Tag Archives: New Christians

First the Ear (Chapter 27)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 27

Building Mustard-Seed Faith (l)

 

Like Joseph’s two dreams, I had just enough revelation from my impressions and dreams to get me in trouble, which was probably how the Lord planned my adventure.

The people in the house and the home fellowship were amazed God would send a man, whom they had never met, via a dream to pray and encourage them. It was an exciting evening for all of us.

But I assumed someone would offer me a place to stay overnight in his home or apartment, but no one did. Nobody even asked why my truck was loaded with household goods and clothing. What were they thinking? I don’t know.

I could have asked them, but I didn’t. You see, I believe that if God is leading me then it is His responsibility to provide for me.

What did I do?

I drove off and prayed as I went down the street. The only idea, which came into my mind, was a nearby truck stop. I drove there, parked the truck, pulled two blankets out of the back, and slept in the cab. It was a late-October cold night.

In the morning, it dawned on me: God sent me here to trap me. Why? I had no clue.

I spent one of my precious quarters on coffee at a grocery store. I then went to the small city park and prayed all day. That night I went back to the truck stop and slept there again.

The next morning, I spent another quarter for coffee and prayed all day at the park.

At 6:30 in the evening, while I was praying, I had a quick glimpse of my answer: a scrap metal yard. I drove there, but it was closed for the day. It was another cold night at the truck stop.

The next morning after spending my last quarter on coffee, I went to the scrap yard and asked for the owner. He was gone until late in the afternoon.

“What did you need to see him for? Maybe, I can help you,” said the receptionist.

“I’m a Christian and just needed to see him,” I said.

“His wife can probably help you. I’ll give you directions to their house,” she said. She wrote directions down a piece of paper and handed it to me.

The home was only a mile away so I had enough gas to get there. I parked in the driveway and walked toward the house. Somehow, as I walked, I realized they were Catholics. I rang the doorbell.

While waiting on the porch, the Holy Spirit descended on me with all of His holiness. I wept and wept. And in that moment, I was delivered of my judgmental attitude of believing people had to attend specific churches or risk being out of the will of God.

The aftermath of this story was the people invited me to stay overnight in their warm home. They took me to breakfast the next morning and gave me $10 for gasoline. I drove back to my hometown. There I stopped at a business establishment who hired me for a painting project. I then visited my pastor and she had something for me.

It seemed the Lord laid my situation on a person’s heart. He sent a $200 check to my pastor for me.

Hopefully, this testimony underlines the importance of being careful of what we listen to? What else can we do?

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

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First the Ear (Chapter 26)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 26

Building Mustard-Seed Faith (k)

Like most believers, I was a sponge when I was first saved in 1985. This openness to spiritual teachings had its good points, but also had a few bad ones. One of the bad experiences happened at a Full Gospel Businessmen meeting.

I attended that particular Saturday night meeting to hear a man give his testimony. The man and his message are long since forgotten, but I still remember what happened afterward when I hung around, visiting with believers.

As I talked with friends, a man approached and joined our conversation. The group of friends then broke up and left, but the man continued talking with me. We talked about various things and then he asked a question.

“Larry, where do you go to church?” he said.

“Corpus Christi Catholic Church,” I replied.

He shook his head. “Too bad!” he said. “I used to attend an Assembly of God church, but now, I go to a Word church. This is where God is now moving in America.”

The man really thought he was helping me, but instead, his words were judgmental seeds, which planted themselves in my heart. The seeds were later watered and eventually grew into a deep-rooted belief that believers must attend specific churches or they were out of the will of God.

I eventually departed the Catholic Church and attended a small non-denominational church. It was at this church where I began speaking more and more prophetic words.

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. (Luke 6: 45)

Although we believers would all like to be perfect vessels so the Lord can speak whatever He wants to say through us, I haven’t met a perfect vessel in my thirty-four years of seeking Him. The stream of Christianity we associate with, the teachings we listen to, and any judgmental attitudes, which may be rooted in our hearts, often help to shape our prophetic words.

The importance of prophesying is not lessened because of our imperfections. We must give grace to people when they speak prophetic words and then graciously judge the prophetic words in love. Don’t kill the messengers, okay?

At the same time, each of us needs to continually ask the Lord to set us free from whatever hindrances we may have in our hearts. And guess what? We all have them.

