“I had a vision that showed a black river flowing out of America’s inner cities, filled with black apostles and prophets. Their moral characters were at a level never before witnessed in America.
“No longer would believers have to gaze back at John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, D. L. Moody, Billy Graham or whomever for examples of godly men because these black apostles and prophets would raise the bar of godliness to a level approaching the character of Jesus… This is the generation of men that America has been longing to see. (Excerpt from Chapter 13 of “A Black River”)
God is never late, but He sure misses lots of opportunities to be early. This is especially true for Black Americans who have suffered through four hundred years of oppression and discrimination while chasing the American dream. The years have all merged themselves together into one long day of weary hopelessness.
But now at last, hope arises. The same God who looked upon Israel’s captivity in Egypt, is looking down on the Black Americans living in our nation’s inner cities and is preparing to act.
How? What? Why?
“A Black River” is one of the most important ebooks published in 2021, especially for those believers hungering for revival.
Harvard’s Spangler Auditorium was filled to capacity. A few people stood at the back of the auditorium, but the fire marshals limited the number to a hundred standing-room-only people. Fortunately, the event was also live-streamed to the whole Harvard community.
The Harvard Crimson labeled the debate: “A Black firebrand professor debates a stuffy white Christian dean on white supremacy in the Church.”
The Black firebrand professor was Dr. Isaiah Rashad, head of racial conflict in America and author of four books, dealing with white supremacy. His scheduled opponent was Dean Jonathan D. Edwards from the Dallas Theological Seminary.
The curtain went up, revealing a podium at center stage with three people sitting behind it: one Black man, one Asian woman and one white man. The woman stood up and walked to the podium.
“Good evening,” she said. “My name is Dr. Clara Chung. I will be the moderator for this debate. I first want to announce a change in the debate. Dean Edwards tested positive for COVID this afternoon and offers his regrets for not being able to be here. The East Coast Vice President for Business Men’s Fellowship and owner of eight restaurants – Harvey Whitman – has graciously offered to take Dean Edwards’ place.”
She paused to check her notes.
“The rules for the debate are simple because there really aren’t any, except each must treat his opponent with the highest respect. Thus, they have the freedom to roam wherever they choose in their dialogues. Each may make an opening statement, not to exceed thirty minutes. After that, it will be an open debate format.
“Because of a coin flip, Dr. Rashad will speak first.” She turned around toward the two men behind her. “Dr. Rashad, the podium is yours. “
Dr. Chung sat down while Dr. Rashad walked to the podium. Rashad looked more like an athlete than an academic with broad shoulders and long cornrow braided hair. His muscular arms bulged inside his tailored black sport coat.
“Thank you, Dr. Chung,” said Dr. Rashad. “And a big thank you to Harvard University for putting on this debate during black history month. I am proud to be a part of Harvard’s faculty, knowing our university desires to be at the forefront of racial changes in America.”
He stood at the podium with the microphone in his hand.
“In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘The most segregated hour in this nation is Sunday at 11:00 am. Interestingly enough, a few months before King’s statement, a Gallup poll showed that one in seven Americans believed there was a biblical basis for the separation of races.
“Does anyone seriously believe anything much has changed over the last sixty years?”
Rashad wove the sad American Church narrative from our nation’s early slavery beginnings to the present time. Over and over again, he pointed out how white supremacist attitudes fueled skepticism and resistance to true peace between the races.
“Today’s white Evangelicals are more concerned with checking all of the right boxes without considering that true repentance means more than just saying, ‘We’re sorry.’ It means being willing to walk through the valley of transformation so that both races arrive at true reconciliation, even if that takes twenty to thirty years or more. It’s only then we will see a lasting peace.”
Dr. Rashad looked at his watch, nodded his head to the audience and walked back to his seat.
Dr. Chung walked to the podium.
“Mr. Whitman,” she said, “it is your turn.”
Whitman stood up and slowly walked to the podium.
If the outcome of the debate depended on looks and charisma, Harvey Whitman was at a decided disadvantage. Short, bald, ten pounds overweight and a meek manner certainly did not play well on most stages, especially following someone like Rashad.
Whitman picked up the handheld wireless microphone and walked back and forth across the front of the stage with his head down and his eyes almost closed. He said nothing for a few minutes. The crowd moved restlessly in their seats.
