Category Archives: God

What God Taught Me In My 310 Days At Walmart (Part 1)

 

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When I felt the Lord speaking to my heart about applying for a job at Walmart, I must admit that I scratched my head a few times. You see, I was nearly 71 years old and had a few physical issues: both knees are bone on bone due to long ago football injuries, back problems from climbing ladders and falling off a few of them, and carpal tunnels in both wrists from gripping a paint brush and typing for hours and hours at a time.

I was certainly not a poster-perfect candidate for being a cashier at a high volume Walmart Super Center, but yet, I knew the Lord was asking me to do just that.

To better understand what the Lord was asking of me, I need to relate an experience I had almost thirty years beforehand.

At the time, I was employed by a Best Western Motel in maintenance and delivering “meals on wheels” to senior citizen centers. It was a bottom-rung, minimum wage job.

I had just read Fox’s Book of Martyrs, which relates the lives, sufferings, and deaths of the early Christians and Protestant martyrs. As I finished the book, I spoke aloud, “Lord, if this is my destiny, then let me die with a bullet to the head or by guillotine, but not by being burnt to death at a stake. That would be too much for me!”

A few days later, I was hurrying around the kitchen of the motel, readying the meals for the senior centers. I pulled a large tray of roast beef out of a top oven. As I pulled it out, the tray slipped, pouring out its 165° of scalding water and juices over my left hand. I somehow set the tray down without spilling the roast beef.

Then, I stood there looking at my hand. The chefs and kitchen workers were screaming at me to put my hand under the cold water faucet, but I ignored their pleas.

My hand fascinated me because there was no pain inside it – in the muscles, fatty tissues, or nerve endings. The pain was just located on the surface of my skin where it was a bright red in color, but it was really bearable. Not a problem for me to endure it at all.

The chef grabbed my hand and stuck it under the faucet. “Now, you have to go to the doctor and have it checked,” she screamed at me.

I laughed. “No, I’m okay and will deliver the meals to the senior centers.”

“Nevenhoven, you’re a nut.”

“Yeah, that’s probably true, but it’s only because of Jesus and His love for me.”

From that day onward, I have never feared what people could do to me because I knew His grace would help me through it.

(Part 2)

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32 Years Ago Today

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In 1985, my life smashed into a brick wall. I needed thousands of dollars to start a publishing company and bail my family out of debt. My sources were all maxed out and the hope level in my reservoir was hovering at empty. I was finished.

The only untouched asset I had was a $125,000 life insurance policy. So, my solution seemed obvious: suicide.

As for taking my life, I had no problems with it because I was an agnostic. No God equals no problems with eternal judgment, right? It wasn’t personal, just a business solution for my family and me.

My plan was uncomplicated. I figured on enjoying one last weekend with my family and then committing suicide on that Monday evening.

Thus, on May 20, 1985, I spent the day finishing up loose ends. Then, for some reason, I stopped at an insurance agent’s office. Although we knew each other, Bill and I were not intimate friends and had never really talked to each other before that day.

Bill invited me into his office. We discussed baseball. Then in the middle of our conversation, he stared at me and said, “You’re thinking about committing suicide, aren’t you?”

His words hit me like a sledgehammer. How did he know? I told no one. It was my secret $125,000 payday. I was speechless. As I sat there, a vision played across my mind about my car ramming into a viaduct and killing me.

I wept and although I tried to regain my composure, I could not. “How did you know?” I asked.

“Oh,” said Bill, “the Lord told me while we were talking to each other.”

His words shattered my unbelief. God was alive and He cared about me. We continued talking and he finally gave me a book to read: Power in Praise by Merlin Carothers.

When I arrived home, I began reading the book. After a few pages, I walked into the bathroom, closed the door and knelt in front of the sink. Looking into the mirror, I prayed, “Jesus, I’ve tried everything else and nothing has worked. I guess I’ll give You a try.”

Instantly, I was changed. Fear and shame were no longer a part of me, but instead, joy and hope filled my heart. Bowing and worshipping my new King, I promised to never let go of His hand.

If my story were a fictional Hollywood movie, perhaps it would resemble It’s A Wonderful Life. Jimmy Stewart would play me and Donna Reed my wife. The angel would get his wings and everyone would live happily ever after. The end.

But sadly, my life has not been a work of fiction. It has been a day to day journey, filled with a few good experiences, but also many mistakes, false starts and failures. Divorce. Loss of friends. Numerous firings from sales positions. Low-paying jobs. Poverty. Rejection. Loneliness. Not exactly, a picture perfect Christian life.

And yet, it has been in the deepest valleys where the Lord has truly revealed Himself to me. It was there He became my loving Father and I learned His grace was sufficient for me.

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Mountains Melt at the Presence of God (Part 1)

I was upset with God on that winter day in 1995. Things were not panning out quite the way I expected them to happen, not even close. I was thousands of dollars in debt, my friends had for the most part deserted me, and the woman who I thought would marry me didn’t even want to see me.

I sat by myself in that small upstairs apartment, near Iowa State University, reading a biography on John Lake’s life. As I turned the pages of the book, I decided to tell God exactly how I felt at that moment.