 

Over a period of weeks in the early 1990’s, I had a dream and a deep impression about moving to a small town of 6000 people, forty miles north of where I lived in Iowa. The dream even included a certain house on a specific street, which I needed to visit.

I finally loaded up my rust-bucket of a pickup truck with my belongings and headed out.

My only problem was I only had just a few coins in my pocket and no bills in my wallet. There was barely enough fuel in the gas tank to drive forty miles.

When I arrived in the city, I quickly found a small park and spent time in prayer. I drove to the house, which I saw in my dream. The people living there welcomed me and I prayed for them. They even invited me to attend their home fellowship that evening.

But something failed to materialize after the fellowship meeting?

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

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First the Blade (Chapter 25)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 25

Building Mustard-Seed Faith (j)

Rick was not really a bad kid, but he always seemed to be in trouble. If teachers weren’t keeping him after school for his misbehavior in class, then the small town police chief was knocking on his mom’s door asking for him.

At age eighteen, he signed a counter check (a blank check provided by banks) in a local store for ten dollars.  The only problem was he did not even have a checking account. The police chief found him easy enough because instead of using a forged name, he wrote his full name on the signature line.

The court assigned him an attorney.

“Listen, Rick,” the attorney said, “I suggest you plead guilty and ask for mercy. I think the judge will put you under court supervised parole and consider your time already spent in jail as your sentence.”

Rick stood in front of the judge and followed the attorney’s advice.

The judge stared at him with cold eyes.

“Young man, I’m going to make an example out of you. I’m sentencing you to ten years in prison.”

Rick screamed at his lawyer. The lawyer shrugged his shoulders.

“Sorry, kid, I don’t win them all,” he said, walking away.

 

I met Rick when he was forty years old at a church meeting where I was preaching in the spring of 1993. He had served seventeen years in prison, mainly for drug related problems. Rick was a Christian, but trusted few people and even spent time in prayer before the meeting on that particular day.

“Lord, show me if this preacher is the real deal or not. I don’t want to be misled anymore by prophetic charlatans,” Rick asked the Lord.

When I finished my message, I prayed for a few people. Then I walked over to Rick and prophesied to him. I gave him special words of knowledge about his past that only the Holy Spirit could possibly know about him. I prayed for his prophetic calling to come forth in his life. (86) Rick broke down and cried.

Rick and I soon became good friends. He even worked for my painting company.

Another time, Rick was going through a big problem and asked for prayer from me. I waited on the Lord and had a vision about Rick. I saw him sitting on a cot in a prison cell. He was facing a solid brick wall, but directly behind him, the cell door was wide open. All he had to do was stand up, turn around, and walk out the door. He was a free man.

I told Rick about the vision and he rejoiced about it, but sadly, I never saw Rick walk out the cell door of his personal prison. His past always kept in chains.

Why?

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 Amplified Bible)

Rick had an older brother whom his mom adored, but for whatever reasons, she did not like Rick. She scolded and belittled him. “You are never going to amount to anything. You are no good,” she would tell him over and over again.

If he made a mistake, she brutally spanked him. When he cried, she continued spanking him until he quit crying. And always, always after the spanking, she would let him know he deserved the spanking because he was no good and would never amount to anything.

His mother never once visited him, phoned him, or sent a letter in his seventeen years of prison. He had become what she said he would be: “no good and of no value.”

Rick’s life was an extreme example of a person hearing words, which have destroyed his faith foundation. He could do nothing about his childhood or his mother and it will take a supernatural deliverance by the Lord to set him free. But what about you and me?

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

Everyday, we believers make decisions on what we will hear. Conversations. TV. Radio. Movies. Cell phones. iPods. MP3 Players. All of these voices enter our minds through our ears. Once there, these voices may sow seeds, which may spread their roots deep into the walls of our mind. These roots become tough to remove.

If you doubt the power of voices growing roots in our minds, do you know the names these slogans are referring to: “Just do it.” “Where’s the beef?” “We try harder.” “Tastes great, less filling.” “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.” “Finger licking good.” “What happens here, stays here.” “Betcha can’t just eat one.“

Most of us know the names without thinking because these advertising slogans have grown deep roots into the walls of our minds.

So, the second biggest hindrance to faith is what we believers listen to.