Then, he stopped and spoke. “Dr. Rashad accurately laid out the problems facing the American Church with its racial issues. I only disagree with him on one point – that it will take twenty to thirty years to work through these problems. And I will prove him wrong in the next twenty minutes.”
He stopped walking and looked toward the crowd to the left of him. He pointed with his left hand.
“Right over there, about twenty rows from the front, is a young woman named Tina Andrews. Tina, would you please stand up? Don’t be shy! The Lord has something for you.”
A young black woman stood up.
The crowd gasped. How could this man know Tina’s name?
Whitman paid no attention to the crowd and said, “I feel that Lord has just shown me that you received some bad news yesterday. Is that correct??
Tears dripped down her face as she nodded her head.
“The Lord is going to heal you of cervical cancer right now in Jesus’ name.”
The woman screamed and fell over backwards into her chair.
Whitman moved to the center of the stage and pointed into the crowd.
“Denzel Martin, stand up.”
No one obeyed his command. The crowd looked around.
“Okay, that would be Denzel Martin at 227 Eighth Avenue, Apartment 2. Do you want me to give out your phone number, too?
A black man stood up, shaking his head.
Once again, the crowd gasped and murmured aloud, wondering how he knew Denzel.
“You just flunked your vision test to be a pilot in the Air Force, right?” Whitman said.
The man nodded his head.
“The Lord is going to heal your eyes right now in Jesus’ name.”
The black man fell over backwards into his chair.
“Denzel, go have your eyes rechecked tomorrow. They will be better than 20/20.”
Whitman called out the names of eight more people over the following fifteen minutes. He accurately told them their problems and then prayed for their healings.
“Has everyone noticed that I have only prayed for black people tonight?” said Whitman. “Okay, have any of these black people cared about my skin color? No! They were just happy that someone was able to walk in the spiritual gifts to help them out of some major problems in their lives.”
Whitman walked to the front of the stage and looked at the crowd with blazing eyes.
“We can debate. We can talk. We can write. We can do all of this and more, but this will take years to unravel all of our racial problems. Or we can learn how to walk in the gifts of the Spirit and do miracles for each other. If we learn how to do this, it will break down whatever barriers are holding us back in a short period of time. Do you realize this is what Jesus did? Shouldn’t we do the same?”
Dr. Rashad walked over and hugged Whitman.
(Just so everyone knows: I modeled Harvey Whitman’s spiritual gifts on the ministries of William Branham and Paul Cain.)
It wasn’t until the death of George Floyd that the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the part my apathy had played in racism.
Out of the 807,391 words used in the New American Standard Version of the Bible, the word “apathy” does not appear one time. And the word “apathy” does not appear even once in the other top ten selling English translations of the Bible.
But a well-known synonym for apathy does appear in a verse in each of the top selling Bible translations –
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked (Revelation 3:15-17)
Most Christians think that term describes believers who give their lives to the Lord at a Jesus Crusade and then fall away, no longer fellowshipping with other believers, praying or reading their Bibles. They have their stay-out-of-Hell fire insurance card and that’s good enough for them.
Is this an accurate description of all lukewarm believers?
Let’s check out my life on the morning the Holy Spirit pointed His finger at my sin of apathy:
I climbed out of bed at 4:30 a.m. that morning and spent two and half hours in prayer. I read the Bible for sixty minutes and listened to some teachings by Mike Bickle on my iPhone throughout the afternoon as I worked. Plus, I fasted two days that week.
This was not an atypical day or week for me. It is the routine which I have followed for over thirty years. It does not matter whether I am struggling through the worst of times or enjoying a season of blessings, I continue to plod along and seek the Lord. It is my life.
One of the prayers I prayed that morning, as I do almost every morning, was this one from a psalm by King David:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT)
“Point out anything in me that offends You, Lord.”
There is not much I could say to the Lord when He answered this prayer by pointing out my sin of apathy, except, “Forgive me, Lord.”
Normally, I just keep on walking with Him and don’t look back after I ask the Lord for forgiveness. I know He isn’t angry with me nor does He love me less because I sinned and fell short of His glory. Yet, on that morning, I felt like I needed more information and asked, “Lord, how did I end up being lukewarm in my love toward my black brothers and sisters? “
The Lord eventually dropped His answer into my spirit. It was far different than I thought it would be – like hello! Doesn’t that always seem to be the case?
