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A Shadow’s Viewpoint of His Dad

Dad and mom

“Roy, where’s your shadow?” the tractor salesman asked Dad.

And with that statement, I received a nickname that stayed with me for quite a few years. I was Dad’s shadow, his tag along little boy, who traveled with him when he went to town or a neighbor’s place or Uncle Bob’s farm or the Haldane Elevator or wherever.

Of course, being Dad’s shadow had its unique benefits because he was a softie and I could always squeeze a dime or fifteen cents out of his pockets. This was more than enough to buy an ice-cold Nehi Cream Soda and a Baby Ruth candy bar at Donaldson’s Grocery Store in Haldane or a Pepsi and a handful of peanuts at Gentry’s Farm Implement in Polo.

As his shadow, I watched Dad climb Gene Bolen’s and Matt DeWall’s silos up to the top so that a new crop of silage could be stored in them. He was the fearless neighborhood Spiderman and unafraid of heights. I also saw him help Lawrence Zumdahl, Walter Paul, and Doc Link with their projects. Dad always had time to help neighbors and also drink their coffee. “Black please, no sugar or cream,” he always answered on how he liked his coffee.

And of course, there was Uncle Bob Duncan. Dad farmed with Uncle Bob for thirty plus years and never once did this shadow ever hear Dad speak an angry word at Uncle Bob or vice versa. Both treated each other with the highest mutual respect.

When I was six years old, Dad put his shadow (me) to work for the first time, driving a tractor which pulled the hay fork into the barn. It was an easy job. All I had to do was pay attention to him and push in the clutch when he waved his arms at me. But as youngsters sometimes do, I anticipated his commands and stopped early a few too many times. At last, Dad said to me, “From now on, watch me. If you don’t see me waving my hands, keep on going…even if you end up in the orchard. Do you understand?”

His voice alerted me to the importance of his commands.

All went well for a few hours.

Then, Mom showed up and talked with him while we were working. The load of hay moved up into the barn and I continued driving the tractor, waiting for the waving of his hands. But he continued talking with Mom. I drove past every one of my earlier stopping points and headed for the orchard. Finally, I saw him frantically waving his hands. I stopped.

He ran toward me. His face was red and he held his hat in his hand. “Sonny, I am so mad…but it’s not your fault…it’s mine. But I am so mad! You pulled the backdoor out of the barn with the hayforks. I’m so mad! But it’s not your fault. Honest, Sonny, it’s not your fault, but I am so mad!”

I can still see him standing there next to the tractor tire, shifting his weight from one foot to the other in his agitation, so angry and yet so careful not to hurt my feelings. He eventually helped me off the tractor and gave me a hug. All was well between Dad and his shadow even though his barn door was busted to pieces.

And this is how Dad treated me his whole life. It is called love.

A few days before Dad’s death, a nurse asked me, “What was your dad like?”

“He was a good guy who wore a white hat and sat on a tall white charger. He always arrived at the scene just in the nick of time with a few dollars in his pocket, a hammer and a pair of pliers in his hands and words of encouragement in his mouth for his loved ones and neighbors. He was my hero,” I said.

And I believed every word of it.

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

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Spiritual Warfare in San Francisco (Part 3)

I finished studying at 9 p.m. and went into the kitchen for a drink of water. As I turned on the recessed ceiling lights, I stopped dead in my tracks. A grotesque creature sat on a stool at the island counter. If the angel was the epitome of the Kingdom of Light, then this being was the dark side’s counterpart. Its gloomy eyes glared at me while its lips formed a sneer. Festering sores plastered the being’s face and neck. A filthy robe cloaked its torso and a stench of decay clogged my nostrils.

“Listen up Chuck,” the creature said in a raspy voice.

Fear struck my chest like a baseball bat. I had trouble breathing. Confusion settled over me like a morning fog. I could not put two and two together.

“If you go to businessmen and tell them to pray over their financial gifts, seeking the Lord where they should give their money, some bad things will happen to your family. Your two sons will die in an auto accident and your wife will go insane. Do you hear me?”

I could not speak as my mouth went dry and a throbbing sensation sent stabs of pain through my mind.

The creature drummed its dirty two-inch long fingernails on the granite counter. The beat reminded me of a funeral march.

“I said, ‘Do you hear me?’” the creature hissed out the words.

I nodded.

“And I can do it. It will be easy. Just as easy as it was for me to come into your home. No one can protect you from me, not even God!”

