Category Archives: Kingdom of God

Prayers for Businessmen (6/4/2019)

As footsteps approached, the twenty-eight year old man looked up from the cluttered workbench. His dark beard and long hair were matted by perspiration, mixed with sawdust. Wet sweat rings outlined the armpits of his faded tunic. He laid the chisel and mallet down and stood up, wiping his hands together.

“Shalom, may I help you?” he said.

“Shalom,” said the middle-aged man with ringlets in his gray beard. Deep furrows etched his forehead. His off-white cloak and brown leather sandals were covered with dust from the road he had just traveled on.

“My wife says we need a new dining table. And you know how women are, right?” the man said with a wink. “Some of our neighbors have recommended your workmanship.”

The man folded his arms across his barrel-shaped chest, readying himself for whatever negotiations awaited him. He wanted a good deal.

The carpenter’s bronze-colored face blushed slightly at the compliment. A natural humility radiated through his eyes, which always put people at ease around him.

“That’s nice of your friends. However, to be completely honest, whatever skills I may possess are the result of being taught by the best carpenter in all of Galilee – Joseph, my dad.”

“Oh yes, I should have known,” the man said without moving his arms from their set position on his chest. “You’re the son of Joseph, huh? Who hasn’t heard of his woodworking skills?”

He leaned toward the carpenter.

“What do you think the table will cost me? And remember I have three sons and their families living with me. Oy vey! You can’t believe how much they eat.”

The young carpenter nodded.

“Hmm, let me think for a few minutes.”

The carpenter looked around the shop. He turned and walked to the back of the room, pulling out boards from a large pile, and checking each. After a few minutes, he nodded to himself as if he had it all figured out. He returned to the man.

“If you want the table made out of fir, it will cost fifteen shekels. Oak will be five shekels more. The choice is up to you,” the carpenter said with his eyebrows arched in anticipation of a response from the buyer.

The man unfolded his arms. His shocked expression looked as though a sharp sword had pierced his heart. He gasped and pounded his chest with both fists.

“Your price is much higher than I could have ever imagined.  Fifteen shekels, how outrageous! I just can’t believe it.”

He turned around and stomped off. Before he reached the shop’s entrance, he stopped and looked back.

“I’m curious. Do you offer discounts to your more impoverished buyers…people like me?”

The carpenter sighed.

“Okay. Let me think,” he said, rubbing his jaw with his hand. “If you pay cash today, I can do it for thirteen shekels. The table will be done in two weeks.”

The man stood like a statue.

“I had a price more like eleven shekels in mind,” the man said in a clipped voice. Then he added, “And not one shekel more.”

The carpenter shrugged his shoulders and raised his arms in surrender.

“Okay, you win,” he said, shaking his head slowly back and forth. “I have some expenses coming up in a few days. This is my final offer: twelve shekels and it will be ready for you in ten days. Take it or leave it.”

The man walked toward the carpenter.

“Though eleven shekels is a very fair price, I’m going to give in and pay your outrageous price of twelve shekels.”

The buyer stretched out his right hand and shook the hand of the young carpenter named Jesus. As he did, he felt the calluses and strength in his hand.

Jesus did not attend college or a seminary, He was first a businessman.

(An excerpt from Deceived Dead and Delivered by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2013, Amazon eBook)

My prayer today:

Lord, give American businessmen the revelation that we are crucified with Christ and that we no longer live, but Christ lives in us. So that the lives we now live in our flesh, we live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself up for us. (Based on Galatians 2:20)

Join us on Tuesdays to fast and pray for American men in the workplace.

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Will We End up Being a Part of the Great Falling Away? (Part 1)

Most of us read Scripture through a foggy set of lens. For instance, let’s look at Judas.

I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me. (John 13:18)

Jesus chose twelve disciples, whose ages were probably between fourteen and twenty-two years old. Young kids. But oops! One of them was a teenager named Judas Iscariot.

Now think about it: was Judas a robot on auto-pilot to fulfill Scripture from the moment Jesus chose him until he kissed Jesus in the Garden?

No, of course not!

Jesus spent three years teaching and preparing the twelve chosen disciples to preach the Kingdom of God. He explained to them that He had to become the sacrificial Lamb and would need to die for the sake of others. He even told them, “One of you will betray Me.”

All of the disciples, including Judas, replied, “Is it I?”

Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. (John 13:26)

This was the pivotal scene, which I believe was staged mainly for Judas’ sake. The disciple had to know that Jesus would have forgiven him if he had confessed his sin to Him, but Judas hardened his heart and Satan entered him at that moment.

