Category Archives: Teaching

First the Blade ( Chapter 3)

 

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 3

Building a Foundation of Faith (a)

The four Gospels provide us with an interesting study on faith in the life of Peter:

According to Josephus, Peter was in his early to mid-twenties when he began following Jesus. He was married, had a house, owned a boat with his brother, Andrew, and partnered in a fishing business with James and John, who also owned a boat.

During his three years of following Jesus, Peter watched Jesus turn water into wine, heal his mother-in-law, raise three people from the dead (Talitha, man from Nain, and Lazarus), cast out two thousand demons from one man, feed the five thousand, feed the four thousand, and do countless miracles, which John stated “if they were written in detail…the world could not contain the books that would be written.”

Besides all the signs, wonders, and miracles, it was Peter who called out to Jesus, “…command me to come to You on the water.”  Why did Peter make his request to walk on water in such an odd manner?

When Peter saw the wind and waves, he began to sink. Jesus reached out His hand and saved him, but why did Jesus say to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

After all, there were eleven disciples still sitting safely inside the boat who had zero faith to step out of the boat and walk on water. Why would Jesus be so tough on Peter who at least had enough faith to get out of the boat?

There was also the time the temple authorities asked Peter whether Jesus would pay the two-drachma temple tax. Peter said, “Yes.” But when Peter arrived at the home of Jesus, the Lord spoke first and gave him a short teaching on sons versus strangers. Jesus said to Peter:

“…go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me. (Matthew 17:27)

Why was Peter given such an unusual supernatural assignment? Why not one of the other disciples?

It all goes back to when Peter first met Jesus along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus used Peter’s boat as a teaching platform and afterward He directed Peter to sail his boat out into the Sea of Galilee to drop the nets into deep waters. Jesus’ words were totally opposite to how a Galilean fisherman caught fish, as fishing was done at night, never during the day.

Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets. (Luke 5:5)

 When Peter obeyed Jesus’ words, the results were so successful Peter had to signal for James and John to bring their boat out to help with the fishing catch. That experience caused Peter, Andrew, James, and John to leave the fishing business and follow Jesus. (29)

This revelation of listening to the words of Jesus and then obeying His directions became a foundation for Peter’s faith. If you look closely at the four Gospels, you will notice it was usually Peter who answered Jesus’ questions or had inspired revelations which he then spoke.

Before the apostle Paul arrived on the scene, Peter had this revelation:

So then, faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

It was Peter who denied Christ three times. And why did that happen?

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

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First the Blade (Chapter 1)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 1

Can We Trust the Bible?

On May 20, 1985, I gave my life to the Lord. Yes, I was a changed man, but I had no clue about what to do next. And to be honest, I didn’t even know how to label myself.

I phoned Bill Sheridan at 8 a.m. the following morning and told him about my conversion on the bathroom floor. Then, I asked, “What am I? Am I a follower of some weird cult like Hare Krishna? Or what?”

Bill laughed. “No, you’re not a follower of Hare Krishna or any weird cult. You’re a born-again believer. A Christian.”

“A Christian? I’m just a Christian! I’ve never met a Christian like me in my whole life.”

We talked a little longer and he advised me to read the Bible, beginning in the Book of Matthew. A couple of hours later, I bought a New King James Bible for $7.95 at Nelson’s Bookstore in downtown Fort Dodge, Iowa. I took it home and then was faced with a new dilemma.

You see, two days earlier I was an agnostic who believed the Bible was a man-made book of religious gobbledygook. Now, I held one in my hands and the friend who was instrumental in bringing about my salvation advised me to read it. What should I do? I thought.

“Lord, You showed me how real and alive You are yesterday when you saved me from committing suicide. So, I’m going to read this Bible and trust that it is Your truth. I may not understand everything, but if You help me, I will do my best,” I said aloud.

The Lord honored my prayer, but I wish the following information about the Bible would have been available to me back then. It would have erased every doubt in my mind:

The Bible was written over a period of 1,600 years by over forty different authors from all walks of life. There were fishermen, politicians, generals, kings, shepherds and historians. These men were born on three different continents and wrote in three different languages. They wrote on hundreds of controversial subjects, yet they wrote in perfect agreement and harmony. They wrote in dungeons, in temples, on beaches, and on hillsides, during peacetime and during war. Yet their words sound like they came from the same source. So, even though ten people today could not write on one controversial subject and agree, God picked forty very different people to write the Bible—and it has stood the test of time.

