Tag Archives: Christianity

Are You Willing to Pay the Price?

The vibrant sounds of Mozart’s Piano Concerto Number Seven swirled through the Beacon Hill mansion’s ballroom. The fifteen females seated around the grand piano, listening to the maestro, had proper Brahmin names like Cabot, Coolidge, Forbes, Lodge, or Shaw. Each traced her ancestry back to the earliest Puritan settlers of Boston. This blueblood lineage insured their invitation to the social tea, no nouveau riche Johnny-come-latelies were among the invitees.

When the pianist completed the piece, he stood and bowed. The women showed their appreciation with warm applause. One of the ladies put her white-gloved hands to her mouth and said, “Oh, I would just do anything to be able to play the piano like that.”

The maestro turned and stared at her. His eyes exploded with fire.

“No you wouldn’t,” he said.

The crowd collectively gasped. All felt sorry for the woman who had been openly rebuked by the man’s insensitive words.

As for the lady, she sat stunned, paralyzed by his harsh eyes, tears rolled down her cheeks. Then, as if she remembered her privileged pedigree, she mouthed three defiant words at the pianist: “Yes, I would.”

“No you wouldn’t,” he said again, leaning over the piano toward the lady.

“Because if you really meant what you said, you would have been willing to give up your youth, your teenage years, and eight to ten hours every day practicing on the piano. You see there is a price to sit on this bench. I’ve been willing to pay it, and you have not!”

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. (Matthew 16:24)

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I AM NOT RACIST…or am I?

It wasn’t until the death of George Floyd that the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the part my apathy had played in racism.

Apathy?

Out of the 807,391 words used in the New American Standard Version of the Bible, the word “apathy” does not appear one time. And the word “apathy” does not appear even once in the other top ten selling English translations of the Bible.

But a well-known synonym for apathy does appear in a verse in each of the top selling Bible translations –

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked (Revelation 3:15-17)

Lukewarm?

Most Christians think that term describes believers who give their lives to the Lord at a Jesus Crusade and then fall away, no longer fellowshipping with other believers, praying or reading their Bibles. They have their stay-out-of-Hell fire insurance card and that’s good enough for them.

Is this an accurate description of all lukewarm believers?

Let’s check out my life on the morning the Holy Spirit pointed His finger at my sin of apathy:

I climbed out of bed at 4:30 a.m. that morning and spent two and half hours in prayer. I read the Bible for sixty minutes and listened to some teachings by Mike Bickle on my iPhone throughout the afternoon as I worked. Plus, I fasted two days that week.

This was not an atypical day or week for me. It is the routine which I have followed for over thirty years. It does not matter whether I am struggling through the worst of times or enjoying a season of blessings, I continue to plod along and seek the Lord. It is my life.

One of the prayers I prayed that morning, as I do almost every morning, was this one from a psalm by King David:

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT)

“Point out anything in me that offends You, Lord.”

There is not much I could say to the Lord when He answered this prayer by pointing out my sin of apathy, except, “Forgive me, Lord.”

Normally, I just keep on walking with Him and don’t look back after I ask the Lord for forgiveness. I know He isn’t angry with me nor does He love me less because I sinned and fell short of His glory. Yet, on that morning, I felt like I needed more information and asked, “Lord, how did I end up being lukewarm in my love toward my black brothers and sisters? “

The Lord eventually dropped His answer into my spirit. It was far different than I thought it would be – like hello! Doesn’t that always seem to be the case?

The Lord reminded me how for the first fifteen years after my salvation, I did not listen to newscasts or follow politics. I felt it was a waste of my time when compared to seeking Him.

This changed in early 2000 when I read a prophecy spoken by a man I admired – Bob Jones. “A burning bush shall come out of Texas and be elected the next president of the United States,” he prophesied.

Jones’ prophetic words stirred me to follow politics and to begin listening to newscasts and a few conservative radio shows while I drove my truck. I soon began thinking the GOP was God’s Own Party and the Democrats were controlled by Satan and his minions.

Almost 90% of black Americans vote for Democratic candidates. Thus, love for my black brothers and sisters became collateral damage in my new political thinking.