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

 

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First the Blade (Chapter 24)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 24

Building Mustard-Seed Faith (i)

In May 2004, we sold our Upland home and bought one in Irvine, California.

Just seven miles from the Pacific Ocean, Irvine (population: 217,000) is rated the fourth best city in America to live in. It has the lowest crime rate of any American city and the median income is the seventh highest in America. The weather is Mediterranean-like and wonderful. Irvine sounds like the perfect place to live, right? And it is.

Carol worked at a furniture store in Yorba Linda and I sold real estate for a new home developer. We felt blessed.

Then, Carol’s furniture store was sold to another corporation in July. Her income instantly dropped 60% with the uncertainties and changeovers of new management. At the same time, new home sales nosedived. This double setback to our incomes was disastrous. We quickly began sliding into a financial black hole.

We had no fallback position and decided to put our home up for sale in early September. The housing market had cooled off, which was unfortunate because we needed to sell the home for $50,000 more than we paid for it, just to break even.

Carol came down with Bell’s Palsy in late October. She was forced to go on Workman’s Compensation Insurance and stayed at home, recuperating from the illness. More bad financial news!

Our savings and checking accounts flat-lined in December. The phones rang from 8 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. with creditors wanting their money right away.

That’s the background for our financial nightmare. It sounds like hundreds of thousands of homeowners today. We were up to our eyeballs in debt and stress, with no hope in sight. Each day was divided into two sections: when the phone rang and when it did not.

Our days normally began with Carol coming downstairs to sit with me in the family room to drink coffee.

“Did God speak to you this morning?” she would ask first of all.

“No, but I have peace about our circumstances,” I said over and over again.

“Oh boy!” she said more than once while rolling her eyes.

The Lord spoke to my heart in early January: “You will leave Irvine with money in your pockets.”

From that moment forward, we had a promise from God to hang onto with our faith. No longer did we feel like the waves could just toss us whichever way the wind blew. We had hope.

Did the circumstances turn around and get better from that morning onward? Absolutely not.

In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises, because of the word, immediately they fall away. (Mark 4: 16-17)

When you receive a prophetic promise from the Lord about your circumstances, it is time to batten down the hatches because you will soon be hit by monstrous storms. Your will have two choices: believe your circumstances or believe the promise from God.

Trust me on this: the testing of your faith about your promise will always come. (85) Always. Always. Always.

Soon after we received the promise from the Lord, our mortgage company began foreclosure proceedings against us. This is usually a greased downhill slope for couples with financial problems, but we weren’t just another couple. We had a promise from God.

If there is one thing Carol and I have learned how to do: it’s how to hold onto a promise from God and disregard whatever circumstances may be screaming in our faces.

This did not mean the circumstances weren’t real because they were. This did not mean we did not have to fight our thoughts because we had to. This did not mean our friends and family agreed with us because they probably did not.

What happened?

We sold the home one week before final foreclosure took place, at a price, which was $50,000 above the last comparative home’s price. The comparative home had been totally remodeled with new hardwood floors, new floor tile, and a new kitchen with granite counter tops. Because of financial lack, we could only afford to paint our home. It still had its old carpets and old counter tops.

“Impossible,” you say.

“Yes, I agree,” I say.

But then again, all things are possible with God, especially when we are holding onto His promises.

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

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First the Blade (Chapter 23)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 23

Building Mustard-Seed Faith (h)

Let’s say a young preacher starts a new church in your city. People who visit the new church report the preacher is four feet six inches tall. Not only is he short, they say, but he also has a weak presence and is a lousy speaker.

With what you know about the American church system, what’s your guess on his odds of ever being successful? Somewhere between slim and none, right?

The historian Josephus and scriptures state the above facts are true for the Apostle Paul. Unlike humans, God chooses men as His kingdom ambassadors, not on their height or outward appearances, but on their hearts.

Let’s look at how this short, weak, poor communicator handled a hopeless circumstance:

When it was decided that we should sail for Italy…(Acts 27:1)

Jewish leaders brought charges against Paul, causing him to appeal his case to Caesar. That meant he had to sail from Caesarea, and cross the Mediterranean Sea to Rome, while being guarded by a Roman centurion.

