Category Archives: Faith

First the Blade (Chapter 13)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 13

Building a Foundation of Faith (k)

Have you ever thought: “Lord do You really know what You’re doing with my life?” Well, I have, more than once, especially when I learned He wanted me to prophesy.

Prophesying is not a problem for most people. They just open their mouths and speak what they feel the Holy Spirit wants them to say. But to a person who has suffered through the cruel effects of stuttering, prophesying is a big, big deal.

I still have vivid memories of sitting in classrooms and feeling my throat swell, my breathing stop, and my tongue waggling around in my mouth when the teacher called on me to answer a question. There was then the inevitable aftermath of listening to classmates laughing and giggling at me as I stammered forth an answer.

It was this deep fear of what others would think about me when they heard my stuttering, which caused me to attempt to avoid all public speaking. I used to think, “If only I could speak normally, I could be a successful somebody in the business world.”

These deep-rooted memories sent tremors of fear through me as a young Christian whenever I thought about prophesying in front of groups.

A man prophesied to me once: “The Lord says you are sitting on prophecies and not speaking them forth. The Lord is unhappy with you.”

This prophetic word caused me to seek the Lord.

“Jesus, this is unfair. You want me to prophesy, but I have speech problems. Deliver me from my fears and help me.”

I noticed no difference in my confidence after speaking this prayer.

A few weeks later, an African-American prophetess from Kansas City pointed to me at the beginning of a large meeting. “You’re going to prophesy an important message to this city at the end of this meeting. I’ll call you up to the front when it’s time.”

How much of her teaching do you think I really paid attention to as I awaited her summons? Like zero, right? My mind focused totally on wondering if I could speak the first word without stuttering, but I also knew it was time to trust the Lord and walk in my calling.

“Okay, come up here young man and prophesy to this city,” she said when she had finished her teaching.

I stood up and headed toward the front. As I walked, the anointing of the Holy Spirit fell on me and I was a different man. No longer was I the little boy who stuttered and stammered his way through grade school. No longer was I held in chains by the fear of what people might think of me if I stuttered. I felt like the Lion of Judah, filled with boldness. When I grabbed the microphone, I prophesied for over five minutes about future events heading toward the city.

The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted. (Proverbs 29:25)

Most of us struggle with the fear of man to some degree or another. We would like to be accepted and never suffer shame in front of our friends and others. We want to please people and receive plaudits for our works.

But just like in my life, the fear of man can imprison us and cause us to look at our own puny abilities and what others might think if we attempt something, rather than looking at the Greater One who lives within us

Jesus opened every prison door for us at the cross. We simply have to stand up and walk through the doorway. When we do, we will discover His grace and His anointing will be our mantles.

The fear of man can ensnare our faith and cause prayers not to be answered.

If you struggle with this, pray the following: “Lord, I want to please You. Deliver me from the fear of man and help me to trust You in all situations, regardless of what others may think or say about me.”

God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers. (Matthew 5:11 NLT)

What other reasons are our prayers not answered?

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

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NEWS FLASH: 13,000 or More Witches to Cast Spell on President Trump. What Should We Do?

 

Michael Snyder at End of the American Dream reports that “as Halloween approaches, thousands of witches will cast a ‘binding spell’ on Donald Trump on October 25th.” (See full article here.)

I am neither Republican, Democrat nor Independent. In fact, I have not voted in an election since 2008.

Yet even so, it wouldn’t matter to me if these witches were casting spells on former President Obama, President Trump or presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, I wouldn’t want witches and demons intervening in our politics.

How could one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had surrendered them? (Deuteronomy 32:30)

Although Satan and his demonic allies love to pile it on in spiritual battles, God has His mathematical formula to fight spiritual battles. One Christian standing in faith can defeat a thousand witches backed by demons and two standing in faith and agreement can defeat ten thousand witches backed by demons.

Using God’s formula, we can expect three or four Christians standing in faith and agreement to handle these so-called witches backed by demons. Just three or four!

What should we do?

Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest. (Proverbs 26:2 NIV)

First of all, ask the Holy Spirit to check each of our hearts. We don’t want the curse intended for President Trump to land on us. So, let’s make sure we don’t have pride, anger, hatred or another sin when we pray.

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

Second, we need to understand that God wants us to pray and intercede for our government officials, not curse them.

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:19)

Third, standing in agreement moves the Father to act on our prayers.

