Category Archives: Presence of God

With 60 Million Aborted Babies, Why Hasn’t God Removed America Yet? (Part 4)

How can a mother abort her baby? How can a medical doctor, who has sworn an oath to help people, justify murdering babies? How can politicians vote to destroy future Americans? How can a third of Christianity endorse abortion as being okay alongside their faith values?

Let me share a part of my testimony:

In 1995, my life was a shambles. Deep in debt. Not many job prospects or friends. Alone and lonely. Each day was a grueling nightmare just like the day before. Nothing seemed to change in my life no matter how hard I prayed, fasted or tried.

On one wintry afternoon, I was reading a biography on John Lake. As I read about this mighty man of faith, I became fed up with God and His ways. I put the book down and looked up to heaven. “God if You are such an almighty big God, then how come You don’t help me? Aren’t You big enough?”

I picked the book back up and continued reading.

All of a sudden, the Holy Spirit rushed into the room. He didn’t show up to snuggle with me or pat me on the head. He showed up in His fearful holiness.

As soon as I felt His holy presence, my knees hit the floor. “O God, don’t kill me! Please, don’t kill me! Please, God!” I prayed over and over again.

In the midst of my jabbering, I heard the Lord speak to my heart, “If I wanted to, I could handle your problems today.”

“O Lord, I believe You. Forgive me, but please don’t kill me,” I said aloud.

The fearful holiness of the Holy Spirit lifted off me, but in my heart, a fear of the Lord remained an integral part of my spiritual makeup.

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

The fear of the LORD prolongs days… (Proverbs 10:27)

...by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil. (Proverbs 16:6)

Unger’s Bible Dictionary states:

Fear of the Lord would exist in a pious soul even if there were no punishment for sin. It dreads God’s displeasure, desires His favor, reveres His holiness, submits cheerfully to His will, is grateful for His benefits, sincerely worships Him, and conscientiously obeys His commandments. Fear and love must coexist in us so that either passion may be balanced and healthy.

You would think that the fear of the Lord would make me afraid of God or want to hide from Him, but that’s not true. I loved Him more than ever after that day.

Okay, so what?

I guarantee that if women, doctors, people involved in the abortion process, politicians, liberal Christians and others had a fear of the Lord as a part of their spiritual makeups, they would never opt for abortions or endorse them in any manner at all.

My prayer:

Lord, I pray the Spirit of the fear of the Lord would fall on America so that the name of the Lord Jesus would be magnified in our nation. (Based on Isaiah 11:2 and Acts 19:17)

(Continued in Part 5but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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Do Our Personal Sins Hurt Our Neighbors? (Part 3)

God tests our hearts to reveal to us what is in them, but just so you know, it’s usually not a good report.

This was especially true about my heart during a 1995 experience. That particular day I had been sitting alone in my apartment, reading a biography about the faith and healing pioneer, John G. Lake. As I turned the pages and read how God continually provided for Lake’s needs, it dawned on me — my life really sucks right now. Where was the God who was supposed to be my provider?

At the time, I owed thousands of dollars to numerous creditors, most of my friends had dropped me like a hot potato, the woman who I thought would be my wife didn’t want to see me and my kitchen cupboard was bare. I was lonely, broke, hungry and angry.

I laid the book down and stood up. “God if You’re such a big God,” I said, “how come You can’t help me with my problems right now? Maybe Your arm is not as strong as it was a hundred years ago. Is that Your problem?”

I sat down, quite satisfied with the way I confronted God. I picked up the book to continue my reading.

Then, all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit burst into the room in His holiness and power. His Presence blanketed me. I dropped the book and fell on my knees. “O Lord, don’t kill me! Don’t kill me! Forgive me! Forgive me! Please don’t kill me!” I said over and over again.

In the midst of my  plea bargaining, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. “If I wanted to, I could deliver you from all of your problems in a blink of My eye.”

“O Lord,” I whispered, “I believe You and will never doubt You again.”

The Holy Spirit’s heavy presence lifted off me.

