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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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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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Will We End Up Being A Part of the Great Falling Away? (Part 7)

“He’s dead! He’s dead!” exclaimed the courier from Rome as he trotted toward us.

I stopped working and stood up. The other tent makers did the same.

“Who’s dead?” I asked.

“The Apostle Paul’s dead!” said the courier, wiping the sweat from his forehead. “He was beheaded in Rome about a month ago.”

Even though I knew Paul’s ministry would probably have a sad ending, the news stunned me. O Lord, why? I thought.

I walked away from the group, not wanting to talk about the apostle at that moment. It was just too painful. I ended up walking down by the Aegean Sea and sitting on a rock by myself. There, I thought back over my years with Paul.

The first time I met Paul, I was not impressed. His stature was too puny, only 4 feet 6 inches tall and 110 pounds in weight, and his public speaking talents were too shallow when compared to Apollos and the other orators. Yes, he was brilliant and could write, but these were facts that I learned later and did not figure at all into my first impressions of him.

Yet, there was something about Paul which drew me to him. Maybe, it was his fiery passion for the gospel, his fierce boldness or his love for the church. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but anyway, I joined up with Paul and traveled along with him as his aide.

On our first journey to Rome, we ended up swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. Somehow, the Roman soldiers did not execute us and we were able to swim ashore to Malta. And eventually, we did arrive in Rome.

Next, I spent two years, waiting for Paul while he was under arrest. When we finally resumed traveling again, everything became a blur of afflictions, hardships, distresses, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, sleeplessness and hunger.

Then, the fire in Rome changed everything for us from bad to worse. Christians were blamed for the fire and Paul became a marked man. Nero sent soldiers to hunt him down in Asia.

Finally, I mentally collapsed under the stress.

“Paul, I didn’t join your ministry to be killed by Roman soldiers,” I said on the day of my departure. “I’m going to Thessalonica, start a business, maybe marry a young woman and start a family. I’m too young for a martyr’s death!”

Paul was disappointed, but what could he do? I fled on a boat.

It had been almost a year since I last saw Paul and now he was dead. My mind wandered here and there as the blue waves splashed against the rock I sat on.

Did I make the right decision when I left Paul? I wondered.  And how will I be remembered by future Christians?

for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica…(2 Timothy 4: 9)

The above is a fictional story about Demas who is only mentioned in the above verse, Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 1.24.

Now, if we think that the three verses about Demas are added to Paul’s writings just to fill up space, then we’ve completely missed the point. I believe the Holy Spirit used Demas to give later believers a name and a face for fallen-away Christians.

Yes, I understand God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness handles problems like this, but still the words of 2 Timothy 4:9 are a part of God’s written Word forever!

(Continued in Part 7…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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70,000 Deaths in Three Days!

God was angry with Israel in 970 BC. So, He allowed Satan to entice King David to take a census of the people in Israel.

Doesn’t a census sound harmless? But it wasn’t.

You see, Exodus 30:11-12 states that a census had to be ordered only by God because the Israelites were His people and not the property of any King. And if a census was taken, a ransom had to be given by each person to the Lord or a plague would hit the people of Israel.

When King David ordered the census to be taken, Joab, the commander of Israel’s armies, said to David, “But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this? Are they not all your servants? Why must you cause Israel to sin?”

King David ignored Joab’s advice and insisted on the census.

It took almost ten months to count the people.

And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”

The Lord sent the prophet Gad to King David to explain just how David’s iniquity could be removed. Gad gave David three options to choose from:

  1. Shall three years of famine fall on Israel?
  2. Shall you flee three months from your enemies?
  3. Or shall three days of a severe plague fall on Israel?

I’m in a desperate situation!” David replied to Gad. “But let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great. Do not let me fall into human hands.” (2 Samuel 24:14 NLT)

The Lord sent a severe plague on the following morning. 70,000 men died in Israel over the time of the plague. More would have perished, but King David interceded for Israel by saying:

“I am the one who called for the census! I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep—what have they done? O Lord my God, let your anger fall against me and my family, but do not destroy your people.” (1 Chronicles 21:17 NLT)

King David’s prayer becomes more amazing when you consider that David was willing to give up every prophetic promise for himself and his family if that would stop the plague. His promises included a Son of David promise that would arrive on the scene almost three thousand years later.