Standing up, I pointed my finger toward heaven. “Lord, I’m fed up with the way You’re running my life,” I said with foolish boldness. “In fact, I’m sick of it. If You’re the Creator of the Universe, why can’t You get me out of my problems in one day? Don’t You have enough power to do it by tomorrow? Or is Your arm too short? ”

I sat back down, quite satisfied with how I let God know my real feelings, and picked up the book again.

Much like it says in Acts 2:2 — And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind — God came into the room. His presence filled every part of the room with His holiness.

I dropped the book, fell to my knees on the floor, and wept. “O Lord, don’t kill me. Don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me,” I muttered over and over again.

You see, I knew I couldn’t live in that level of holiness for very long because of the sin in my life.

Then, the Lord spoke to my heart. “If I wanted to, I could deliver you out of your problems by tomorrow.”

“Yes, Lord, I believe that You could do that. Just don’t kill me.”

His heavy presence lifted off the room and eventually I stood up a changed man, much smaller in my own eyes than before that time.

This was an extreme example of God’s presence in my life, but interesting enough, it was God’s presence which came upon me as a young believer that drew me to love Him and desire to be with Him. And to be honest, if there is one thing that I hope I could somehow teach every believer: it would be to seek His presence.

The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. (Psalm 97:5)

(Continued in Part 2)

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Is God A Good God?

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Perkins Pancake House, on the east edge of Fort Dodge, was quiet that cool March morning at 7 a.m. Three other men and I sat in a booth toward the back of the restaurant. Five or six people sat scattered here and there throughout the place. Dave had invited me to his men’s breakfast fellowship.

The waitress brought us coffee and took our orders. In the midst of the clanking of spoons and coffee cups, Dave said five words that forever changed my life. The words were the opening clause for a statement he spoke and was not even his main emphasis.

“God is a good God…” Dave said.

He went on to make his point, but I did not hear him. The words − “God is a good God” − echoed through my mind. Up until that moment, I had not considered whether God was a good God. He was my Lord, my Savior, my Shepherd, my Master, my Life, and so forth, but was He a good God? Did He really care about me? Did He have my best interests in mind? Did He love me regardless of what I did? Was He good toward me?

I sat there batting these thoughts back and forth. Then an idea stuck in the walls of my mind: my earthly dad was a good father. He loved me no matter what I did. He always wanted to talk with me. He was always willing to help me. I could not ask for a better father in the whole world.

Using simple logic, I reckoned that if my dad was a good father then God has to be a better one. Thus, God is a good God.

This simple revelation, which occurred nine months after my salvation, has been a major part of my Christian foundation since that morning. I now understand that no matter what I may go through, what I may suffer at God’s hand, or what the enemy may do to me, God means it for good in my life. He is my Daddy who is head over heels in love with me. He would never allow anything to happen to me, which would hinder our relationship.

 

What if a person does not have a good dad like mine? What if the person’s dad is an abusive father, an alcoholic, murderer, thief, or a dad who was never there for the individual as a role model? Is that person then relegated to never having a revelation that God is a good God?

The quick answer is “no.”

God chooses the manner in which He reveals Himself to believers.

He chose to use my dad to reveal His goodness to me, but He could use numerous ways to reveal Himself to other believers. He is the Creator and His deepest desire is to reveal His heart to people, especially that He is for us and never against us. He is a good God.

If you do not have this revelation of God, ask Him. He will be delighted to answer your prayer.

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

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8 Exchanges at the Cross

 

My Aussie friend, Roger Williams, at Reality Revelations had the above video on his blog site. The video is 5 minutes long and well worth viewing, but what caught my attention was when Derek Prince spoke about the 8 exchanges which happened at the cross.

Prince said:

The cross is the center of the whole Christian faith. All the evil that was due us was thrust on Jesus. All the good that was due Jesus was made available to us. At the cross, 8 exchanges took place.

1. Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven.

2. Jesus was wounded that we might be healed.

3. Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness that we might be righteous with His righteousness.

4. Jesus died our death that we might receive His life.

5. Jesus endured our poverty that we might endure His abundance.

6. Jesus bore our shame that we might share His glory.

7. Jesus endured our rejection that we might have His acceptance with God the Father.

8. Jesus was made a curse that we might receive the blessing.

(This is a rerun from May 28, 2013)

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Inside Israel

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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 …

Shavuot – 3-4June.2014

Greetings dear brothers and sisters,

Only by His grace will He be glorified and only by His grace will this bring you any blessing and encouragement.  Lord, thank you for Your grace… so much more intricate and precious then we can imagine.

Shavuot begins in a few more hours, at sundown tonight. It is one of the three High holy days that God commanded all of the males of the tribes of Israel to “Come up to Jerusalem” and present themselves before Him.  So many times, both in the Gospels, in Acts, and in the letters, we read about Jesus or the disciples “Going up to Jerusalem” for the feast.  It was a scriptural command that remains in tact for the Jews of today, and is obeyed by the religious and many less religious.

