Monthly Archives: October 2015

“Are We There Yet?” (Part 9)

 The Two-Covenant Theology was pioneered in this century by the non-Messianic Jewish philosopher Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929), and since elaborated by such liberal Christian theologians as Reinhold Niebuhr and James Parkes. This theory holds that the Jewish people were brought close to God by means of the covenant with Avraham (Abraham) and the Torah of Moshe (Moses), so that they have no need to “come” to the Father through Yeshua (Jesus) or anyone else, because they are already with Him. Accordingly, Yeshua’s word is not for the Jews, but for the Gentiles and is to be understood thusly: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; and no Gentile comes to the Father except through Me.”

The Two-Covenant theory enables the Jewish Community to live in apparent peace (from its point of view) with its Christian neighbors by alleviating the pressure on Judaism to downgrade Jesus, the New Testament, and Christianity; for a non-Messianic Jew can say, “We Jews have our way, Judaism; and you Gentiles have your way, Christianity. We will each serve God best by following the way provided for us. It is a manifestation of God’s grace that He has provided Jesus for you Gentiles and Torah for us Jews.” Thus Jesus can be held in high regard because His claims are not taken as posing any threat to the structure of non-Messianic Judaism. (Excerpt from Jewish New Testament Commentary by David H. Stern, 1992, Jewish New Testament Publications, p. 196-197)

However, this whole theory falls to pieces when you consider that Jesus (Yeshua) was a Jew and mainly preached His Gospel of the Kingdom of God to Jews. All of the early evangelism was done by Jews and focused on Jews with the message being, “Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus.” (John 14:6)

Paul the Apostle stated:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)

Jews and Gentiles alike need a Savior named Jesus (Yeshua).

(Continued in Part 10…if you’re interested, the full series to date can be seen here.)

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If We Just Ignore Gays, They’ll Go Away, Right? (Part 7)

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In a back and forth discussion, the Pharisees stated that Abraham was their father, but Jesus hit them right between the eyes when He said, “You are of your father the devil [Satan], and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning…and the father of lies.”

Let’s put on our thinking caps for a moment:

Did God create a murderer and a liar when He created Satan?

You [Satan] were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. (Ezekiel 28:15)

God created Satan as a perfect spirit being that was obviously given a free will of sorts. He eventually used his freedom to sin.

Plus, who could Satan have murdered when he was first created? Not God or the other angels who were also eternal spirit beings.  Man and other animals were not created as yet, leaving no one to murder at the time of Satan’s creation.

Thus, Jesus’ use of the words murderer from the beginning could not refer to when Satan was first created as a spirit being. But rather, it most likely referred to when the evil one sinned and became known as Satan. This probably happened sometime soon after Adam and Eve were created.

Jesus called Satan a murderer. Who did the evil one murder?

And the Lord God commanded Adam, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

Without a gun, knife, or club, Satan murdered mankind by relying on God’s integrity to honor His word when he deceived Eve and caused Adam to rebel against God’s revealed word.

For your information: the deception by Satan did not negate Adam’s responsibility to obey God’s words because Romans 12:12 states that sin and death entered into the world through Adam and then spread to all men.

But still and all, we have to realize that the father of lies and the deceiver of mankind is a murderer.

(Continued in Part 8…if you’re interested, the full series to date can be seen here.)

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Thursday’s Prayers for America (10/29/2015)

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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!”

(Excerpt from Deceived Dead and Delivered by Larry Nevenhoven, 2013, Amazon eBook)

My prayer for America:

Lord, raise up American believers that are willing to deny themselves, pick up their crosses daily, and follow You. And Lord, show me how to be one of them.  (Based on Luke 9:23)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.

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Tuesday’s Prayers for Prisoners (10/27/2015)

The first time I heard the term “religious nut” was in the 1950’s when my mom spit those words out of her mouth. It happened when we shopped at Meiners’ Grocery Store in Forreston, Illinois. Mom picked a few items off the shelves and carried them up to the checkout. Lillian Meiners, the cashier, attempted to talk about the Lord to Mom while totaling the purchases on the cash register. It was a one-sided conversation with Mom saying nothing.

