Category Archives: Faith

Remember: The Coronavirus is Only a Shaking Allowed by God to Wake us up. Thus it will end, but…

If you haven’t read my article – “Is the Coronavirus from God or Satan?” – maybe you should. It will help explain my reasoning on why the coronavirus should be thought of as  a shaking from God.

The prophet Jeremiah was struggling a little over twenty-six hundred years ago. The wicked King Jehoiakim was the ruler over Judah and hated Jeremiah and his prophecies. His friends and family in Anathoth, a small village just three miles from Jerusalem, dealt treacherously and ridiculed him behind his back.

Plus, God told Jeremiah not to get married, not to go to the Temple, not to attend any feasts and not to attend funerals. As a consequence, Jeremiah was cut off from everyone except God.

How did Jeremiah handle his predicament?

Why? …Why?…How long? (Jeremiah 12:1-4)

Jeremiah veiled his complaints and whining with a few pious asides, but God wasn’t fooled because He knew Jeremiah’s heart.

[But the Lord rebukes Jeremiah’s impatience, saying] If you have raced with men on foot and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? And if [you take to flight] in a land of peace where you feel secure, then what will you do [when you tread the tangled maze of jungle haunted by lions] in the swelling and flooding of the Jordan? (Jeremiah 12:5 AMP)

In Larry’s simple words, God said, “Jeremiah, if you can’t handle this small stuff, how will you handle the bigger stuff when it soon hits the fan in Judah?”

A little later, the Lord added, “If you return wholeheartedly to Me and My ways and do not follow in the footsteps of your family, friends and countrymen, then I will deliver you.” (Jeremiah 15:19-21 in Larry’s simple words)

Jeremiah made up his mind to follow the Lord without hesitation and no matter what the costs were for him. He is still considered one of God’s greatest prophets.

Okay, what does this have to do with us today?

 When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a horse whose color was pale green. Its rider was named Death, and his companion was the Grave. These two were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals. (Revelation 6:7-8 NLT)

There will soon be a time when the Lord will hold up His hand and say, “Stop! That is enough!” The coronavirus will then end and our lives will return to whatever is considered normal at that time.

But the important point at that time will be — have we allowed this coronavirus shaking to remove our blind trust in government, politicians, medical science, our jobs/careers, finances, family, friends and ourselves so that we will only trust in the Lord?

You see, there is soon coming a time when one quarter of the earth, or approximately two billion people, will die. It won’t matter what governments do or propose at that moment, this prophecy will be fulfilled in the End-Times.

Let’s allow this coronavirus shaking and other shakings in the near future to prepare our hearts so we can teach our children, grandchildren and others to depend wholly on the Lord now!

 

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A Little Humor Helps

 

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If you read my testimony above, you will see an insurance agent named Bill mentioned. His full name is Bill Sheridan. He is a true man of God, but also a great writer. The following is an excerpt from his memoir, which I recommend to everyone. It’s a great read and only $2.99 on Amazon.

MIRACLE IN PEW 24

I begged my mom to let me stay home.

“I’m sick, Mom. I really, truly am!”

She didn’t believe me for a minute. And with good reason. After all, she pointed out, I had already been sick every school day during this 1955 Brooklyn Dodger-New York Yankee World Series, and had miraculously healed on travel days and weekends.

“You, young man, are going to Mass and then to school. Enough of this fooling around.”

When she said “young man,” I know my goose was cooked. Mom always saved that for when she meant there was nothing left to discuss.

Why couldn’t she cut me some slack? I was eleven years-old and the Dodgers had already broken my heart so many times before. The ’51 Giants game in the Polo Grounds. That stupid Bobby Thomsen. Those creepy Yankees year after year. And having to face George Timlin, my good friend but Yankee fan, every fall and argue that Mickey Mantle was just lucky and my Bums “was robbed” by bad calls.

This was their year and the Dodgers couldn’t blow it again. Didn’t she understand that I couldn’t miss Game Seven? I just knew that Johnny Podres could do it. I just knew it. We would finally win.

And I could swagger into Mt. Carmel Catholic Grade School in Lawler, Iowa, with my head held high.

But no. She wouldn’t believe me. It was this Irish-Catholic thing about not missing Mass. Even for the Dodgers. I can’t even remember why there was Mass on a school day. It might have been a First Friday.

The nuns taught us that if we made Mass on nine consecutive First Fridays we would have a priest by our side when we died. As a kid, I always had this picture in my mind of my mom being really proud as I lay dying at a car wreck, wearing clean underwear, with a Father O’Brien or Monsignor Murphy administering me the last rites.

