Category Archives: Christianity

First the Blade (Chapter 36)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 36

Grace (Part 4)

When I began helping Morris and Marion’s home ministry in 1992, I was divorced, lived alone, and sold cars at a small used auto dealership. An average day began with me praying from 3 a.m. until 6 a.m. I then showered, ate breakfast, and hustled off to a prayer meeting at a local church for an hour or so. I studied the Bible and read Christian books for a few hours before heading to bed in the evenings. No TV. No radio. No writing. Not much of a social life.

This was my routine for a seven-year stretch and varied little on weekends or holidays during the time period.

I occasionally did some teaching at a small home meeting, but not often. Most people thought of me as a prayer warrior and little else. I understood my calling and had messages stirring within me, but there were no open doors. Thus, I was forced to wait on the Lord to move in my life.

I assumed the Lord would eventually set me in a place where I would teach on spiritual warfare and prophecy, but silly me, huh? He put me in a home group where I prayed for boo-boo sores and dolls. Yes, dolls. One of the children, a seventeen-year old, carried her doll to the home meetings and asked me to pray for it.

And you know what? I fell in love with the children.

I remember several times when it would be just Morris, Marion, a few children, and me. We would end up praying and the Holy Spirit would show up.

The kids and I would end up lying on the floor. Morris and Marion would be sprawled out in their Lazyboy recliners. We’d be gone for thirty minutes or so. Where did we go? I haven’t a clue, but it was wonderful wherever it was. Some might say we were slain in the Spirit…and maybe we were. But who cares?  It was glorious.

When the Holy Spirit lifted off us, who do you think had the visions and dreams to talk about? Not Morris, Marion, or myself. It was the children who would have the awesome stories to tell us.

“I was running and playing with Jesus. He’s fun,” one might say.

Or another might add, “Do you know that Jesus loves my doll? He told me so.”

My rigid theology was pulverized week after week by experiences such as this. Morris and Marion kept referring to what happened in their home ministry as the grace of God.

But I just could not get a handle on grace.

I understood prayer. And faith. And discipline. And prophecy. And studying the word. And waiting on the Lord. But all of this was dependent on my efforts. Grace was unmerited favor and depended solely on God. How could He love people so much He just flooded us with something we did not deserve or earn?

So, I sought the Lord about grace and did it in a backward sort of way.

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

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First the Blade (Chapter 35)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 35

Grace (Part 3)

A few years ago, I heard a Mike Bickle cassette tape where Bob Jones told about one of his visions. In it, Jones was watching a baseball game between the Lord’s team and Satan’s team. It was the bottom of the ninth with two outs.

Love was at bat and Satan threw his best pitch. Love hit the ball into the outfield for a base hit. “Love never fails.” Faith came to bat and promptly hit a base hit. “Faith works with love.” The next batter was named Godly Wisdom. Satan threw him four straight balls and Godly Wisdom was issued a walk. “Godly wisdom does not fall for Satan’s pitches.” The bases were loaded.

A player named Grace walked into the batter’s box. Jones noted the batter was not much to look at and wondered about his ability to handle the tense situation. Jones also noted Satan’s team relaxed when they saw the weak-looking Grace stepping up to the plate.

Grace swung at the first pitch and Jones said he had never seen a ball hit so hard. Satan’s center fielder, the prince of the air, leaped to catch the ball, but the ball went through his glove, hitting him in the head, and knocking him to the ground. The ball continued its flight over the fence for a grand slam home run. The Lord’s team won.

The Lord turned to Jones and said, “Do you know why Love, Faith, and Godly Wisdom could get on base, but they could not win the game for My team?”

Jones shook his head.

“If your love, your faith, or your wisdom could win the game for you alone, you would think you had done it. Your love, your faith, and your wisdom can only take you so far, but then you need My grace to bring you home.”

 

This experience became a reality on my first visit to Morris and Marion’s home in late 1992. Marion had a Thursday night youth ministry for the neighborhood.

What Marion forgot to mention was half of the thirty kids who attended her Thursday night youth meetings were special education children with IQ scores of 60 or less. These youths ranged in ages from 15 to 23 years old, but yet, were like little children, with attention spans of approximately thirty seconds.

The party consisted of games, apples, candy, and drinks, just a normal Halloween party, but a twelve-year old girl mentioned she had problems. Five or six of the special children gathered around her and prayed for her.

