Monthly Archives: May 2020

Over 60? Is it too Late to Build a Prayer Life? (Part 4)

praying

Along with our friends, Tony and Janelle, Carol and I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, in late 1997 to join The Watch of the Lord prayer ministry and to attend All Nations Church. Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda headed both ministries.

Each of us felt the Lord directed us to move there. Our billfolds lacked money and credit cards, but faith filled our hearts, believing God would somehow supply our needs.

We pooled out money together and rented a room with two double beds at the Charlotte Residence Inn. The room contained less than two hundred square-feet of floor space with a kitchenette, two beds, four chairs, table, and a bathroom.

A mortgage financing company hired the four of us as telephone sales reps on our second day in Charlotte. The company paid its employees on a biweekly basis, which meant our first paychecks arrived two weeks later. This posed a problem because we only had enough money for one week of rent at the motel.

Each morning the four of us gathered together and prayed for our finances, as in, “Oh Lord, help! HELP!”

We introduced ourselves to the church and ministry as soon as it was possible. The members said we were the answers to many prophecies spoken to the group about people moving from different parts of America to be a part of the ministry. Their words encouraged us, but our money still dwindled daily because of food and gas.

A couple from All Nations Church invited us to their home for a small group meeting and Christmas party on the last night of our motel rental. The four of us agreed not to mention our dire financial needs to the group, but instead, we were determined to trust the Father, according to Matthew 6:6 −

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

The married couple lived in a beautiful new two-story home located in a picturesque area with tall pine trees. It had a large living room, three bedrooms, fireplace, two bathrooms, and large kitchen. A perfect place for four needy, soon to be homeless, believers like us.

The meeting began with Christmas songs and prayers, with the group then waiting on the Lord to hear His voice. The group leader broke the silence by turning to Tony and Janelle.

“Do you guys need something?” he asked, looking at them.

Tony and Janelle shook their heads.

“Not really. The Lord is taking care of us,” said Tony.

The group returned to waiting on the Lord, but the leader was not satisfied and again turned to Tony and Janelle.

“I just don’t feel good about your answers. What do you need?”

Tony and Janelle answered again in the same manner.

“The Lord is taking care of our needs. Thanks for asking.”

The leader would not quit. He continued to ask them what they needed.

“Okay, here’s the story,” Janelle finally said, “we’re out of money for rent and groceries starting tomorrow morning. We don’t know where we shall go or how we’ll survive until we get paid next week.”

How do you think these joyous, Christmas celebrating Christians replied to her statement? And remember: it was December and cold outside.

The group’s leader digested Janelle’s statement for a moment. He motioned with his hands.

“Let’s gather around these two couples and pray for them.”

Tony, Janelle, Carol, and I stood in the middle of the living room while ten Christians placed their hands on our shoulders and prayed. They cried out to the Lord with passion for our circumstances.

I cheated a little by keeping my eyes open and watching the group. Oh Lord, I thought, this looks like the sum total of their aid for our needs. If so, I feel like puking all over their carpet for their level of Christianity.

The rhythm of their prayers reached a crescendo and backed off, waiting for someone to speak.

“I see the Lord raining drops of gold on the four of you,” prophesied a woman. “And all you have to do is reach up by faith and grab what you need. Just reach up right now.”

The prayers ended and we sat down again.

What a convenient prophecy, I thought. They actually believe they don’t have to help us in our time of need because of the woman’s prophetic words. Shouldn’t someone ask how much gold we were able to cram into our pockets during the prayers? Why did the Holy Spirit unmask our financial needs? To reveal our lack of faith or to reveal the group’s hypocrisy?

Various types of Christmas cookies, fudge candy, sandwiches, chips, and potato salad kept the four of us busy after the prayers. We stuffed ourselves and then graciously said our goodbyes and left.

The four of us did our best to pray blessings on the group and forgive them for their lack of hospitality on our drive back to the motel.

We checked out of the motel the next morning, packed our cars, and went to work. After our phone sales shift, we drove to a large shopping mall and stayed there until it closed at 9 p.m. We then drove both cars behind a large motel and slept in our cars.

How we handled the cold December temperatures was out of necessity rather than comfort. We only started our engines when the cold became unbearable. As soon as they warmed up, we turned the engines off to conserve fuel.