I continued on this political path until January of 2009. That’s when the Lord let me know He loved both Democrats and Republicans and I should do the same. He told me that I could be delivered of my attitudes toward Democrats if I quit listening to news programs and conservative talk radio – AND – quit voting in elections.

It took six months, but the Lord’s proposals changed my life. I no longer looked at a person through a political mindset. I saw each person as a valued being, created in God’s image, one who Jesus died for on the cross and one who He loved with all of His heart.

Take a deep breath, okay?

I am not you. The Lord knows my heart and how to set me free of my attitudes. If you have a bad attitude toward Democrats or Republicans, seek the Lord on how to love them as He does.

Just so you know: I don’t listen to the news, but I do read some news articles and check out headlines on news sites on the internet. Thus, I do keep abreast of what is happening in America and the world.

And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you—and more [besides] will be given to you who hear. (Mark 4:24 AMP)

As I wrote earlier, love for my black brothers and sisters became collateral damage with my change in political thinking. My spiritual ears no longer heard their cries for freedom nor did I feel their pain anymore. This love did not return when the Lord delivered me of my attitudes toward Democrats, but instead my attitude was that my black brothers and sisters needed to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and join the twenty-first century here in America.

Sadly, I forgot how I wasn’t able to set myself free from most of my problems without the help of other believers.

Bear one another’s burden, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

Thus, I ask forgiveness from my black brothers and sisters for my sin of being lukewarm in loving them.

(Excerpt from my upcoming book entitled A Black River by Larry Nevenhoven)

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Over 60? Is it too Late to Build a Prayer Life? (Part 4)

praying

Along with our friends, Tony and Janelle, Carol and I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, in late 1997 to join The Watch of the Lord prayer ministry and to attend All Nations Church. Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda headed both ministries.

Each of us felt the Lord directed us to move there. Our billfolds lacked money and credit cards, but faith filled our hearts, believing God would somehow supply our needs.

We pooled out money together and rented a room with two double beds at the Charlotte Residence Inn. The room contained less than two hundred square-feet of floor space with a kitchenette, two beds, four chairs, table, and a bathroom.

A mortgage financing company hired the four of us as telephone sales reps on our second day in Charlotte. The company paid its employees on a biweekly basis, which meant our first paychecks arrived two weeks later. This posed a problem because we only had enough money for one week of rent at the motel.

Each morning the four of us gathered together and prayed for our finances, as in, “Oh Lord, help! HELP!”

We introduced ourselves to the church and ministry as soon as it was possible. The members said we were the answers to many prophecies spoken to the group about people moving from different parts of America to be a part of the ministry. Their words encouraged us, but our money still dwindled daily because of food and gas.

A couple from All Nations Church invited us to their home for a small group meeting and Christmas party on the last night of our motel rental. The four of us agreed not to mention our dire financial needs to the group, but instead, we were determined to trust the Father, according to Matthew 6:6 −

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

The married couple lived in a beautiful new two-story home located in a picturesque area with tall pine trees. It had a large living room, three bedrooms, fireplace, two bathrooms, and large kitchen. A perfect place for four needy, soon to be homeless, believers like us.

The meeting began with Christmas songs and prayers, with the group then waiting on the Lord to hear His voice. The group leader broke the silence by turning to Tony and Janelle.

“Do you guys need something?” he asked, looking at them.

Tony and Janelle shook their heads.

“Not really. The Lord is taking care of us,” said Tony.

The group returned to waiting on the Lord, but the leader was not satisfied and again turned to Tony and Janelle.

“I just don’t feel good about your answers. What do you need?”

Tony and Janelle answered again in the same manner.

“The Lord is taking care of our needs. Thanks for asking.”

The leader would not quit. He continued to ask them what they needed.

“Okay, here’s the story,” Janelle finally said, “we’re out of money for rent and groceries starting tomorrow morning. We don’t know where we shall go or how we’ll survive until we get paid next week.”

How do you think these joyous, Christmas celebrating Christians replied to her statement? And remember: it was December and cold outside.

The group’s leader digested Janelle’s statement for a moment. He motioned with his hands.

