Tag Archives: Senior Citizens

Still in the Fight

 

The drive to meet Pastor Rick took me past the Temecula Valley High School baseball field where our son, Cole, played shortstop for the Golden Bears during his four years there. Cole was a good player, but that wasn’t the reason I always thanked the Lord for His mercy when I drove by the field. It was because of a special miracle the Lord did twenty-two years ago during a state playoff game.

On that particular day, the Golden Bears were playing the Norco High School Cougars. The pitcher for the Cougars was Carson Riley, a right-hander, who threw around ninety-five miles per hour and was a solid major league prospect.

Cole stepped into the right side of the batter’s box to lead off the seventh inning. Riley’s first pitch was a fastball, which tailed inside and hit Cole in the middle of his chest, knocking him to the ground. He laid motionless on the ground.

The coaches for Temecula Valley rushed to him. One of them took out a cell phone and made a call.

Jane and I were sitting in the bleachers above the dugout on the first base side of the field. I grabbed Jane’s hand. “Honey, we need to go out there. Cole’s in danger,” I said.

We stood up and hurried to field.

Jim Dawson, the head coach for the Golden Bears, looked up as we approached home plate. “Dylan, he’s not breathing. I phoned for an ambulance, which should be here in four minutes,” he said.

Jane and I dropped to our knees and began praying. She prayed in tongues while I placed my hand on his chest.

“Father, You gave me a promise when Cole was born that He would preach the gospel and do miracles in Your name. When You made that promise, You looked into the future and saw this day. And yet, You still made that promise to me. I am not leaving until You honor Your promise and Cole stands up, totally healed in Jesus’ name. You did it for Elijah when he prayed for the widow’s son and I’m asking You to do the same thing for Cole, right now,” I prayed.

Coach Dawson grabbed my shoulders. “Dylan, let’s wait for the ambulance,” he whispered.

I slapped his hands away. “Let go of me,” I shouted. “God is doing a miracle here.”

Dawson released his grasp and wandered off. A siren could be heard pulling into the school’s parking lot.

“Father, I didn’t ask You to give me that promise for Cole. You did it on Your own. So, honor Your promise, in Jesus’ name,” I prayed over and over again.

“What’s happening here?” asked a paramedic, rushing toward us with a stretcher.

Cole’s green eyes fluttered and opened. He looked into my eyes. “Dad,” he whispered, “I met Jesus. He said I had to come back to life because of your prayers.”

My son was totally healed and wanted to stay in the ballgame, but of course, the two paramedics insisted on him riding in the ambulance to Temecula Valley Hospital. Jane and I followed them in our Chevy Tahoe.

All of the tests on Cole proved to be negative. The Lord healed him.

Cole graduated from high school two weeks later and now lives in San Diego with his wife Allyson and their two daughters, Mia and Madison.

If I drove by the baseball field a hundred times in any one day, I always thanked the Lord for that miracle every time. I never want the Lord to forget how much it meant to me.

(Excerpt from Still in the Fight, a remodeled update of the short novel Unhinged Geezer, and a work still in progress by Larry Nevenhoven)

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Downsizing Without a Roadmap (Part 1)

 

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One morning in late July 2017, Carol threw her hands in the air. “What are we going to do?”

“About what?” I said.

“About paying the rent!” she proclaimed. “We don’t have enough money to pay our rent by August 5th.”

“Maybe God will send us a miracle.”

“Or maybe not. We need to give our moving out notice to Gary.”

“Okay, let’s do this,” I said. “If we don’t have a miracle by the 31st, then we’ll give our thirty days notice to Gary.”

She nodded in agreement.

 

How did we ever end up in such a tight spot?

Carol had passed her real estate exam over a year earlier, but continued working as a furniture sales person in San Marcos, California. Then, in March 2017, she felt the Lord wanted her to quit her furniture sales job and become a full time real estate agent. She eventually chose to work at Realty ONE Group Southwest in Temecula.

I worked as a cashier at Walmart Supercenter in Temecula, beginning in August 2016. I also passed my real estate exam in May 2017, but continued working at Walmart. I would have stayed there except for some answered prayers.

For three years, I prayed to see our two sons and their families. My prayers were answered when our son Mike and his wife Shannon flew us out to Pittsburgh for Ginger’s (our eighteen year old granddaughter) high school graduation party in late June 2017. Then, our son Scott and his wife Liza and our two grandchildren flew out to visit us in the first week of July 2017.