And without a doubt, the prayers by these special children were the worst ones I had ever heard. None of their words made sense. They did not seem to have a clue about what they were saying. Yet, the young girl broke down, wept, and gave her life to Jesus. The girl’s problems disappeared with Jesus’ appearance in her life.

I stood there with my mouth open, trying to understand what I had just witnessed. As I watched on, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. “The young kids’ hearts are right with Me. They just don’t know how to express in words what they feel in their hearts. So, I poured out My grace on them, something you don’t fully understand.”

The Lord had my attention.

I thought I had come to the group to teach them, but instead, Morris, Marion, and the kids became my teachers about a marvelous treasure called grace.

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

 

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First the Blade (Chapter 34)

 

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 34

Grace (Part 2)

If you have read my testimony, you would think if anyone understood grace, it should be me.  Yet, for the first eight years of my walk with the Lord, the word grace meant little to me. I knew grace was God’s unmerited favor, but so what? The definition was just another entry in my memory bank. Nothing more, nothing less.

After my salvation in May 1985, I was hungry to learn about God and listened to tapes and read books. Kenneth Hagin, R. W. Schambach, Leonard Ravenhill, Roberts Liardon, John Lake, Kathryn Kuhlman, David Wilkerson, Smith Wigglesworth and others blessed my life with their invaluable teachings.

These teachers leaned heavily toward Arminianism and away from Calvinism, especially in their teachings about grace. Each taught that a believer could eventually lose his salvation if he did not continue walking in faith or committed an unpardonable sin.

Who was I to disagree with these teachers? They had powerful anointing on their lives. Wigglesworth raised at least fourteen people from the dead. Kuhlman healed the sick by the thousands. Lake had over a hundred thousand recorded healings during a five-year period in Portland, Oregon. All were powerful and gifted preachers.

Therefore, like many Christians, I assumed the miracles, signs, and wonders on these anointed teachers’ lives meant God approved of every one of their teachings. Unlike the Baptists who seemed to only teach grace, these teachers taught a message, which was called the Full Gospel.

But during my eight years of not understanding grace and also believing I could lose my salvation, a scripture really bugged me:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5: 17 NKJ)

What bugged me about the scripture was my wondering how could a believer get rid of the new creation, which lived within him? Do you ask it to leave? Do you somehow kill it? Do you have to reverse the work of the cross to end the new creation’s life? What do you do to be unborn again?

I taught, preached, and prophesied against the eternal security of a believer and against the doctrine of grace for years, but this scripture chipped away at the legalistic teachings in my heart.

I reached a crossroads in my life when I met Morris and Marion.

(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 —

 

Greetings dearest sisters and brothers,

In The Name of Yeshua h’meshiach, Jesus Christ, our Lord to Whom belongs ALL glory and praise and honor.  May He be blessed and glorified and may you be blessed and encouraged.

God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle. (Psalm 140:7)

The streets are again full of people who are breathing more easily and laughing and arguing.  The cease fire proclaimed somewhere between 5:30- 6:30 am this morning had their last few (5 or 6) breaches but seems to be holding now.  The crossing to bring goods into Gaza (Keren-Shalom crossing) has re-opened. Different commentators say different thing, different critics criticize different things, different prophets are proclaiming different things.  I am privy to no “inside information” but my heart is asking for The Holy Spirit to open my ears to Him.

Most of my letters are written in the midst, and this one is no exception.  As the rockets flew and my days crossed them flying like a weavers shuttle, I was asked to share with a group here on tour.  It has been a while since I have spoken in public, and I was asked to share the testimony of my aliyah experience. I realized that I have never shared that in full before with anyone.  The best that I can do in way of preparation is a combination of reading reading reading The Word, being on my knees before Him Who Alone has things of LIFE to share. While before Him, casting my thoughts back along the path that I have walked.

As I shared last night with this humble, hungry, loving,  alive group, I realized that most of you know very little  of the path that has brought my family and I here, to the center of Jerusalem where The Lord told me: “What you see – what you hear – write.”

As the fighting began I was about to tell you about our buses which I see daily.  When I got on the 77 a few days ago, the ceiling was strung with Israeli flags.  I noticed a flag in the front window, along with the usual array of flowers, chatchkas, and notes.  I smiled and thanked the driver for the flags.  No doubt they were to encourage us all in the midst of the political mud that has kept us from having a functioning government.