How many are my iniquities and sins? Make me know my transgression and my sin. (Job 13:23)

It was the love of God that showed up in my room that day to reveal my transgression (or rebellion) to me. I still treasure that experience.

(Continued in Part 4…but if you want to read all the parts to death, you can go here.

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Mountains Melt at the Presence of God (Part 7)

In January 1995, I dated a wonderful woman, thinking we would marry. Many prophetic words had been given to me about marriage to a godly woman. Every word seemed to point to her as my bride…or at least, I thought so.

I spoke aloud to the Lord one night while driving my truck home from the lady’s apartment.

“Jesus, You need to get us married as quickly as possible,” I said.

My truck cab instantly filled up with laughter, as if heaven dropped an amplifier and speaker into my truck, turning it up full blast. The laughter was the “hold your belly and roll on the floor” type. And it continued and continued.

I pulled my truck over to the side of the highway because the contagious laughter caused tears to run down my cheeks. I turned on the truck’s hazard blinkers and sat there, laughing along with heaven.

It finally ceased and I resumed driving home. I then wondered, is the Lord laughing because He knows something, which I don’t know yet. Or is He just happy for me?

I ignored the former and opted for the latter.

One obstacle after another frustrated our relationship over the following fourteen months. I figured more fasting and prayer would eventually break the logjam of spiritual warfare thwarting our relationship.

(An excerpt from The Hunt for Larry Who (a Memoir) by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2014, Amazon eBook)

It’s easy to forget that the Lord has a fabulous sense of humor. In fact, who created humor and laughter? Certainly not Satan, but instead it was God.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. (Proverbs 17:22 NLT)

(Conclusion for now…the full series to date can be read here.)

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What God Taught Me In My 310 Days At Walmart (Part 2)

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I interviewed for a cashier position at the the Temecula Walmart Supercenter on August 12, 2016, and was hired at that time. One of the questions asked was about any physical problems that I might have which might cause me problems in carrying out my duties as a cashier. I answered, “No.”

Did I lie about my physical problems? No, I don’t believe I did because it was my belief that if God called me to be a cashier, He would enable me to fulfill the job. The significance of my answer in writing was that I removed all liability from Walmart for any injuries to my wrists, knees, and back.

The Temecula Walmart Supercenter is ranked between number 5 and number 10 in dollar volume out of all the nearly 12,000 Walmart stores in the world. The store does around 165 million dollars in sales per year. A little over four hundred people work at the 24 hour store, with nearly eighty cashiers manning the registers at various times.

My first day was August 25, 2016. For the following two weeks, I worked with veteran cashiers who trained me. Then, I began working on my own in early September.

One of the lessons I have learned over the years is that when God calls you to do something, there is no use in being timid, just jump in with both feet, trusting that God will protect you. I call it reckless faith, much like Paul demonstrated in Acts 16:37. After being beaten, thrown in prison, and fastened in stocks, Paul refused to leave prison until the authorities came and apologized to Silas and him. That takes godly chutzpa!

So, I made up my mind to not protect myself in any way and to do every job asked of me as if I had no in juries. This resulted in some interesting situations, like trying to help a woman with a bad back put a heavy piece of furniture (150 pounds) into her vehicle. It so happened that a strong man walking down the parking lot aisle volunteered to help me. That was lucky, right? No, I don’t believe in luck. I believe in a heavenly Father who loves me so much that He will always be there to help in my time of need.

Did my hands, knees, and back hurt? Yes, so much so, that I could hardly sleep at night.

In fact, if anyone would have noticed me stepping out of my car in the Walmart parking lot and walking the one hundred yards to the store’s entrance, they would have wondered how a crippled, one hundred-year old man could possibly work at Walmart. Or that’s what it seemed to me.

Yet, when I walked in the door at Walmart, His grace fell upon me and I became Larry, the cashier with a big smile for everyone. The pain was still there, but it was only on the surface. And as long as I trusted in His grace, which I was forced to do at all times, I could walk through each day.

