 10)

Now this is what I’ve have to do in my life to cut back on voices so I can more readily hear the voice of Jesus, who is the author and perfecter of faith.

What about the work place and other environments I happen upon in my travels?

I can only control my personal choices, and not what others prefer, so I rely on the Lord’s grace and His mercy in those situations.

Do I believe everyone should follow my example?

If you want to walk at your highest level of faith, you will have to make some hearing choices. But, you need to ask the Lord what voices you need to get rid of. Don’t just do what I did, okay? It may take time to sort through the voices in your life but it will be worth it.

Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear… (Mark 4:24)

(Continued…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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