“She’s a religious nut!” Mom proclaimed as we walked to our 1955 Pontiac, parked outside the door.

From that day forward, Lillian Meiners personified a religious nut to me. I would often see her and when I did, Mom’s words popped into my mind. Lillian never knew my true feelings about her. It was one of those inner character assassinations I never spoke aloud to anyone.

Lillian’s name was filed on a forgotten corner shelf of my mind until late 1985. It would still be there covered with layers of dust and cobwebs except for the question I asked the Lord one morning during prayer.

“Jesus, why did you save me?”

A clear voice whispered to my heart.

“Because of Lillian Meiners’ prayers for you.”

His words shocked me, but a few years later, I talked with her pastor, Rev. Orin Graff. He told me Lillian was a diligent prayer warrior for kids who attended Bible Camp.

The first saint I am going to hug upon my arrival in heaven will be Lillian Meiners. I want to thank her for faithfully praying for an agnostic who always thought she was a religious nut. We can have a good laugh about my ignorance and how Jesus set me straight.

(Excerpt from The Hunt for Larry Who by Larry Nevenhoven, 2014, Amazon eBook)

My prayers for today:

Lord, I ask that you raise up faithful prayer warriors that keep on praying for Asia, no matter what others think or what they themselves see, believing that You are just as influenced by a single voice as You are by a million.

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for prisoners in Asia, according to Hebrews 13:3.

 

Why Asia?

1. 4.4 billion people live in Asia.

2.. 85.4% of world’s unevangelized people live in Asia. (Unevangelized means they may have heard the gospel but have no understanding on how to respond.)

3. The world’s three largest non-Christian religions – Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhists – are based in Asia.

4. Of the 37 countries of the world that are less than 10% Christian, 32 are in Asia. Of the 14 countries, that are less than 2% Christian, 12 are in Asia.

5. 85-90% of unreached people live in Asia. (Unreached means that they have never heard the name of Jesus.) (Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation)

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“Are We There Yet?” (Part 8)

Señor Luiz introduced himself to our Brazilian Portuguese class at the beginning of my sophomore year at the University of Illinois. He stated that he was from São Paulo, Brazil, and looked forward to teaching us. He then went around the room, asking each student his or her name. When the student mentioned his name, Señor Luiz asked, “Would you mind if I called you  by the Brazilian Portuguese translation of your name?”

Thus, William became Guilherme, Mary became Maria, Edward became Eduardo, and so forth.

After I had told him my name, he said, “Do you mind if I call you Señor Lourenço?”

“I never liked the name Lawrence. So, if it’s okay with you, just  call me Señor Larry,” I said.

He nodded his head and said, “Sim.”

Now, most of us want to be called by the names given to us by our parents. It’s the names which our parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, teachers, and everyone have called us all through our lives. Our names reflect our family heritage and often contain the dreams and hopes pinned on our lives at our births by our parents.

For instance, my wife was named Carol, not Carole. She was born just after the holidays and her mom thought of her as a Christmas carol. Interesting enough, Carol went off to college, studied music, and became a singer.

Okay, what about New Testament names?

This may come as a shock to you, but almost every character in the New Testament has had their names changed. This is due to the fact that our New Testament has been translated from the Greek into the English language. All of the Hebrew and Jewish names have been changed into a Greek form of the same name.

The Greek name – Jesus Christ – was really Yeshua HaMashiach. Mary was Miryam. Joseph was Yosef. Matthew was Mattityahu. Simon Peter was Shim’on Kefa. James was Ya’akov Ben-Zavdai. John was Yochanan. T’oma was Thomas. Judas Iscariot was Y’hudah from K’riot. Saul or Paul was Sha’ul. Barnabas was Yosef or Bar-Nabba.

It was almost as if Señor Luiz went around to each New Testament character and asked, “Do you mind if I call you by a Greek name instead of your Hebrew one?” They, of course, said nothing because they were dead.

Sadly, the name changes removed the Hebrew-ness from our New Testament.

(Continue in Part 9…if you’re interested, the full series to date can be seen here.)