The Lord reminded me how for the first fifteen years after my salvation, I did not listen to newscasts or follow politics. I felt it was a waste of my time when compared to seeking Him.
This changed in early 2000 when I read a prophecy spoken by a man I admired – Bob Jones. “A burning bush shall come out of Texas and be elected the next president of the United States,” he prophesied.
Jones’ prophetic words stirred me to follow politics and to begin listening to newscasts and a few conservative radio shows while I drove my truck. I soon began thinking the GOP was God’s Own Party and the Democrats were controlled by Satan and his minions.
Almost 90% of black Americans vote for Democratic candidates. Thus, love for my black brothers and sisters became collateral damage in my new political thinking.
I continued on this political path until January of 2009. That’s when the Lord let me know He loved both Democrats and Republicans and I should do the same. He told me that I could be delivered of my attitudes toward Democrats if I quit listening to news programs and conservative talk radio – AND – quit voting in elections.
It took six months, but the Lord’s proposals changed my life. I no longer looked at a person through a political mindset. I saw each person as a valued being, created in God’s image, one who Jesus died for on the cross and one who He loved with all of His heart.
Take a deep breath, okay?
I am not you. The Lord knows my heart and how to set me free of my attitudes. If you have a bad attitude toward Democrats or Republicans, seek the Lord on how to love them as He does.
Just so you know: I don’t listen to the news, but I do read some news articles and check out headlines on news sites on the internet. Thus, I do keep abreast of what is happening in America and the world.
And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear. (Mark 4:24 AMP)
As I wrote earlier, love for my black brothers and sisters became collateral damage with my change in political thinking. My spiritual ears no longer heard their cries for freedom nor did I feel their pain anymore. This love did not return when the Lord delivered me of my attitudes toward Democrats, but instead my attitude was that my black brothers and sisters needed to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and join the twenty-first century here in America.
Sadly, I forgot how I wasn’t able to set myself free from most of my problems without the help of other believers.
Bear one another’s burden, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
Thus, I ask forgiveness from my black brothers and sisters for my sin of being lukewarm in loving them.
(Excerpt from my upcoming book entitled A Black Riverby Larry Nevenhoven)
I had another dream, which showed the importance of what I refer to as a black river of apostles and prophets flowing out of America’s inner cities to the other regions of our nation. I wrote it as a short story rather than as a prophetic dream:
If I had not been there, I would not have believed what happened. Not in a million years.
That particular Saturday morning was Farmer City’s annual Sidewalk Sales Extravaganza. Crowds of people filled the streets of the downtown business district. All checked out the bargains lining the tables in front of the retail stores. Brown jersey gloves were three pair for a dollar at Hesston’s Hardware. Dollar General sold Handi-Wipes for seventy-nine cents. Nineteen hundred tight-fisted Norwegian and German-American people populated the city, but these blond-haired, blue-eyed conservatives liked nothing better than saving a dollar or two.
My little concession trailer sat on the street in front of the courthouse. Popcorn, snow cones, and cotton candy were hot items for the first two hours, but sales slacked off around 11:30 a.m.
I took a break and stood outside the trailer, smoking a cigarette when I saw the stranger heading toward me. If ever a person was in the wrong place, it was that man, an African-American in Farmer City. His pockmarked face was covered with four-day stubble. A jagged scar stretched from the base of his neck to his left ear. He wore a black Oakland Raiders’ sweatshirt rolled up to his elbows, revealing gang tattoos on his bulging forearms. His thousand-yard stare had the look of an ex-con.
He nodded as he passed me.
“Hi, how are you?” he whispered without breaking stride.
I turned to watch him walk over to a green bench in the city square and climb up on it. He cupped his mouth with his massive hands.
“Hey, everyone, listen up. I’m holding a healing crusade in Jesus’ name this morning. So, if you need a miraculous healing, come on over here,” he shouted.
People stopped what they were doing and looked at him. They had to be wondering who he thought he was, an Oral Roberts or some other evangelist like that. But to my surprise, the crowd moved toward him as if he were a Pied Piper.
