Tag Archives: Religion

Geezer Up (Part 1)

I hated phoning Jane, but there were no other options because she needed to know my situation. The long distance operator took my info in a business-like manner, connecting the call as I sat there with my hands cuffed together. Sweat dripped off my forehead onto the plastic-covered information blotter in front of me. The police officer standing next to me belched, coating the air with his garlic and onion breath.

“Dylan, what’s wrong?” Jane shouted into her cellphone.

“Well, I have a little situation here in San Francisco, but don’t worry —”

“Don’t worry! Are you kidding? Where are you right now? And where’s your cellphone?”

“I’m at County Jail Number Four, on Bryant Street in San Francisco —”

“Is this one of your jokes? If it is, it’s not funny!”

“Honey, it’s not a joke. I’m being charged with a hate crime and will be arraigned tomorrow morning. You need to call our attorney, Jacob, and have him refer me to a criminal lawyer here in San Francisco. Tell him I’m in County Jail Number Four.”

A gasp could be heard through the receiver, followed by a few sniffles.

“Hate crime? What’d you do?”

“It’s really no big deal. I just preached a short message to the gays in the Castro District. That’s all…no big deal. So don’t worry, please.”

“Gunsmoke, no big deal! It’s Pride Week there, right? Did they rough you up?”

“There was a little fighting, maybe even a small riot. I have a few bruises, but my nose should be okay once a doctor checks me out and sets it in place.”

BEEP!

“Sweetheart, don’t talk. That beep means we have thirty seconds left before we’re disconnected. Call Jacob and tell him I’m at County Jail Number Four.”

“Honey, I love you and —”

The officer tapped me on the shoulder as soon as my call finished. I stood up and he pointed toward the door, leading back to lockup. My glasses steamed up as we moved from a cooler room into the warmer cellblock.

Yikes, I thought as I walked through the door, Jane’s really upset because she called me by my college nickname –Gunsmoke – which she hates. Not only that, she’s probably wondering how my arrest will affect our forty-eighth wedding anniversary plans to travel to Tahoe for this upcoming weekend. What a jam you’re in, Dylan Matthews! I’d better geezer up and prepare my seventy-three year old body for what awaits me in the days ahead.

(A new sequel to Unhitched Geeser, which can be checked out here.)

(Continued in Part 2…the first 9 parts are reruns and can be read here.)

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Prayer: So Easy To Talk About, Yet So Tough To Do (Part 2)

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

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

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

“No you wouldn’t,” he said.

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

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

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

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

(Short story from my e-novel, Deceived Dead and Delivered by Larry Nevenhoven, ©2012, Amazon.com)

Like playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto Number Seven, prayer demands an all-effort on our parts if we really want to see God move through our petitions and supplications for our families, friends, neighbors, and cities. How costly will the price eventually be for each of us?

It will cost us everything!

(Continued in Part 3) 

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Buddy, Can You Spare A Dime?

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One day the Lord got my attention while I was standing at a busy street corner in India waiting for the light to turn green. There were little children everywhere, a common sight at many busy corners in Bombay. Tourists are cautioned not to give them anything because once you do, the others will all mob you.

While I was at this corner, feeling a bit annoyed by little hands grabbing at me, I heard from behind me the voice of a young girl.

“Sahib, Sir, my father died. My mother is sick. She can’t beg anymore. And I have a little brother, who is very hungry. Would you please give me a few pennies so I can buy some bread and take it to him?”

The light turned green, and everybody hurried on. But I couldn’t move. What she said pierced my heart, I turned around and saw this young girl, not yet 10 years old. I will never forget her face − one of the most beautiful faces I have ever seen on a child. She had big brown eyes, thick black hair almost the length of her body, dirty fingernails, and dust mingled with sweat running down her face. She was barefoot and in rags. She just stood there with her hand extended.

I put my hands in my pocket and took all the money I could find and gave it to her. Then, I walked on.

Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, I felt an unseen stranger joined me on this emotional walk. “So, what do you think about the little girl you just met? Is her life as valuable and precious as…” and the face of another young girl appeared in my mind’s eye. I didn’t know the name of the girl on the street, but I for certain knew the name of this new face; it was my own little daughter, Sarah.

I certainly don’t want anyone to feel guilty about lovingly caring for our own children and grandchildren. But the question remains: Is there room in our hearts for one or two of the world’s suffering children, and can we also care for them in Jesus’ name? Can we see them as Jesus does, so special to Him, their worth like jewels beyond compare?

(Excerpts from No Longer A Slumdog by K.P. Yohannan, © 2011, pages 69-72. Order your copy here.)

When I read No Longer A Slumdog, I saw the face of my daughter, Susan, and became a sponsor in Gospel For Asia’s Bridge of Hope ministry. I pray this happens to thousands and thousands of Americans, maybe even you. (Larry Who)

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Do You Really Believe The Gospel?

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Charlie Peace was a criminal. Laws of God or man curbed him not. Finally the law caught up with him, and he was condemned to death. On the fatal morning in Armley Jail, Leeds, England, he was taken on the death-walk. Before him went the prison chaplain, routinely and sleepily reading some Bible verses. The criminal touched the preacher and asked what he was reading. “The Consolations of Religion,” was the replay. Charlie Peace was shocked at the way he professionally read about hell. Could a man be so unmoved under the very shadow of the scaffold as to lead a fellow-human there and yet, dry-eyed, read of a pit that has no bottom into which this fellow must fall? Could this preacher believe the words that there is an eternal fire that never consumes its victims, and yet slide over the phrase with a tremor? Is a man human at all who can say with no tears, “You will be eternally dying and yet never know the relief that death brings”? All this was too much for Charlie Peace. So he preached. Listen to his on-the-eve-of-hell sermon:

“Sir,” addressing the preacher, “if I believed what you and the church of God say that you believe, even if England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would walk over it, if need be, on hands and knees and think it worthwhile living, just to save one soul from an eternal hell like that!” (Why Revival Tarries, Leonard Ravenhill, ©1959, 1987, Behtany House, Page 32.)