This routine continued for days.

I now wonder about the what if’s, such as, what if we had been four fluffy Golden Retriever puppies abandoned by a cruel master on the couple’s front steps. Would the small group have ignored our pleading eyes and whimpering yelps, allowing us to freeze to death outside in the cold weather? I don’t think so because that’s too inhumane, right?

But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth (1 John 3:17-18).

If we want to build our prayer lives, we have to prepare ourselves for the possibility that we might end up being the answer to someone else’s prayers. If we don’t want to do that, why even pray, right?

(Continued in Part 5)

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35 Years Ago Today, A Baseball Game Was Rained Out and I Met Jesus

baseball_rain

 

In 1985, my life smashed into a brick wall. I needed thousands of dollars to start a publishing company and bail my family out of debt. My sources were all maxed out and the hope level in my reservoir was hovering at empty. I was finished.

The only untouched asset I had was a $125,000 life insurance policy. So, my solution seemed obvious: suicide.

As for taking my life, I had no problems with it because I was an agnostic. No God equals no problems with eternal judgment, right? It wasn’t personal, just a business solution for my family and me.

My plan was uncomplicated. I figured on enjoying one last weekend with my family and then committing suicide on that Monday evening.

Thus, on May 20, 1985, I spent the day finishing up loose ends. Then, for some reason, I stopped at an insurance agent’s office. Although we knew each other, Bill Sheridan and I were not intimate friends and had never really talked to each other before that day.

Bill invited me into his office. We discussed baseball. Then in the middle of our conversation, he stared at me and said, “You’re thinking about committing suicide, aren’t you?”

His words hit me like a sledgehammer. How did he know? I told no one. It was my secret $125,000 payday. I was speechless. As I sat there, a vision played across my mind about my car ramming into a viaduct and killing me.

I wept and although I tried to regain my composure, I could not. “How did you know?” I asked.

“Oh,” said Bill, “the Lord told me while we were talking to each other.”

His words shattered my unbelief. God was alive and He cared about me. We continued talking and he finally gave me a book to read: Power in Praise by Merlin Carothers.

When I arrived home, I began reading the book. After a few pages, I walked into the bathroom, closed the door and knelt in front of the sink. Looking into the mirror, I prayed, “Jesus, I’ve tried everything else and nothing has worked. I guess I’ll give You a try.”

Instantly, I was changed. Fear and shame were no longer a part of me, but instead, joy and hope filled my heart. Bowing and worshipping my new King, I promised to never let go of His hand.

If my story were a fictional Hollywood movie, perhaps it would resemble It’s A Wonderful Life. Jimmy Stewart would play me and Donna Reed my wife. The angel would get his wings and everyone would live happily ever after. The end.

But sadly, my life has not been a work of fiction. It has been a day to day journey, filled with a few good experiences, but also many mistakes, false starts and failures. Divorce. Loss of friends. Numerous firings from sales positions. Low-paying jobs. Poverty. Rejection. Loneliness. Not exactly, a picture perfect Christian life.

And yet, it has been in the deepest valleys where the Lord has truly revealed Himself to me. It was there He became my loving Father and I learned His grace was sufficient for me.

Oh yeah! The baseball game, right?

On May 20, 1985, the Cleveland Indians versus the Milwaukee Brews baseball game at Cleveland Stadium, became the first rain-out of the 1985 Major League season.

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Over 60? Is It Too Late To Build A Prayer Life? (Part 3)

praying

 

Religious Nut

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 faithful prayer warrior for kids who attended Bible Camp.

Thus, 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.

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

Lillian Meiners died over thirty years ago. So, she would have been in her 60s when she spent time praying for me.

Lillian reminds me of what Wesley said of Whitefield:

John Wesley and George Whitefield certainly had their theological differences which at times caused great problems. With this in mind, a timid lady asked Wesley after Whitefield’s death, “Do you expect to see Whitefield in heaven?”

“No, madam,” replied Wesley.

“Ah, I was afraid you would say that,” said the lady.

“Do not misunderstand me, madam! George Whitefield was so bright a star in the firmament of God’s glory, and will stand so near the throne, that one like me, who am less than the least, will never catch a glimpse of him,” said John Wesley.