I thought back to the first time I got on an Israeli public city bus and was immediately assailed by the stark difference to any bus I that I had ever been on.  First of all, the music was blaring. Each bus driver has his own taste and I can hear a full array of music as well as talk shows and news. It is up to the driver BECAUSE it is, hum, well SORT OF like a co-operative.

I think that things have changed somewhat, but when we came bus drivers took their buses home at night and parked them in the street.  At times you would see a bus driver with his family on an outing instead of hauling passengers.  Likewise each driver decorates his bus to express his individual opinions.  More and more I do see undecorated buses, but nevertheless, it is part of our society. It’s color and taste.

We have moved to smart cards for tickets, but in the days of paper-punchy cards purchased from the driver, it never ceased to amaze me to watch people entering through the rear door of a crowded bus and pass up to strangers 100 shekel bills to make their purchase.  Their ticket and complete change was returned via the same route. Hand over hand of strangers on the crowded bus.

So, how did we end up here?  Where bus rides are filled with colorful people sharing deep and wonderful stories in assorted languages with anyone who is nearby. Such a tapestry of life displayed daily before my eyes in the hustle and bustle on pressures and responsibilities.

As I told the brothers and sisters last night, we may well be the most qualified people here to write a booklet on how NOT to make aliyah!

My husband is Native Aleut (Alaskan Native) and not Jewish:  I am the Jewish partner. Although I was raised as a traditional Jew in a fully Jewish family in NY, USA, it had been many years since I had been part of a Jewish community.  I identified with the life of Native Americans and had lost myself in their midst when The Lord found me.

So how can I share this story?  And, should I?  It will have to be in short chunks…piece by piece if it is to be done, for it is very long. 25 years here. 17 years from the “call” and “the promise.”

Let’s see what happens.

The word Aliyah means “to go up.”  For a Jew to come home to Israel is considered “going up” spiritually.  Every Jew by birth (the genetic testing popular today is not accepted) has the right of return, to make Aliyah, to come home and to become an Israeli citizen.

I had NO (as in minus zero) desire in myself to EVER make aliyah.  Indeed, I had never set foot in Israel until the day that “I came home.”

Now, this is ONE thing that is NOT generally advised!

BUT, since we are just getting word that another rocket was just intercepted, I will leave this story to perhaps continue at a later date.

May you and I be filled with The Holy Spirit afresh for His glory.  May He grant us discernment and keep us each from deception in these days…may He find our hearts humble, before Him, with one another.

Lovingly,

your sis J

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First the Blade (Chapter 33)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 33

Grace (Part 1)

The quart of Jim Beam did little to numb his senses. His emotions still quivered in spasms of anguish. How could a woman love him one night and then treat him so badly the next day? What was she thinking about when he embraced her? How long had she been planning on leaving? What did Dick offer her that he didn’t? The questions ricocheted off the walls of his mind. He had no answers, only battered and abused emotions.

He pushed the chair back from the dinette table and staggered into the bedroom. There he knelt down and opened the bottom drawer of the oak dresser. Under some jeans, he found what he was looking for – a brown handled Smith & Wesson revolver. It was his dad’s. The cylinder was loaded with six bullets.

“Life’s not fair,” he mumbled as he stood up.

He undid the gun’s safety and walked into the bathroom.

Wanting to muffle the gun’s report, he grabbed a white bath towel from the rack, winding it around the gun, and his hand. He sat down in the tub, cocked the trigger, and stuck the barrel in his mouth. He tried to imagine where he would wake up after he squeezed the trigger.

DING DONG!

The doorbell. What are the odds? He reasoned to himself. This can’t be happening. He sat there, barely breathing, his heart pounding in his chest.

DING DONG!

Could it be a pizza deliveryman with the wrong apartment number? Or a drunk? Or a policeman? Or what? He thought as he continued to sit without moving, waiting for the person to give up and go away.

DING DONG! DING DONG! DING DONG!

“Okay, okay, I’m coming. Hold your horses!” he muttered.

He stepped out of the tub, laid the gun on the toilet seat, walked to the door, and opened it up with one fluid motion of his left hand. A pink blur shot past him. What was that? He wondered. He looked over his right shoulder just in time to see whomever it was disappear into the bathroom.

“Hey you, come back here,” he said in a heavy alcohol-soaked tongue. His left hand rested on the brass doorknob. Not even the shock of the cold air blowing in his face or the blur’s appearance sobered him up.