I applied for two weeks vacation from Walmart, but management only gave me one week off. So I felt I had no choice but to quit, which I did on June 30, 2017.

Maybe your thoughts are: “Hey man, you quit a good job that helped support Carol and you just to spend time with your family! What kind of stupid are you?”

He made known His ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. (Psalm 103:7)

To understand the ways of God, one has to spend time with Him. It is in His presence where we can learn about the Father’s heart and how He loves our families.

I felt both trips were answers to my prayers and that I needed to trust the Lord to provide the finances for us.

Now, in the midst of all of this, Carol was holding open houses and working real estate as hard as she could with no results.

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What God Taught Me In My 310 Days At Walmart (Part 2)

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I interviewed for a cashier position at the the Temecula Walmart Supercenter on August 12, 2016, and was hired at that time. One of the questions asked was about any physical problems that I might have which might cause me problems in carrying out my duties as a cashier. I answered, “No.”

Did I lie about my physical problems? No, I don’t believe I did because it was my belief that if God called me to be a cashier, He would enable me to fulfill the job. The significance of my answer in writing was that I removed all liability from Walmart for any injuries to my wrists, knees, and back.

The Temecula Walmart Supercenter is ranked between number 5 and number 10 in dollar volume out of all the nearly 12,000 Walmart stores in the world. The store does around 165 million dollars in sales per year. A little over four hundred people work at the 24 hour store, with nearly eighty cashiers manning the registers at various times.

My first day was August 25, 2016. For the following two weeks, I worked with veteran cashiers who trained me. Then, I began working on my own in early September.

One of the lessons I have learned over the years is that when God calls you to do something, there is no use in being timid, just jump in with both feet, trusting that God will protect you. I call it reckless faith, much like Paul demonstrated in Acts 16:37. After being beaten, thrown in prison, and fastened in stocks, Paul refused to leave prison until the authorities came and apologized to Silas and him. That takes godly chutzpa!

So, I made up my mind to not protect myself in any way and to do every job asked of me as if I had no in juries. This resulted in some interesting situations, like trying to help a woman with a bad back put a heavy piece of furniture (150 pounds) into her vehicle. It so happened that a strong man walking down the parking lot aisle volunteered to help me. That was lucky, right? No, I don’t believe in luck. I believe in a heavenly Father who loves me so much that He will always be there to help in my time of need.

Did my hands, knees, and back hurt? Yes, so much so, that I could hardly sleep at night.

In fact, if anyone would have noticed me stepping out of my car in the Walmart parking lot and walking the one hundred yards to the store’s entrance, they would have wondered how a crippled, one hundred-year old man could possibly work at Walmart. Or that’s what it seemed to me.

Yet, when I walked in the door at Walmart, His grace fell upon me and I became Larry, the cashier with a big smile for everyone. The pain was still there, but it was only on the surface. And as long as I trusted in His grace, which I was forced to do at all times, I could walk through each day.

Just so you know: I averaged nearly 930 scans per hour – which is above average – and I even had quite a few customers who chose to go through my line when I was on duty. Why? They liked my smile and attitude and speed.

What major lesson did God teach me at Walmart:

If we want to serve God, especially us senior citizens, we can’t pray away every one of our problems. If we choose to wait, hoping miracles will heal or prosper us, we may miss our opportunities and if that happens, how many more can we expect to have in the future. But even so, we can always trust in this verse:

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

One experience, out of many, was worth every ounce of pain that I suffered working as a cashier. It happened on a busy day when I first opened my register. A elderly man wearing a U. S. Marine veterans cap, rode an electric cart up to the register and placed his few groceries on the conveyer belt.

I looked at him and said, “How are you today?”

“I don’t know,” he replied.

“What does that mean?”

“Well, to be honest, the old Sarge is not doing well today.”

“Would you like some prayer?”

“Yes.”

I walked around the bagging console, grabbed his hands, and prayed for him. The presence of God fell upon us. We both wept like little children who just opened the best Christmas gift ever.

“Wow, that was awesome!” he proclaimed.

“Yeah,” I said.

I walked back and became a Walmart Cashier at register 6, scanning items. Customers moved to the line and life continued in a normal fashion or normal for Walmart.

(Conclusion)

 

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What God Taught Me In My 310 Days At Walmart (Part 1)

 

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When I felt the Lord speaking to my heart about applying for a job at Walmart, I must admit that I scratched my head a few times. You see, I was nearly 71 years old and had a few physical issues: both knees are bone on bone due to long ago football injuries, back problems from climbing ladders and falling off a few of them, and carpal tunnels in both wrists from gripping a paint brush and typing for hours and hours at a time.

