Monthly Archives: July 2017

If God Loves Us, Why Do We Still Suffer (Part 4)

It’s fun to think how God might have called a big assembly in heaven to discuss how to best train me for my calling:

All the top angels might have arrived on time for the special meeting in the Throne Room and sat around a large conference table. God would have asked for suggestions on how to handle the problem child named Larry. Perhaps, Gabriel raised his hand.

“Yes Gabriel?” God would have asked.

“Let’s have him fix and clean hundreds of toilets. It might humble him enough so that You can eventually use him as a worker in Your kingdom.”

“Hmm! Good idea, but let’s hold that one for later.”

“What about moving him all over the country so he feels like a pea in a tin can, with You constantly shaking him around?”

“Yes, Michael, another good idea. We can train him like we did Israel in the wilderness. But still, we need to put him between a rock and hard place to squeeze the pride out of him. Clarence, do you have any ideas?”

Clarence would have shrugged his wings. “Why not try the car crash routine again? It worked well with George Bailey.”

“Brilliant! That’s it! We’ll send Larry to at least ten dealerships as a salesman. Let’s work it out so he’s fired at the first four dealerships and totally unsuccessful at the last six. He’ll weep and shake with fear whenever he walks into dealerships from then on,” God might have said, while gazing at His ministering angels. “Now, each of you, go out and make this happen. We’ll have fun watching Larry die daily.”

 

The Lord spoke to my heart a month later at Lambdi Car and Truck Center when I was washing my hands in the men’s restroom: “You’re going to be fired again.”

The Lord’s words angered me. I walked to my desk, grabbed my coat, and went outside. There, I walked all over the car lot, telling the Lord what I thought of His handling of my life.

“I’m sick and tired of being fired. This is wrong! What kind of testimony does this demonstrate to unbelievers and my wife? This is terrible! Can’t You do better than this?”

On and on I ranted for over thirty minutes while Leo Lambi, the other salesman, a financial officer, and secretary watched, wondering if I had flipped out. I eventually came to the conclusion that God was going to do what He wanted with my life. After all, He is God.

“Okay, Lord, do what You want to me.”

Two days later, Lambi called me into his office.

“Larry, I’m letting John and you go. Business is slow, you know. I’m hiring a former sales manager from Fort Dodge. The two of us can handle the business in the future.”

“The Lord told me you would be firing me the other day. So, what do you want me to do? Finish out the week or what?” I asked.

His face revealed shock about my statement.

“You can work or go home now. John has already left.”

I worked the rest of the week and sold the most expensive car on the lot on my last day of work for Lambi Truck and Car Center.

(An excerpt from The Hunt for Larry Who (a Memoir) by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2014, Amazon eBook)

We have to remember there were other people involved in my life when I worked at the auto dealerships. The income was needed to help provide for them. So, why would the Lord allow my family and me to endure such pain and suffering?

God hated my pride and wanted to rid me of as much of it as possible. Period.

Trials are meant to change us. We need to embrace the pain and suffering, allowing them to change us into the image of Christ.

(Continued in Part 5…the full series to date  can be read here.

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Prayers for American Christians’ Eyes to be Opened (7/11/2017)

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What was God thinking when He chose Donald Trump to be president of the United States? And if God did put Trump in office, shouldn’t the president quit offending people with his many Twitter attacks and act more dignified?

“God will offend our minds to reveal our hearts to us.” (Mike Bickle)

I am not an apologist for President Trump nor do I claim to know all of what God has in mind for Trump’s presidency. Yet, I do know this: all who voice their thoughts on killing, assassinating, cutting off his head, impeaching, undermining, calling him and his wife vicious names, and whatever else reveal their hearts to the whole world. No amount of public relations’ touchups afterwards can erase their words.

Also, everyone who agrees with these horrible words, but has not voiced them as yet, has a major heart problem, which needs to be handled right away.

My prayer today:

Lord, send Your Holy Spirit to convict us American believers of our evil thoughts, which are stored up in our hearts and defiling us. (Based on Mark 7:20-23)

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

Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for American believers’ eyes to be opened.

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Mountains Melt at the Presence of God (Part 7)

In January 1995, I dated a wonderful woman, thinking we would marry. Many prophetic words had been given to me about marriage to a godly woman. Every word seemed to point to her as my bride…or at least, I thought so.

I spoke aloud to the Lord one night while driving my truck home from the lady’s apartment.

“Jesus, You need to get us married as quickly as possible,” I said.

My truck cab instantly filled up with laughter, as if heaven dropped an amplifier and speaker into my truck, turning it up full blast. The laughter was the “hold your belly and roll on the floor” type. And it continued and continued.

I pulled my truck over to the side of the highway because the contagious laughter caused tears to run down my cheeks. I turned on the truck’s hazard blinkers and sat there, laughing along with heaven.

It finally ceased and I resumed driving home. I then wondered, is the Lord laughing because He knows something, which I don’t know yet. Or is He just happy for me?

I ignored the former and opted for the latter.

One obstacle after another frustrated our relationship over the following fourteen months. I figured more fasting and prayer would eventually break the logjam of spiritual warfare thwarting our relationship.

(An excerpt from The Hunt for Larry Who (a Memoir) by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2014, Amazon eBook)

It’s easy to forget that the Lord has a fabulous sense of humor. In fact, who created humor and laughter? Certainly not Satan, but instead it was God.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. (Proverbs 17:22 NLT)

(Conclusion for now…the full series to date can be read here.)