Contrary winds bogged the voyage down and the ship put into port. Because of the lateness of the year (October), the Mediterranean Sea was usually considered unsafe for navigation until springtime (March). Paul admonished them:

“Men, I perceive that the voyage will certainly be with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” (Acts 27:10)

The pilot, captain, and centurion disregarded the short preacher’s advice and sailed for Rome. The ship soon sailed into a typhoon, forcing the crew to dump the cargo, tackle, and cut sails. Nothing helped.

… from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned. (Acts 27:20)

After days of not seeing the sun or stars, the one person who had not given up hope, stood up in their midst, and got everyone’s attention. “You should have followed my advice, but you didn’t and now there will be damage and loss.”

Can you imagine what the pilot, captain, centurion, and crew thought when Paul spoke his words? Probably, something like, “Yeah, I wish we would have listened, but it’s too late now. We’re doomed!”

Paul continued on with his remarkable statement:

Yet, now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. (Acts 27: 22)

I guarantee Paul’s words captured everyone’s attention. It did not matter if the men were Baptists, Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, or pagans because Paul spoke words of hope. Drowning men will always reach out for anything, which will keep them afloat. Paul’s words did exactly that.

What did Paul have, that the other two hundred and seventy-five men not have?

But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.” (Acts 23: 11)

Paul had a promise from two and a half years earlier that the Lord was sending him to Rome. Yes, the circumstances were impossible and the waves were high, but Paul believed the Lord was not a liar and that He also foresaw the typhoon when He made the promise. Paul chose to ignore reason, logic, and circumstances, and believe the Lord’s promise.

What did the angel say to Paul during the typhoon?

“Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar, and behold God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.”(Acts 27:24)

While everyone looked at the storm, Paul reminded the Lord of His promise from two and a half years earlier. He prayed for the lives of the other men on the ship. The Greek word charizomai, which is translated into the English word granted denotes God had done a favor for Paul by allowing the men to live. This is called intercession.

Next, let’s talk about a modern promise which saved my day.

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

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First the Blade (Chapter 22)

 

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 22

Building Mustard-Seed Faith (g)

I’ve looked at numerous videos on my computer concerning the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The scenes were horrible and disturbing. There was no possible way I could relate to the agony and loss the Japanese people suffered, even my prayers seemed inadequate.

One scene from a particular video invaded my thoughts and brought with it a nagging question. The particular scene showed the tsunami wave breaking through a housing development and heading out into a farming area. You could see the tsunami carrying homes, autos, buses, and debris in its wave undulations.

The nagging question was this: if I were caught by surprise and stood in the middle of that farm field, facing that oncoming tsunami, could I survive?

“Are you silly? There’s no conceivable way you can survive that scene. Where’s your logic, Larry?” one may say.

For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5: 7)

The number one hindrance to faith is we can only see our circumstances and nothing else. They loom as huge obstacles in our paths, impossible to get around. Then, because our focus is on the circumstances, our intellect, logic, and reason race ahead and calculate the odds of whether we’ll survive our sicknesses, poverty, dismal marital relationships, family problems, or disastrous situations (like the tsunami), and guess what? There’s never any hope for us. We are doomed.

Faith sees the circumstance – and never ignores it – but it instantly fixes its eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. (82) He is the One who calms the seas with a word or calls us to walk on water. He is the One who raises the dead and multiplies the bread and fish.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Our faith has to be focused on the mighty One who lives within us, not on our puny strengths or abilities. He must be our everything!

I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. (Philippians 4: 13 Amplified Bible)

Could I possibly stand in a field, facing an oncoming tsunami with all of its force, and survive? Yes, I could, but it’s not my decision to make, it’s His decision because He owns me. He knows when I’ve finished my course. I’m absolutely convinced He’s able to bring me to that particular end time period for my life. (83)

I sincerely believe that the more we know the One who lives within us, the less power our circumstances will have over us.

So, how can faith overcome our circumstances?

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

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First the Blade (Chapter 21)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 21

Building Mustard-Seed Faith (f)

T. L. Osborn sat in the auditorium, next to his wife, Daisy. The two were young missionaries who had just returned from India. Their missionary experiences had discouraged them, which left them needing answers if they wanted to continue in their callings.

They went to hear William Branham speak that night, hoping for a spark of hope, which would reveal what they needed for their missionary work.

Branham preached a message and afterward he called a young girl to come out onto the stage. The girl suffered from severely crossed eyes. Branham turned her around so she faced the crowd.

