Category Archives: Gifts of the Spirit

To Speak in Tongues or To Not Speak in Tongues? That is the question. (Part 3)

Praying in tongues quiets the mind. When Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist, compared brain scans of Christians praying in tongues with Buddhist monks chanting and Catholic nuns praying, the study showed the frontal lobes—the brain’s control center—went quiet in the brains of Christians talking in tongues, proving that speaking in tongues isn’t a function of the natural brain but an operation of the Spirit (1 Cor. 14:2, 14). (Adapted from Seventy Reasons for Speaking in Tongues by Bill Hamon(Destiny Image). Reproduced by permission of Destiny Image.

An early step in my heart renovation happened during the winter of 1993 when I scheduled a teaching at a home group in Story City, Iowa, a fifty-five mile journey from Fort Dodge. My 1975 Chevy gas-hog of a pickup truck sat outside of my apartment with a gas tank resembling my empty billfold.

I already had a teaching ready for the group and felt the Lord had a way to somehow get me there. I prayed in tongues on my knees for an hour before a scripture crossed my mind.

One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed (Proverbs 19:17).

“Lord, how will this scripture help me?” I asked aloud.

No response came, but I knew the scripture contained my answer. I memorized it and meditated on it while praying in tongues for another hour. The Holy Spirit eventually reminded me about giving all the money in my billfold to a poor woman who lived just down the street. The ex-husband was late with child support. The family needed milk and groceries.

“Okay, Lord. That builds my faith because I did give money to a poor person, but how am I going to make my faith work in this instance?” I said.

No answer again.

I returned to bowing on my knees and continued meditating on the scripture while praying in tongues for another hour. This time I felt the Lord instructed me to cut out a piece of paper and tape it over my gas gauge so the needle pointing to E could not be seen. My faith would then be in God and not in the gas tank. I followed His instructions.

The truck’s engine roared to life when I turned the key and headed out into the cold, windy, snowy evening. There was little traffic on the highway. My thoughts on the ride centered on whether an angel had a gas can and continually poured fuel into the tank or if the Lord recycled the fumes. I never figured it out, but I arrived at my destination without any incident.

The Lord has built in my heart a deep trust in prayer over the years. He is my Father, who loves me enough to bankrupt heaven for me. I ask Him to provide for whatever I need in the quiet of the prayer closet and seldom have ever mentioned anything to others. Thus, I never told anyone about my empty gas tank at the house group.

The meeting and fellowship lasted until midnight, but just before I left, a man handed me thirty dollars.

“The Lord told me to give this money to you,” he said.

I thanked him and let him know how much I appreciated his obedience to the Lord’s voice.

(Excerpt from my memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who.)

Be still and know that I am God... (Psalm 46:10)

(Continued in Part 4)

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To Speak in Tongues or To Not Speak in Tongues? That is the Question. (Part 2)

 

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels… (1 Cor. 13:1)

Now, I wish that you all spoke in tongues… (1 Cor. 14: 5

I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all do. (1 Cor. 14: 18)

 I can hear the groans and the shouts. “Not tongues. Anything but that trivial twaddle. I ain’t doing it. No siree – no tongues for me. Never!”

Okay, relax. Take a deep, deep breath. Hold it for a minute or so. Now breathe out. Continue reading.

Let’s return to the same scenario as Part 2.

Your family is staying at the luxurious Beverly Wilshire Hotel (where Pretty Woman was filmed), just off Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. Your wife and daughter are enjoying the shopping spree, and you are carrying enough plastic cards to pay for everything.

Then, three Mumbai-type terrorists enter the hotel lobby, AK-47’s blazing away and hand grenades exploding. Chaos and confusion reigns as dead bodies hit the floor.

Somehow, you grab your wife and daughter, and hide in a first floor cafe. As you crouch behind a table, you hear the sounds of people begging for their lives and the lives of their children. But then, bursts from the AK-47’s let you know that mercy is not a part of the terrorists’ makeup.

You hear their footsteps approaching the cafe. It will only be seconds before they enter the door. You look at your wife and daughter, tears are streaming down their faces. They don’t want to die. They want you to do something. Anything. Just do something.

Are you going to pray? If so, how?

Now remember, your mind will be a pile of mush. You will have thoughts about wishing you would have stayed home, or should have gone to Hawaii instead of California, or spending a nice sunny day anywhere but not where you are at that moment. Plus, fear, not wanting your family to die, and total confusion.