Okay, let’s pray in faith and agreement:

Father in Jesus’ name, we plead the protective blood of Jesus over President Trump, his wife Melania, his children and grandchildren. And Father, because of 1 Timothy 2:1-3 and Matthew 18:19, we command all of the binding spells and curses uttered by witches and their variants to fall to the ground and have no effect on the Trump family for this Halloween season. Plus, we cry out to You for mercy for all of the witches and ask the Holy Spirit to open up their hearts to the love of the truth so they might be saved. Amen.

If you have prayed the above prayer in faith, just thank the Lord for His victory in this battle.

 

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First the Blade (Chapter 12)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 12

Building a Foundation of Faith (j)

If you read the LA Times, New York Times, and other major U. S. newspapers, you are forced to scratch your head in befuddlement. These news outlets constantly paint Islam as a religion of peace while Christianity is shown to be a religion filled with intolerant bigots who hate gays, illegal aliens, the poor, and are gun-toting, war mongers.

Okay, what are the facts?

(1) Which religion promotes jihads and is involved in most of the wars occurring in the world right now? Islam. Period.

(2) Which religion reaches out to the gay community? Christianity. Islam never does this.

(3) Which religion helps the world’s poor? Christianity. There are no Islamic missionaries, unless you consider Islamic terrorists as such.

(4) Which religion loves freedom and hates cruel bondage? Christianity. Islam wants everyone to live under repressive Sharia Law.

Then, how can the two religions be so misunderstood?

The 1970 Pogo cartoon line, “We’ve met the enemy and he is us,” is certainly apropos for us American Christians because the blame is ours, not the media’s.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35).

The word love, used four times in the above two verses, is translated from the Greek word agape which is the same word that Paul so elegantly defined in 1 Corinthians 13. The two words – one another – that are used three times, refer to us believers (His church) and does not refer to the world system or unbelievers.

Yet sadly, we Christians – Pentecostals, Charismatics, traditional Evangelicals, liturgical Christians, liberal/progressive Christians, emergent Christians, Word of Faith, Prophetic Movement, and whatever – don’t really love each other. In fact, we often look down our noses at each other.

If you doubt this assumption, check out how we Christians piled on Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Ted Haggard, Todd Bentley, Jim and Tammy Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and other leaders who have made mistakes. Can you remember who wanted to cover these leaders’ errors with love? I cannot.

Let me suggest a major reason why revival has not hit America and why we are seeing secularism and Satan win battle after battle against Christianity in our nation.

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love. (Galatians 5: 6 KJ)

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13: 2 NKJ)

All prayers must be prayed in faith in order to please God, but if we don’t have love, our faith fails. It may be that all of our fasting, all of our prayers, all of our efforts to change America’s destiny may be nothing more than shadow boxing, which has never even touched heaven’s doors.

How sad, huh?

Lack of love is a close relative to pride and is the second biggest hindrance for not receiving answers to our corporate or individual prayers.

I suggest that when our prayers are not being answered in a timely fashion – if it’s not pride – then we need to read 1 Corinthians 13 and ask the Lord if we have fallen short of His agape-love standards. If so, we need to repent and change.

What is another reason for not receiving answers to prayers?

(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 11)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 11

Building a Foundation of Faith (i)

In the late 1990′s, Carol and I attended a church outside of Louisville, Kentucky. The regular pastor was on vacation and a substitute pastor preached the sermon. I don’t remember his main message, but a small quip of his was written on my heart that particular Sunday.

“People used to be content with just saying, ‘I prayed,’ but that’s no longer true,” said the substitute pastor. “Now, they say, ‘I interceded,’ and not only that, they then give themselves titles, calling themselves intercessors. Now, why do you think this has happened?”

The pastor went on with his main message, but his off-message remark was like a lightning bolt, zeroing in on my heart. I knew the answer to his question because I was guilty of the sin.

Pride!

There’s just something within most of us, or at least in me, which is not satisfied with associating with the meek and lowly. We want to be exalted. We want an elevated position of notice. We want others to recognize our spirituality and understand they are below us on the spiritual ladder.

All believers know pride is a grievous sin, but we all still struggle with it every day. And even the godliest believers among us, whether he is a Billy Graham, a John Piper, a Mother Teresa, or whoever, are not spared this daily battle. Look what the Apostle Paul wrote about himself:

For if I do wish to boast I will not be foolish, for I will be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one will credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me. Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me to keep me from exalting myself. (2 Corinthians 12: 7 – 8) 

Paul’s thorn in the flesh – a messenger of Satan – was allowed by the Lord to cause Paul problems so it would help control his pride. The apostle still went on to ask the Lord three times to remove it, but then Paul wrote:

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12: 9 – 10)

Pride is the #1 reason we believers do not receive answers to our prayers. It derails our faith and causes us to look at our own strengths and away from the One who is all-powerful.