An eighty-year old lady scooted her walker to the front of the group. She looked up at the stranger.
“Okay, sonny, let’s see you do your stuff,” she said with arched eyebrows.
A slight smile etched his chiseled face. He jumped down, and in one continuous motion, he grabbed the walker and flung it onto the lawn, saying, “In Jesus’ name, be healed. Now dance for Him.”
The crowd watched as she teetered there, her weak legs straining to hold her up. A man reached to grab her, but the black man slapped the Good Samaritan’s hands away.
“Don’t help her,” he said. “Let the Lord finish His work in her.”
A few in the crowd booed the stranger, but he paid no attention to them. He knew what he was doing.
Then, it happened.
A big smile lit up the little woman’s face. She straightened up, kicked one leg in the air, and then the other. She followed with a scissors kick, using both legs at once. Tears streamed down her face as she lifted up her arms and danced on the sidewalk, praising Jesus for her miracle.
People ran to form a line in the street. Some were young. Some were old. There were cripples, amputees, cancer sufferers, heart victims, mentally ill, and numerous others who were afflicted with one malady or another. They waited patiently for the stranger to pray for them.
The stranger moved toward the first person in line, but an arm reached out and grabbed his shoulder. The black man stopped and turned around, looking into the face of a middle-aged man with blond hair, wearing a black suit.
“Yes, may I help you?” asked the stranger.
“I’m Reverend Adam Johnson, head of Farmer City’s ministerial board,” said the man in a deep voice. “We don’t believe you should hold a healing crusade just yet. No one knows who you are accountable to. Allow us to check out your credentials. If everything turns out okay, you can hold healing meetings in one of our churches next week.”
The smile on the black man’s face dipped downward.
“Who were you referring to when you said ‘we’?”
Reverend Johnson pointed toward six men dressed in similar suits, standing under the oak tree behind the bench.
“Those are the other pastors on the board. Like most shepherds, we just want to protect our flocks from unknown strangers.”
The African-American placed his hands under the armpits of Reverend Johnson, picking him off the ground. He tossed him as if he were a basketball over the bench at the other pastors. The clergy reached out their arms, cushioning Johnson’s fall to the ground.
The black stranger stood there, clenching and unclenching his fists, as if he were deciding on further action against the group. Fear crept into the pastors’ eyes. They stepped back from him.
“Don’t you ever get in my way again! Jesus sent me to hold a healing crusade in Farmer City this morning and people like you are not going to stop me. Do you hear?” he proclaimed, pointing his finger at them.
They nodded in agreement at the man’s words and fled the city square.
The stranger turned around and began praying for people.
What happened next was unbelievable. It was as if Jesus Himself were holding a healing meeting in our city. Everyone received his healing. None was disappointed. When he finished, he walked away from the city square. A few tried to stop him, but he shook them off.
“Just thank Jesus and give Him the glory,” he said over his shoulder.
He slowed down and stopped a few feet from me. He eyed me up and down for a few seconds as I puffed on my cigarette. Our eyes locked, but neither of us spoke. I finally looked down at my feet.
The burning love and compassion in his eyes made me feel like I stood naked in front of him. He knew the type of man I was and yet, he still cared for me. Why? I did not know, but I wanted to find out.
Although I pray for the Jews and Gentiles to become the one new man as stated in Ephesians 2:15 on Tuesdays, there’s another revelation to be seen in that verse. It is a template or pattern which can be used for disagreeing groups, such as black and white Americans.
My prayer today:
Lord, I pray that You might create in Yourself one new man in place of black American believers and white american believers, thus making peace between the two races. (Based on Ephesians 2:15)
What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?
Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.
“I don’t believe the race problems between white and black Americans will be settled for years and years, maybe fifty to seventy-five years, if ever,” said a friend during a recent discussion.
“Many years ago, the Lord gave me a vision of a black river coming out of the inner cities of America. The river consisted of black apostles and prophets going to the different parts of America to help free us from the spirit of religion. I still believe in the vision,” I replied.
“Well, you’re seventy years old…”
“Yes, I may be almost twenty-five years older now than when I had the vision, but I believe in it more today than I did back then.”