All Jewish boys memorized the Psalms. So, there’s no doubt that Judas knew Psalm 41 by heart, but obviously he never once considered he would be the one to fulfill a prophecy in it –

Even my own familiar friend, in whom I trusted (relied on and was confident), who ate of my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. (Psalm 41:9 AMP)

Bad choices by Judas caused his name to be linked to betrayal forever because he fulfilled this Old Testament prophecy.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

Almost every Christian has memorized this verse, written by Paul to the Thessalonians who were confused about the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. We now look at the verse as a New Testament prophecy.

But like Judas, memorizing and knowing this verse doesn’t mean we’ll avoid being a part of the thousands and thousands who will fulfill Paul’s prophecy about the End-Times.

(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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Hey, Senior Citizens! The American Church Needs New Leaders, Why Not You? (Part 2)

 

I signaled for a right turn onto CA-76, heading southwest toward Oceanside and the Pacific Ocean. Although the state worked on the highway every so often, drivers needed to stay alert to avoid potholes. A few were big enough to send vehicles to repair garages for thousand-dollar front-end suspension and alignment overhauls.

“Look at how beautiful the −”

“Shush,” said Jane, holding up her left hand in a stop sign manner. Her Pandora bracelet mirrored the sunlight. “Now it’s my turn.”

I nodded, knowing she wanted details.

“What do you plan on doing?”

“I don’t know.”

“The pastor will call and so will some of your friends, especially Phil and Vinnie.”

“I know, but I don’t have any answers. I walked out during the sermon because I looked at that young pastor and saw the beginning of another preacher’s ministry at Jedidiah Smith Community Church. Yet, I wondered to myself, what about me. What about my ministry? When will I speak the words in my heart?”

“That’s the reason you walked out?”

“Partly.”

“What else caused you to do such a silly thing?”

I sat for a few beats with my eyes glued to the road. A red Corvette convertible with its top down blew past us on our left. Within seconds, the sports car disappeared around the next curve. Our Honda’s speedometer stayed at sixty-five miles per hour, my normal speed on the highway.

Then I blew out a deep breath.

“The other day, I read a statement which summed up the philosophy of the U. S. Navy SEALS. It said, ‘I will never quit. If knocked down, I will get back up every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates. I am never out of the fight.’ Those words brought tears to my eyes.”

“Why should those words affect you so much?”

“What price have I paid over the years for the Kingdom of God? Not much. As far as I know, I’ve sat on the sidelines in a comfortable pew, far from any raging battles. Who knows if I would be willing to use every remaining ounce of strength to help my brothers and sisters in a spiritual battle? Only Jesus knows that answer, which I fear He may end up telling me at the Judgment Seat of Christ.”

Jane’s green eyes filled with tears. Drops streamed down her face while her lower lip trembled.

“How can you say that? You have faithfully attended church for over thirty years. You’ve always paid tithes to the church. You’ve prayed and studied the Word. You’ve been a godly husband, father and grandfather. Everyone loves you and thinks you’re a great believer −”

“Honey, that’s the least I should have done. The very least.”

“Is this about turning seventy last month and both of us arriving at the silver-haired years of our lives?” she said, reaching into her purse for a Kleenex.

I nodded.

“As soon as the young pastor opened his mouth for his sermon, a quick memory flooded my mind. It was when we gave our lives to the Lord forty years ago at that little Baptist Church in Murrieta. At the time, I had a deep impression that the Lord wanted me to do something for Him. Preach, teach, I didn’t know for sure what it was, but we had two young children, a new home and I had just started Foxfire Realty. So, I ignored it.”

“I vaguely remember you telling me about that,” she whispered, wiping her eyes with a tissue.

“I’ve had that same impression at various times over the last forty years, but I’ve always ignored it until today. ”

“Are you kidding? You plan on being a seventy year-old preacher, looking for a church to pastor?”

“I have no idea what the Lord wants me to do, but I felt that today was my last chance to obey Him. So, I stood up and turned my back on those things that seemed so important to me for the last forty years. From now on, I plan on getting up in the morning and proclaiming, ‘Here I am, Lord, reporting for duty. I’m still in the fight.'”

(Excerpt from an upcoming novel, Still in the Fight by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2019)

Somebody recently asked, “Why do you write novels?”

“To make a prophetic point,” I replied.

Does that mean I believe every senior citizen should walk out of their present  churches?