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Thursday’s Prayers for America (10/22/2015)

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Most people have seen the movie, Titanic, and its fictional love story about a poor boy, Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio), and a rich girl, Rose (Kate Winslet), on an ill-fated ocean voyage. The movie won the 1997 Oscar for Best Picture. Its box-office sales of over $1.8 billion rank it as the second most successful movie of all time, behind Avatar.

Hollywood created its own fictional heroes for the movie script, but on April 14, 1912, there were many real heroes. One of them was named John Harper.

John Harper, a thirty-nine year old widower and a Baptist preacher, was traveling to Chicago aboard the R.M.S Titanic on its maiden voyage with his six-year old daughter, Nana. He was scheduled to preach some evangelistic meetings at the Moody Church.

At 11:40 p.m., the Titanic hit an iceberg on the starboard side of the ship. As soon as Harper realized the ship was going to sink, he took his daughter to a lifeboat and placed her aboard. “Nana, I’ll see you again someday,” he said to her.

Then, while flares lit up the sky, he marched up and down the decks yelling, “Women, children, and unsaved into the lifeboats!”

At 2:20 a.m., a rumble arose from deep within the ship as it broke in half. Hundreds of people, including Harper, jumped into the 28-degree (-2 C) water as the Titanic slipped into its watery grave.

As soon as Harper hit the surface, he frantically swam from one person to the next, leading them to Jesus before the people succumbed to the icy waters and hypothermia. He asked one young man who clutched a piece of wood, “Are you saved?” The young man answered that he was not.

Harper tried to convince the young man, but the man refused to listen. Harper took off his life jacket and threw it at the man. “Here then, you need this more than I do,” said Harper as he swam off to other people.

A few minutes later, Harper returned to the man and successfully led him to Christ. Then, Harper attempted to swim to other people, but the icy waters were too much for him. “Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved,” he shouted before he sank under the waters.

Of the 1528 people that went into the icy waters that night, lifeboats rescued only six. One of them was the young man who later recounted how Harper had led him to Christ.

 

Harper wasted no time swimming around in the icy waters talking about his Baptist credentials or the five pillars of Calvinism. He asked one question: “Are you saved?” He acted on what was the most important need at that tragic moment on April 14, 1912. Today, like John Harper, we must focus our efforts on what’s needed now.

Yes, there are those who are crossing their fingers and praying for a national revival. And if the Lord sends one, hallelujah, thank You Jesus, I will join in. But I’ve listened to prophecies about a soon-coming revival, which will wash our nation clean of sin for the last thirty years. It hasn’t arrived as yet. So, do we keep walking down the same path for twenty-five or ten or five more years, hoping for a revival?

Not me! I’m jumping off this path and walking on a new one.

(Excerpt from New Wind Blowing by Larry Nevenhoven, 2013, an Amazon eBook)

My prayer for America today:

Lord, I pray that we believers lay down every one of our plans, our hopes, our dreams, our visions, our prophetic words for America, which have ensnared us, so that we can run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. (Based on Hebrews 12:1-2)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.

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If We Just Ignore Gays, They’ll Go Away, Right? (Part 6)

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God looked at Adam and saw that he needed a helper, a person providing him assistance and support in good times or bad. The person that God created to help Adam was like him, but different. She was a woman.

Adam and Eve then became God’s pattern for humans. God blessed the first couple and gave them His plan for mankind —

“Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over living thing that moves on earth. See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.” (Genesis 1:28-29)

God’s plan for mankind was given to a couple: a husband (male) and wife (female) team, not to two men or two women. 

Satan also knew God’s plan for mankind. The evil one understood that if man and woman followed God’s plan, mankind would continue to be blessed forever and ever by God. Satan’s desires to be like the Most High and a god would then never happen. So, he had to do something to further his ambitions, but what?

From experience, Satan knew he could not defeat God, but he also knew that God would not put up with the sin of rebellion. His plan was simple: deceive Adam and Eve into rebelling against God.

“You will not surely die…you will be like God…” (Genesis 3:4-5)

Eve saw that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was good for fruit, it was pleasant to her eyes, and she desired it. She took the fruit and ate it.

Adam watched Eve eat the fruit and noticed she didn’t die. He then ate the forbidden fruit, too.

Rebellion!

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1-2)

(Continued in Part 7…if you’re interested, the full series to date can be seen here.)

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