My prayer today:
Lord, help us believers who have prophetic visions for America not to lose heart so that we will eventually see the goodness of the Lord in our nation. (Based on Psalm 27:13)
What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?
Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.
How many of us think it’s a cosmic coincidence that the top two movies in America right now – War Room and Straight Outta Compton – are stories about African-Americans and mainly acted by African-Americans?
The main plot in War Room revolves around an African-American women named Miss Clara who teaches Elizabeth Jordan (Priscilla C. Shirer) how to handle her anger and marital problems through prayer. The whole emphasis is focused on trusting God and His redeeming grace to change the husband, Tony Jordan (T. C. Stallings), and their hopeless family situations.
The story line for Straight Outta Compton deals with the rise and fall of the hip hop group N.W.A (Niggaz Wit Attitudes), which includes the gangsta rappers Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Easy-E, DJ Yella, and MC Ren. The group’s music reflects the youths’ anger and frustration through its X-rated lyrics, which glorified drugs and crime, put down women, and revealed a deep hatred of police.
Only the Lord could schedule two such contrasting movies to appear on the movie scene right now in America.
Today, I prayed:
Lord, I ask that You move in the inner cities of America so that people’s minds are no longer controlled by their sinful natures, which leads to death, but are controlled by Your Spirit, which brings life and peace. (Based on Romans 8:6 NLT)
What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you?
Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.
Dad would drive our 1955 Pontiac, Mom would ride in the shotgun seat, and my sister and I sat in the back. It did not matter where we were going because she and I would soon end up having a fight. Maybe she put her hand over the midline between her side of the seat and my side. Maybe I touched her. Whatever lit our fuses would soon be forgotten as our fight escalated.
Mom would then turn around and give us her best ‘don’t mess with your mama’ look. “Larry, why are you always causing trouble? Behave yourself.”
“Mom, she hit me last. So, I should be able to hit her one more time. It’s only fair!”
I am sure most of us can relate to this incident in one way or another, but the point is that avenging ourselves by retaliation is a natural reaction, which we learn as youngsters. Not only that, retaliation and vengeance will always escalate until one party loses or both sides quit. There are no in-between positions.
Today, I prayed:
Lord, we cry out to You to stop the racial war which is now being stirred up in America. Help us to no longer act as children, tossed to and fro by the waves of mankind and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes, and help us to speak the truth in love and to grow up in every way into who You are, the Head of the church. (Based on Ephesians 4:14 and 1 Timothy 1:1)
What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you?
Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for America.
David Wilkerson, pastor of Times Square Church, author of The Cross and The Switchblade and founder of Teen Challenge, declared in an urgent message on March 7, 2009:
AN EARTH-SHATTERING CALAMITY IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. IT IS GOING TO BE SO FRIGHTENING, WE ARE ALL GOING TO TREMBLE – EVEN THE GODLIEST AMONG US.For 10 years I have been warning about a thousand fires coming to New York City. It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires – such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago.
There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting – including Times Square, New York City. What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God’s wrath. (For full story, see here.)
So, what do you plan to do about this prophecy? It seems to me that we have three options:
(1)We can be like most Christians and take a wait-and-see posture. You know, if it doesn’t happen, then we can start up blogs decrying Wilkerson as a false prophet. But of course, should the fires begin and the bombs go off, we are in a pickle, right?
(2)We can ask our pastors and other leaders what they think about Wilkerson’s prophecy. After all, these leaders are trained and paid to hear God’s voice for the rest of us, right?
(3)We can seek God for ourselves and ask Him what we should do.
Options (1) and (2) are road maps to disaster. The history of the church is filled with tales of woe about believers who followed these paths.
Option (3) is the only godly and responsible action to take. Don’t wait. Begin today.
Swimming Upstreamappears at this blog site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s a little of this and a little of that, all written to encourage and exhort believers in their Christian jouneys.
“Personal Prisons” in Black America
My new weekly column entitled, “’Personal Prisons’ in Black America” can be read by clicking here.
If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can perhaps read it better by using the Chrome browser rather than Safari. Also, you can go to the app store and download a free app called: WND
Filed under America, black people, Christianity, Commentary, Forgiveness, Kingdom of God, Prayer, Race
Tagged as Christianity, Commentary, Inner Cities, Racism, Writing