“I want everyone to see the miracle God is going to perform in this young girl,” he said.

He prayed for her.

T. L. Osborn sat in nearby balcony seats and saw the miracle as it unfolded. He watched the eyes move around in their sockets until they were properly aligned. The youngster jumped up and down with joy as the crowd roared its approval.

Osborn sat there, amazed by the miracle, and then he heard a thousand angels say to him: “You can do that.”

Because of one man’s bold ministry on that one special night, T. L. and Daisy Osborn went back to the missionary field. Their ministry continued for fifty years to over 70 nations. They preached to crowds of 20,000 to 300,000 at a time. Few Christians have ever known the ministry success and miracles, which the Osborns ended up having on the mission field.

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:7) 

Like T. L. Osborn, I had a “one man on one special night” experience in the early 1990′s. It did not occur in a large auditorium with thousands of people looking on, but instead, it happened in a small church with twenty people sitting in pews.

I sadly no longer remember the man’s name, but he was from a small town in Iowa. His ministry was an apostolic one to parts of Africa and Europe, but unlike the preachers I liked at the time, he was a soft-spoken, humble man.

He gave a testimony, which still reverberates within my heart today on how big our God is and how able He is to help us… if only we believe in Him.

The man told how he and another man were in the southern part of France, heading toward Paris. They needed to get to the Charles DeGaulle Airport so they could fly to Africa, but they had a big problem. All trains were delayed. It looked like they would miss their airplane connection.

As they sat in the train depot, the Iowa man prayed. “Lord, You asked me to go to France and then to Africa, because You sent me on these assignments. It is Your responsibility to make it all happen. Where’s Your miracle? I’m waiting for it.”

An English man walked up to the two. “If you’re going to Paris, a train will pull up over there in a few minutes,” the man said.

He pointed to the opposite side of the depot. “It’s a special train. I’ve already taken care of your tickets, just get on it.”

A train pulled up almost immediately. The man and his friend took their suitcases and boarded the train. They sat down and watched the countryside fly by. After an hour or so, they arrived in Paris and disembarked inside the Charles de Gaulle Airport, near the ticket counter for their flight to Africa.

They paid for their tickets at the airline counter. The friendly agent asked, “With all the problems with trains, how did you get to the airport today?”

The Iowa man pointed over his shoulder without looking. “We rode on that train over there,” he said.

The ticket agent blinked his eyes. “What train?” he said.

The Iowa man turned around and looked. There were no tracks or train behind him, but instead there were walls and walkways through the airport.

What reverberates within me is this: if God will build a train track and put a train on it because a small-town Iowa man asked for a miracle, He’ll do it for you and me.

And being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. (Romans 4: 21)

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

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First the Blade (Chapter 20)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 20

Building Mustard-Seed Faith (e)

Marion, a friend of mine, drove her car on snow-covered roads in Iowa during the late evening hours of a 1970′s winter day. Her rear tires had chains on them. As she headed north on the interstate, the roads cleared up and she heard the chains banging against the wheel wells of the car’s fender.

She pulled off onto the shoulder of the road, which was filled with snow. She walked around to the rear of the car, knelt down in the snow by the tires, and tried to unloosen the chains, but the fastener was stuck.

After trying for a long time, she looked up to heaven. “Father, I’m your daughter and I’m cold and tired. I need You to unloosen these chains right now.”

The chains fell off the tire into her hands without her doing anything. She went around to the other tire and the same thing happened. God removed the chains for her.

Amazing, but why did it happen?

 

I bid a large painting job on a home in a historic preservation district of Louisville, Kentucky in the late 1990’s. The total bid was $22,000, but it required a substantial amount of equipment and tools, which I could not afford to buy ahead of time. My only hope was that each draw payment would be on time so I could purchase the supplies whenever they were needed.

Everything went well at first, but then, the general contractor notified me a $5,500 draw payment would be two weeks late. I was in trouble because my two workers needed pay checks.

I sought God.

“Lord, You’ve always told me that You were my provider. Where’s the money I need to finish this job?” I prayed.

While I’m crying out to the Lord about money, Carol decided it would be a good time to buy a house. I know. I know. I know. This does not make sense, right? How can a penniless couple ever think about buying a house? The quick answer: by faith.