How will you quiet your mind to pray at that moment?

Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which can not be uttered.

Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8: 27-28)

Remember: Radical Christians do not care what others think. They swim upstream against the religious current.

The above article was posted on November 19, 2014, as a part of a series on Islamic Terrorism vs. Radical Christians. I believe it still works for today’s fears, especially coronavirus.

 (Continued in Part 3)

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To Speak in Tongues or To Not Speak in Tongues? That is the question. (Part 1)

The Holy Spirit Showed Up

I drove our new Buick Station Wagon to Des Moines on Monday, July 8, 1985, the fiftieth day after my salvation. There I called on corporate accounts to introduce them to Hunter Ross’s advertising programs. After my last appointment at 4 p.m., I headed back to Fort Dodge, a ninety-mile drive, hoping to see my son play in a high school baseball game that evening. Driving past Webster City on Highway 20, I experienced what Peter and the early disciples did on the first Pentecost in Jerusalem.

My mind concentrated on driving one moment, and in the next, a holy Presence flooded the interior of the car. Every part of me tingled as if jolted by a lightning bolt. I felt like opening my mouth to express the joy bubbling up within me and when I did, I spoke in tongues.

The Pentecostals and Charismatics refer to this experience as the baptism of the Holy Spirit.If you have a different teaching on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and think it refers to a different experience altogether, I’m okay with that.  The label is not as important as the experience.

I only spoke five syllables at first. So my biggest concern was whether I might forget the weird sounding words. I repeated them over and over again in my drive to the baseball diamond at Roger’s Park.

After parking, I sought Bill Sheridan to inquire about speaking in tongues. Did I need to worry about forgetting the syllables?

“Larry, it’s a gift of the Holy Spirit. He has a great memory,” said Bill with a laugh.

Speaking in tongues became my most used type of prayer from that day forward.

Excerpt from my memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who by Larry Nevenhoven.

Surveys by Barna and Gallup estimate that only 7 – 8% of born again believers speak in tongues (prayer utterances unintelligible to the speaker).

About one in four (in Barna’s survey) said the practice is a sign of spiritual maturity, but more than two-thirds agreed that tongues-speakers, though usually sincere, are engaged in emotional outbursts that have nothing to do with God.

“Forty percent say that if they were to speak in tongues, they would be frightened by the experience,” Barna said.

“That doesn’t surprise me,” said sociologist Margaret Poloma of the University of Akron. She said a graduate student recently told her that he spoke in tongues once while he was at a high school church camp, but he never repeated it because it scared him.

“A lot of people are afraid of letting go for fear of the unknown,” Poloma said.

Russell Spittler, an Assemblies of God minister who teaches New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, said he believes that there is a hesitancy to speak in tongues in most Pentecostal and charismatic churches because “one might be thought to be a religious nut.” (See full article here.)

Why am I teaching on speaking in tongues?

On March 14, 2020, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart:

“Listen to My voice. Teach others to do the same. Great confusion shall soon come upon the earth. Many will believe they are doing My will, but will be deceived. Stress speaking in tongues.”

So, hold onto your kippers, mitres and plain old baseball caps as we dig into speaking in tongues.

(Continued in Part 2)

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Prayers for the Gifts of Healing and Miracles (5/23/2019)

Jesus said that in the last days, nations would rise against nations (or people groups versus people groups) and kingdoms against kingdoms. He said there would be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places.

So what are we doing? Are we preparing ourselves?

For instance, do we realize one in ten Americans are taking illegal drugs? Seven out of ten Americans are taking prescription drugs? Or one in four people have mental health issues? 

Can we even imagine what it will be like if people can’t get their drugs because of earthquakes or wars? It will be total chaos in our neighborhoods!

I know. I know. Many of us will answer all of these questions by saying: “I’m going to trust the Lord.” And that’s all well and good!

But Paul the apostle wrote to Timothy –

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. (2 Timothy 1:6)

We must do everything we can right now to stir up our gifts of healing and miracles to prepare us for the dark days ahead. If we wait until tragedy hits, we won’t have the faith or trust in our gifts to help the hurting people in our neighborhoods.

The old axiom – practice makes perfect – is also true with the spiritual gifts. So, let’s lay hands on and pray for every sick and hurting person we meet. Let’s not give up! Let’s keep on doing it and trusting God to perform the work of healing through us and our spiritual gifts. Eventually, we will reap a harvest of healing.