“Let’s gather around these two couples and pray for them.”

Tony, Janelle, Carol, and I stood in the middle of the living room while ten Christians placed their hands on our shoulders and prayed. They cried out to the Lord with passion for our circumstances.

I cheated a little by keeping my eyes open and watching the group. Oh Lord, I thought, this looks like the sum total of their aid for our needs. If so, I feel like puking all over their carpet for their level of Christianity.

The rhythm of their prayers reached a crescendo and backed off, waiting for someone to speak.

“I see the Lord raining drops of gold on the four of you,” prophesied a woman. “And all you have to do is reach up by faith and grab what you need. Just reach up right now.”

The prayers ended and we sat down again.

What a convenient prophecy, I thought. They actually believe they don’t have to help us in our time of need because of the woman’s prophetic words. Shouldn’t someone ask how much gold we were able to cram into our pockets during the prayers? Why did the Holy Spirit unmask our financial needs? To reveal our lack of faith or to reveal the group’s hypocrisy?

Various types of Christmas cookies, fudge candy, sandwiches, chips, and potato salad kept the four of us busy after the prayers. We stuffed ourselves and then graciously said our goodbyes and left.

The four of us did our best to pray blessings on the group and forgive them for their lack of hospitality on our drive back to the motel.

We checked out of the motel the next morning, packed our cars, and went to work. After our phone sales shift, we drove to a large shopping mall and stayed there until it closed at 9 p.m. We then drove both cars behind a large motel and slept in our cars.

How we handled the cold December temperatures was out of necessity rather than comfort. We only started our engines when the cold became unbearable. As soon as they warmed up, we turned the engines off to conserve fuel.

This routine continued for days.

I now wonder about the what if’s, such as, what if we had been four fluffy Golden Retriever puppies abandoned by a cruel master on the couple’s front steps. Would the small group have ignored our pleading eyes and whimpering yelps, allowing us to freeze to death outside in the cold weather? I don’t think so because that’s too inhumane, right?

But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth (1 John 3:17-18).

If we want to build our prayer lives, we have to prepare ourselves for the possibility that we might end up being the answer to someone else’s prayers. If we don’t want to do that, why even pray, right?

(Continued in Part 5)

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35 Years Ago Today, A Baseball Game Was Rained Out and I Met Jesus

baseball_rain

 

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 Sheridan 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.

Oh yeah! The baseball game, right?

On May 20, 1985, the Cleveland Indians versus the Milwaukee Brews baseball game at Cleveland Stadium, became the first rain-out of the 1985 Major League season.

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Over 60? Is It Too Late To Build A Prayer Life? (Part 3)

praying

 

Religious Nut

The first time I heard the term “religious nut” was in the 1950’s when my mom spit those words out of her mouth. It happened when we shopped at Meiners’ Grocery Store in Forreston, Illinois. Mom picked a few items off the shelves and carried them up to the checkout. Lillian Meiners, the cashier, attempted to talk about the Lord to Mom while totaling the purchases on the cash register. It was a one-sided conversation with Mom saying nothing.

“She’s a religious nut!” Mom proclaimed as we walked to our 1955 Pontiac, parked outside the door.

From that day forward, Lillian Meiners personified a religious nut to me. I would often see her and when I did, Mom’s words popped into my mind. Lillian never knew my true feelings about her. It was one of those inner character assassinations I never spoke aloud to anyone.

Lillian’s name was filed on a forgotten corner shelf of my mind until late 1985. It would still be there covered with layers of dust and cobwebs except for the question I asked the Lord one morning during prayer.

“Jesus, why did you save me?”

A clear voice whispered to my heart.

“Because of Lillian Meiners’ prayers for you.”

His words shocked me, but a few years later, I talked with her pastor, Rev. Orin Graff. He told me Lillian was a faithful prayer warrior for kids who attended Bible Camp.

Thus, the first saint I am going to hug upon my arrival in heaven will be Lillian Meiners. I want to thank her for faithfully praying for an agnostic who always thought she was a religious nut. We can have a good laugh about my ignorance and how Jesus set me straight.