Ten seconds later, an old woman wearing a tattered pink chenille robe marched back into the living room, holding the revolver in her arthritic fingers. Attached to her fingers was a blue veined hand that quivered out of control from some type of nervous disorder. The gun swayed back and forth while he put his hands up in surrender.

“Young man, what is this?” she said in a raspy, slow motion manner.

Her gray eyebrows arched upward while her left eyelid drooped over a prying eye. The woman looked more like a Mad Hatter reject than a miracle worker.

He lowered his hands and shrugged.

“Rats are a problem in this apartment complex.”

“You sit on the toilet with a cocked pistol ready to shoot rats, right?”

Jonah looked like a little boy with his hand caught in a cookie jar. He looked away from her piercing brown eyes. It was almost as if she could read his mind and knew everything about him.

“God told me you were going to commit suicide. So, I ran over and rang your doorbell.”

His eyes opened wide.

“God told you,” he whispered.

She nodded.

“Yes, that’s right. God told me.”

“But, but …”

The woman pushed past him to the door.

“You smell like a drunk on Skid Row. I’ll stop by tomorrow morning. Get some sleep and we’ll talk then, okay?”

The pink blur was gone and the door was closed.

Jonah stood there staring at the six-panel door like a puppy that had watched his master disappear. Finally, he shook his head and walked over to the sofa. He slumped down on it and within seconds was asleep.

(The above excerpt is from the eBook novel, Jonah, by Larry Nevenhoven, 2012, Amazon.com)

 

Like the fictional character Jonah in the above eBook, I know what it’s like to have God’s grace rescue me from committing suicide. But also, like Jonah, I struggled for years trying to understand the value of grace in a believer’s life.

How important is God’s grace? And what are the limits of His grace?

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

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First the Blade (Chapter 32)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 32

Faith Summary

 

You’re probably thinking this book should be entitled Faith One-O-One because of my emphasis on faith. But my deep belief is that we need to have a solid foundation of faith to persevere in our journeys with the Lord.

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Walking with God always takes faith. Always. Always. Always.

I wrote this a few years ago, but it shows why we may need strong faith in the near future:

So, let’s say that you’re staying with your family at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (where the movie, Pretty Woman, was filmed), just off Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. But all of a sudden, terrorists arrive and begin shooting their AK-47’s and exploding grenades, killing, and maiming everyone they see. Confusion and havoc reigns.

Somehow you’re able to barricade your family and yourself in a first floor cafe. You hear the terrorists walking your direction.  Who can you expect to help you?

Will the president help you? He’ll make a statement on TV, deploring terrorism, and will probably add, “Most Muslims are good people. These are just a few bad eggs!” After all, he needs the Muslim vote in the next election and doesn’t want to offend CAIR.

Will the governor help you? This is California, not Texas, so the Governor will first take a quick telephone poll to discover what the people think. You know, he’s running for office again and the election will be a close one. He also will appear on TV, deplore terrorism, announce that he is considering all options, even calling out the National Guard and will take a helicopter to the scene.

Will the mayor and city council members help you? These guys will be relegated to low-level radio interviews. And of course, they will deplore terrorism: yada, yada, yada.

What about the police? They and their SWAT teams will surround the hotel. Phone calls will be made to the governor, mayor, police chief and whoever else needs to be contacted before taking action. Valuable time will pass before a decision is made.

What about a DMORT team? This is the one positive that will happen almost immediately. A Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team from Region IX will be dispatched as soon as they hear about the attack. They will bring victim identification equipment, body bags, and storage units for the expected dead people.

Our only hope will be our strong faith in God.

 

If you do not have a great faith revelation, I recommend reading and studying the Word of Faith teachings by Kenneth E. Hagin. I disagree with him about his teachings on the doctrine of grace, but he’s by far the best faith teacher. His teachings will build strong faith in you.

If you are wondering about the prosperity teachings taught by many Word of Faith preachers, Kenneth E. Hagin never agreed with those teachings. Before he died, he warned those teachers of their greed and asked them to repent. Few listened to him.

You can read many of his books on line by Googling his name or purchase them, used or new, at Amazon.com. If you have time, check Salvation Army stores and other used bookstores, often you can buy them for pennies on the dollar.

Studying Kenneth E. Hagin’s teachings may be a good investment of your time, which may pay off in huge dividends for you in the future.

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

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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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