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What God Taught Me In My 310 Days At Walmart (Part 2)

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I interviewed for a cashier position at the the Temecula Walmart Supercenter on August 12, 2016, and was hired at that time. One of the questions asked was about any physical problems that I might have which might cause me problems in carrying out my duties as a cashier. I answered, “No.”

Did I lie about my physical problems? No, I don’t believe I did because it was my belief that if God called me to be a cashier, He would enable me to fulfill the job. The significance of my answer in writing was that I removed all liability from Walmart for any injuries to my wrists, knees, and back.

The Temecula Walmart Supercenter is ranked between number 5 and number 10 in dollar volume out of all the nearly 12,000 Walmart stores in the world. The store does around 165 million dollars in sales per year. A little over four hundred people work at the 24 hour store, with nearly eighty cashiers manning the registers at various times.

My first day was August 25, 2016. For the following two weeks, I worked with veteran cashiers who trained me. Then, I began working on my own in early September.

One of the lessons I have learned over the years is that when God calls you to do something, there is no use in being timid, just jump in with both feet, trusting that God will protect you. I call it reckless faith, much like Paul demonstrated in Acts 16:37. After being beaten, thrown in prison, and fastened in stocks, Paul refused to leave prison until the authorities came and apologized to Silas and him. That takes godly chutzpa!

So, I made up my mind to not protect myself in any way and to do every job asked of me as if I had no in juries. This resulted in some interesting situations, like trying to help a woman with a bad back put a heavy piece of furniture (150 pounds) into her vehicle. It so happened that a strong man walking down the parking lot aisle volunteered to help me. That was lucky, right? No, I don’t believe in luck. I believe in a heavenly Father who loves me so much that He will always be there to help in my time of need.

Did my hands, knees, and back hurt? Yes, so much so, that I could hardly sleep at night.

In fact, if anyone would have noticed me stepping out of my car in the Walmart parking lot and walking the one hundred yards to the store’s entrance, they would have wondered how a crippled, one hundred-year old man could possibly work at Walmart. Or that’s what it seemed to me.

Yet, when I walked in the door at Walmart, His grace fell upon me and I became Larry, the cashier with a big smile for everyone. The pain was still there, but it was only on the surface. And as long as I trusted in His grace, which I was forced to do at all times, I could walk through each day.

Just so you know: I averaged nearly 930 scans per hour – which is above average – and I even had quite a few customers who chose to go through my line when I was on duty. Why? They liked my smile and attitude and speed.

What major lesson did God teach me at Walmart:

If we want to serve God, especially us senior citizens, we can’t pray away every one of our problems. If we choose to wait, hoping miracles will heal or prosper us, we may miss our opportunities and if that happens, how many more can we expect to have in the future. But even so, we can always trust in this verse:

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

One experience, out of many, was worth every ounce of pain that I suffered working as a cashier. It happened on a busy day when I first opened my register. A elderly man wearing a U. S. Marine veterans cap, rode an electric cart up to the register and placed his few groceries on the conveyer belt.

I looked at him and said, “How are you today?”

“I don’t know,” he replied.

“What does that mean?”

“Well, to be honest, the old Sarge is not doing well today.”

“Would you like some prayer?”

“Yes.”

I walked around the bagging console, grabbed his hands, and prayed for him. The presence of God fell upon us. We both wept like little children who just opened the best Christmas gift ever.

“Wow, that was awesome!” he proclaimed.

“Yeah,” I said.

I walked back and became a Walmart Cashier at register 6, scanning items. Customers moved to the line and life continued in a normal fashion or normal for Walmart.

(Conclusion)

 

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What God Taught Me In My 310 Days At Walmart (Part 1)

 

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When I felt the Lord speaking to my heart about applying for a job at Walmart, I must admit that I scratched my head a few times. You see, I was nearly 71 years old and had a few physical issues: both knees are bone on bone due to long ago football injuries, back problems from climbing ladders and falling off a few of them, and carpal tunnels in both wrists from gripping a paint brush and typing for hours and hours at a time.

I was certainly not a poster-perfect candidate for being a cashier at a high volume Walmart Super Center, but yet, I knew the Lord was asking me to do just that.

To better understand what the Lord was asking of me, I need to relate an experience I had almost thirty years beforehand.

At the time, I was employed by a Best Western Motel in maintenance and delivering “meals on wheels” to senior citizen centers. It was a bottom-rung, minimum wage job.

I had just read Fox’s Book of Martyrs, which relates the lives, sufferings, and deaths of the early Christians and Protestant martyrs. As I finished the book, I spoke aloud, “Lord, if this is my destiny, then let me die with a bullet to the head or by guillotine, but not by being burnt to death at a stake. That would be too much for me!”

A few days later, I was hurrying around the kitchen of the motel, readying the meals for the senior centers. I pulled a large tray of roast beef out of a top oven. As I pulled it out, the tray slipped, pouring out its 165° of scalding water and juices over my left hand. I somehow set the tray down without spilling the roast beef.

Then, I stood there looking at my hand. The chefs and kitchen workers were screaming at me to put my hand under the cold water faucet, but I ignored their pleas.

My hand fascinated me because there was no pain inside it – in the muscles, fatty tissues, or nerve endings. The pain was just located on the surface of my skin where it was a bright red in color, but it was really bearable. Not a problem for me to endure it at all.

The chef grabbed my hand and stuck it under the faucet. “Now, you have to go to the doctor and have it checked,” she screamed at me.

I laughed. “No, I’m okay and will deliver the meals to the senior centers.”

“Nevenhoven, you’re a nut.”

“Yeah, that’s probably true, but it’s only because of Jesus and His love for me.”

From that day onward, I have never feared what people could do to me because I knew His grace would help me through it.

(Part 2)

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