Do we really believe the Gospel? Do we really believe Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life, and that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus?

If so, what are we going to do with our beliefs? Will we continue sleep walking like the prison chaplain, ignoring the people around us who are facing an eternity in Hell? Or are we willing to crawl on our hands and knees over broken glass to save one soul from Hell?

The answers to these questions reveal the depths of our love for Jesus.

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A Friday Poem


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I am nobody,

Worthless my life is.

To Untouchables I was born,

A Dalit child my fate sealed.

 

I was born in slums.

Rights? We have none.

To upper-caste our lives we owe.

Slaves to serve all their wish.

 

Poverty and hunger

Is all I ever knew.

If there is hope,

Tell me how?

 

What is my future?

Do I have any?

It all looks so dark

And I wish I were not born.

 (The poem is taken from No Longer A SlumdogK. P. Yohannan, © 2011, page 45)

At the very bottom of the ungodly caste system in India are the 300,000,000 Untouchables or the Dalits. Their numbers are staggering and their children have lived the words in the above poem for over 3,000 years.

Yet, take a closer look at the above picture, okay?

These are Dalit children who have been brought into Gospel For Asia’s Bridge of Hope program. Their eyes radiate hope because they attend school, are fed one hot nutritious meal each day, receive clothing to wear, have regular medical checkups, and learn about Jesus.

And it only takes someone − like you or me − to sponsor a child for $35 per month.

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No Ice Cream Cone For Jagruti

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Can you imagine being six years old and never having tasted an ice cream cone? Never once having drops of chocolate dribble down your chin and splatter onto your shirt, causing your mom’s eyes to almost shout aloud. Never once taking a bite out of the bottom of the cone and making a bigger mess on your shirt, causing even more problems.

How can this be?

Jagruti is a beautiful six-year old girl who lives in rural Maharashtra, India’s wealthiest state which borders on the Arabian Sea. The financial capital of India, Mumbai, and other large cities in Maharashtra swirl with activity from IBM, Microsoft, Honeywell, Volkswagen, Audi, GM, Fiat, Mercedes, Skoda, and other large international corporations.

Yet, Jagruti has never tasted an ice cream cone.

You see, Jagruti had the misfortune of being born to parents who are Dalits. And as a Dalit child, Jagruti is considered a subhuman, impure from birth, and worthy of nothing but contempt. She is one of the 300 million “Untouchables,” which means just that – no upper-caste person can touch her and she can not touch them. She is denied access to public wells and may be fined for drinking from a water fountain.

But still, it’s only an ice cream cone, can’t she have one?

Jagruti’s papa is a hard working laborer, but being a Dalit, only  certain jobs are open to him. These include harvesting crops by hand or cleaning open-air toilets, latrines, and sewers with his bare hands. This backbreaking work will earn him a few rupees per day, barely enough to support his wife, a baby daughter, two sons, and Jagruti.

So, no money left over for luxuries like ice cream cones.

Jagruti is special child, especially to my wife and me, because we help support her through Gospel For Asia’s Bridge of Hope. The picture above is one she colored and sent to us from her village, nine thousand miles away. A work by Monet or Renoir could never hold a candle to a Jagruti original.

Just so you know: my wife and I have struggled financially. Yet, we support Jagruti, three other children, and plan on supporting more. How? We’ve learned God honors His word.

He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given. (Proverbs 19:17)

And pay backs from God are always more than enough.

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Where’s The Lone Ranger When We Need Him?

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As a child growing up, nothing stirred my heart like hearing the William Tell Overture and the radio announcer saying, “A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty Hi-Yo Silver! The Lone Ranger!”

My usual position for the thirty minute program was straddling a painted white oak chair, facing backwards with one of dad’s leather belts looping around the chair’s back for reins. This was my great horse Silver, whose thundering hoofbeats took me back to those days of yesteryear. A pair of six-guns hung from my waist and a black mask covered my face.

Never once, did the Lone Ranger let me down. He always arrived just in time to save Tonto, a widow, a sheriff, or a whole town. Even the despicable Butch Cavendish and his gang were never a match for the masked man. He always saved the day  and then rode off with Tonto, searching for new struggles to set right.

Now fast forward sixty years to today’s America where Evangelical Christians hope and pray for a new political champion, a man wearing a white hat. An updated Ronal Reagan clone would fit the part perfectly. The champion would say no to government spending and new taxation, stop abortion, reverse our slide toward same sex marriage, and set our nation’s eyes back to being a light on the hill. If only, huh?

Well, it ain’t happening!

That’s right! It ain’t happening!

Our God is not thinking about how He can bring us Christians back to yesteryear, the days of Reagan or Eisenhower. It’s not even a passing thought on His heart. He is looking forward to seeing the American Church becoming a holy, blameless Bride without spot or blemish. This is His heart’s desire.

For now, we Christians must align our prayers, hopes, and hearts with His desires for His Church. If not, we will be frustrated, finger-pointing whiners, unfit for His kingdom use.

So, don’t worry about the economy or terrorist attacks or politicians or whatever, but seek the King and learn how to dwell in His Kingdom now.  What we’re witnessing with all the calamities and sad circumstances are birth pangs which you can expect to  continue and accelerate for many years to come.

But out of all this, God will present to Himself a glorious Church.

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