Remember: Jesus said, “Have faith in God.” He did not say we should have faith in our praying ability, our knowledge of the Bible, our spirituality, our fasts or our gifts. Anytime our faith depends on what we can do, rather than what He can do, or who He is, we have fallen into the snare of pride.

God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6 NLT)

 The God who we are praying to and asking for help will be the same God who will oppose us if we have the sin of pride. Let that swirl around in your mind for a minute or two, and you will discover what I have learned through hard lessons, it’s a losing situation.

If our prayers are not being answered in a timely fashion, I suggest we bow before the throne of grace and ask, “Lord, show me my heart. Do I have pride?”

Then, wait.

How long should we wait? Until He answers our question. There is no use trying to move on if we have a pride problem, right?

The next hindrance to receiving answers to our prayers is a close relative of pride.

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

 

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First the Ear (Chapter 10)

Chapter 10

Building a Foundation of Faith (h)

Kenneth Hagin authored over 120 books, which were not really written as books. They were actually teachings, which he gave on his radio programs, at conferences, or wherever. Another person then transcribed the teachings into book format. The average book size is thirty pages.

I myself have read over a hundred of Hagin’s books. Each one was a day in the classroom as I sat at a table with my Bible, a scratch pad and Hagin’s book. As I read the book, I studied the scripture references and took notes. When I finished the book, I tried to immediately put into practice what I had learned that particular day.

Looking back, I would have to say the #1 principle I learned from Kenneth Hagin’s teachings was: God answers prayers.

Many believers might look at the simplicity of this revelation and say, “Big deal. So what?”

But when I say God answers prayers, I mean He answers every prayer, every time and never ignores one of them. Period.

Does this mean you can pray for a new Rolls Royce Phantom ($437,000 sticker price), go to the dealer and drive it home? Probably not, but you will get an answer for your prayer about the Rolls Royce.

 

In 1987, I lived in a small one-room apartment in central Iowa, was separated from my wife and family, had no telephone and no car. I worked as a minimum wage laborer in a motel, which was a three-mile walk from the apartment.

I woke up one morning and discovered the temperature had dropped to 30 degrees below zero and because of the high winds, the wind chill factor was a minus 50 degrees. Plus, six inches of snow had fallen and swirled on the winds.

It was a Tuesday, which meant I was scheduled to begin work at 8 a.m. What did I do?

I bundled up as best I could and before stepping out the door, I prayed, “Lord, I’m walking to work. I ask that You either give me the grace to survive this weather or have someone stop and offer me a ride. The choice is Yours, but I know You love me and always hear my prayers.”

Did a car pull up to my apartment as I walked out my door so I would not suffer from the cold? No, absolutely not, nor did I expect one.

You see, one of the foundational precepts of receiving answers to prayers is we walk by faith and not by sight. Thus, you can almost always expect to start out walking through the storms of life – after praying – without seeing any improvement whatsoever in the circumstances.

That particular morning was no different.

After walking a mile and a half, my face was frost covered and my feet felt numb. Numerous cars passed me, hurrying off to work, but no one had even slowed down. A car finally pulled over. A young woman opened the door and said, “Would you like a ride?”

“Yes,” I answered. She dropped me off at my workplace.

The following morning, the weather conditions remained the same. I followed the same routine as the day before. This time, a man picked me up at about the same place as the young woman had the day before and took me to work.

On the third morning of the storm, a person volunteered to pick me up. A week later, the motel decided to have me picked up each morning by an employee. Soon after, the motel decided I could just drive one of their trucks back and forth to work. All of this happened without me ever asking anyone for help.

Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. (Mark 11: 23)

Okay, why do we not receive answers to our prayers?

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

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First the Ear (Chapter 9)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 9

Building a Foundation of Faith (g)

Like I wrote earlier, I am not a Word of Faith teacher, but I am a beneficiary of its teachings. Most of the teachings have worked well in my life, but a few have not. Over the next few chapters I will outline which teachings have built me up and which have not worked well for me.

Let’s begin by taking a look at the father of the Word of Faith movement: Kenneth Hagin.

If you have read any of Hagin’s more than one hundred books, you are bound to read his testimony about being a sickly child and how he was bedfast with a deformed heart and an incurable blood disease. How he then had a powerful conversion experience, after dying three times and visiting Hell, all within a period of ten minutes.