Or it may have been a Holy Day.

I just knew that Campy might knock a ninth-inning winner out of the park and I didn’t want to miss it.

Mom was right, of course. I wasn’t sick. Not the upchucking kind of sick anyway. Just the kind of sick that comes from knowing that The Duke, PeeWee, ‘Oisk,’ Junior, and the boys were finally gonna win a Series. And I was going to be stuck in Sister Mary Bernard’s sixth-grade classroom all day conjugating verbs and learning about the martyrs.

If only Dad hadn’t died a few years before. He would have understood. He would have let me have the flu one more time. Then I could see Junior Gilliam and Sandy Amoros finally win the Big One. But not Mom. She was a GIRL. She didn’t get it. And neither did my three brothers or two sisters. Not one of them stuck up for me.

They said, “He’s faking it Ma, and he should go to Mass and school just like the rest of us.” They thought it was funny that Mom knew I wasn’t really sick. Sometimes I hated my siblings. This was one of those times.

My fate was sealed. But I didn’t have to like it. And I could still whine and pout. I could skip breakfast, still pretending that I couldn’t hold anything down. If my life was going to be miserable, I could at least try to make their lives miserable, too. So, I did. I went to Mass still pretending that I really was sick.

And it happened. A real-life miracle. I swear on a stack of bibles. A gift from God. Like Paul on the road to Damascus. Like Moses and the burning bush. Like David when he dropped The Big G.

We were all kneeling in Pew 24 of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church. Pew 24 was halfway down the right side of the church from the back near the middle aisle. We paid something called pew rent to sit there.

I remember staring at the candles on the altar and everything getting blurry. And getting dizzy. And a strange sound. Father Delay’s back seemed to be swaying back and forth. I could hear a clunking noise and sensed commotion. Confusion.

Then, for a brief moment, total silence. Suddenly, I felt myself being carried out of church by Tom Cooney and Bob Emery. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had fainted! I had never fainted before and I’ve never fainted since. But on that day, when fainting is probably the only thing in the world that would have kept me home, I fainted!

Mom was in a tizzy. She was upset with herself for not believing me. I could vaguely hear her in my semi-conscious state. “He told me he was sick. He told me, but I didn’t believe him.”

It has now been 65 years and Mt. Carmel Catholic School has long since burned to the ground. Mt. Carmel Catholic Church has been torn down and replaced. And I still have no definitive assurance of why it all happened. Granted, I had not eaten breakfast and it was very warm in church. Perhaps that’s all there was to it.

But I have a better idea. Admittedly, it’s just a theory, but one that I like very much.

Could it be that God was a Brooklyn Dodger fan?

Being omniscient, He knew in advance that after the 1957 season they would be moving to Los Angeles and it would never be the same. And He knew that a little red-haired boy from Iowa could not bear to miss that game on television. So He let me gently collapse somewhere between the seat and the kneeler of Pew 24 in Mt. Carmel Catholic Church. In so doing, He gave me a glimpse of Heaven, a Dodger victory.

Later that afternoon I was in our living room watching our black and white Philco TV, cheering on my beloved Bums. I saw Sandy Amoros glide toward the left-field stands and make the most spectacular catch I’ve ever seen in my whole life, and then double Yankee Gil McDougal off first base to kill a rally! Johnny Podres went on to pitch a 2-0 shutout. Justice had been served on those Yankee Pinstripes; and I cried tears of joy.

My mom died a few years ago at age 87 and I’ve been thinking of her as yet another Major League season begins.

I’ll bet by now God has had time to clue her in about what really happened that morning. That she was right all along. I really wasn’t sick on that October day in 1955.

But He looked down and decided it was more important for me to finally see the Dodgers beat the Yankees than attend Sister Mary Bernard’s classes on what would turn out to be an unforgettable fall afternoon.

And maybe—just maybe—He’s arranged for Mom to meet Roy Campenella and Gil Hodges and Carl Furillo and Sandy Amoros and Walter Alston—and they’ve had a big laugh about it.

Just the thought of it makes me smile.

(Excerpt from Depot Street Memories…The Lawler Stories by Bill Sheridan)

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How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Part 1)

I struggle with writing a series about fear, anxiety and depression because I don’t really suffer from these disorders. It’s not that I’m uncommonly brave or anything like that. It’s just that from my childhood until now, I’ve always had an attitude of “something good is about to happen to me.”

