Category Archives: Christians

Black Mothers: Choose Life for Your Sons (Part 11)

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“Wherever we want to go, we can only get there from where we are. Not where we think we are, or wish we are, or where we want others to think we are, but where we are in fact right now. But political spin and pious euphemisms don’t tell us where we are. After a while, such rhetorical exercises don’t even fool others. If we don’t have the truth, we don’t have anything to start with and build on.” (Thomas Sowell)

70% of African-Americans live in America’s inner cities or inner-ring suburbs. Most of the following facts refer to that 70% of African-Americans. These facts are not written to throw stones at our inner city black brothers and sisters, but to eventually, bring glory to Jesus.

  1. The abortion rate for African-American women is five times higher than it is for white women, accounting for 37% of all abortions in America.
  2. 1 in 3 African-American men can expect to spend time in prison during their lifetimes.
  3. 70% of juvenile arrests in America are African-American youths.
  4. One third of all welfare recipients are African-Americans.
  5. Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person.
  6. 72 percent of black babies are born out of wedlock. 
  7. Poverty rate among African-Americans is 36%.
  8. The homicide rate among males between the ages of 14 and 17 is nearly 10 times higher for blacks than for whites and Hispanics combined.
  9. The preponderance of school violence in America occurs in big-city schools attended by inner city black students.
  10. Black education is in a state of shambles for elementary and high schools in most inner cities of America.

Without a doubt, the above facts are discouraging, but here’s the irony of it all:

  1. Inner city African-Americans are the most devout Christian group in America and the difference is 21 percentage points higher than the next group.
  2. African-Americans are even more conservative on the social issues of abortion and homosexuality than the rest of the population.

Just to remind everyone: in the last part, I wrote about a vision I had of a black river flowing out of the Inner Cities of America filled with black apostles and prophets who had characters approaching that of Jesus.

So, how will God do this?

(Continued in Part 12…the full series to date can be seen here.)

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Black Mothers: Choose Life For Your Sons (Part 4)

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Once I spoke in the West and a Christian told me, “I’ve been praying that the Communist government in China will collapse, so Christians can live in peace.”

“This is not what we pray!” said Brother Yun, a Chinese house church leader. “We never pray against our government or call down curses on them. Instead, we have learned that God is in control of both our lives and the government we live under. Isaiah prophesied about Jesus, “The government will be on His shoulders.” 

God has used China’s government for His own purposes, molding, and shaping His children as He sees fit. Instead of focusing our prayers against any political system, we pray that regardless of what happens to us, we will be pleasing to God.

Don’t pray for the persecution to stop. We shouldn’t pray for a lighter load to carry, but a stronger back to endure. Then the world will see that God is with us, empowering us to live in a way that reflects His love and power.

This is true freedom.

(The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway, 2003, Piquant Publishing, pages 286-287)

Where are the hottest fires of revival burning right now in the world? It’s in China.

Even though the Communist government continues to crack down on house churches calling them illegal, even though thousands of believers are now suffering and tortured in prisons, even though there is a lack of Bibles and training, Christianity is exploding with new members each week. It is an out of control fire, burning across China.

Now, I know we American believers struggle with Brother Yun’s thinking about submission to cruel governments. Our roots are sunk deep into democratic thinking and lifestyles.  Even our churches align themselves with one political party or another. Yet, let’s be honest with each other, okay?

Our brand of Christianity here in America is divided, lifeless, and there’s no revival in sight. Yes, there are all kinds of prophecies about a great revival heading toward America, but those prophetic words have been bandied about for over twenty years now. Where’s the revival?

Maybe we’re doing something wrong. Maybe we can learn something from our brothers and sisters in China.

After all, who did Rev. Martin Luther King, Junior, model his activism after? An Asian by the name of Mahatma Gandhi.

So, how can this help America’s inner cities with their struggle against racism?

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

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Prayers for American Christians’ Eyes to be Opened (10/3/2017)

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After a while, the grief lifted. I held my head in my hands, trying to catch my breath. Sweat rolled down the side of my ribs from the all-out mourning. Peace eventually quieted me. Praise God, I thought, this is over.

The female pastor walked to the pulpit and began the eulogy for my friend. I have no idea what she said because the Lord chose this moment to speak to me once more.

I felt Him whisper to my heart: “My church is a bunch of nice losers. They lay their hands on the sick and pray for them, but when they die, they aren’t mad at all. They don’t check themselves out to see what happened or what they may have done wrong with their prayers and actions. They accept defeats and don’t think anymore about them.