I was certainly not a poster-perfect candidate for being a cashier at a high volume Walmart Super Center, but yet, I knew the Lord was asking me to do just that.

To better understand what the Lord was asking of me, I need to relate an experience I had almost thirty years beforehand.

At the time, I was employed by a Best Western Motel in maintenance and delivering “meals on wheels” to senior citizen centers. It was a bottom-rung, minimum wage job.

I had just read Fox’s Book of Martyrs, which relates the lives, sufferings, and deaths of the early Christians and Protestant martyrs. As I finished the book, I spoke aloud, “Lord, if this is my destiny, then let me die with a bullet to the head or by guillotine, but not by being burnt to death at a stake. That would be too much for me!”

A few days later, I was hurrying around the kitchen of the motel, readying the meals for the senior centers. I pulled a large tray of roast beef out of a top oven. As I pulled it out, the tray slipped, pouring out its 165° of scalding water and juices over my left hand. I somehow set the tray down without spilling the roast beef.

Then, I stood there looking at my hand. The chefs and kitchen workers were screaming at me to put my hand under the cold water faucet, but I ignored their pleas.

My hand fascinated me because there was no pain inside it – in the muscles, fatty tissues, or nerve endings. The pain was just located on the surface of my skin where it was a bright red in color, but it was really bearable. Not a problem for me to endure it at all.

The chef grabbed my hand and stuck it under the faucet. “Now, you have to go to the doctor and have it checked,” she screamed at me.

I laughed. “No, I’m okay and will deliver the meals to the senior centers.”

“Nevenhoven, you’re a nut.”

“Yeah, that’s probably true, but it’s only because of Jesus and His love for me.”

From that day onward, I have never feared what people could do to me because I knew His grace would help me through it.

(Part 2)

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Prayers for a Holy Spirit Revival of Senior Citizens (4/4/2017)

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I was born in 1946.

This year marks the beginning of what we now call the Boomer Generation. It’s the demographic used to describe the post-World War II baby boom from its beginning in 1946 until 1964.

76 million of us were born during the Baby Boom Years. We now control 80% of all the financial assets, spend half of all consumer spending, consume 77% of all prescription drugs, and enjoy 80% of all leisure travel.

Our numbers include President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, President Donald Trump, Bill Gates, the late Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Dolly Parton, Cher, Steven Spielberg, Sally Field, and countless others.

Okay, we Boomers have made money and lived for ourselves, but what is our legacy to the following generations? Have we, like King David, fulfilled the purposes of God for our generation?

I am ashamed to say that we have not.

My prayer today:

Lord, forgive us America’s senior citizens for not accomplishing pleasing works in Your sight. And awaken and strengthen us so what still remains in us of You and Your ways will help the generations after us to serve You. (Based on Revelation 3:2)

Join with me on Tuesdays to pray and fast for senior citizens in America to undergo a Holy Spirit revival.

 

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Geezer Up (Part 16)

Except for the early moments in Cell 27 when my cellmate wrapped his hands around my neck, the rest of my first twenty-four hours of jail life crept along like a snail on a hot sidewalk. Slowly! Bogart and I reached a tacit truce, which allowed me to speak only when he directed a question at me, but otherwise, I remained silent.

I wandered out into the common area and spent time with eleven other inmates watching TV. Reality shows, especially “Judge Judy” and “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” were the favorites with comments being peppered at the TV throughout each show.

As far as eating, no one noticed that I was not doing so. God’s grace covered my fast and my efforts to do it in secret.

At 10 a.m., a tall guard came to the cell. “Matthews?” he said.

“Yes,” I said, sitting up in my bunk.

“Come down here. Turn around. Put your hands behind your back.”

I followed his instructions as he put handcuffs on my wrists and quickly patted down my body for weapons.

“Turn around. Walk out the door, turn right, and head toward the entrance. Your lawyer is waiting for you in meeting room #2, on your left.”

When I entered the small room, Artie sat at a metal table, wearing a light gray suit and black shirt open at the collar. The guard removed my handcuffs and left the room. I sat down on the opposite side of the table from Artie.

“How are you doing?” he asked, looking into my eyes.

I shrugged. “Well, it’s not a picnic, but so far, I’m doing okay.”

“Well, that’s probably as good as one can hope for right now.”

