Tag Archives: Christianity

Why Waste a Crisis?

In an off-the-cuff statement, President Barack Obama’s former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, gave us an insiders’ view on what some politicians really believe. “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that, it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

Sadly, some politicians seem to be following Emanuel’s advice to advance their political agendas during the COVID-19 crisis. Historians and fellow citizens will eventually be their judges.

But yet, from a Christian viewpoint, Emanuel’s words ring true.

I remember the former Iowa Director of the 700 Club’s Food Bank telling his salvation testimony. It happened while he was a U.S. Marine stationed at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, along with 400 others during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

During the thirteen-day standoff between Russia and the USA, Fidel Castro surrounded the Guantanamo base one morning with 10,000 Cuban troops and large artillery. Castro ordered the U.S. Marines to surrender, lower the America flag and leave the base by 4 p.m. or face annihilation.

The Marine Commander called his commanders in the states, asking what to do. The commanders stated, “We can’t get reinforcements to you in time, but American Marines never lower the American flag to its enemy. Don’t surrender. Keep fighting to the last man if need be.”

Every Marine knew this could be his last day alive because there was no chance to survive a battle against Castro’s superior forces and artillery. The hours and minutes flew by, but as it did, Marines – one by one – fell to their knees and surrendered their lives to the Lord.

The old Sarge laughed and made fun of the Marines who dropped to their knees. He called them all kinds of profane names, but at 3:55 p.m., old Sarge fell to his knees and surrendered his life to the Lord.

Every Marine at that Guantanamo base gave his life to the Lord that day. Every Marine!

The 4 p.m. deadline passed and Castro backed down from his threats.

The Kingdom of God always moves Jesus’ banner of hope and love forward against the kingdom of darkness during crises.

So, let’s not waste the COVID-19 crisis. Let’s use it “as an opportunity to do those things we couldn’t do before.”

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To Speak in Tongues or To Not Speak in Tongues? That is the question. (Part 3)

Praying in tongues quiets the mind. When Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist, compared brain scans of Christians praying in tongues with Buddhist monks chanting and Catholic nuns praying, the study showed the frontal lobes—the brain’s control center—went quiet in the brains of Christians talking in tongues, proving that speaking in tongues isn’t a function of the natural brain but an operation of the Spirit (1 Cor. 14:2, 14). (Adapted from Seventy Reasons for Speaking in Tongues by Bill Hamon(Destiny Image). Reproduced by permission of Destiny Image.

An early step in my heart renovation happened during the winter of 1993 when I scheduled a teaching at a home group in Story City, Iowa, a fifty-five mile journey from Fort Dodge. My 1975 Chevy gas-hog of a pickup truck sat outside of my apartment with a gas tank resembling my empty billfold.

I already had a teaching ready for the group and felt the Lord had a way to somehow get me there. I prayed in tongues on my knees for an hour before a scripture crossed my mind.

One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed (Proverbs 19:17).

“Lord, how will this scripture help me?” I asked aloud.

No response came, but I knew the scripture contained my answer. I memorized it and meditated on it while praying in tongues for another hour. The Holy Spirit eventually reminded me about giving all the money in my billfold to a poor woman who lived just down the street. The ex-husband was late with child support. The family needed milk and groceries.

“Okay, Lord. That builds my faith because I did give money to a poor person, but how am I going to make my faith work in this instance?” I said.

No answer again.

I returned to bowing on my knees and continued meditating on the scripture while praying in tongues for another hour. This time I felt the Lord instructed me to cut out a piece of paper and tape it over my gas gauge so the needle pointing to E could not be seen. My faith would then be in God and not in the gas tank. I followed His instructions.

The truck’s engine roared to life when I turned the key and headed out into the cold, windy, snowy evening. There was little traffic on the highway. My thoughts on the ride centered on whether an angel had a gas can and continually poured fuel into the tank or if the Lord recycled the fumes. I never figured it out, but I arrived at my destination without any incident.

The Lord has built in my heart a deep trust in prayer over the years. He is my Father, who loves me enough to bankrupt heaven for me. I ask Him to provide for whatever I need in the quiet of the prayer closet and seldom have ever mentioned anything to others. Thus, I never told anyone about my empty gas tank at the house group.