(An excerpt from my memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who.)

Lillian Meiners died over thirty years ago. So, she would have been in her 60s when she spent time praying for me.

Lillian reminds me of what Wesley said of Whitefield:

John Wesley and George Whitefield certainly had their theological differences which at times caused great problems. With this in mind, a timid lady asked Wesley after Whitefield’s death, “Do you expect to see Whitefield in heaven?”

“No, madam,” replied Wesley.

“Ah, I was afraid you would say that,” said the lady.

“Do not misunderstand me, madam! George Whitefield was so bright a star in the firmament of God’s glory, and will stand so near the throne, that one like me, who am less than the least, will never catch a glimpse of him,” said John Wesley.

I also will need strong field glasses to see the likes of religious nuts like Lillian Meiners and other senior citizens who have faithfully prayed for the generations that followed them.

(Continued in Part 4)

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Friday’s End Time Bible Studies (Part 11)

Is the Covid-19 virus one of the  seal judgments, specifically the pale horse, mentioned in Revelation Chapter 6?

Let me answer this question by looking at another time period.

In 1917-18, American soldiers were fighting in WWI. The end result of their struggles was over 117,000 killed in action and another 200,000 wounded. The total toll of WWI for all nations approached 20 million deaths.

Now, at almost the same time, an influenza known as the Spanish Flu, broke out on a global basis. Before it was finished in 1919, this flu killed 675,000 Americans and an estimated 20-40 million people world-wide.

So, if you think Covid-19 has people talking about the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, it’s nothing compared to how believers viewed the End Times in 1918-19. Believers were almost positive Jesus was returning almost any day back then.

But the years 1918-19 missed three important entities, without which the prophetic words of Revelation can’t take place. Those entities are: (1) Israel has to be a nation, (2) Jerusalem has to be the capital of Israel (3) and there has to be a functioning Temple with sacrifices.

Today, there is a nation of Israel with Jerusalem as its capital, but there is no functioning Temple.

The answer: Covid-19 is not one of the seal judgments.

Chauncey Novarro, an End Times teacher, pointed out an important fact in one of his many teachings. He stated, “The End Times calendar is laid out in Matthew Chapter 24.”

I agree with him.

Therefore when you see the “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand) (Matthew 24:15)

Jesus referred to the Book of Daniel when he spoke about the “abomination of desolation.”

Okay, check out these two verses:

Then he [Antichrist] shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he [Antichrist] shall bring an end to sacrifice and offeringAnd on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)

And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. (Daniel 11:31)

The word “week” in the Hebrew either means a week of seven days or a week of years or seven years. Thus, the middle of the week would be forty-two months, 1260 days or time, times and half a time as mentioned in Daniel and the Book of Revelation.

Phew!

Okay, if you look at Matthew 24: 3-14, you will notice verses referring to wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, persecutions and martydom.  These seem to follow along quite well with Revelation Chapter 6 or the seal judgments.

And the verses in Matthew 24: 16-31 follow along well with Revelation Chapter 8 and 9 and also Revelation 11:15. These are the trumpet judgments and when Jesus returns.

Therefore, Matthew Chapter 24 seems to be a calendar for us to view the End Times.

(Continued in Part 12…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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Over 60? Is it Too Late to Build a Prayer Life? (Part 2)

praying

In a way, I’ve been blessed in that my almost thirty-five years of walking with the Lord has been one long trial. If it wasn’t finances, it was my marriage or my many mistakes forcing me to keep my foot on the prayer accelerator. I really had no other alternatives!

Yes, I love hearing how some believers fall so in love with Jesus after their salvations that they just want to pray all of the time. But that certainly wasn’t me! You see, I just wanted to survive my never-ending battles and had enough wisdom to realize God was my only answer.

So, I plodded along day after day in my prayer life.

Then, one morning the Holy Spirit fell upon me. What happened? I was gone for approximately forty-five minutes and where I was I didn’t have a clue, but there was no worry, no time and just peace, love and the Holy Spirit. It was an awesome experience.

This happened again and again in the following mornings so that I learned how to travel into this “secret place” to be with God.