My favorite scripture specifically about Shavuot is found in Deuteronomy 26:1-11 –

             “and it shall be, when you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which the Lord your God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide.  And you shall go to the one who is priest in those days, and say to him, ‘I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the country which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us.’

            Then the priest shall take the basket out of your hand and set it down before the alter of the Lord your God.  And you shall answer and say before the Lord your God:  ‘My father was a Syrian, about to perish, and he went down to Egypt and dwelt there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous.  But the Egyptians mistreated us, afflicted us, and laid hard bondage on us.  Then we cried out to the Lord God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression.  So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders.  He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, O Lord, have given me.’

            Then you shall set it before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God.  So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the Lord your God has given you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you.”

We also read:

Leviticus 21:15-16, 21  “You shall count for yourselves — from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving — seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days… You shall convoke on this very day — there shall be a holy convocation for yourselves — you shall do no laborious work; it is an eternal decree in your dwelling places for your generations. “

This is really the end of Passover.  After the eating of matzo, the people are commanded to begin counting the omer for 50 days (omer being the ripened grain within the husk). A week of weeks and that is where the name Shavuot or “weeks” comes from.  Many actually abstain from eating wheat from the beginning of Passover until the presenting of the new harvest before The Lord and thanking Him for it on Shavuot.

But Shavuot is celebrated by the church worldwide as well.  It is known as Pentecost. (The word ‘Pentecost’ meaning 50 days)  That is why it is written in Acts 2:1

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place…v.5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven…”

They were dwelling there temporarily, just like today, when devout Jews come from around the world to Jerusalem to bring their offering and fulfill the command.

When I first read about Pentecost in the light of the scriptures about Shavuot, it thrilled me.  The Holy Sprit given, the fulfillment of time − just as the end of the counting of the omer is the fulfillment of time and the ripening of the grain within the husk.  Oh the plans of The Lord are so intricately beautiful, even in our small glimpses.  May His Holy Spirit – our Teacher Who has promised to lead us into all Truth – give us understanding and help us to rejoice before Him with an offering of firstfruits, for His glory.

I don’t know how today’s traditions evolved, but it is a day when those who observe Shavuot generally wear white and eat dairy.  It is the time for commemorating the day that the Torah or the Law was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. So perhaps the white represents the pure milk of The Word, and thus the dairy food and white clothing coupled with study groups.

Our prayer is that these groups will return to studying Scripture, for as it stands now, it generally isn’t.  These study groups have actually evolved into a very interesting thing.  Twenty years ago, when we came, the religious had a monopoly on them.  Long processions of seekers, dressed in white, would wind their way through the Old City streets to the wall, the night gently lit by old-fashioned torches that they carried on the way.  They would sit all night and all of the next day in front of the western wall of Solomon’s temple, studying, reading, and praying.

Over the past few years, many of the religious started to reach out to the more secular. They hold study groups all over the country, in homes, schools, parks, any area.  Not to be outdone, many secular leaders began holding their own study groups and the subjects began to vary until there are really some far fetched ones out there.

One year my boss (a Doctor) told me that he had studied with a large group of doctors – debating different philosophies applied in modern medicine in the light of Torah (example; extending life by machines, issues concerning suffering, etc.).

To read more about how Shavuot is observed there are many sites to google and there is always https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shavuot. I simply love reading what God says in His Word.

I challenged my boss this year; “Why don’t you study the Prophet Ezekiel this year?” I asked.

He looked puzzled.  “Will you?” he asked me.

“Sounds good to me, ok,” I answered.

So, it looks like I will do just that. I pray that the Lord will start stirring my boss’ hungry heart to just READ THE WORD!  And MANY hungry hearts, for there truly are many.

One thing that I learn daily as I look into His Word, is that there is ALWAYS room at the Cross for me AND for everyone else.  God bless you as you seek Him.

Lovingly,

your sis J

 

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Tuesday’s Prayers for America (4/22/2014)

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The total number of illegal immigrants in America is estimated to be in the 12 million range with over 80% being from Latin American, mainly Mexico. My state of California is home to nearly 3 million illegal immigrants.

Okay, why is this happening?

The alien who is among you shall rise above you higher and higher, but you will go down lower and lower. (Deuteronomy 28:43)

One of the curses for disobeying God’s voice is that the aliens in a nation will be raised up above that nation’s citizens. Has that been happening here in America? Yes, in many ways, including employment, politics, healthcare, and more.

Remember: the aliens or illegal immigrants are not accursed, but instead, we Americans are the ones who are living under a curse because of our many sins before God. Thus, don’t blame the illegal immigrants for America’s problems. We Americans are the problem. We must repent.

How we handle the illegal immigrant problem in America will also determine the grace that God shows our nation in the future. We will end up reaping what we sow.

So, let’s be careful to extend mercy and love whenever we can to the illegal immigrants in our midst.

My prayer for America today:

Lord, help us Americans to see You within the illegal immigrants who live among us. So, that if they are hungry, thirsty,  poorly clothed, sick, or in prison, we would go to them and bless them as though it were You. (Based on Matthew 25:35-40)

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

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

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