The meeting and fellowship lasted until midnight, but just before I left, a man handed me thirty dollars.

“The Lord told me to give this money to you,” he said.

I thanked him and let him know how much I appreciated his obedience to the Lord’s voice.

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

Be still and know that I am God... (Psalm 46:10)

(Continued in Part 4)

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To Speak in Tongues or To Not Speak in Tongues? That is the Question. (Part 2)

 

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels… (1 Cor. 13:1)

Now, I wish that you all spoke in tongues… (1 Cor. 14: 5

I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all do. (1 Cor. 14: 18)

 I can hear the groans and the shouts. “Not tongues. Anything but that trivial twaddle. I ain’t doing it. No siree – no tongues for me. Never!”

Okay, relax. Take a deep, deep breath. Hold it for a minute or so. Now breathe out. Continue reading.

Let’s return to the same scenario as Part 2.

Your family is staying at the luxurious Beverly Wilshire Hotel (where Pretty Woman was filmed), just off Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. Your wife and daughter are enjoying the shopping spree, and you are carrying enough plastic cards to pay for everything.

Then, three Mumbai-type terrorists enter the hotel lobby, AK-47’s blazing away and hand grenades exploding. Chaos and confusion reigns as dead bodies hit the floor.

Somehow, you grab your wife and daughter, and hide in a first floor cafe. As you crouch behind a table, you hear the sounds of people begging for their lives and the lives of their children. But then, bursts from the AK-47’s let you know that mercy is not a part of the terrorists’ makeup.

You hear their footsteps approaching the cafe. It will only be seconds before they enter the door. You look at your wife and daughter, tears are streaming down their faces. They don’t want to die. They want you to do something. Anything. Just do something.

Are you going to pray? If so, how?

Now remember, your mind will be a pile of mush. You will have thoughts about wishing you would have stayed home, or should have gone to Hawaii instead of California, or spending a nice sunny day anywhere but not where you are at that moment. Plus, fear, not wanting your family to die, and total confusion.

How will you quiet your mind to pray at that moment?

Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which can not be uttered.

Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8: 27-28)

Remember: Radical Christians do not care what others think. They swim upstream against the religious current.

The above article was posted on November 19, 2014, as a part of a series on Islamic Terrorism vs. Radical Christians. I believe it still works for today’s fears, especially coronavirus.

 (Continued in Part 3)

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To Speak in Tongues or To Not Speak in Tongues? That is the question. (Part 1)

The Holy Spirit Showed Up

I drove our new Buick Station Wagon to Des Moines on Monday, July 8, 1985, the fiftieth day after my salvation. There I called on corporate accounts to introduce them to Hunter Ross’s advertising programs. After my last appointment at 4 p.m., I headed back to Fort Dodge, a ninety-mile drive, hoping to see my son play in a high school baseball game that evening. Driving past Webster City on Highway 20, I experienced what Peter and the early disciples did on the first Pentecost in Jerusalem.

My mind concentrated on driving one moment, and in the next, a holy Presence flooded the interior of the car. Every part of me tingled as if jolted by a lightning bolt. I felt like opening my mouth to express the joy bubbling up within me and when I did, I spoke in tongues.

The Pentecostals and Charismatics refer to this experience as the baptism of the Holy Spirit.If you have a different teaching on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and think it refers to a different experience altogether, I’m okay with that.  The label is not as important as the experience.

I only spoke five syllables at first. So my biggest concern was whether I might forget the weird sounding words. I repeated them over and over again in my drive to the baseball diamond at Roger’s Park.

After parking, I sought Bill Sheridan to inquire about speaking in tongues. Did I need to worry about forgetting the syllables?

“Larry, it’s a gift of the Holy Spirit. He has a great memory,” said Bill with a laugh.

Speaking in tongues became my most used type of prayer from that day forward.

Excerpt from my memoir, The Hunt for Larry Who by Larry Nevenhoven.

Surveys by Barna and Gallup estimate that only 7 – 8% of born again believers speak in tongues (prayer utterances unintelligible to the speaker).

About one in four (in Barna’s survey) said the practice is a sign of spiritual maturity, but more than two-thirds agreed that tongues-speakers, though usually sincere, are engaged in emotional outbursts that have nothing to do with God.