Now, I didn’t let anyone else know about my daily “secret place” visits with God for about two years. Part of my reasoning was that it was so precious and the other part was that most thought I was a religious nut and I didn’t want to add more lines to my resume.

Yet, it wasn’t until I heard someone teach on Psalm 91 that my eyes were opened:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)

Can you believe that God has a secret place and He actually wants us to spend time with Him there? I always stand amazed just thinking about that.

Can any believer visit God’s secret place? Young or old?

Absolutely yes!

All you have to do is find a quiet place and open your Bible to Psalm 91. Tell the Lord, “I want to visit Your secret place and abide under Your shadow.” Begin praising Him and thanking Him.

Then, it’s up to the Holy Spirit to escort you into God’s secret place.

For me, it’s been a little over thirty-four years since my first visit. And since then, there has never been a day when I didn’t want to spend time in God’s secret place.

It has radically changed my prayer life from boredom to excitement.

Maybe it will do the same for you.

(Continued in Part 3)

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Over 60? Is it Too Late to Build a Prayer Life? (Part 1)

praying

Although I’m seventy-four years old and have walked with the Lord almost thirty-five years, I still remember what happened on the first morning after my salvation.

That particular morning, I woke up and looked over at the clock radio next to our bed. The clock said, “5:00 a.m.” This was new territory for me. The alarm was set for 6:00 a.m, my usual time for getting out of bed.

Yet, I was so wide awake that I arose and dressed to meet the new day. The rest of my family was sound asleep. Not wanting to awaken anyone, I tiptoed into the family room and sat down on the sofa.

“Now what?” I thought to myself.

A deep impression gripped me at that moment — maybe I should pray.

This may sound normal to most believers now, but you have to remember that only twenty-four hours earlier I was an agnostic set on committing suicide. And now, I felt like praying? It sounds ridiculous in hindsight, right?

But the deep impression did not leave me. So, I began praying.

If prayers are stored up in heaven in a special golden censer, have no fear! My simple two and three word prayers did not take up much room nor did they take up much of the Lord’s time.

“Oh Lord, bless my wife…bless my son…bless my daughter…bless my neighbors…and so forth.”

This is where I was on that morning and for a few mornings after that, but I learned something early in my walk with the Lord:

And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

Whatever the Lord begins in us,  whether it’s praying, evangelism, prophesying or whatever, He is more than able to make it grow…even if it means He has to mix in numerous trials to stretch a believer’s faith.

(Continued in Part 2)

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The Case for Trump Winning the November Election

Lance Wallnau called President Donald Trump — “God’s Chaos Candidate.” An apropos title, right?

Viewing Trump’s presidency at this point in time, we see an impeached President, one accused of colluding with the Russians, the overseer of the largest unemployment figures and the greatest GNP drop since the Great Depression, a man hated by the news media, Hollywood and at least 40% of the population, a leader scorned by most of the world’s leaders, a supposed failure in handling America’s response to Covid-19 and who knows what else!

Not only that, Trump is a bombastic tweeter who attacks his foes with disdain and little mercy.

There has never been a President like Trump before…or has there?

When President Harry Truman gave a rousing speech during the presidential election of 1948, a supporter in the crowd shouted, “Give’em Hell, Harry!”

“I don’t give them Hell,” Truman said. “I just tell the truth about them, and they think it’s Hell.”

From that time forward in his reelection bid, Truman was known as “Give’em Hell Harry.”

Sadly, Truman’s presidency was riddled by scandals, corruption, investigations, vulgar remarks, hatred by the media and a threat via a letter against a Washington Post critic:

Dec. 6, 1950

Mr. Hume:

I’ve just read your lousy review of Margaret’s concert. I’ve come to the conclusion that you are an “eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay.”

It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful. When you write such poppy-cock as was in the back section of the paper you work for it shows conclusively that you’re off the beam and at least four of your ulcers are at work.

Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!

Pegler, a gutter snipe, is a gentleman alongside you. I hope you’ll accept that statement as a worse insult than a reflection on your ancestry.

H.S.T.