We went to an open house that morning where a husband and wife attempted to sell their own home without a real estate agent. We liked the home and explained our credit problems and lack of money. The man somehow came up with an interesting idea.

He loaned us $7,500 at a low interest rate with no maturity date, which we could use as a down payment for his home after the money had been in our account for sixty days. His lawyer wrote out the papers. We signed them and received the check.

With the money, we bought the equipment, supplies, and paid the two workers. Two weeks later, I received two checks from the general contractor for $11,000.

Guess what happened next?

The man who loaned us the $7,500 figured out we could not qualify for a loan and asked for the money back. We obliged him and wrote a check to him for the full amount. A zero interest loan.

Another amazing testimony, but why did it happen?

(As it is written, “A father of many nations have I made you”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. (Romans 4: 17)

By faith, we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. (Hebrews 11: 3)

 These amazing answers happened because we trusted God.

Our backs were against the wall and our faith was in Him. He is the Creator who can make things happen out of nothing.

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

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First the Blade (Chapter 19)

 

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 19

Building Mustard-Seed Faith (d)

In the early 1990′s, I was a part of home group, which held some special meetings in the city building of a small Iowa town. Local business people and others were invited. I gave some teachings. Afterward, I prayed for those people who wanted prayer.

A friend brought an eighty-five year old female resident from a nearby nursing home to the last night. She was small, slightly stooped over, and wore thick glasses. She had been a Christian from her youth.

I felt the anointing of the Holy Spirit was stronger than normal as I approached her. The little lady asked for her eyes to be healed. I prayed and she fell over backward onto the floor. I continued praying for the other people. They all fell on the floor.

When I finished, I was the only person standing in the room. Everyone else lay on the floor, and to be honest, I rather enjoyed the moment.

Everyone soon revived and the little lady came over to me. She testified how her eyes had been healed. She could now see clearly without the blurriness, which had bothered her for years.

“Really?” I said.

She nodded and explained how the Holy Spirit had never touched her like that in her whole life. She was so excited.

“I want to pray for you and have God use me to touch you,” she said.

“Really?” I said, knowing she was a life-long Lutheran and probably would pray a stiff, formal prayer.

She laid her hand on my shoulder and uttered a prayer with lots of stiff phrases scattered here and there throughout her meanderings. Then she added, “Lord, I just want to be used to touch him like he touched me tonight.”

I hit the floor with a thud and laid there for a half hour or so.

What do you think the little lady did while I lay on the floor?

She jumped up and down and screamed, “I did it! I did it! God used me! God used me!”

I can teach faith, explain about the power of fasting, and the importance of praying in the Spirit, but still it often comes down to how much Daddy loves His children and loves to see His children excited about Him.

 

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly, I say to you unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:1-4)

We often read the Bible and fail to visualize the scene in which the words were spoken. It is easy to miss the meat of the message by doing this.

In the above verses of Matthew, we learn by looking at Mark’s account of the same event that Jesus was in His hometown of Capernaum. The disciples had been arguing over which of the twelve was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. They were probably filled with pride from their successful ministry exploits on their recent journeys into the surrounding villages. They asked Jesus to settle the argument for them.

The home was filled with people. A curious child squeezed through the crowd to get to the front, near where Jesus sat.

Jesus did not immediately answer the disciples’ question, but instead, He looked at the child standing there. All Bible translations state He called the child to Him. The Greek word proskaleō, which is translated into the English word call, really has two meanings:  to call or to bid.

Because of the to bid meaning of proskaleō, I like to think Jesus looked at the child, winked His eye at him, and motioned with his forefinger in a “come hither” fashion. The child without even looking to his parents instantly walked to Jesus, allowing Him to use him as a model for His message.

Jesus then said, “Whoever humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Think about it for a moment, okay?

Jesus did not say a person with the greatest amount of faith or the greatest amount of knowledge would be the greatest in the kingdom of God. He said the one who would be like “this child” would be the greatest. Why? Because the child totally trusted Jesus and obeyed His promptings without thinking about the possible consequences of his obedience.

That is true faith.

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

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First the Blade (Chapter 18)

First the Blade 

© 2019 by Larry Nevenhoven

Chapter 18

Building Mustard-Seed Faith (c)

I finished studying at 9 p.m, stood up, and walked into the kitchen for a drink of water.

