Today's study was both unique and sad. We had two visitors. One man came about thirty minutes before the normal starting time and our chatting beforehand led me to decide on changing the topic for the day to prophecy and the role of a prophet. His distress at the direction of this country and its leadership seemed to make it a natural. But such plans were not to be.
We were joined by an older, seasoned driver who listened to the opening comments as we began a study on the role of a prophet, then asked a seemingly unrelated question. "How would you tell someone that they have only six months to live?" We said we didn't know—tough question to deal with.
Then he said that the doctors had just told him just that—that he has a terminal illness. How does he tell his family? What should he do now?
The sense I got is that he believes in God, is a decent human being, but is basically "unchurched". I said a short silent prayer asking that I at least not say something stupid, and hopefully say something helpful. God answered this prayer. Scripture after scripture came to mind, which we discussed.
We talked about the resurrection and how God has a plan for each one of us, and that death is not the end and so forth. We talked about the 23rd Psalm, and how God will be beside him every step of the way. We turned to Thessalonians, and Paul's words about comforting one another with his teaching about the resurrection of the dead. We talked about how Jesus gave up immortality to taste death for every man, and He knows what we are going through.
And then we began a study about Biblical healing and God's power to heal—how he healed Hezekiah even though he was told he would die. Sometimes God heals as a sign. Sometimes God heals even if our faith isn't strong ("Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief"). And we are told that by His stripes are we healed.
The man said that the doctor called in the chaplain when he was told the nature of his condition, but didn't want to deal with it in such a manner at that point. I asked him if he was ready now to asked for God's healing, and he said yes. We prayed for God's healing as we closed the meeting. I also gave him my address and asked him to stay in touch.
We all have many things we pray about, but I would like to ask everyone who gets this message to ask God's healing for him.
Before closing, I must tell you that the above is an accurate report of our meeting accept for one point. He alluded several times to being out of money until he can get another load to deliver, which my skeptical nature noticed. When conducting Bible studies, we run into those who view religion as an easy way to get a handout if their story is sad enough. While I can't verify one way or the other what the deal is, he in any event needs prayer—either for his healing or his repentance. Considering all factors, I believe he was sincere.
— Lenny Cacchio
Dealing with the impending death of a loved one should be much like dealing with children who are leaving home, close friends who are moving far away or even a closely knit church group that is breaking up. In all of these cases, we are about to disrupt our interchange with people with whom we have shared much—or even depended upon for our continued living. We often do not know when we will see them again—whether in this life or a resurrection. We never know whether our death or the death of another living person will occur first. We may search for a way to stop a separation or we may ask the Eternal to stop it. However, He, in His wisdom, often lets it happen. It should be our goal to prepare ourselves and the others around us to function without these departing people.Those who are dead are resting from the evils of our governments, leaders, entertainment, etc.Those who remain alive must continue to learn, serve, and grow in whatever situations our Father allows to exist. — Norman Edwards
Todays study is difficult to describe. Arlo Geislman was not there, so I was the only one. Two truckers came. The first gentleman to arrive related how he was recently at a funeral for a relative, and the preacher at an ensuing church service began a five part series on the five steps of the grieving process, and he wanted to know if we could talk about it. Before we could get started, the second trucker arrived, who said not to think in terms of someone dying, but in terms of having graduated.
Now how does one deal with that approach to death and dying? As it turned out, that was not the real question. I hesitate to share a synopsis of the entire conversation, as the second gentleman claimed he has had some rather strange experiences. He was of a Pentecostal religious background and claimed he had been pronounced dead, but then floated in the air and had to be restrained (while dead), and was then resurrected four days later. At one time he said he remembered nothing while being dead, but then later said he was in a cold, dark place and heard the sound of gnashing of teeth.
The man talked incessantly, with himself as the constant center of attention.
He claimed he knows in advance
when people are going to die, and this seems to be a fixation of his. His experience had a surreal quality to it that was either totally fabricated or demonic. Interesting that he was able to quote scripture, talk about Jesus, and salvation by grace, and relate supposed experiences that smack of supernatural interventionexperiences that dont sound like the God I know.
We were able to discuss the first and second resurrections directly from Revelation 20, relating it to the resurrection to life and resurrection to judgment that we read about in John 5. In other words, God has a plan of salvation for everyone. Also related Revelation 20 to Revelation 5, where we are told that the saints will rule on the earth. Both men took the Second Chance study (about the first and second resurrections) that were provided by CEM as well as Bibles and tapes.
One never knows who will walk through the door on any Sunday morning. Todays
was more negative as
none of the others have been. As with any other aspect in life, one must be spiritually prepared at all times. My
hope is that truck driver with the spiritual experiences will return some time. If in fact he is relating events that are true, I want to give him a direct warning about the source of such things.
I felt no fear of the man, but went home frustrated beyond belief. If he returns,
Ill open with a prayer asking
God to restrain any forces of Satan that may be present.
Comments by Norman Edwards: It is good that Lenny Cacchio shared the details of this study with our readership. There are numerous instances in the New Testament where demon-influenced
or demon-possessed individuals harassed or attacked those who were preaching the Gospel. Christ himself dealt with numerous demons. Some of these demons terrorized other people, some caused the person they possessed to be sick or to hurt themselves.
Others simply harassed the apostlesand even pretended to talk religion: Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation. And this
she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, I command you in the
name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out that very hour (Acts 16:16-18).
This woman was clearly possessed of a demon which the apostles had to cast out in order to have peace (usually, demons were not cast out unless the possessed person asked to have it done). However, the Scriptures make it clear that people can be influenced by demons without necessarily being possessed: Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1Tim 4:1).
The people mentioned above were once a part of the faiththey departed from it. Simon the sorcerer fooled people with his spiritual experiences: But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God (Acts 8:9-10).
The Bible does not say Simon was possessed by a demon, but he was certainly full of evil influence.
Why is your study apparently experiencing this difficulty with demonic spirits when many of the big organizations seem never to be troubled by them? From the many people that write or talk to us at Servants News, it seems that your experience is typical.
Ministries that are mostly academic or corporate-church oriented seem to have little trouble from these influences. Either because Satan does not want to challenge people with little spiritual commitment or because our Father in His mercy extends protection to spiritually weaker ones. But many ministries that get involved with really teaching people and helping them to change their lives do go through a time where they are harassed by demonic forces.
The solution is exactly as you suggested: pray that the Eternal will restrain these evil forces, and to rebuke them in the name of Jesus Christ if they cause trouble in any way. I hope that others will be able to learn from your experience and be ready in case they have similar problems in their studies. I hope this is not scary to anyone. It is a matter of, do we want to be real soldiers of Christ, or just armchair quarterbacks?
Lenny Cacchio can be contacted at:
705 NE Bryant Drive, Lees Summit, Missouri 64068