Don’t you think President Truman might have used Twitter against his foes? I do.

But both Truman and Trump had one thing in common: Israel.

At eleven minutes after midnight on May 14, 1948, the very day Israel declared itself a nation, President Harry S. Truman recognized Israel as a sovereign nation. America was the first nation to do so.

On December 6, 2017, President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Then, the U.S. Embassy was moved to Jerusalem in May, 2018. Plus, Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy by recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. All of these were firsts!

No other presidents or world leaders have stuck their necks out for Israel like Truman and Trump did during their presidencies.

And I will bless those who bless you [Israel], and the one who curses you [Israel] I will curse. (Genesis 12:3)

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.” (Psalm 122:6)

Since I believe God honors His Word, I believe President Trump will be reelected for a second term in November.

Now, does this mean that I think Trump’s second four years in office will be easier than his first four years? No, absolutely not.

I believe Trump will win the presidency, but that the Republicans will lose both the Senate and the House in November.

Give’em Hell Donald!

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A Work in Progress

The Starbucks on Temecula Parkway was busy as usual. Five people stood in line ahead of me, waiting to place their orders. I looked around and saw the young pastor sitting at a table in the back of the room. He waved and I nodded at him.

I eventually received my coffee and walked toward the pastor. His thick, dark hair framed his long, thin face. He resembled an ordinary businessman in his crisply pressed khakis and blue button-down shirt, open at the collar. He stood and we shook hands.

“Dylan, thanks for coming,” he said.

“It’s my pleasure Pastor Rick.”

We sat down and I sipped coffee. He folded his hands in front of him on the table and looked as uncomfortable as I felt at that moment.

“An insider on the selection committee told me that you were the most influential person when it came to choosing me as the church’s new pastor. So −”

I interrupted his prepared speech.

“So, why did I walk out of your first sermon, right?”

He nodded and grinned. His eyes revealed relief that the elephant was out of the closet.

“Pastor Rick, it had nothing to do with you or your sermon. It was probably something I should have done years ago.”

“I don’t understand.”

I repeated the same story I told Jane about feeling the Lord wanted me to do something and how I’d ignored it for forty years until yesterday. The young pastor nodded from time to time as though he understood my dilemma, but I felt he struggled with my answer.

“Is there anything I can do to help you?” he asked, almost as a reflex when I finished.

“I don’t know. This is new territory for me.”

The young pastor sipped his coffee and remained quiet for a minute. I did the same, not wanting to interrupt his thoughts. The chatter from the nearby tables shielded our conversation.

“My dad and grandpa were pastors. Both taught that pastors don’t own the members of churches because they belong to the Good Shepherd. Their obedience must first of all be to Him, and not to any pastor. I agree with their teaching, but I am concerned about you,” he said.

“Oh really, why?”

“As an ordained pastor, my main job is to feed the sheep. So, where will you be fed and nourished each week?”

“I don’t know.”

“I assume Jane will be leaving with you, right? Where will she be fed and nourished?”

I shrugged my shoulders.

“Who will you fellowship with?”

I shrugged again and looked away from his piercing eyes.

“So, you walked out of church without a plan or a pastor in mind for you to be accountable to, right?”

I nodded.

“Do you really believe God would ask you to do something like this in the twilight years of your life?”

I set my cup down a little too hard. The coffee splashed out of it onto the table.

“Excuse me?”

He cleared his throat and sipped coffee while I wiped the spilt liquid up with a napkin.

“Shouldn’t you just enjoy your children and family for the remaining years of your life? After all, you’ve pretty much run your race. What can you really accomplish this late in the game?”

I stood up, put my hands on the table and leaned toward him.

“I don’t have any answers right now,” I proclaimed three levels louder than normal. The people sitting nearby stopped their activities and stared at us.

“As far as my legacy, I’m going out to make a new one because I’m not satisfied with mine. And mistakes?  Or my age? I couldn’t care less about either one right now. I just want to stay in the fight until I take my last breath.”

Spinning around, I walked out of Starbucks, not in anger or rebellion, but in freedom.

(Excerpt from my work in progress: Still in the Fight by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2020.)

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