As I turned on the recessed ceiling lights, I stopped dead in my tracks. A grotesque creature sat on a stool at the island counter. If the angel was the epitome of the Kingdom of Light, then this being was the dark side’s counterpart. Its gloomy eyes glared at me while its lips formed a sneer. Festering sores plastered the being’s face and neck. A filthy robe cloaked its torso and a stench of decay clogged my nostrils.

“Listen up Chuck,” the creature said in a raspy voice.

Fear struck my chest like a baseball bat. I had trouble breathing. Confusion settled over me like a morning fog. I could not put two and two together.

“If you go to businessmen and tell them to pray over their financial gifts, seeking the Lord where they should give their money, some bad things will happen to your family. Your two sons will die in an auto accident and your wife will go insane. Do you hear me?”

I could not speak as my mouth went dry and a throbbing sensation sent stabs of pain through my mind. The creature drummed its dirty two-inch long fingernails on the granite counter. The beat reminded me of a funeral march.

“I said – do you hear me?” the creature hissed out the words.

I nodded.

“And I can do it. It will be easy. Just as easy as it was for me to come into your home. No one can protect you from me! Not even God!”

The creature bared its brownish-yellowish teeth with a hideous grin as it stood up.

“Don’t you ever forget what I told you, okay?”

The being walked over to the door leading out to the deck, then without opening the door, he stepped through it and left.

I collapsed on the floor and wept. My body convulsed in fear.

“Oh God! What have I done to my family?” I screamed.

Afterward, I pulled myself together and wandered into the family room, collapsing on the sofa. What is going on? I thought. Everything is hitting me at once. What can I do?

My mind raced in circles searching for answers, but I found none. I eventually fell asleep.

 

A voice visited me while I slept. Was it in a dream or a vision? It was like both, but different at the same time. I was awake, but I was asleep.

“Chuck,” the voice said.

I looked up and realized I was standing in front of a stage in a large auditorium. It was black. None of the spotlights were turned on. The red velvet curtains were drawn apart. The voice seemed to be flowing out of the darkness blanketing the stage. I felt no fear and was comforted by the voice.

“Yes,” I answered.

“Do you have some questions?”

“Yes.”

“Go ahead.”

“What was that being in my kitchen?”

“What do you think it was?”

“A demon.”

“Yes. That was a demon power sent to frighten you by the religious ruling spirit over America.”

“But how did that happen?” I asked. “I always pray for angelic protection over me.”

“Yes, you do,” the voice said. “For just a few moments, the angels who protect you backed off their posts. When they did that, the demon power slipped into your realm.”

It hit me like a hammer between the eyes. I was set up by the Lord and used as ambush bait.

“But –” I said, trying to put my thoughts into words.

The voice interrupted me. “You have been chosen to have insight into spiritual warfare so that you can teach others. Spiritual warfare is not played on a Game Boy. It is played out in real life scenarios where lives and destinies are at stake.” The voice paused for a moment and then added, “Satan and his army want to kill Christians and their families, and destroy their destinies on earth.”

I cringed.

“But what can I do to protect my family?”

“What does scripture say?”

The voice bounced my question back to me.

I thought for a moment before answering.

“Cast my cares on the Lord for He cares for me.”

“Yes and don’t forget that Jesus rebuked demons. He refused to allow them to speak because they are all liars. You can do the same in Jesus’ name.”

I was silent, not wanting to ask my next question.

“Can Satan and his forces really hurt my children or Dusty?” I asked.

“Yes. Your rebellion and sin could open the gates for Satan’s army to come into your family’s lives. But by the same token, a causeless curse will not alight on you or your family. Walk with God and avoid sin.”

The voice was silent for a moment.

“Any more questions?

“What about my problems with Dusty?”

“She is not the problem – you are. Dusty is like most women in that she desires to see her husband as a sold-out man of God, not a half-hearted pew-sitter. You obey God, follow His instructions, and she will be happy to walk by your side.”

With that answer, the voice left and I returned to my sleep.

(This excerpt is from DECEIVED DEAD AND DELIVERED by Larry Nevenhoven, 2012, eBook, Amazon.com.)

In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6: 16-17)

Whether you like the idea or not, we Christians have to fight demons, which takes strong faith.

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

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