I also will need strong field glasses to see the likes of religious nuts like Lillian Meiners and other senior citizens who have faithfully prayed for the generations that followed them.

(Continued in Part 4)

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Friday’s End Time Bible Studies (Part 11)

Is the Covid-19 virus one of the  seal judgments, specifically the pale horse, mentioned in Revelation Chapter 6?

Let me answer this question by looking at another time period.

In 1917-18, American soldiers were fighting in WWI. The end result of their struggles was over 117,000 killed in action and another 200,000 wounded. The total toll of WWI for all nations approached 20 million deaths.

Now, at almost the same time, an influenza known as the Spanish Flu, broke out on a global basis. Before it was finished in 1919, this flu killed 675,000 Americans and an estimated 20-40 million people world-wide.

So, if you think Covid-19 has people talking about the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, it’s nothing compared to how believers viewed the End Times in 1918-19. Believers were almost positive Jesus was returning almost any day back then.

But the years 1918-19 missed three important entities, without which the prophetic words of Revelation can’t take place. Those entities are: (1) Israel has to be a nation, (2) Jerusalem has to be the capital of Israel (3) and there has to be a functioning Temple with sacrifices.

Today, there is a nation of Israel with Jerusalem as its capital, but there is no functioning Temple.

The answer: Covid-19 is not one of the seal judgments.

Chauncey Novarro, an End Times teacher, pointed out an important fact in one of his many teachings. He stated, “The End Times calendar is laid out in Matthew Chapter 24.”

I agree with him.

Therefore when you see the “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand) (Matthew 24:15)

Jesus referred to the Book of Daniel when he spoke about the “abomination of desolation.”

Okay, check out these two verses:

Then he [Antichrist] shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he [Antichrist] shall bring an end to sacrifice and offeringAnd on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)

And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. (Daniel 11:31)

The word “week” in the Hebrew either means a week of seven days or a week of years or seven years. Thus, the middle of the week would be forty-two months, 1260 days or time, times and half a time as mentioned in Daniel and the Book of Revelation.

Phew!

Okay, if you look at Matthew 24: 3-14, you will notice verses referring to wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, persecutions and martydom.  These seem to follow along quite well with Revelation Chapter 6 or the seal judgments.

And the verses in Matthew 24: 16-31 follow along well with Revelation Chapter 8 and 9 and also Revelation 11:15. These are the trumpet judgments and when Jesus returns.

Therefore, Matthew Chapter 24 seems to be a calendar for us to view the End Times.

(Continued in Part 12…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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Over 60? Is it Too Late to Build a Prayer Life? (Part 2)

praying

In a way, I’ve been blessed in that my almost thirty-five years of walking with the Lord has been one long trial. If it wasn’t finances, it was my marriage or my many mistakes forcing me to keep my foot on the prayer accelerator. I really had no other alternatives!

Yes, I love hearing how some believers fall so in love with Jesus after their salvations that they just want to pray all of the time. But that certainly wasn’t me! You see, I just wanted to survive my never-ending battles and had enough wisdom to realize God was my only answer.

So, I plodded along day after day in my prayer life.

Then, one morning the Holy Spirit fell upon me. What happened? I was gone for approximately forty-five minutes and where I was I didn’t have a clue, but there was no worry, no time and just peace, love and the Holy Spirit. It was an awesome experience.

This happened again and again in the following mornings so that I learned how to travel into this “secret place” to be with God.

Now, I didn’t let anyone else know about my daily “secret place” visits with God for about two years. Part of my reasoning was that it was so precious and the other part was that most thought I was a religious nut and I didn’t want to add more lines to my resume.

Yet, it wasn’t until I heard someone teach on Psalm 91 that my eyes were opened:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)

Can you believe that God has a secret place and He actually wants us to spend time with Him there? I always stand amazed just thinking about that.

Can any believer visit God’s secret place? Young or old?

Absolutely yes!

All you have to do is find a quiet place and open your Bible to Psalm 91. Tell the Lord, “I want to visit Your secret place and abide under Your shadow.” Begin praising Him and thanking Him.

Then, it’s up to the Holy Spirit to escort you into God’s secret place.

For me, it’s been a little over thirty-four years since my first visit. And since then, there has never been a day when I didn’t want to spend time in God’s secret place.