My prayer today:

Lord, help us to hear Your voice, believe Your words and step out in faith to do Your works of healing in our neighborhoods.

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for the Body of Christ in America.

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With 60 Million Aborted Babies, Why Hasn’t God Removed America Yet? (Part 7)

We have this misguided thought that prophetic voices all work off the same page when they prophesy, but this isn’t true. The Lord reveals to each of His prophetic voices the individual insights He wants each to have so each can bring the specific word of the Lord for his generation.

For instance, Habakkuk and Zephaniah were contemporaries of Jeremiah, but only Jeremiah received the following insight:

Therefore do not pray for this people [Judah], nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. (Jeremiah 7:16)

This should make all of us shake our heads in amazement that God would ask His mouthpiece – and also a chosen intercessor – not to pray for a nation, heading toward judgment.

And just to make sure that Jeremiah heard Him, God repeated Himself a few days later:

Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not hear them in the time that they cry out to Me because of their trouble. (Jeremiah 11:14)

Let’s put this in context, okay? The Lord is speaking about a specific nation – Judah – in these verses, not individuals. Nations have specific seasons when they must repent and change while individuals can repent right up to their dying breaths.

But what if Habakuk and Zephaniah truly believed Judah might repent and thus stave off God’s judgment? Wouldn’t these two prophets have spent much of their time praying and fasting for Judah? Of course, they would have.

So, on the one hand, there were probably two of God’s prophets praying and fasting for Judah to repent and change, but on the other hand, there was Jeremiah who had been told not to pray because God was going to judge and carry off Judah to Babylon.

Was God confused?

No, absolutely not.

God uses His prophetic voices to draw people to Him, to give them hope and to prepare them for the days lying ahead. But we have to remember that not all people walk at the same spiritual level. So, God sends prophetic voices to encourage believers to move to higher spiritual levels without overwhelming them ahead of time.

I like to think of God’s prophetic voices being like the grains in a 12 Hour Contac Cold Capsule. Each grain of cold medicine is a different size from the others. Some are really minute while others are really large. It takes different amounts of time for the stomach to break down each grain size. In this manner, the cold capsule combats cold symptoms for each of the twelve hours.

Hopefully, this helps to explain why sometimes prophetic voices seemingly contradict one another when they talk about a nation. Some may be talking about revival while others may be talking about God’s wrath.

(Continued in Part 7but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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Prayers for Prophetic Voices to Arise in America (3/21/2019)

If I asked most Christians what happened in Acts 2 of the Bible, they’d answer: “The one hundred and twenty disciples waiting in the Upper Room in Jerusalem were filled with the Holy Spirit and they all spoke in tongues.”

That’s true, but did you also know that Peter prophesied a message for us Twenty-First Century Christians?

In the last days,” God says, I will pour out My Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out My Spirit even on My servants—men and women alike— and they will prophesy. (Acts 2:17-18 NLT)

How many of our sons and daughters are prophesying? And if we consider ourselves servants of the Lord, how many of us are prophesying?

Now, if you’re thinking all of Peter’s prophetic words were fulfilled on that first Pentecost in 30 AD, then you need to look at the next part of his prophecy:

“And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below— blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.” (Acts 2:18-19) 

So far, we have not seen the sun darkened and the moon turned to blood, right?

If we look at Peter’s prophecy and consider the questions I have raised, that means Peter’s prophecy has only had a limited fulfillment so far.

Thus, we need to be like the prophet Daniel and discern the times we now live in and set our faces toward the Lord God with prayer, supplication and fasting to bring the fulfillment about prophesying to the Body of Christ.

My prayer today:

Lord, we believe we are living in the last days so we ask You to pour out Your Spirit of prophecy on our sons and daughters and on every one who is Your servant. (Based on Acts 2 and Revelation 19:10)

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for prophetic voices to arise in America.

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Prayers for Families (1/10/2019)

There was a time when I thought that if I ever got my finances in shape, my health issues under control, my relationships all healed, my sin problems handled and my spiritual life raised to a higher level, I would do amazing things for God.

My focus was spent on reigning over these five areas of my life. But guess what?

No matter how hard I tried, there were always one or two of these five areas that were shipwrecked at any given time. My frustrations agreed with the Apostle Paul when he wrote: “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

It took a few years, but I finally decided to check out how Jesus handled stressful circumstances.

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots. (Luke 23:34)

Then the thief said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43)

When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:26-27)

Jesus on the cross, which had to be His worse time of stress, did not consider His painful circumstances, but cared about others more than Himself. He was a servant to the end and trusted that His Father would deliver Him out of His troubles.