The creature bared its brownish-yellowish teeth with a hideous grin as it stood up.

“Don’t you ever forget what I told you, okay?”

The being walked over to the door leading out to the deck, then without opening the door, he stepped through it, and left.

I collapsed on the floor and wept. My body convulsed in fear.

“Oh God! What have I done to my family?” I screamed.

 

Afterward, I pulled myself together and wandered into the family room, collapsing on the sofa. What is going on? I thought. Everything is hitting me at once. What can I do? My mind raced in circles searching for answers, but I found none. I finally fell asleep.

A voice visited me as I slept. Was it in a dream or a vision? It was like both, but different at the same time. I was awake, but asleep.

“Chuck,” the voice said.

I looked up and realized I stood in front of a stage in a large auditorium. It was black. None of the spotlights were turned on. The red velvet curtains were drawn apart. The voice seemed to be flowing out of the darkness blanketing the stage. I felt no fear, but was comforted by the voice.

“Yes,” I answered.

“Do you have some questions?”

“Yes.”

“Go ahead.”

“What was that being in my kitchen?”

“What do you think it was?”

“A demon.”

“Yes. That was a demon sent to frighten you by the religious ruling spirit over America.”

“But how did that happen?” I asked. “I always pray for angelic protection over me.”

“Yes, you do,” the voice said. “For just a few moments, the angels that protect you backed off their posts. When they did that, the demon slipped into your realm.”

It hit me like a hammer between the eyes. I was set up by the Lord and used as ambush bait.

“But –”

The voice interrupted me. “You have been chosen to have insight into spiritual warfare so that you can teach others. Spiritual warfare is not played on a Game Boy. It is played out in real life scenarios where lives and destinies are at stake.” The voice paused for a moment and then added, “Satan and his army want to kill Christians and their families, and destroy their destinies on the earth.”

I cringed.

“But what can I do to protect my family?”

“What does scripture say?”

Once again, the voice bounced my question back to me.

I thought for a moment before answering.

“Cast my cares on the Lord for He cares for me.”

“Yes. And don’t forget Jesus rebuked demons. He refused to allow them to speak because they are all liars. You can do the same in Jesus’ name.”

I was silent, not wanting to ask my next question.

“Can Satan and his forces really hurt my children or Dusty?”

“Yes. Rebellion and sin by you can open the gates for Satan’s army to come into your family’s lives. But by the same token, a causeless curse will not alight on you or your family. So, walk with God and avoid sin.”

The voice was silent for a moment.

“Any more questions?

“What about my problems with Dusty?”

“She is not the problem, you are. Dusty is like most women in that she desires to see her husband as a sold-out man of God, not a half-hearted pew-sitter. You obey God, follow His instructions, and she will be happy to walk by your side.”

With that answer, the voice left and I returned to my sleep.

Excerpt from Deceived Dead and Delivered by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2013, Amazon eBook)

(Continued in Part 3)

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Spiritual Warfare in San Francisco (Part 2)

“The small crack in the principality’s force field has come about because of an orchestrated prayer effort by prayer warriors, fasting and proclaiming Psalm 2:8 and Ephesians 3:10 into the heavens.” He touched his ear. “Listen.”

I heard the combined voices of thousands of intercessors praying: “Lord, we ask You to give us the heathen in San Francisco as an inheritance and a possession for Your kingdom. And in Jesus’ name, we command the principalities and powers to let go of San Francisco.”

He remained silent for a few moments before he picked up the conversation again.

“Now, the good news,” he said. “The crack allows the Lord to send a Special Forces combatant into San Francisco to do some heavy damage on the enemy’s defenses.”

I swallowed hard. A question bubbled up within me.

“A special forces combatant?”

“Jeremiah, you’re the combatant.”

“But – ”

His eyes narrowed.

“Yes?”

“Why not just continue using prayer? It seems to be working.”

“Every battle, every war is different. Jesus, the Commander in Chief, knows best what is needed to bring forth a victory. You need to follow His plan.”

My mind reeled.

“Please, help me understand what I’ve just witnessed.”

“The first woe on San Francisco was a shot across the bow, just to get everyone’s attention. As far as any damage inflicted on the spiritual government over the city, it was minimal. A slight bump in the road for the spirit of depravity. And then, it has been back to normal, business as usual. This time will be different.

“But to truly understand spiritual warfare, you need to remember: Satan was an archangel who understands the government of God. When he rebelled, he became the father of lies and there’s no truth in him. Everything Satan attempts to do is a lying counterfeit of what God does and how God governs.”