“Now, Major League baseball teams are all filled with good players. Each player has to be one of the best in the world to make it to the Major Leagues. Losing teams have good players on their rosters, too. But after a while, losing teams’ players don’t mind losing because after all, they still receive their Major League paychecks and bonuses.

“But winning Major League baseball teams are different. They hate losing and will do anything and whatever it takes to win. They hate losing.

“I want My church to hate losing!”

This time the grief, which hit me, measured a ten on the Richter Scale.

 

(Excerpt from The Hunt for Larry Who by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2014, Amazon eBook)

This took place twenty-three years ago.  From may viewpoint, the Church still does not hate losing spiritual battles yet, or at least, not enough to do whatever it takes to win them. Same old same old!

My prayer today:

Lord, do whatever it takes to open American Christians’ eyes to the world we now live in so we will take up the weapons of our warfare to destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (Based on 2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

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

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

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Inside Israel

The Shuk in Jerusalem

The Shuk in Jerusalem

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 —

Shalom Brothers and Sisters,

I greet you with thanksgiving that we are “one loaf of bread” together before Him, for His purposes and glory, sisters and brothers, family, in this together to encourage one another all the way home.  May HE be glorified and blessed and may you be edified.

Today is Shavuot, called Pentecost in the New Testament and in the English “Old Testament” translated as Feast of Weeks.  It is one of the three holidays when all men of Israel are COMMANDED to come up to the temple, NOT EMPTY HANDED, and to bring an offering and rejoice before God.  The other two “Pilgrim Feasts” are Passover and Sukkot.  Of the three holidays, the least is written about Shavuot, and what IS written could cause one to scratch their head. and say, “Huh?”  It acts like a minor holiday and yet GOD called it one of the three MAJOR ones, so it is wisdom to listen to and hear HIM.

The Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) were all songs that were sung (and still are) by the children of Israel as they made the pilgrimage up to Jerusalem from north, south, east and west, up the trails toward the temple mount.  Undoubtedly Yeshua (Jesus) and his family sang them as they came up to Jerusalem for Passover as is recorded in Luke 2:41-52.  Of course, there WAS no New Covenant yet, so He was brought up according to the Old Covenant, as were his disciples, who later added their writings.

Because there are so few scriptures, I have written them out in full for you at the end of this letter, beginning with Acts 2, because I have found that God does NOTHING in a shallow manner. It is all in seed form, and we do well to wait for the ripe fruit.

So, what IS Shavuot basically?  Well, it seems to me that it is “the joyful offering to God of the first fruits in the place that HE has set.”  This is an act of obedience.  The temple is not here.  Of course it also wasn’t yet built when He first set this commandment.  The first fruits and grain, two loaves of bread made with the new grain, the best with joy. These words are familiar to us and I find Shavuot a wonderful time to examine my own heart, How much of my joyful offering is rote or flesh. But the first fruits, our first love…Ah ha!  What an opportunity to refresh, revive, examine, and offer again our all and best.

BUT HOW IS IT CELEBRATED HERE?

Now, THAT is a good question, because it sure has taken its twists and turns over the years.

Milk!  It’s the dairy holiday.  We make tons of cheesecake, cheese blintzes, quiche, and more exotic foods.  We eat dairy and dress in white.  Why?  No one knows.

There is a second modern tradition that is evolving into something interesting though.  For years there has been a tradition for religious Jews to stay up all night and the following day to study the Torah. But mostly Mishna and Talmud (the commentaries on the scriptures written by the sages, so the students study and argue concerning the interpretations of the rabbis).

Over the past few years, many secular study groups have been rising up spontaneously throughout the country with young and old reading the scriptures for themselves and discussing them.  This is exciting to me. People seeking answers outside of the mainstream rabbinical framework.  The scriptures promise us that hungry hearts seeking Him will indeed find Him.

Several days ago the following article appeared in our local newspaper Israel h’Yom:

THE BIBLE IS SPREADING ONCE AGAIN by: Dr. Gabi Avital

Over the Shavuot holiday, synagogues and places of Torah study will fill up with worshippers and those eager to learn. Many, even those considered secular, will try to maintain the growing tradition of studying Torah throughout the night.

This spectacular display goes completely against the academic predictions from more than 60 years ago. For example, Prof. Zvi Adar’s “The Educational Values of the Bible” states that “past generations did not speak about the Bible, but they lived in its ways, whereas we, who speak highly of it every day, live outside of it, and so it too is outside of us.”