Read the rest of this series.

(Continued in Part 3…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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Hey, Senior Citizens! The American Church Needs New Leaders, Why Not You? (Part 1)

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Thirty years ago, I attended a small church which would from time to time host traveling ministries for two or three nights of meetings. One time, a prophet held some meetings there. The prophet preached a message and afterward he pointed at certain people in the audience, had them stand up and then he spoke prophetic words to them.

One evening, he asked me to stand up and then spoke a long prophetic message about my calling and future ministry. I was absolutely floored by his words.

Afterward, a seventy-five year old woman walked up to me. “Many years ago, I used to get prophetic words just like yours for my life,” she said.

“Really?” I replied. “What did you do with them?”

“Oh, I wrote them down in a notebook,” she said.

“What else did you do with them?” I asked.

“I’m just waiting on the Lord…just waiting on the Lord,” she replied.

Two or three years later, she died.

I don’t know what happened to her notebook after her death, but I don’t think she ever walked one day in her divine calling. How sad, right?

For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14)

There are many reasons why believers don’t ever fulfill the divine callings the Lord places on their lives. Sometimes, it’s bad teaching. Sometimes, it’s religious bondage. Or fear. Or doubt. Or maybe, the price was too high and the believer didn’t want to pay it. Or countless other reasons.

But whatever the reasons, if the Lord places a calling on a believer’s life, He has a plan on how the believer can fulfill his/her calling. We need to trust Him.

Are callings important to the Lord?

I had a dream many years ago in which I walked into heaven. It was glorious there, full of peace and life. But soon, I was met by a bronze-skinned little boy who looked up at me and said, “I died as a youngster and never made it into my calling because you did not fulfill your calling.”

All of sudden, there was a long, long line of bronze-skinned boys waiting to talk with me. Each one said, “I died as a youngster and never made it into my calling because you did not fulfill you’re calling.”

Finally, I cried out to the Lord. “Jesus, help me! I can’t handle this,” I said.

The dream ended.

That dream put the fear of the Lord in me about doing the best I can to fulfill the calling the Lord has placed on my life. You see, if you and I don’t make it into our callings, we may end up hurting the Lord’s plans for other people. I don’t want any blood on my hands when I stand before Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ. What about you?

So, why have I singled out senior citizens?

First of all, I am seventy-three years old. The largest part of my calling has not been fulfilled as yet. So, I’m still beating on the throne-room’s doors every morning, seeking Him. I refuse to quit and allow my calling to pass me by!

Secondly, I just attended a large church and discerned numerous callings for many of the senior Christians sitting in the pews there. And these seniors are not walking in their callings. This bugged me enough to write these articles.

For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers… (Acts 13:36)

(Continued in Part 2)

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Prayers for Businessmen (5/7/2019)

“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

Alfred, an owner of a company with one hundred employees, read the above verse and decided to act on it. He told his employees, “I attended a seminar that changed my life, and I’d like to try to share with you what God is teaching me. So once a week I’m going to shut down our plant for an hour, and I’m going to share what God’s Word says I should be doing for you. The meetings are voluntary, but everyone is welcome. From this point on, I want you to hold me responsible to be the kind of Christian employer that God expects me to be.”

The next Monday, when the plant stopped for the meeting, every one of Alfred’s employees was there. He began to share what he should be doing as a Christian businessman. Sometimes he would say, “I can’t implement this immediately or it would ruin our company, but eventually I am going to do this to the best of my ability.”

One of the programs Alfred wanted to implement was a benevolence program to help employees with special financial needs, such as medical bills, family crises, or special education expenses by providing company- sponsored grants.

To do this would first require reeducating the employees so that those who didn’t receive this benefit would not resent those who did. It also would require establishing an employee committee to oversee the fund and evaluate the candidates. But Alfred was determined to get it started.

About a year after the meetings began, Alfred asked me [Larry Burkette] to speak to his employees. At one point in my talk I asked, “How many in this room have personally accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior?” Out of more than 100 employees, about 25 hands went up.

A year later I went back. This time I asked, “During the last year, how many of you have personally accepted Jesus Christ as a result of the influence of your boss?” Hands went up throughout the room. In one year, more than 60 people had come to the Lord through Alfred’s influence, and he didn’t even know it. Evangelizing his employees hadn’t been his goal. His goal had simply been to become more Christlike in his business.

The apostle Paul tells us we reap in the measure that we sow. Alfred learned that truth when he ran into some business and financial difficulties.