He glanced at me, making sure I was on the same page with him.

“Satan’s army wears protective armor just like Christians do, but the demonic armor is the exact opposite of God’s armor. Their loins are girded with lies; their breastplates are unrighteousness; their feet are shod with chaos; they have shields of fear; they wear helmets of eternal doom; and their swords are the lying words of Satan. But there is one important similarity common to both God’s army and Satan’s forces. Can you guess what it is?”

I shook my head.

“Unity,” he said. “Both armies’ success depends on unity. God’s army is unified through faith in God and love of God and the brethren. Satan’s forces are unified in their hatred of God and His followers – and – their fear of God, Satan, each other, and bold believers.

“The crack reveals a successful chipping away in the unity and resolve of Satan’s army by the intercessors’ prayers and proclamations of truth. It’s wide enough now for your upcoming prophetic words to enter through it, and then out into the spiritual atmosphere over the city. There your prophetic words will confront speculations and thoughts that are opposed to the obedience of Christ in San Francisco.”

“Will the spirit of depravity counterattack?” I asked, remembering how the principality increased its barrage right after the crack appeared.

“Yes. All wars are filled with attacks and counterattacks, but your prophecies will provide a needed weapon which the saints can use to fight the good fight.”

He stared at me and the silence stretched for nearly a minute.

“The counterattack will be especially rough for you, but His grace will be sufficient,” he said. “Now, I have some special words for you.”

He told me my instructions and as he spoke, the gift of faith embraced me.

(An excerpt from Jonah by Larry Nevenhoven, ©2012, Amazon eBook)

(Continued in Part 3)

 

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Spiritual Warfare in San Francisco (Part 1)

Time and commissions softened the agents’ attitudes towards me. They turned cordial. Even the Lene girls treated me extra nice. The three continued calling me Junior, but their words contained a ring of admiration when they did it. The spring months passed and the real estate market heated up during the first two weeks of June. Everyone at the real estate office was busy making money.

Then, the angel stopped by my house.

The sun had set, the evening shadows merged into deep darkness. Albert lay on the red tile floor by the refrigerator, his tail wagging back and forth in time to a doggy dream. I stood at the stainless steel sink, washing dishes, and putting them away in the white cabinets when I heard a noise behind me.

“Oh mighty man of valor, how are you?” he said.

I gasped and almost fumbled a serving bowl.

“Fear not,” he said, holding his hand up.

The white-robed angel stood next to the oven, his chestnut hair a mere six inches from the ceiling. He held a gold handled sword in his left hand, with the point aimed downward. His words calmed my fears, even though there was a combat-readiness about him.

He extended his right hand to me.

“Are you ready to go?”

I knew a rhetorical question when I heard one so I offered him my left hand.

Up through the roof, we took a sharp right toward City Hall. The wind whistled through my white tee-shirt and jeans. My feet were bare. I recognized the streets as we passed over them. California Street. Pine Street. Geary Street. Golden State Avenue. Grove Street. At City Hall, he put on the brakes so we hovered a hundred feet above the dome’s pinnacle.

“Tonight, your spiritual eyes will be opened up another notch, to three notches.”

I did not speak.

There was no expression on his face, but I thought I saw a smile in his eyes for a split second.

“So, you remember the rules, huh?” He pointed up. “Look,” he said.

I followed his finger and saw the spirit of depravity sitting on a brass throne blocking a light portal. Once again, the ruling principality continually alternated its appearance between that of a beautiful white angel and that of a monster gargoyle. First one and then the other. The spirit never rested. The hologram ticker-tapes carrying lies spewed out of its mouth toward the earth below, but this time, I observed something else.

Have you ever seen World War II films showing German bombers flying over London and anti-aircraft guns firing up in the air at them? Every fourth or fifth bullet was a phosphorous tracer shell so the artillerymen could track their firing and adjust their aims. The skies lit up with these phosphorous bullets of light heading toward targets overhead.

This was what it reminded me of when I looked up, because thousands of bullets of light ripped through the heavens toward the spirit of depravity. The bullets came out of San Francisco, from other American cities, from foreign lands, and especially out of China and Korea. None seemed off-target. They converged at a specific point on a force field of some kind which shielded the principality. The force field appeared to have a spiritual life to it.

I noticed a weakening in the force field. A small crack appeared. The look on the principality’s face revealed the alarm and terror it felt from the damage inflicted on its protective shield. The spirit reacted by accelerating its ticker-tape barrage upon the earth below.