This becomes somewhat funny if you take the time to read my testimony because the Lord saved me on the day I was going to commit suicide. It’s not that I was depressed or anxious on May 20, 1985, it’s just that I had run out of options to save my home, car and family. My life insurance policy of $125,000 seemed to be my only hope. So I thought of it at the time as a business decision – nothing more.

Now, the only time I have ever truly suffered from depression was when a Christian friend with good intentions leant me his copy of Deliverance and Inner Healing by John and Mark Sandford. The book blends scripture with the teachings of Jung and Freud to supposedly rid believers of buried memories. The authors’ premise seems to be that Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Bible are not quite enough to set captives free.

I began reading the book on a Saturday afternoon. And after about a hundred and fifty pages,  I became severely depressed and confused. The book had convinced me that my Bible studies and prayers were wasted efforts and that I needed the insights of inner healing, as outlined in this book.

I decided to go for a walk to clear my head.

As I walked down the sidewalk in a foggy daze, a Christian neighbor looked out his window and saw me. He felt I was in danger. He rushed outside and asked, “Larry, what’s your problem?”

“I’ve been reading a book entitled Deliverance and Inner Healing and it has really confused my faith,” I answered.

“Oh, that book is filled with psycho-babble and sorcery,” he replied. Then, he proceeded to outline the history of Agnes Sanford, John and Paula Sandford, Karl Jung, Sigmund Freud, inner healing and more.

“Jesus is the way, truth and light. Period,” he said.

His words instantly set me free.

Thus, if my depression on that Saturday is a small example of what many suffer on a daily basis, wow! It makes me realize just how debilitating and tormenting fear, anxiety and depression must be for millions of people.

Two female riders on my ride-share travels this week inspired me to write this article. We will talk about them in the future.

(Continued in Part 2) 

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We Need Heroes (Part 1)

 

Most people have seen the movie, Titanic, and its fictional love story about a poor boy, Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio), and a rich girl, Rose (Kate Winslet), on an ill-fated ocean voyage. The movie won the 1997 Oscar for Best Picture. Its box-office sales of over $1.8 billion rank it as the second most successful movie of all time, behind Avatar.

Hollywood created its own fictional heroes for the movie script, but on April 14, 1912, there were many real heroes. One of them was named John Harper.

John Harper, a thirty-nine year old widower and a Baptist preacher, was traveling to Chicago aboard the R.M.S Titanic on its maiden voyage with his six-year old daughter, Nana. He was scheduled to preach some evangelistic meetings at the Moody Church.

At 11:40 p.m., the Titanic hit an iceberg on the starboard side of the ship. As soon as Harper realized the ship was going to sink, he took his daughter to a lifeboat and placed her aboard. “Nana, I’ll see you again someday,” he said to her.

Then, while flares lit up the sky, he marched up and down the decks yelling, “Women, children and unsaved into the lifeboats!”

At 2:20 a.m., a rumble arose from deep within the ship as it broke in half. Hundreds of people, including Harper, jumped into the 28-degree (-2 C) water as the Titanic slipped into its watery grave.

As soon as Harper hit the surface, he frantically swam from one person to the next, leading them to Jesus before the people succumbed to the icy waters and hypothermia. He asked one young man who clutched a piece of wood, “Are you saved?” The young man answered that he was not.

Harper tried to convince the young man, but the man refused to listen. Harper took off his life jacket and threw it at the man. “Here then, you need this more than I do,” said Harper as he swam off to other people.

A few minutes later, Harper returned to the man and successfully led him to Christ. Then, Harper attempted to swim to other people, but the icy waters were too much for him. “Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved,” he shouted before he sank under the waters.

Of the 1528 people that went into the icy waters that night, lifeboats rescued only six. One of them was the young man who later recounted how Harper had led him to Christ.

Declaring the end and the result from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure and purpose (Isaiah 46:10)

Maybe some will believe John Harper ran into some bad luck by being on the Titanic, but don’t believe that for even a second. You see, our loving Father looked into the future and knew the Titanic would sink on that fateful night. He could have stopped Harper from being aboard that ship by any number of ways if He had wanted to do that. But instead our Father used John Harper as His representative in the midst of a terrible tragedy. A man willing to fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith all the way to his last breath.

I truly believe John Harper represents the type of hero the Lord will be raising up in the days ahead as our nation seemingly heads toward its disastrous finish.

(Continued in Part 2)

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Ride #955

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I have been driving full-time for Uber and Lyft in the Phoenix area since September 7, 2019. To date, I have 981 rides.