God saw David’s heart and stopped the plague.

(Read the whole story in 2 Samuel 24 or 1 Chronicles 21.)

What does this have to do with the Coronavirus, right?

I believe the Lord is looking for believers who are willing to intercede in the same way King David did by standing in the gap for their cities, states and America right now.

For those who are willing, all we have to do is ask the Lord what He requires us to do in this sad hour. If we each do our part, I believe this pandemic will end sooner…rather than later.

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

 

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. (Proverbs 12:25 NKJ)

The foundation for anxiety and depression is fear.

Now, most Christians don’t have to be reminded that it’s wrong to be fearful because we have heard it over and over again. Yet, in our brokenness and our frailty, we fall short of trusting the Lord in all of our circumstances.

The “what if this happens or that happens, then what” scenarios continue to play over and over in our minds and drown out our trust in the Lord. Right?

The Apostle Paul underlined our struggles when he wrote:

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24)

Paul answered his question in Romans 8:1.

Many of us have memorized Romans 8:1, but how can we really walk in the truth of not allowing condemnation to derail our lives?

Yes, the Bible exhorts us to pray and study the word.  But let’s be honest, this advice fails to move most of us, which brings us back to Paul’s question: “who will deliver us?”

If we’re thinking the answer is going to a church on Sunday, sitting in a pew with 300, 600, 1000 or 8000 other believers, listening to a sermon-lecture and a few prayers, and returning week after week for more of the same, then why aren’t we all delivered from our fear, anxiety and depression as yet?

Maybe we need to look elsewhere.

Did you know that 50% of the members at Alcoholic Anonymous stay sober, another 25% relapse but return, and the other 25% do not remain sober?

Why is Alcoholics Anonymous so successful?

The meetings are small in size and open to all. Everyone is allowed to share what’s on his heart. Success stories – even small successes – are celebrated as victories. There are intense discussions. Each member is paired up with a mentor who helps them through any struggles.

HELLO!

Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you. (1 Corinthians 14:26 NLT)

Alcoholic Anonymous modeled its meetings after the early home churches. And it works!

Thus, I believe the only way for us to overcome our fear, anxiety and depression is to have small home groups (or home churches) with open formats, allowing the Holy Spirit to move in our midst. Members can pray and use their spiritual gifts to help set others free.

The reason I use a bold font to emphasize “with open formats” is that many churches have home groups, but have rigid formats that they follow. This won’t work!

Why is this so important?

I believe America is about to enter into a period of extreme tribulation and confusion that has never been experienced before in our nation’s history. The number of people who suffer from fear, anxiety and depression will multiply off the charts almost over night.

We need to prepare ourselves now.

(Conclusion)

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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 3)

In the beginning, God created the heavens, the earth and everything on the earth.

Next, He created mankind in His own image by forming man out of the dust of the ground and breathing into man’s nostrils the breath of life. Man became a living being.

So far so good.

Next, God decided that it wasn’t good for man to be alone and that he needed a helper, fit for his needs. God took a rib from Adam (the first man) and created the first woman. She was just what Adam needed and he called her Eve. 

Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame. (Genesis 2:25)

So far still so good.

The Bible doesn’t exactly say how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden before the fall occurred in Genesis Chapter 3, but we are told that Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born. This third child was born after Cain had killed Abel.

My guess is that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden for approximately one hundred years without disobeying God’s one command to them –

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

Maybe Adam and Eve walked by the forbidden tree once a day for one hundred years. That would be 36,500 times. If Adam and Eve were like me, they’d be at least curious about how the forbidden fruit tasted. And 36,500 times of not eating or touching the fruit probably primed them for the serpent’s temptation when he said,

“You won’t die! God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

Eve listened to the serpent and then ate the forbidden fruit and gave some to Adam who also ate it.

What happened next?

At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God among the trees. Then the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” (Genesis 3:7-8)

Adam and Eve’s disobedience released two stumbling blocks upon mankind which help to foster fear, anxiety and depression: hiding from God and fear. We are still struggling with these issues today.

(Continued in Part 4)

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Filed under America, Anxiety, Christianity, Church, Depression, Fear, Prayer, spiritual warfare