He opened his brown briefcase and took out my worn black leather Bible.

“Jane brought this over before I left the office this morning.”

I grabbed the Bible and fanned the pages.

“Thank you, just what I need right now.”

“Here are some legal pads and jail approved pencils, too.”

I nodded my head.

Artie blew out a deep breath before explaining the prosecutor’s offer of leniency in exchange for my admittance of guilt and apology.

“No, not interested in that deal.”

He then mentioned how the City Attorney’s office would throw the book at me if I refused the offer, which could result in a log prison sentence for me. Even if the decision were appealed, I might end up being locked up for months or years before the case was settled.

“Still not interested. Sink or swim, live or die, I’m determined to trust the Lord all the way to the end of this.”

Artie stood up and picked up his briefcase. “I will be back in eleven days to ready you for your preliminary hearing. Jane will visit you tomorrow and Sunday.” He paused a moment. “My wife and I are praying for you…just want you to know that.”

We shook hands before the guard returned to take me back to Cell 27.

(Continued in Part 17…the full series to date can be read here.)

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Prayers for a Holy Spirit Revival of Senior Citizens (3/28/2017)

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“Honey, the Lord told me on the way home tonight how blessed I should feel to have a godly husband like you,” said Carol as we slipped into bed at the end of a long weekday.

“That may be true, but I’m going to shoot Fern,” I said looking at the ceiling.

“Sweetheart, what?” she said, her green eyes blinking in unbelief.

“After I shoot her, I might hang her by the neck, and then drop her over a steep cliff.”

“Dear, that’s not like you at all. You wouldn’t hurt anyone, especially my mom.”

“After today, I’ve changed my mind about a lot of things. I just might shoot her right between the eyes.”

We rolled over and fell to sleep.

This conversation actually took place in Glidden, Iowa, when Carol and I stayed at her mom’s five-acre farm. Fern was seventy-eight years old at the time, but don’t go thinking her age caused her to be a weak link in the local farming scene. Nothing could have been further from the truth. If anything, she still resembled a pioneer woman ready to hitch up a Conestoga wagon with a pair of oxen and head over the Rockies to Oregon.

Everything had been great between Fern and me up until that week. Her humor and intelligence made her a joy to be around, but all of the warm fuzzies ended when sweet corn season arrived.

 

Now, let me set the stage, okay?

The late July temperatures hovered near one hundred degrees with the humidity approaching tropical rainforest levels. No air conditioning. Ten zillion, pesty, ornery farm flies, and two acres of sweet corn. Carol worked for a company in Carroll, Iowa, and I had just finished detasseling for a hybrid seed corn company.

“Larry, would you like to help harvest some sweet corn?” asked Fern one morning.

“Sure, of course,” I said, not foreseeing any problems.

The next four days were an absolute “hell on earth” for me. The heat, humidity, and flies took their toll, but what pushed me over the edge were Fern’s drill sergeant’s tactics.

“Do this. Don’t do that. Be careful. Watch out. Grab this. Let go. It’s not that hot outside. Can’t you go a little faster? What’s wrong with you?”

She counted the number of pints of corn already done on the fourth day.

“We’ve already done one hundred and twenty pints so far, which is a record for me, but I know we can do at least two hundred pints, maybe even more.”

Her eyes gleamed with the possibilities of being listed in the Guinness World Records and the Prairie Farmer. That night I spouted off to Carol about offing her mom.

The next morning I crept out of bed at an early hour and tiptoed down to the family room. There I dropped to my knees on the carpet.

“Lord, what’s my problem? Why do I want to shoot a sweet, seventy-eight year old lady?” I prayed.

The Lord spoke to my heart after a long while: “You’ve given up on senior citizens. You think they just want to collect their social security checks and sit on porches, taking it easy until they die. You don’t believe I will use them in a move of My Spirit in America.” Then, He added, “I haven’t given up on them and neither should you. Repent of your attitudes.”

I repented before the Lord that morning.

Fern Fielder, a great mother-in-law (1920 to 2008).

(Excerpt from The Hunt for Larry Who by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2014, Amazon eBook)

The above event took place in July of 1997.

My prayer today:

Lord, breathe Your Spirit upon the senior citizens of America to bring them back to life so that they stand on their feet and become an exceedingly great army for Your glory. (Based on Ezekiel 37:10)

Join with me on Tuesdays to pray and fast for senior citizens in America to undergo a Holy Spirit revival.

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