But is it accurate?

Barton Payne’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy lists 1,239 prophecies in the Old Testament and 578 prophecies in the New Testament, for a total of 1,817. These encompass 8,352 verses.

In the Old Testament there are prophesies against Tyre, Sidon, Ammon, Moab, Philistia, Egypt, Edom, Syria, Elam, Damascus, Gaza, Judah, Israel, and Babylon, to name a few.  Not one prophecy failed to be fulfilled with complete accuracy.

Let’s take a look at how many prophecies there are in the Old Testament that were fulfilled by Jesus. Alfred Edersheim concluded that there are at least 456 passages in the Old Testament that Jewish Rabbis historically have interpreted as being about the Messiah.

What would be the odds of just eight of these prophecies coming true, especially since they are from five different authors writing hundreds of years apart?

(1) Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2)

(2) Messiah would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver. (Zechariah 11:12-13)

(3) Messiah’s clothes would be gambled away. (Psalms 22:18)

(4) Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced. (Psalms 22:16)

(5) Messiah’s bones would not be broken. (Psalms 34:20)

(6) Messiah would be born of the tribe of Judah.  (Isaiah 37:31)

(7) Messiah would be called out from Egypt. (Hosea 11:1)

(8) Messiah would be buried in a rich man’s grave. (Isaiah 53:9)

The odds of all eight coming true are virtually incomprehensible! The number is written mathematically as 1014 or 100,000,000,000,000 to one.

But according to Edersheim, there are 456 scriptures that speak of the Messiah! I am not sure there is a number high enough to express the odds of fulfilling all 456 of those—not to mention all 1,817 prophecies found in the Bible. This is proof that the Author of these prophecies knew the future. The God who created the universe out of nothing knows the past, present, and future.

(All of these Bible facts are provided by Mario Murrillo and Dr. J. Smith at mariomurilloministries.wordpress.com, September 15, 2019, in the article, “Believers are leaving the Bible but the Bible will survive.”)

I am a believer who believes we can trust the Bible. How about you?

(Continued in Part 3)

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First the Blade

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Introduction

I have always been intrigued by the ministry of Smith Wigglesworth, a Pentecostal pioneer. He has touched millions of believers with his exploits and teaching.

Wigglesworth (1859 – 1947) was born into a poor family in Yorkshire, England. As a child, he worked in the fields pulling turnips and working in the mills rather than attending schools. As a teenager, a man taught Wigglesworth the plumbing trade, which he worked at until he became a full-time evangelist.

After his marriage in 1882, his wife Polly eventually taught him how to read when he was twenty-seven years old. He made up his mind from that point forward to read little else but the Bible.

Many of his Christians peers referred to Wigglesworth as the Apostle of Faith. Their reasoning was based on his successful world-wide ministry that saw tens of thousands of people saved, thousands healed and hundreds of thousands taught to walk closer to the Lord. Numerous accounts even testify that Wigglesworth raised at least fourteen people from the dead.

Wigglesworth’s quotes still inspire Christians today:

“Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.”

“It is better to live ready than to get ready!”

“There is nothing our God cannot do. He will do everything if you dare to believe.”

“Some read their Bibles in Hebrew, some in Greek; I like to read mine in the Holy Ghost.”

“A man is in a great place when he has no one to turn to but God.”

“God wants us so badly that He has made the condition as simple as He possibly could: only believe.”

“There is something about believing God that will cause Him to pass over a million people to get to you.”

“If you seek nothing but the will of God, He will always put you in the right place at the right time.”

Once, Smith Wigglesworth was talking with some Bible school students when one asked, “How can I be like you?”

“First the blade, then the ear and after that the full corn in the ear,” Wigglesworth replied.

Wigglesworth used Mark 4:28 to underline an important point to the young man. He wanted the student to understand it takes time and proper preparation for a new believer to grow in his spiritual walk with the Lord. It’s not an overnight happening!

My hope in writing this book is to encourage Christians – young and old – to take the time to build a proper foundation for their spiritual journeys with the Lord.

(Continued in Part 2)

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Walking Past Fear and Depression into the Presence of God (Part 10

This is Part 1 of a new prophetic teaching series using Youtube videos as the media vehicle rather than writing on a WordPress blog. There is a mistake on this video:

  1. I quoted Exodus 33 as Exodus 13.

Hopefully, this be a blessing for many.

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