Monthly Archives: November 2019

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 4)

 

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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First the Ear (Chapter 27)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 27

Building Mustard-Seed Faith (l)

 

Like Joseph’s two dreams, I had just enough revelation from my impressions and dreams to get me in trouble, which was probably how the Lord planned my adventure.

The people in the house and the home fellowship were amazed God would send a man, whom they had never met, via a dream to pray and encourage them. It was an exciting evening for all of us.

But I assumed someone would offer me a place to stay overnight in his home or apartment, but no one did. Nobody even asked why my truck was loaded with household goods and clothing. What were they thinking? I don’t know.

I could have asked them, but I didn’t. You see, I believe that if God is leading me then it is His responsibility to provide for me.

What did I do?

I drove off and prayed as I went down the street. The only idea, which came into my mind, was a nearby truck stop. I drove there, parked the truck, pulled two blankets out of the back, and slept in the cab. It was a late-October cold night.

In the morning, it dawned on me: God sent me here to trap me. Why? I had no clue.

I spent one of my precious quarters on coffee at a grocery store. I then went to the small city park and prayed all day. That night I went back to the truck stop and slept there again.

The next morning, I spent another quarter for coffee and prayed all day at the park.

At 6:30 in the evening, while I was praying, I had a quick glimpse of my answer: a scrap metal yard. I drove there, but it was closed for the day. It was another cold night at the truck stop.

The next morning after spending my last quarter on coffee, I went to the scrap yard and asked for the owner. He was gone until late in the afternoon.

“What did you need to see him for? Maybe, I can help you,” said the receptionist.

“I’m a Christian and just needed to see him,” I said.

“His wife can probably help you. I’ll give you directions to their house,” she said. She wrote directions down a piece of paper and handed it to me.

The home was only a mile away so I had enough gas to get there. I parked in the driveway and walked toward the house. Somehow, as I walked, I realized they were Catholics. I rang the doorbell.

While waiting on the porch, the Holy Spirit descended on me with all of His holiness. I wept and wept. And in that moment, I was delivered of my judgmental attitude of believing people had to attend specific churches or risk being out of the will of God.

The aftermath of this story was the people invited me to stay overnight in their warm home. They took me to breakfast the next morning and gave me $10 for gasoline. I drove back to my hometown. There I stopped at a business establishment who hired me for a painting project. I then visited my pastor and she had something for me.

It seemed the Lord laid my situation on a person’s heart. He sent a $200 check to my pastor for me.

Hopefully, this testimony underlines the importance of being careful of what we listen to? What else can we do?

(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 26)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 26

Building Mustard-Seed Faith (k)

Like most believers, I was a sponge when I was first saved in 1985. This openness to spiritual teachings had its good points, but also had a few bad ones. One of the bad experiences happened at a Full Gospel Businessmen meeting.

I attended that particular Saturday night meeting to hear a man give his testimony. The man and his message are long since forgotten, but I still remember what happened afterward when I hung around, visiting with believers.

As I talked with friends, a man approached and joined our conversation. The group of friends then broke up and left, but the man continued talking with me. We talked about various things and then he asked a question.

“Larry, where do you go to church?” he said.

“Corpus Christi Catholic Church,” I replied.

He shook his head. “Too bad!” he said. “I used to attend an Assembly of God church, but now, I go to a Word church. This is where God is now moving in America.”

The man really thought he was helping me, but instead, his words were judgmental seeds, which planted themselves in my heart. The seeds were later watered and eventually grew into a deep-rooted belief that believers must attend specific churches or they were out of the will of God.

I eventually departed the Catholic Church and attended a small non-denominational church. It was at this church where I began speaking more and more prophetic words.

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. (Luke 6: 45)

Although we believers would all like to be perfect vessels so the Lord can speak whatever He wants to say through us, I haven’t met a perfect vessel in my thirty-four years of seeking Him. The stream of Christianity we associate with, the teachings we listen to, and any judgmental attitudes, which may be rooted in our hearts, often help to shape our prophetic words.

The importance of prophesying is not lessened because of our imperfections. We must give grace to people when they speak prophetic words and then graciously judge the prophetic words in love. Don’t kill the messengers, okay?

At the same time, each of us needs to continually ask the Lord to set us free from whatever hindrances we may have in our hearts. And guess what? We all have them.

 

Over a period of weeks in the early 1990’s, I had a dream and a deep impression about moving to a small town of 6000 people, forty miles north of where I lived in Iowa. The dream even included a certain house on a specific street, which I needed to visit.

I finally loaded up my rust-bucket of a pickup truck with my belongings and headed out.

My only problem was I only had just a few coins in my pocket and no bills in my wallet. There was barely enough fuel in the gas tank to drive forty miles.

When I arrived in the city, I quickly found a small park and spent time in prayer. I drove to the house, which I saw in my dream. The people living there welcomed me and I prayed for them. They even invited me to attend their home fellowship that evening.

But something failed to materialize after the fellowship meeting?

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

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