“Forty percent say that if they were to speak in tongues, they would be frightened by the experience,” Barna said.

“That doesn’t surprise me,” said sociologist Margaret Poloma of the University of Akron. She said a graduate student recently told her that he spoke in tongues once while he was at a high school church camp, but he never repeated it because it scared him.

“A lot of people are afraid of letting go for fear of the unknown,” Poloma said.

Russell Spittler, an Assemblies of God minister who teaches New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, said he believes that there is a hesitancy to speak in tongues in most Pentecostal and charismatic churches because “one might be thought to be a religious nut.” (See full article here.)

Why am I teaching on speaking in tongues?

On March 14, 2020, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart:

“Listen to My voice. Teach others to do the same. Great confusion shall soon come upon the earth. Many will believe they are doing My will, but will be deceived. Stress speaking in tongues.”

So, hold onto your kippers, mitres and plain old baseball caps as we dig into speaking in tongues.

(Continued in Part 2)

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Is the Coronavirus From God or Satan?

 

I don’t want to keep everyone in suspense. The coronavirus is from Satan, but there are some provisos attached to this answer.

You see, God is the Creator of heaven and earth. He gave authority to Adam to rule on earth. Adam sinned and in his rebellion, Satan ended up being the god of this world.

All of this is basic stuff, sort of Christianity 101. Yet, there is a verse we often overlook –

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His commandments, hearkening to the voice of His word. (Psalm 103:20 AMP)

Satan is a fallen angel. But even though, he is the ruler of this world, he must still work within the framework of God’s commands and the voice of God’s word. Thus, Satan can only do what God allows him to do.

Okay! Okay! This may hurt your heads a little and your theology a lot, but stay with me on this.

See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:25-29)

I believe the coronavirus is one of those shakings the Lord is allowing to hit mankind, and especially, His Church to show us our frailties. Is our faith truly in the living God? Or in our finances? Or in ourselves? Or in what?

This is the time for us to check our hearts before Him and then –

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)

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Inside Israel

Greetings, dear sisters and brothers, fellow living stones being built into His temple for His glory.  May He be seen and glorified and blessed and may you be encouraged and blessed!  May we look at Him more and more that we might become clear as windows for Him to be seen in us.

About a week ago, many rabbis called for the country to meet at the western wall and to pray for God to intervene and drive back the Corona virus plague.  Many thousands did show up in the pouring rain of the evening to ask for God’s mercy.

As I watched the evening news, one of those rabbis who called for the prayer was asked by the reporter, “What they thought that they could accomplish by praying?”

The rabbi smiled at the reporter and said,”The scientists and doctors can search for a cure and prevention…and we must do what we CAN do…but we can pray.  Pray we must, for we are called to be a light to the nations and the nations are in deep trouble.”

And in trouble, we are.  All of us.

I don’t know if any of you are too young to remember that things (ie; people) weren’t always THIS polarized. That there really WERE times in which there was a certain right and wrong that wasn’t questioned and when it was the bad guy who crossed the lines and not the poor misunderstood guy. And yet, there WAS compassion, not the hardness of heart that there seems to be today in response to the other side, but reason in society as a whole.  That is NOT to say that it was idyllic by any means, but it was NOT upside down as it is today.

Some of you, like me, might be old enough to remember plagues and epidemics and stories of dark days in times past.

I do NOT want to step on any toes here or get into any arguments. I see my defined task (in Hebrew the word is taf-keed)  in these letters is “what you see… write.” The older that I get the more I have seen and a certain perspective forms as the time gets longer that I have walked this earth.

You know that I grew up in New York City just after WW2.  My Dad had had polio when he was 2 and by his own confession he had been spoiled because he survived.  I never did see the spoiled side of my dear hard working father who endured so much with a grateful heart. The polio left him badly crippled in the legs, with a deformed back and injured lungs from which he suffered for the rest of his 68 years on this earth.

When summers came in New York, a great fear descended upon the parents  because of polio, which struck down children all summer long.  Parents were terrified. Each year there would be more classmates to visit in the “iron lung” or who would appear in heavy iron leg braces or wheel chairs. It was part of my childhood, and although we children didn’t share the fears of our parents, we SAW their fear.