Later in the book, Adar proposes another approach, a humanistic one — according to which mankind is at the center and God is pushed to the sidelines — to teaching the Bible and adapting it to the nation in Zion. The central reasoning: “The decline of traditional religion in the world as a whole, and in Israel in particular, has also led to the decline of the religious objective for teaching the Bible.”

His reasoning is not completely unfounded. Europe underwent deep secularization, the influence of which is evident in every poll and study, including among Bible researchers and students in the Holy Land. What has happened to the Bible since the early years of the state? What was the result of the painful experience of creating a melting pot of people? Was the Bible also crushed in the mix? As the places of Torah study were only beginning to internalize the depth of the impact the Holocaust had on yeshivas and religious institutions, the academic community took the lead.

The scientists made “critical commentaries” about the Bible. They compared it to the Code of Hammurabi and the Epic of Gilgamesh; dismantled it into verifiable passages; took over its soul with an enlightened scientific spirit; wrote articles, and attended conferences. And yet some say it is precisely because of this that the Biblical Studies departments at the universities emptied out.

However, among the “ignorant,” those who see the Bible as a holy book, the situation is the exact opposite of what the concerned academics are claiming. Bible study is growing and flourishing like spring flowers in a year blessed with rain. Young Israelis are learning Bible verses and passages by heart; the International Bible Contest is taken seriously, and each Shabbat people are reading the weekly Torah portion.

And why is this? From the moment that the future of the Bible was “deposited” into the hands of academia, its fate was sealed: The science that forced its way into Bible research wiped out its soul. Those who remove the soul — that is, God — from the Bible are left with a confusing, violent and irrelevant book. Biblical researchers from academia and the secular seminaries have decided that we must first read the “criticism of the text” and only later a verse on love or social justice. They do not realize that the Bible is not a “biblical text.” It includes some elements of a history book, but that is not the heart of it. The Bible is the foundation of the Jewish people’s soul. The Bible and the Talmud, the Mishnah and the

are amazing creations that any nation would be proud of.

Ahead of Shavuot, the holiday during which we celebrate receiving the Torah, it seems that the Bible is not as scary as people think. Recognition that the Bible is also the foundation of international support for the existence of the sole Jewish state is becoming more and more apparent. The archaeological finds are growing in number and contributing to the verification of events that took place in this land in past generations. More and more people are refusing to believe that the people of Israel are nothing more than a wandering tribe. The spread of the Bible is no longer just a theoretical concept.” (this was in our secular newspaper on the 9th of June)

The scriptures for Shavuot:

Acts 2:1-43

LEVITICUS 23:9-14

NUMBERS 28:26-30

DEUTERONOMY 16:9-12

DEUTERONOMY 16:9-12

May we each be found IN HIM ALONE…With our eyes fixed upon Him…for His glory.

Lovingly,

your sister J

 

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The Search for One New Man (Part 5)

 

In Ephesians 2:19, Paul continues speaking to the Gentile believers:

 “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” 

The word fellow citizen means to be in union with or together with by resemblance, companionship, or association. When someone becomes a citizen of a nation, they are required to learn the laws, customs, history, and language of that nation. A person becoming a citizen must also pledge loyalty, faithfulness, and commitment to that nation.

We need to remember that it says in Romans 11:17, that the Gentiles were grafted in among the nation of Israel, and the Jewish people. When you graft something, you join or fasten it in such a way as to bring about a close union.

This is what Ruth did as she attached herself to Naomi, a type and shadow of the Gentile becoming a fellow citizen with Israel and the Jewish people. The Gentile believers (Christians) should be involved with the Jewish people, both Messianic and non-Messianic; thereby fulfilling scripture.

Unfortunately, this union that Paul spoke about never really developed into the one new man relationship. In Ephesians 2:20, Paul states that these Gentile believers are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus The Messiah being the chief cornerstone.

It is okay to apply this verse for today, that apostles and prophets are the backbone of the Church, but we also must remember that when Paul was writing, the apostles and prophets he was referring to were all Jewish.

The rich biblical inheritance that believers in Messiah have worldwide has been passed down to them by Jewish spiritual parents. In verse 21 it states:

in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

So, the question is – what does this one new man church look like? We have no blueprint, but we have the Holy Spirit, and he can help us to develop it. Since the joining of one new man consists of Jew and Gentile in Messiah, then we must not be afraid to incorporate both, and bring them together to complete the plan of God. Only when we accept this joining will we fulfill God’s purpose.

As Paul states in Eph.1:10:

“as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”

(The above is an excerpt from Nikirk Ministries and the full article can be seen here.

 

(Continued in Part 5……if you’re interested, the full series to date can be seen here.)