Just so you know: I averaged nearly 930 scans per hour – which is above average – and I even had quite a few customers who chose to go through my line when I was on duty. Why? They liked my smile and attitude and speed.

What major lesson did God teach me at Walmart:

If we want to serve God, especially us senior citizens, we can’t pray away every one of our problems. If we choose to wait, hoping miracles will heal or prosper us, we may miss our opportunities and if that happens, how many more can we expect to have in the future. But even so, we can always trust in this verse:

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

One experience, out of many, was worth every ounce of pain that I suffered working as a cashier. It happened on a busy day when I first opened my register. A elderly man wearing a U. S. Marine veterans cap, rode an electric cart up to the register and placed his few groceries on the conveyer belt.

I looked at him and said, “How are you today?”

“I don’t know,” he replied.

“What does that mean?”

“Well, to be honest, the old Sarge is not doing well today.”

“Would you like some prayer?”

“Yes.”

I walked around the bagging console, grabbed his hands, and prayed for him. The presence of God fell upon us. We both wept like little children who just opened the best Christmas gift ever.

“Wow, that was awesome!” he proclaimed.

“Yeah,” I said.

I walked back and became a Walmart Cashier at register 6, scanning items. Customers moved to the line and life continued in a normal fashion or normal for Walmart.

(Conclusion)

 

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Mountains Melt at the Presence of God (Part 6)

One of the great ironies of Christianity is that believers are always in His presence:

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Each believer is God’s earthly temple. We consist of a body, soul, and spirit, which is akin to the Outer Court, Inner Court, and the Holy of Holies in the Old Testament’s Temple. Just like the OT Temple, God dwells in our personal Holy of Holies or spirit man. But unlike the OT Temple, there is no veil stopping us from entering into our personal Holy of Holies whenever we want to do so.

Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth-century monk, wrote The Practice of the Presence of God. The classic book is a compilation of his letters about how to be mindful of the Greater One’s presence each day. In a nutshell, Brother Lawrence conversed with God all day long.

Maybe that sounds too easy, but here is what Paul the Apostle wrote:

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:5-6)

If you were around me very much, you would notice that I do this all throughout the day. I just simply say, “Lord, I need Your right now” or “Lord, help me” or “Lord, I need Your peace and grace right now” and so forth.

Does the Lord show up on a white horse as soon as I speak?

So far, this hasn’t happened but what does happen is that I’m instantly aware of His life-giving presence within me. Does this happen every time? Yes, it does because of His promise to us:

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

But there is the other side of this amazing divine irony of God’s presence.

(Continued in Part 7…the full series to date can be read here.)

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Mountains Melt at the Presence of God (Part 5)

One thing I observed in those meetings [in Lakeland, Florida], I have observed ever since I’ve been a Christian. Namely, a large portion of the Christian population is seeking a fresh touch from God. They are seeking to experience His presence. 

Some, however, appear to be almost pathologically dependent upon trying to “feel” God’s presence. For these souls, “feeling” the presence of the Lord becomes a benchmark to measure their spiritual condition.

I spent most of my early Christian life drinking deeply from the wells of a particular movement that stressed the miraculous power of God. While I learned many valuable lessons in that movement, I also have a few reservations. One of them is that the propensity to seek “the felt-presence of God” in that movement is central and overwhelming.

I watched many Christians struggle with this quest to the point of concluding that something was wrong with them — that God loved them less — all because they weren’t “feeling” or “sensing” His presence on a regular basis.

On the other hand, I have known Christian women and men who were utterly devoted to the Lord, extremely gifted, spiritually insightful and fruitful. Yet in private, their confession was that they had never “felt” the presence of God.

I’ve also personally known Christians who were in dire spiritual straits. Some were living double lives. Yet they didn’t wince at their poor condition, because during the worship service or prayer times they regularly “felt” the presence of God.

This being said, I believe there’s a great deal of confusion over the matter of God’s presence. Part of it is rooted in semantics. Another part is rooted in bad theology…

The Semantics of God’s Presence

Some Christians have a way of overstating their experiences.Others understate them. Multiple people may experience the exact same phenomenon — whether it be a church meeting, a conference, a retreat, a convention, a particular manifestation of the Holy Spirit, or a shared encounter.