It has radically changed my prayer life from boredom to excitement.

Maybe it will do the same for you.

(Continued in Part 3)

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Over 60? Is it Too Late to Build a Prayer Life? (Part 1)

praying

Although I’m seventy-four years old and have walked with the Lord almost thirty-five years, I still remember what happened on the first morning after my salvation.

That particular morning, I woke up and looked over at the clock radio next to our bed. The clock said, “5:00 a.m.” This was new territory for me. The alarm was set for 6:00 a.m, my usual time for getting out of bed.

Yet, I was so wide awake that I arose and dressed to meet the new day. The rest of my family was sound asleep. Not wanting to awaken anyone, I tiptoed into the family room and sat down on the sofa.

“Now what?” I thought to myself.

A deep impression gripped me at that moment — maybe I should pray.

This may sound normal to most believers now, but you have to remember that only twenty-four hours earlier I was an agnostic set on committing suicide. And now, I felt like praying? It sounds ridiculous in hindsight, right?

But the deep impression did not leave me. So, I began praying.

If prayers are stored up in heaven in a special golden censer, have no fear! My simple two and three word prayers did not take up much room nor did they take up much of the Lord’s time.

“Oh Lord, bless my wife…bless my son…bless my daughter…bless my neighbors…and so forth.”

This is where I was on that morning and for a few mornings after that, but I learned something early in my walk with the Lord:

And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

Whatever the Lord begins in us,  whether it’s praying, evangelism, prophesying or whatever, He is more than able to make it grow…even if it means He has to mix in numerous trials to stretch a believer’s faith.

(Continued in Part 2)

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The Case for Trump Winning the November Election

Lance Wallnau called President Donald Trump — “God’s Chaos Candidate.” An apropos title, right?

Viewing Trump’s presidency at this point in time, we see an impeached President, one accused of colluding with the Russians, the overseer of the largest unemployment figures and the greatest GNP drop since the Great Depression, a man hated by the news media, Hollywood and at least 40% of the population, a leader scorned by most of the world’s leaders, a supposed failure in handling America’s response to Covid-19 and who knows what else!

Not only that, Trump is a bombastic tweeter who attacks his foes with disdain and little mercy.

There has never been a President like Trump before…or has there?

When President Harry Truman gave a rousing speech during the presidential election of 1948, a supporter in the crowd shouted, “Give’em Hell, Harry!”

“I don’t give them Hell,” Truman said. “I just tell the truth about them, and they think it’s Hell.”

From that time forward in his reelection bid, Truman was known as “Give’em Hell Harry.”

Sadly, Truman’s presidency was riddled by scandals, corruption, investigations, vulgar remarks, hatred by the media and a threat via a letter against a Washington Post critic:

Dec. 6, 1950

Mr. Hume:

I’ve just read your lousy review of Margaret’s concert. I’ve come to the conclusion that you are an “eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay.”

It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful. When you write such poppy-cock as was in the back section of the paper you work for it shows conclusively that you’re off the beam and at least four of your ulcers are at work.

Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!

Pegler, a gutter snipe, is a gentleman alongside you. I hope you’ll accept that statement as a worse insult than a reflection on your ancestry.

H.S.T.

Don’t you think President Truman might have used Twitter against his foes? I do.

But both Truman and Trump had one thing in common: Israel.

At eleven minutes after midnight on May 14, 1948, the very day Israel declared itself a nation, President Harry S. Truman recognized Israel as a sovereign nation. America was the first nation to do so.

On December 6, 2017, President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Then, the U.S. Embassy was moved to Jerusalem in May, 2018. Plus, Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy by recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. All of these were firsts!

No other presidents or world leaders have stuck their necks out for Israel like Truman and Trump did during their presidencies.

And I will bless those who bless you [Israel], and the one who curses you [Israel] I will curse. (Genesis 12:3)

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.” (Psalm 122:6)

Since I believe God honors His Word, I believe President Trump will be reelected for a second term in November.

Now, does this mean that I think Trump’s second four years in office will be easier than his first four years? No, absolutely not.

I believe Trump will win the presidency, but that the Republicans will lose both the Senate and the House in November.

Give’em Hell Donald!

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