The glamor of driving for Uber had certainly lost its luster for me until recently. Driving two hundred to three hundred miles per day in heavy traffic. Looking at the GPS app with one eye while trying to avoid a driver who is texting as he/she drifts across my lane with the other eye. Needing to use a restroom so urgently that I thought my kidneys would explode and then learning the gas station I stopped at had no public restrooms. Yipes! All of this and more is a part of my “living the dream” as an Uber driver.

Plus, I am trying to juggle four writing projects, a new podcast idea, prayer time, Bible study and oh yes – a wife. And just so you know, I will be 74 years-old in three weeks.

The above will give you some background for this article.

Three days ago, I was in my bathroom preparing myself to drive the afternoon rush hour shift. I happened to click on a video, showing young house church Christians receiving their first Bibles, which had been smuggled across the borders by special agents from Asia Harvest. These young believers were weeping and crying, overjoyed just to finally touch a real Bible and have one of their own.

The video broke my heart. I said aloud, “Lord, You know that I want to help raise money to help provide Bibles and whatever for Chinese and North Korean believers, but NO! You have me driving for Uber and accomplishing nothing for Your kingdom.”

I was a little too passionate and too loud with my complaint to God because Carol overheard me and asked who I was talking to in the bathroom. I told her about my prayer and broke down weeping in my frustration.

The Father did not correct my attitude but instead, He sent ride #955 two days later.

As I drove up to the pickup point at the hotel, all that I knew about the ride was that her name was Bianca and the ride would be an airport trip of approximately twenty miles. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary at the time.

She spoke on the telephone for the first few minutes of our ride together. When she finished, she asked, “Will we be able to get close to the door at the airport?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Do you have a problem?”

Biance then described her autoimmune problems and her special type of arthritis.

“Wow!” I proclaimed. “How can all of this happen to a pretty twenty-five year-old gal like you?”

She laughed. “I’m no longer a spring chicken. I’m thirty-nine years-old. Plus, I can’t get rid of my smoking habit, no matter what I’ve tried.”

“I used to smoke, but I quit.”

“Really? What did you do?”

“Actually, the Lord delivered me of my smoking habit. He was so successful that I did not gain a pound and had no desire to ever smoke again.”

“I’m a Christian, too. I wonder if He would do that for me,” she replied.

“Sure, He’d do it for you. Just ask Him.”

The conversation turned to her unusual name of Bianca, especially for an Asian girl.

She laughed. “I’m North Korean and my mom just wanted an unusual name for me.”

“Wait a second!” I proclaimed. “How did your family escape North Korea?”

Bianca proceeded to tell me how her grandfather was a wealthy businessman in North Korea. He saw that the nation was turning communist and decided to leave everything behind and escape to South Korea and then to America. He along with a few others left at night. One man carried Bianca’s mother on his back the whole journey. Sadly, her grandmother refused to leave North Korea and was never heard of again.

The little North Korean group eventually arrived in America and prospered.

“Let me tell you a vision I had about North Korea,” I said.

“Yes, go ahead,” she said.

“In the vision, I was transported to a prison cell in North Korea. I could actually feel the bitterly cold temperatures. There in the cell was a naked teenage North Korean Christian girl. Her nakedness did not arouse me at all and I knew she had been repeatedly raped and beaten by the prison guards. She was so hungry and thin. I heard her say, “Lord, why do You treat me like this? Can’t You help me?

“I watched the scene in total helplessness. Then, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, “Will you trade places with her?

“The Holy Spirit’s words stunned me. Thoughts flew through my mind. Carol wouldn’t know what happened to me. I wouldn’t see my children or grandchildren again. The guards would rape and beat me. And so forth.

“But then I remembered what Jesus did for me on the cross and how He saved me on May 20, 1985.

“Yes, Lord, I will trade places with her.

“The vision ended and I returned to my bed,” I said.

“I can’t quit weeping. Your story has broken my heart,” she replied in a weak voice.

We arrived at American Airlines. I pulled over to the curb.

“Before you leave, let me pray for you,” I said.

We held hands and I prayed for her healing and her calling to come forth in her life. As the words came forth, I knew she would make a difference for the Christian North Korean prisoners in the years ahead.

I drove away, knowing that if I continued driving for Uber and never did much else for the Lord and the Kingdom of God ever again, I could live with that. It was up to Him and not me.

You see, Ride #955 made all of my driving worth it.

Remember those who are in prison, as if you were their fellow prisoner, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body [and subject to physical suffering]. (Hebrews 13:3 AMP)

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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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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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