One person may describe it as “unbelievable!” … “incredible!” … “awesome!” … “beyond description!” Another may describe it as “refreshing” …”enjoyable”… “encouraging”  … “delightful.” Still another may describe it as “good” … “fine” … “a blessing.”

Point: People often use very different vocabulary to express the exact same thing. For instance, Watchman Nee used a unique phrase when he referred to his fellowship with the Lord. He called it “touching the Lord.” Others use the phrase “sweet communion.” Others use “divine encounter.” Others use less phenomenological phrases.

To describe fixing one’s heart upon the Lord, some people use the phrase “turning to the Lord.” Others use the word “gazing.” Others say “beholding” or “looking into the face of God.” Still others say “contemplating,” “centering,” “abiding,” or “partaking.” Others describe it as “meditating.” By and large, it’s semantics.

I’ve observed this phenomenon all my Christian life. People express the same experiences differently. This is due to many varied factors, some of which are the person’s temperament, the specific vocabulary of one’s religious tradition, or a specific “effect” they wish o have on those who hear them testify. (Sometimes this isn’t so well motivated.)

(Revise Us Again: Living from a Renewed Christian Script by Frank Viola, Published by David C. Cook, 2010, Chapter 6)

I recommend Frank Viola’s Revise Us Again. It’s a great book.

(Continued in Part 6…the full series to date can be read here.)

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Mountains Melt at the Presence of God (Part 4)

 

One of the prominent ministers of the Welsh Revival (1904-1905) was Evan Roberts.

It was a supernatural experience to be in an Evan Roberts’ meeting. He carried the ability to usher in the presence of the Holy Spirit as almost a tangible force. He made the common church-goer aware of the spirit world, especially in the area of purity and holiness toward God. Since he rarely preached, Evan allowed three female singers – Anna Davies, Maggie Davies, and S. A. Jones – to travel with him. Many times they sang an inspired message from God to the congregation. Evan would rebuke anyone who tried to hush the singing. He believed the Holy Spirit should be given the primary role and that no one had the right to interrupt Him. He felt that so doing invited the wrong kind of authority and control.

To Evan, the Holy Spirit wasn’t some unseen force, but a Divine Person who must be praised and adored in His own right and totally obeyed. It even came to the point that when one or two people in the congregation wouldn’t participate, Evan would stand up and say, “The Spirit can’t be with us now.” Then, many times, he would leave the service.

It was common in Evan Roberts’ meetings for members in the congregation to suddenly fall on their knees and pray aloud. Waves of joy and sorrow would flood the congregation. Women fell on their knees and men laid in the aisles weeping, laughing, and praying. All the while, there was no Bible reading or instruments playing. A few were inspired to stand and sing hymns. It was even said that the people were so caught up in God that they would forget to go home for Sunday dinner. This was unheard of in southern Wales in those days. As the day progressed, the evening service would become a continual prayer service. Evan could be seen walking up and down aisles swinging his arms, clapping his hands, and jumping up and down.

Though his success had become the talk of the nation, many still didn’t know what to think of Evan Roberts. They were used to the fiery eyes of the old-time preachers, and Evan never raised his voice. Sometimes, he was called the “silent preacher.”

As a result of the Welsh Revival, local stores couldn’t keep Bibles in stock. The Welsh coal mining industry also took on a new look. Their workhorses had previously been trained to respond to instructions that included profanity. But with the coal mining crew now born again in the Revival, they found that their horses had to be retrained because the animals didn’t know how to follow normal commands without a curse word in it.

(Excerpt from God’s Generals by Roberts Liardon, Albury Publishing, © 1996 by Roberts Liardon, pages 87, 89).

Unlike most revivals, the Welsh Revival was not known for its great preachers, but rather for the presence of God.

Shouldn’t we hunger for the same today?

(Continued in Part 5…the full series to date can be read here.)

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