During an economic downturn, business got so bad he needed a large infusion of money in order to continue operating. The high interest rates at that time made borrowing out of the question. Word of the company’s financial problems spread to Alfred’s employees, several of whom got the idea of banding together to lend Alfred the money (almost $300,000) themselves. They raised the needed funds from among the other employees and provided Alfred with an interest-free loan.

Alfred was simply reaping what he had sown. When he began following God’s principles, he didn’t know that more than half of his employees would accept Christ as their Savior through his witness or that his employees would decide to lend him $300,000 interest free. He had simply sown biblical principles such as “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” and he reaped the benefits of those principles.

Employees, especially unsaved employees, have the tendency to believe what they see rather than what they hear. If what we do doesn’t match up with what we say, they will usually discount our words.

(The above powerful excerpt is from Business by the Book by Larry Burkett, © 2010, Thomas Nelson or you can read a free PDF of it here.)

My prayer today:

Lord, help Christian men who work in the marketplace to be doers of Your Word and not just hearers only, so that we do not deceive ourselves into thinking we are following in Your footsteps. (Based on James 1:22)

Join us on Tuesdays to fast and pray for American men in the marketplace.

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Thou Shalt Not Eat Sweets

“In two decades, I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds. I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.” (Erma Bombeck)

Since I graduated from college in 1968, I have struggled with my waistline. The only times I haven’t struggled was when I jogged five miles each day or was a painting contractor, climbing ladders. My times without struggling would amount to maybe six or seven years out of my fifty-one years since college.

My biggest problem has always been sweets — cookies, pies, cakes, donuts, ice cream, peanut butter, jams, jellies, ketchup, honey, muffins, cinnamon rolls, pastries, chocolate covered peanuts, M&Ms, Snickers, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and whatever else.

“Larry, would you like some ice cream with your pie?” 

“Yes, ma’am, and could you pour some hot fudge syrup over it, too?”

After I gave my life to Jesus Christ in 1985, I became an avid reader of the Bible. This opened my eyes to some disturbing verses about gluttony and overeating.

Oh dear! What should I do with these verses?

In a way, I ignored them.

But what I really did was justified my bad eating habits to myself.

You see, my Christian walk has been one long trial after another. Marital separation. Divorce. Loss of friends. Fired from five consecutive sales jobs. Minimum wage jobs by the dozens with not enough money to pay bills. Marriage to a wonderful woman, but still not enough money to pay bills. Moving thirty-five times to nine different states and numerous cities. And so forth.

So, I allowed sweets to become one of my comforters.

“Well, you know, God knows my heart!”

Just so you know: the Holy Spirit has been working on my poor eating habits during my whole thirty-four years of walking with the Lord. And at the same time, I was crying out to Him for His help because sweets had a stranglehold on me.

Then, we moved to Gilbert, Arizona.

We moved without much money in the bank, but this wasn’t unusual because all of our other moves followed this same pattern. Our hope has always been in Him and for Him to speak to us and show us what to do.

After spending time in prayer, it seemed that we needed to sell an item on eBay. We listed the item and sold it for a great price. Both of us prayed over the item and shipped it off to the buyer.

But then disaster happened!

The item was damaged in shipment and the buyer refused it. Because of an eBay glitch, we did not purchase insurance for the product. The refund to the buyer drained our bank account.

We were devastated!

When something like this happens, I always seek the Lord on why He allowed it to occur. Hey, we prayed! Our faith was in Him! Satan is a weakling compared to God! So, what happened?

While waiting on the Lord, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart: “Your gluttony opened a door for Satan to rob you.”

The fear of the Lord came upon me. I repented and meant it this time with all of my heart for the first time ever.

The Holy Spirit eventually let me know that this was my last chance. If I didn’t change my eating habits, I would not be able to fulfill His destiny for my life because bad health would soon derail my walk with Him.

Can others learn from my testimony?

My advice for those who have longstanding issues, whether it’s gluttony, porn, drugs, alcohol, lust, pride or whatever: keep crying out to the Lord for Him to help you. Plus keep professing that you want Him to be Lord over every area of your life. Do both of these, not just one or the other.

I guarantee He will eventually show up and set you free. How He does it will be up to Him and not you.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom… (Proverbs 9:10)

I now eat lots of fruits and vegetables…and no sweets!

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Filed under Christianity, Deliverance, Eating habits, Gluttony, Kingdom of God, Prayer, spiritual warfare