I wanted to remind you about Saturday's Zoom web meeting, May 16, 1pm US/Canada Central time - hope you can join us. I will have a handout for the meeting on the Feast of Tabernacles. Understanding this feast will give understanding to John 7 and 8, and the Millennial age.
A woman in one of our house churches shared her story, about how she was in a coma for about a year before regaining consciousness. She said during that time she heard everything. Everything. But she said her mind worked so very slowly it would take a week to formulate in her mind the answer (for example) to what her mother asked during each visit. She said if her mother visited her on a Tuesday and asked, 'How are you doing?', it would take until about the next Tuesday before her brain had formed the answer, 'My back hurts' - but it never came out her mouth.
Her mother was part of the house church too, so it was interesting to hear from both perspectives. On the one hand was the anguish of the mother not knowing what was happening to her daughter, yet praying and being positive when visiting her. At the same time was the inability of the young woman to respond physically, yet hearing and responding in her mind, and even joining in prayer with her mother.
While in that twilight zone between life and death, she said the Lord came twice and talked to her of her future, took her to heaven once, told her that her time was not yet, and so forth. She always knew she would 'wake up'.
But what if she had died? No one on this side of heaven would have known anything about how she had been aware of her surroundings, heard every word, had joined in prayer with her mother, and had seen the Lord twice in that year. If she had died, none of that would have been known to us. How many stories are out there that we will learn on the other side, of similar situations?
Knowing that every single person gets the same opportunity of choice that Adam and Eve had, life or death, I wonder how many people with their own mortality staring them in the face as they lie unconscious, make a last second decision to call upon the name of the Lord? If they did so, no one on this side of heaven would know they did.
I remember a person in a coma on their death bed, and a person prayed for them, and led them in a 'sinner's prayer', pausing after each sentence, allowing time for the person in the coma to pray along -though the person was unable to respond audibly of course. That person reported upon saying 'amen' immediately the Holy Spirit's presence filled the room, the comatose person got the very slightest of upturned corner of the mouth as if to smile, and then passed. In another nearly identical situation the person on their death bed had tears running down their face. I've seen this several times.
I think there are many like the thief on the cross who make last second decisions for the Lord that we won't find out about until we get to heaven. (I hope I don't ask upon seeing such a one, "What are you doing here?" or "Wow, you made it after all!" or "So they let you in, did they?" or something else that would give away my surprise at God's grace.)
Warning: This may mix up your theology, it did mine
I was ministering in a church near Spencer, Tennessee - a small church, maybe 40 people present. As I taught, my attention was drawn by the Spirit to a woman sitting about half way back on the left side, with a couple children sitting next to her. Suddenly I saw a vision with my eyes wide open, taking place above this woman like I was watching a scene on a TV show. I saw a man with dark hair, clearly distraught from the look on his face, in great anguish, sitting in a rocking chair on a porch of a home, and the man had a pistol in his hand. The vision ended as he lifted the pistol to his head.
The Father spoke to me while I was seeing this: "This is her husband. He killed himself with that pistol, but he is with Me and I want you to tell her that, for she has been very afraid for her husband's salvation and I want to give her assurance." Just then I saw him standing above and to the side of where the woman was sitting in the pew, smiling hugely as he looked down on her and his family; looking at his family with such love and compassion and sorrow for the pain he had caused - it was all so clear on his face, aided by the Holy Spirit letting me feel what he felt in the same way the Lord will, as we are in intercessory prayer, often let us experience the emotions or pressures of the person we are coming alongside in prayer to carry the burden with. The level of regret was intense; it was bringing me to tears.
I asked the Father, "How is this possible? I've always wondered about people who commit suicide from the verse in I Corinthians 3:17 that says if we destroy the body we will be destroyed." He replied: "Different context. He was not in his right mind. He was emotionally ill. Would you condemn him for being sick in his mind any more than you would for someone who died sick in their body?" "Oh, sorry, you're right. That makes sense."
I shared from the pulpit what I saw and what He said, and tried to communicate as accurately as I could the guilt he was feeling over the harm he had caused her and their children. Of course she burst into tears as she confirmed that's where and how she found him when she returned home that day, and later told me she had been so worried over him, not sleeping, so afraid due to his alcoholism and anger and suicide. She said it weighed on her every waking moment, because she loved him so much and so wanted him to be in heaven.
If you were not part of that service and just knew of the alcoholic, abusive, angry husband and that he had killed himself, you might assume he was in hell. Suicide is murder, and murder can be forgiven. Just ask Moses and King David. Rejecting Jesus is the unpardonable sin, for to reject the work of the Holy Spirit who brings salvation, is to reject Jesus.
Sometimes the problem is us, not them
A member of our church was born into Roman Catholicism, but was later born again and Spirit filled. To her mother however, Roman Catholic was the church, the real church, and that was that.
Her mother started declining and was moved into a nursing home, and the number one thing on her daughter's heart was to make sure mom was going to heaven. She wasn't sure because while her mom said she believed in Jesus, she also obeyed the priests and prayed to Mary, lit the candles, attended confession, and never missed Mass.
I went to the nursing home, meeting the woman from our church there, and meeting her mother. I was respected because I was a 'man of God', though I'm sure in her thinking I was below the level of her parish priest. My role was to listen to the mom and determine for the peace of mind of the daughter, that her mom would be in heaven.
Because she was comparing her salvation experience to her mother's life in the Catholic Church, she was worried for her mother's salvation. I talked to the mom with her daughter sitting next to her. She proclaimed a strong faith in the Lord, said that she had known Jesus since she was a young girl. Yes, she did pray to Mary and the saints as the Church said, but she believed Jesus was her Lord and she felt His presence in her heart. Closed case.
The whole reason for the visit was the daughter's fear for her mother's salvation because she had greater knowledge than her mother. We worry the eternal destination of ones we've loved and lost sometimes because we are like this daughter who had a higher level of knowledge in the Lord and she saw the idolatry and error of her mother's church. Thankfully the Lord judges the heart, not on the basis of church membership, and ignorance does play a factor.
And that's where I'll pick it up next week - what about...? Until then, blessings,
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