“This spiritual warfare is being waged by chosen intercessors against the spirit of depravity. Many of the prayer warriors are former gays, lesbians, sexual perverts, women who had abortions, people involved in the abortion industry, and even babies who have survived abortion attempts on them. They have been washed in the Lamb’s blood and delivered from their pasts. Now, they are used, along with others, by the Lord God of Hosts as His air force against Satan’s forces.”

Air force? I thought. The Lord has an air force. Does He have marines? Or a navy, too?

(An excerpt from Jonah by Larry Nevenhoven, ©2012, Amazon eBook)

(Continued in Part 2)

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Geezer Up (Part 16)

Except for the early moments in Cell 27 when my cellmate wrapped his hands around my neck, the rest of my first twenty-four hours of jail life crept along like a snail on a hot sidewalk. Slowly! Bogart and I reached a tacit truce, which allowed me to speak only when he directed a question at me, but otherwise, I remained silent.

I wandered out into the common area and spent time with eleven other inmates watching TV. Reality shows, especially “Judge Judy” and “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” were the favorites with comments being peppered at the TV throughout each show.

As far as eating, no one noticed that I was not doing so. God’s grace covered my fast and my efforts to do it in secret.

At 10 a.m., a tall guard came to the cell. “Matthews?” he said.

“Yes,” I said, sitting up in my bunk.

“Come down here. Turn around. Put your hands behind your back.”

I followed his instructions as he put handcuffs on my wrists and quickly patted down my body for weapons.

“Turn around. Walk out the door, turn right, and head toward the entrance. Your lawyer is waiting for you in meeting room #2, on your left.”

When I entered the small room, Artie sat at a metal table, wearing a light gray suit and black shirt open at the collar. The guard removed my handcuffs and left the room. I sat down on the opposite side of the table from Artie.

“How are you doing?” he asked, looking into my eyes.

I shrugged. “Well, it’s not a picnic, but so far, I’m doing okay.”

“Well, that’s probably as good as one can hope for right now.”

He opened his brown briefcase and took out my worn black leather Bible.

“Jane brought this over before I left the office this morning.”

I grabbed the Bible and fanned the pages.

“Thank you, just what I need right now.”

“Here are some legal pads and jail approved pencils, too.”

I nodded my head.

Artie blew out a deep breath before explaining the prosecutor’s offer of leniency in exchange for my admittance of guilt and apology.

“No, not interested in that deal.”

He then mentioned how the City Attorney’s office would throw the book at me if I refused the offer, which could result in a log prison sentence for me. Even if the decision were appealed, I might end up being locked up for months or years before the case was settled.

“Still not interested. Sink or swim, live or die, I’m determined to trust the Lord all the way to the end of this.”

Artie stood up and picked up his briefcase. “I will be back in eleven days to ready you for your preliminary hearing. Jane will visit you tomorrow and Sunday.” He paused a moment. “My wife and I are praying for you…just want you to know that.”

We shook hands before the guard returned to take me back to Cell 27.

(Continued in Part 17…the full series to date can be read here.)

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Geezer Up (Part 15-b)

Jane

Two hours later, I sat in the lobby of Effingham and Effingham between J. C. and Shira. A thin middle-aged secretary with auburn hair typed on a computer keyboard at the receptionist desk in front of us. Off to our left, two suit-clad men sat huddled over their iPads.

“Jane Matthews, Mr. Effingham is ready for you now,” said the receptionist, looking over the top of her reading glasses and pointing to the right. “Go down that hallway and take the first left. His office is the last one with his name on the door. Just knock on the door.”

The three of us stood up and walked past her desk down a cherry paneled hallway. After we turned the corner, Effingham’s office was straight ahead.

“Jane, how are you feeling?” asked Shira.

“Scared to death and like throwing up.

J. C. patted me on the back. “You must be ready for the big game then?”

“How can you say that?”

“Bill Russell, Hall of Fame Boston Celtic basketball center, vomited before every big game he ever played in. His coach thought it was the team’s good luck charm and would not let the team run onto the court until Bill vomited.”

“Thanks for encouraging me…I guess.”

J. C. tapped on the tall six-panel door. A deep voice directed us to enter. J. C. then opened the door and ushered us into an office that in my wildest dreams I could never have imagined ever existed. It was a basketball court with a large walnut executive desk in the right corner. A round table with four chairs sat on one side of the desk and a leather sofa sat on the other. Prints and photos of the Golden State Warriors’ stars hung on the walls.