In the winter it was “the grippe” that claimed the lives of countless.  Sometimes schools were closed.  When I had the measles we were quarantined (as was every family with measles). I remember the first day that I was well enough to see the tape across our doors and the sign saying that no one could enter or leave the premises until the health department cleared us.  Groceries were left outside the front door and my mother made face masks out of old sheets.

I remember the cracks in the ceiling turning into snakes and screaming with fear as my fever rose.  My sister and I were polio pioneers as we were given the first experimental polio vaccine by Dr. Jonas Salk himself (we had a photo and a button).  My father had suffered so much. It was the least that we could do.  When the vaccine worked, it seemed as if the world was rejoicing. This terrible scourge had been beaten and the fear could lift and we children could actually go swimming in the summer heat without fear of polio!

Recently I stumbled across a video that made me wonder how I could speak about this.

Last January, I nearly died from influenza and pneumonia.  During that time, The Lord opened to me 1 Chronicles 21. I saw how David stood before The Lord between the death angel and the people of Jerusalem, a perfect intercession after David’s tremendous sin resulting in God’s judgment against the people of Israel.

I was left with many questions and much seeking.  Last January was not the first time that I had influenza.  Before the flu shots were discovered I had it once as a child and twice as a teen- young adult.  People use the word flu lightly for any viral infection, but influenza is no small thing.  The video is powerful and worth watching.  It is the documentation of the influenza impacting Bristol Bay Alaska in 1919, the influenza from which my husband’s grandparents all died, leaving just his mother and father as orphaned children who met in the orphanage.

As a matter of fact, my husband’s uncle had been a teenager and told me years ago how everyone in his village had died leaving him and his small sister (my husband’s mother) and his future wife (a child at the time) alive.  When they were well enough to leave the bodies behind, they walked out of the village, aimless and starving and they met Jesus on the tundra. The Lord strengthened these orphaned children and showed them the way to walk to where people were still alive.  It was a powerful testimony to me, listening to him speak in the cold Alaskan darkness, a story to me –  untold. But he wasn’t the first one to tell me about that influenza.

My mother was born during it in 1918 in a hospital in NY.  I grew up hearing how my Grandmother clutched her newborn baby, praying that she and her baby would live, as death wagons clanged through the streets night and day picking up bodies.

I am not speaking of ancient history, and yet this generation has thankfully little experience with plagues and illnesses of massive proportion…until now.

Israel’s borders are not completely closed, but our health ministry has called upon the public not to travel unless absolutely necessary.  Some young people are taking it lightly, but more and more are not, as there has not been known before a virus that could spread this rapidly, live for 9 days on inanimate objects (even the sidewalk) and not show infection for weeks.   Great lengths have been gone to to restrain its spread, but should it spread it has the potential to infect virtually everyone…and that would shut everyTHING.

So I ask (and I am sure you do too) “What are you saying, Lord?”

I have no doubt that plague is a sign of God’s judgment.  It is written through out scripture.

I KNOW the promises in Psalm 91 and others, nevertheless I can not take The Word of God as a magic potion. It is The Word of GOD and HE IS GOD!  I heard an interview with some Christian tourists who were in the Old City visiting from the U.S. When asked if they were afraid (Jerusalem is FULL of tourists from all over the world including China, South Korea, Italy and all of the most infected countries), they laughed lightly and one said, “If God told us to come we will be fine.” 

And you and I know this to be true.  But there was a lightness in her speech (as in taking it lightly) that stopped me.  In South Korea the center of the epidemic has been one of the most charismatic Churches.  The precious doctor who became the whistle blower in China and so sadly died  was a young vibrant Christian – a strong believer walking with The Lord – with an 8 month pregnant wife.

God’s Word is sure and true but it is not a magic potion and we are flesh and blood. I BELIEVE that He is saying something to us and my question is: “LORD!  HOW DO I PRAY INTO THIS!  HOW DO I NOT TAKE IT FOR GRANTED!”