Hagin remained in bed after his conversion, suffering from his ailments, for many more months until he received his revelation of the following scripture:

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (Mark 11: 24 King James)

Before August 1934, countless Christians had read Mark 11:24, but few had the exact revelation which Kenneth Hagin had on that summer day. Hagin stated he was talking to the Lord about the verse and how he especially agreed with the words: “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray.”

Hagin desired to be healed. Thus he kept praying and asking and believing the Lord heard his prayers.

As he continued talking aloud, he heard the Holy Spirit speak to him: “You do believe all right – as far as you know.”

The Holy Spirit then quoted the rest of the verse: “Believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

At that moment, the lights went on inside of Kenneth Hagin:

“I prayed for healing because that’s what I desired, but I was trying to have my healing first, and then I was going to believe I received it. But when do we believe we receive what we desire from God? When we pray! That means before we see a change in the circumstances we must believe that God has heard and answered us. We are to believe we receive whatever we desire from God the minute we pray and ask Him for our petition.”

I said to the Lord, “Now I know what I’ve got to do. I’ve got to begin to believe I receive healing for my paralyzed body right now, while I’m still lying here helpless. While I’m lying here bedfast, I’ve got to believe I receive healing for my deformed heart and incurable blood disease.” (Word of Faith, Kenneth Hagin, 1990)

Kenneth Hagin eventually jumped out of bed, totally healed. He became a young preacher, a pastor, and an evangelist in the Healing Revival of the 1940′s and 50′s. He then began his teaching career, which led to radio programs, founding the Rhema Bible Training Center, and the Rhema church system.

If you check out Kenneth Hagin on Google, you will find various sites, which accuse Hagin of being a plagiarist, a heretic, a false prophet, a serpent, and a false teacher. What’s with this, huh? How can a godly man have so many accusers?

Most of his critics’ biggest complaints are that he taught and preached like a Pentecostal, which he was. That’s like complaining Charles Stanley taught like a Baptist pastor because he is a Baptist pastor.

There are no perfect teachers, except Jesus. As Mike Bickel says, “God loves to use people who offend us so that He can show us our hearts.”

Kenneth Hagin never once took the time to answer his critics. He never once defended himself. When his critics called for a comment about a critical book or article they were writing about him, he always said, “No comment. God bless you.”

My only disagreement with Kenneth Hagin’s teachings is he looks at salvation and grace from an Arminian/Pentecostal point of view while I agree with the Baptist/Calvin one. You can be the judge on that one for yourself.

I recommend his books.

Since, he has sold over 60 million copies, you can buy them on Amazon (new and used), from numerous other sites (new and used), from Salvation Army stores, from Hagin’s ministry site, and wherever.

(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 8)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 8

Building a Foundation of Faith (f)

 

I received a lump of faith when I gave my life to the Lord on May 20, 1985. It was my unique lump, not your lump or Smith Wigglesworth’s or Francis Chan’s lump. It was the lump the Lord knew had the potential to bring me through every trial, every battle, and every circumstance, which laid ahead of me in my life.

I emphasized the word potential because our individual lumps of faith can best be compared to the muscles of a newborn baby. The newborn’s undeveloped muscles can move the baby’s arms, hands and legs a little bit at first, but not much. It takes time and effort for the muscles to develop so a baby can crawl, walk, run, or ride a tricycle.

When the baby reaches his teenage years, maybe the youth is a good athlete and has a dream to play pro football in the NFL. To achieve this goal, he will have to lift weights and work out on a regular basis. He may not like lifting weights because it is boring and painful, but the competition is so great he has no choice.

Nike’s motto sums up what the athlete’s attitude must be: “Just do it!”

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore, I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

 Most of us believers understand why athletes have to develop their muscles to compete in sports, but yet, very few of us realize we need to develop our individual lumps of faith. After all, didn’t Jesus already win the victory for us? Can’t we just sit back and enjoy ourselves until Jesus returns? Why build faith now?

And to be honest, the word faith has a stigma attached to it. Who has not heard of the excesses of the Word of Faith movement? “The prosperity gospel.” “Seed faith.” “Name it and claim it.” All of this has contributed to the muddied waters for teaching faith.

But I consider myself fortunate to having been saved during the 1980′s when the Word of Faith teaching programs were aired on many Christian radio stations. I listened to Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Marilyn Hickey, R. W. Schambach, Joyce Meyer and others every day. I read over a hundred and fifty books by these teachers.

The Word of Faith teachings can build a strong foundation in us. It did in me.

So, beginning in the next time chapter, we will be looking at the important revelations of the Word of Faith teachings and how we can use them to build up our individual lumps of faith.

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

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