A tall man wearing a blue Warrior’s basketball warm up suit stood up and pointed toward the round table. He appeared to be in his middle forties, but it was hard to judge his age because of his fit shape and dark hair.

“Hi J. C. and Shira. This must be Jane Matthews, right?” he said, holding his huge hand out to me.

I shook his hand and nodded at him.

“Do you actually play basketball here?” I asked, looking around the gigantic room.

“All the time,” he said. “In fact, my dad purchased the glass backboard and hoop from the Warriors when they moved their games from the Cow Palace in Daly City to Oakland. It’s a one of a kind.”

We sat down around the table. Effingham had a legal pad and silver pen in front of him.

“Okay now, you’re planning on pleading your husband’s right to free speech versus San Francisco’s new hate crime law by taking your case to the media, right?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“Have you done much public speaking before?”

“No, none at all.”

“Do you have idea what you will say?”

“No.”

“Do you realize the interviewers will infer that you and your husband are hate filled Christian bigots and will paint you as being worse than the most vile member of the Westboro Baptist Church? How do you plan on handling this?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “I have no clue.”

He dropped his pen and blew out a deep breath. “So, you want me to help you without letting me know ahead of time what you will say or do? Is that correct?”

Before I could answer, a mantle of boldness draped itself over my shoulders. I smashed my fist on the table without planning to do so, causing his pen to fly onto the floor.

“Listen up, Effingham, the Lord said not to worry about what I would say ahead of time because He would give me a mouth and words which my adversaries would not be able to contradict or resist. I plan on trusting Him. How do you feel about that?”

Effingham’s dark eyes bulged out for a second and then a smile etched his lips. “I think we’ll make a great team. But what I’m really going to do is just stay out of your way and toss you into the toughest lion dens in the city. I pity them. They won’t know what hit them.”

He stood up and shook my hand. “So, give me the rest of today to work out the details. I’ll should have a speaking schedule ready for you sometime tomorrow.”

“Thanks,” I said. “Do you have a restroom? I think I’m going to throw up.”

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 16…the full series to date can be read here.)

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Geezer Up (Part 15)

Jane

“Okay, what’s your problem?” asked J. C. when we walked into the tiled foyer of their townhouse.

“Nothing,” I said, shrugging my shoulders.

“Sorry, that doesn’t work with me,” he said. “We can’t help if you don’t open up to us. Now, what’s you problem?”

We walked down a short picture lined hallway and into the family room. I sat down on a soft brown leather sofa while J. C. and Shira sat on a matching one on the opposite side of a glass-topped coffee table. I turned to look out the windows at the Golden Gate Bridge. No fog. Sunny and clear. Traffic seemed light on the bridge for 10:30 in the morning. I turned to face my friends.

“Here’s the deal,” I said, blowing out a deep breath. “The Lord wants me to go on TV, radio, to churches, and wherever He opens the door to defend Dylan’s stand and plead his cause.”

“What a great idea!” proclaimed Shira.

“Not really because I hate public speaking. I just can’t do it!”

Shira moved over next to me and put her arm around me. The gentle scent of her Estée Lauder perfume cajoled my emotions, calming me down a notch or two on my inner Richter scale.

“Jane, what’s the worse that could happen?” she asked.

“I might fail.”

“Really? The Lord would put Dylan’s future into your hands so He could watch you fail. How would that advance the kingdom of God?”

Although still sweet, a different side of Shira emerged at that moment: the exhorter. She had her periscope up, torpedo tubes loaded, and I was in her crosshairs.

“Okay, maybe I won’t fail, but I will most certainly make a fool of myself.”

The words skated past my brain and out my mouth before I could filter them. Shira looked into my eyes and grinned.

“Ah, at last, the truth.”

I wrinkled my nose.

“My answer didn’t sound very good, right?”

Shira shook her head. “No, darling.”

I raised my hands in surrender. “Okay, do either of you know how I can carry out this assignment from the Lord?”

“Hobart Effingham III,” said J. C., pulling his iPhone out of his pocket.

“Hobart Effingham? What’s that?”

“Effingham is a Christian businessman who happens to be the president of the largest public relations firm in San Francisco. A few phone calls by him will land you on the top-rated TV and radio programs in the area. As for churches, I can make some contacts to help you.”

Okay Lord, I thought, here I am. Use me.

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 16…the full series to date can be read here.)

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