Ever so many years ago I remember someone telling me that not a hair on my head would be harmed and I had just been reading about the believers being killed in droves in Africa and there was a discrepancy.  I am NOT a  fear-monger NOR AM I FEARFUL…but I DO feel that He has made a distinction between HIS KINGDOM and the kingdom of this world and I had BETTER be walking IN HIS KINGDOM WHERE THERE IS NO DEATH, BECAUSE THIS BODY OF FLESH WILL DIE.

I stumble constantly (oh Lord of mercy!) but I have LEARNED TO TURN AND LOOK UPON HIM!  I stumble and fall but I MUST get up and run to Him and kneel at the cross again and again and AGAIN.

Oh sisters and brothers, I DON’T know how it is where you are, but for me today, riding the train where so many were coughing and sneezing and getting off at the shuk with Chinese tourists and standing to buy tomatoes between a young couple of tourists speaking Italian, ALARM BELLS GO OFF and I NEED to know how to pray NOW.  NOT that I will be just fine for if I am in Him and in His kingdom, whether I live or die means little to me…but HOW TO PRAY.

To pray for our elections on Monday which are alarming…:

To pray for our borders with Hamas and Hizbollah which are boiling…(although this virus may be closing borders all around us that no human sanctions could!)

To pray for our collapsing health system (atleast we don’t have to pray concerning drought right now)

AND HOW TO PRAY MERCY IN HIS JUDGMENT…

Oh for a heart like King David’s who was able to prevail because of his broken humility and his heart that KNEW GOD.

Sincerely,

Your sister J

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How Shall We Overcome Our Fear, Anxiety and Depression? (Part 4)

The following is an excerpt from my soon to be published novel – Still in the Fight:

Most people who have met Dylan and me would assume that we must have been cut from the same small-town cloth, but nothing could have been further from the truth.

Dylan’s parents were two of the sweetest people who have ever lived. Love and peace permeated every corner of their home. Meal times for Dylan and his sister, Darla, were filled with lively conversations about what happened during their day. All who sat around the table, even guests, were encouraged to contribute. Family problems were handled in love, rather than anger. Both parents attended Dylan’s and Darla’s school events, cheering them on from their seats. Because of the loving atmosphere provided by his parents, Dylan grew up to be a confident, loving adult.

By comparison, fear filled our home because of my dad. Although he was a successful real estate broker, he hated his career, his life and himself. He took out his anguish on my mother, brother, sister and me.  We never knew what would trip his trigger, but when it happened he would turn into a raging madman, slinging four-letter words and accusations at everyone. It usually climaxed with him slapping us around.

Mealtimes? Oh my! Those were tortuous occasions for the family because Dad demanded absolute quiet from us while he ate his meal. If for any reason, we children made a chewing noise or squirmed a bit in our chairs, he might smack us and send us to bed, berating us as we left the room. If he did speak and asked a question and then didn’t like our answers, he might slap us across the face right there at the table. Mom always sat in her chair with her head down like a timid titmouse, too afraid to confront Dad or defend her children. Her only solace was a bottle of Jack Daniels hidden behind the cereal boxes in the pantry.

Not only that, my dad attempted to molest me soon after my thirteenth birthday. I fought him off and ran into the bathroom, locking the door behind me. He never attempted to touch me again, but being alone in the house with him caused panic attacks to strike me so that I trembled and struggled to breathe. All I could think about during those times was the day his hands fondled my breasts.

What few friends or boyfriends I had were never invited into my home nor did I ever share the shame and pain I felt in my heart with anyone. Never once! Looking back, I now realize how fortunate it was for me to be a straight-A student because it kept prying eyes away from my life and our home.

My most awkward moment occurred on October 12th of my freshman year at the University of San Diego. My phone rang at 6:35 in the evening while I was writing an English essay at my dorm room’s desk. I answered, “Hello.”

“Hi honey.”

“Oh, hi mom.”

“I have some bad news.”

“Okay, let’s have it.”

“Your dad suffered a heart attack this afternoon and died before the paramedics arrived at his office.”

I did not say a word nor did mom. The dead air space continued between us for more than sixty seconds before I finally said, “Oh.”

Mom closed by saying the funeral arrangements would be made the next day.

“Okay, mom.”

I hung up, shed no tears and felt no grief.

Is it wrong to feel like this, I wondered. I shrugged off the question and continued writing my essay.

(Continued in Part 4)

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