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The Rumors of Larry’s Death Were Not Greatly Exaggerated (Part 13)

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(Click on photo to enlarge)

A Catholic friend of mine hungered for the baptism of the Holy Spirit for many months. Her trips to large Charismatic Renewal conferences in Des Moines and Kansas City resulted in nothing happening for her.

So, she came up with a Plan B. When her husband left for work and her children attended school, she would go into the living room, place candles on the floor, light them, and bow down in the middle of the lit candles. There she cried out to God for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Plan B failed, too.

On a July 4th holiday weekend, she invited another family to their home for a picnic. What says Independence Day more than hot dogs, potato salad, and a picnic, right? While she stirred a large batch of potato salad, she looked out the window at her friends and husband, and at that precise moment, she was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.

Now, think about this for a few seconds. What was God thinking when He baptized her in the Holy Spirit at that awkward moment? Couldn’t He have performed it at a more opportune time?

REMEMBER: God is Boss and He chooses the breakthrough times in our lives. We don’t!

A little over four weeks ago, I turned on the water, stepped into the shower, and the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart: “Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship.”

I was absolutely shocked because I had not thought about that particular men’s fellowship in over twenty-five years. The FGBF had been an important part of my life in my early Christian years, but I had drifted away when I moved to Ames, Iowa.

As soon as I dried myself and slipped on some clothes, I rushed downstairs to check on the computer for the nearest FGBF chapter. None were nearby or within fifty miles. Yet, in my Google searches, I ran across another businessmen’s group: Business Men’s Fellowship. There was a local phone number for BMF and I called it.

My phone call resulted in a meeting at Starbucks with Bill Keith, who had moved to Temecula a few months before and happens to be a great guy and the national president for Business Men’s Fellowship. What a remarkable coincidence, right?

We talked for a few minutes and then I looked at him and said, “I’ve been waiting for twenty-two years for you. Where have you been?”

(Continued in Part 14…if you’re interested, the full series to date can be seen here.)

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The Rumors of Larry’s Death Were Not Greatly Exaggerated (Part 5)

(Click on photo to enlarge)

(Click on photo to enlarge)

I began this series on January 10, 2015, but because nothing was moving forward for me, I placed it on hold. Now things are happening again. So, I’ve decided to rerun the earlier parts before I began anew. If you don’t want to wait, you can read the first ten parts in their entirety here.

 

Basilea Schlink (1904 – 2001) was born in Darmstadt, Germany. After World War II, Schlink felt the need to repent for Germany’s cruel deeds. To do this, she became a Lutheran nun and along with Erika Madauss founded The Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary in 1947. Schlink wrote over fifty-five books, but my favorite is Realities of Faith:

In 1949, a year after the currency reform, the first products of the publishing house and our works of art were ready to be placed on the market. The question arose, should we actually sell our products?…

Within me a concept took shape, clear and sharply defined – a mental picture painted by the Sermon on the Mount, that for those who seek first the kingdom of God “all these things shall be yours as well” (Matthew 6:33). A word began to sound clearly in my heart – “Father.” He will provide, He will prove Himself a Father to His children. But that meant that we, as His children, must provide the opportunity for Him to do so…

How could all this take place? It became more and more clear to me. We must let loose our security and protection; we must surrender ourselves to utter dependence upon our Heavenly Father. This would give Him the opportunity to care for us and show His miracles. It meant the surrender of all security and steady income. We would depend on Him for everything. By faith and prayer we would stand upon His word, “give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over.” (Luke 6:38)

…We set no fee on our services. Our literary works, our arts and crafts carried no price tag. This meant that now we would be totally dependent upon the Father in heaven…

We began from that point to walk in this pathway. It made our Sisterhood truly a fellowship of prayer. Every day we started out with nothing. From a human viewpoint we stood before mountains of worries which had to be prayed away. So we had endless opportunities to present God with the many promises of Scripture – bringing them like an “IOU,” asking Him to redeem them. (Realities of Faith by M. Basilea Schlink, Bethany House, excerpts from pages 33 – 35)

That’s right! Schlink and her sisters did not put prices on her books. Did this cause them any problems?

Schlink tells the story about how the sisterhood had spent all of their money on printing books and pamphlets for a booth at an outdoor fair. A young man walked up with a black suitcase and learned that their publications were free. He dumped every book and pamphlet into his suitcase and walked away. Schlink wrote: “Wouldn’t this way of doing things bankrupt us?”

Yet, God always provided for them.

Okay, how can a businessman, like me, possibly hope to survive in the cutthroat publishing industry?

(Continued in Part 6)

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