A light turned on inside me when I saw this and thought: “If it worked for Jesus, it will work for me.”

Today, I spend very little time praying for my own issues and most of my time praying for others. It’s not that my problems aren’t big because like yours, they are, but I want to please Him, the One who with just a blink of His eye can turn all of my problems around in a nanosecond.

Okay, for the next few weeks, I plan on praying for families. If yours are like mine, then there are sick members, unsaved ones, troubled marriages and more. If you can, join me.

My prayer today:

Lord, stir up our love for our family members so that we are willing to lay our lives down for them, whether it’s in prayer, fasting or taking a bullet for them. And as You work Your love in us for them, I remind You that Your Word says, “Love never fails.” (Based on 1 Corinthians 13)

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for our families.

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Radical Democrats, Leftists and Socialists are our Thorns in the Flesh

Democratic National Convention

Have you ever wondered what was Paul’s thorn in the flesh?

There have been many suggestions, but my best guess is that it was the Jews, who constantly hunted him down and tried to kill him. The Jews certainly fit the description of a messenger of Satan who buffeted or treated him with violence.

Yet, look what the Apostle Paul wrote a year or so after he wrote his letter to the Corinthians:

For my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters, I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them. (Romans 9:3)

Even though the Jews may have been Paul’s thorn in the flesh, he loved them, felt they were his missionary field and was willing to die for them.

So, I believe we Christians need to look with Paul’s eyes at radical Democrats, leftists, socialists and others, who are trying to destroy the Christian heritage of our nation. We need to view them as our missionary field and be willing to die for them.

That is — if we want to love like Paul did, which if you think about it, is how much Jesus loved each of us when He took our places on the cross.

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. I am taking the holiday season off. See you in January. 

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Is the Upcoming Civil War our Prep for the End-times? (Part 9)

During the American Civil War, there were denominational church splits for Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Lutherans, Baptists and others. Today’s Southern Baptists are carryovers from the Baptist church splits of that era.

These denominational splits were the results of slavery. The northern parts of the denominations were against slavery while the southern ones were deeply embedded in the slave-owning society.

The main holdouts were the Quakers.

Although many American Quakers once owned slaves, they realized that slavery was a sin by the early 1800s and refused to have anything to do with it again. Not only were the Quakers anti-slavery, but they were also pacifists. These attitudes caused the Southern Quakers heavy persecution during the Civil War. Their land was stolen, their livestock taken, many were thrown in jail, and on and on, their troubles continued.

In the midst of the Quakers’ darkest days of persecution, Southerners joined the denomination and became known as War Quakers. Think about this for a moment: people joined the Quakers so they could share in the persecution. Only God could make something like that happen!

It’s my belief that the Lord used the Quakers as lights to the Southerners during the Civil War. Like the church of Smyrna in the Book of Revelation, the Quakers were tested for their beliefs, but they had spiritual ears to hear what the Spirit was saying to their churches at that time in American history.

Could this happen in today’s upcoming American civil war? Could God raise up groups that would go against the grain on one side or the other?

If we view the political landscape right now, a majority of Evangelical Christians lean toward the Republican Party. But most black American Christians have joined the remaining Evangelical Christians in the Democratic Party.

Depending on how the civil war might break out, we could easily end up having Christians fighting Christians, with each feeling they are obeying God at the same time.

It’s my belief the Lord is raising up believers right now who are waiting for the Lord to send them to LA, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and other cities to raise up a standard for God in these places. Their loyalties will not be to political parties, denominations or sides in the civil war, but to the King of kings.

These groups of believers will suffer extreme persecution, but they will stand firm and force many to make a choice between God’s ways and man’s ways. But even so, this is according to scripture.

All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:8

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

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Prayers for America (11/15/2018)

Everyone needs to make up his or her own mind about today’s America. It’s either the worst of times or the best of times for us Christians. Our decisions on this question will determine our attitudes and actions in the days ahead.

For me, Marine Lt. General Chesty Puller’s statement during the bloody battle of Peleliu summarizes my attitude:

“All right, they’re on our left, they’re on our right, they’re in front of us, they’re behind us…they can’t get away this time.”

My prayer today:

Lord, open the eyes of Christians to show them that they have been chosen by You for such a time as this to win great victories for Your kingdom. (Based on Esther 4:14)

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

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America. 

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