A Divine Appointment

About 10 days after coming home from the hospital, I went back to work.

I was still in a bit of a daze over the events that had taken place. I kept wondering, why in the world would Jesus show up – for me? And then, about 2 weeks later, He answered the question..

“Of course I came,” He said. ” Don’t you know that I died for you?”

Right between the eyes. Talk about being convicted.

It wasn’t long before I was led to commit the incidents surrounding my heart attack to paper. And to share the story with others.

And I wanted to share the story with that guy from Ohio that we had met at Bob Larson’s conference. What was his name? Oh yeah, Louis.

I did recall that he told us he had traveled to the meeting with another pastor from Ohio.

So I called Bob’s offices to get the name and phone number. They told me that yes, there were two pastors from Ohio that had attended the conference and gave me both names. But they only had the current phone number for one of them. Perhaps he could steer me to the other pastor.

That’s when I first called Tom. To find Louis.

As we talked, I told him a little about the incredible experience I had just come through and offered to e-mail him a copy. He accepted and then he briefly mentioned something about an angelic manifestation at his church and hinted at some other strange goings-on. I guess I really glossed over what he was saying. After all, I was telling him about my story.

About 6 weeks later, I was awakened one morning with an urge to call Tom. What was this all about? So naturally, I just ignored it. Over the space of the next couple of days, it changed from an urge to a compulsion.

So I called. And naturally, Tom wasn’t in. Could I leave a message?

The next day, Tom called me back.

And we talked for about 2 hours.

Tom asked why I had called. Did I need ministry, prayer? Since Tom’s ministry consisted of a lot of deliverance, he was pretty accustomed to calls coming in “out of the blue.”

No, I wasn’t calling about ministry. I explained that I thought we had met at Bob Larson’s conference. And I have absolutely no idea why we’re talking other than God put it in my heart to call you.

Tom and his church were under an incredible spiritual attack. As he talked, he kept asking me, “Do I sound crazy?” And I told him, no, I understand and I believe you. You see, I’ve been there myself.

Tom related how he had been experiencing a sense of isolation and being alone. Things had been revealed to him and he had felt that he was on his own. And I told him how I understood that, since I had been going through the same situation.

We began to talk often. I would call Tom weekly, unless there was an urging to call him more often.

About this time, I had come across Jack Hayford’s Cleansing Stream ministry for churches. After researching the program, I decided to approach our church to implement the program. After all, it was a pretty mild approach to dealing with spiritual warfare and should fit in even in our conservative church.

Our pastor expressed initial enthusiasm for the concept and then he referred me to the associate pastor responsible for pastoral care and the various ministries within the church.

My proposal fell on deaf ears.

As Tom and I continued to talk, he told me of incredible events that had taken place in his church.

He had taken over a failed inner-city ministry that was housed in a run-down ex-machine shop building. Located between a pornography shop and a strip club that was owned by the local mob, they were deep in the heart of the enemy’s territory.

In faith, the church had stood its ground and resisted the threats and occasional violence unleashed upon then by the strip club owners. Over time, the church had prevailed and both the strip club and the porn shop went out of business.

The church at this time was in real need for better facilities. The church membership began to pray that God would provide for them.

Tom also spoke of his deliverance ministry and the concerns that it had caused him. The church’s denomination was opposed to deliverance and this raised concerns that he might wind up losing his facility.

I asked him to tell me again the story of the angelic manifestation he had mentioned in our earlier conversation.

During a sermon, an angel had manifested and was seen by two of his associate pastors. Standing beside Tom as he was preaching. Majestic, it towered some fifteen feet above Tom, arms folded and looking down at Tom. Not exactly the portrait of one of Raphael’s smiling little cherubs we see represented so often.

He told me the incredible story of how one of his associate pastors had come across a woman in an internet chat room. How she was planning suicide and how his associate had managed to intervene and get her to talk with him by phone. When they finally met, she came to salvation.

She had been a member of a satanic cult. Initially, she claimed she had been granted powers that can only by imagined but the sheer misery of that existence had forced her to become suicidal.

When she first came to the church to meet with Tom, she said that there were angels visible to her. Tom asked her to talk with them and find out what they were doing. One of them told her that he had been seen before in the sanctuary and that they had been sent to protect the church.

Our conversations went on for several weeks. Finally, we had to make the trip to meet with Tom and his church.

400 miles. To the last place on earth we wanted to visit. We had to go.

As we finalized our plans for the trip, Tom told us that the woman who was the former cult member was making the trip to the church that weekend. She lived some three or four hours away and could only get there on an infrequent schedule.

On our way to Ohio, my wife and I continued to discuss why we were making the trip. We could come up with no logical answer other than we didn‘t have a choice. As we were driving, my wife said she was receiving a message that she was to give her necklace to this woman.

It was not an expensive necklace, but it was one with great meaning for her. A simple gold cross, purchased some fifteen years before. It had been her constant companion, a reminder of her salvation and a reminder of her refuge in times of crisis. And now, she had to give it away. To someone she had never met.

After checking in at our hotel, Tom and his wife, Linda, met us for dinner.

During dinner, Linda asked, more than once – “And you two have never met before?”

And we had to laugh. Nope. Didn’t have a clue as to what Tom looked like. I had initially thought that we had met at the Bob Larson conference. If, in fact, we had met, neither of us had even the vaguest recollection of the other.

My wife said, “It’s perfectly clear to me. This is a divine appointment, and that’s why we had to be here.”

Tom led us to his church that Sunday. Prior to going, he had told us how several of his core group were anxious to meet us. Tom had shared with them how we had been talking over the previous few months.

Before the Sunday service began, there was an hour set aside for prayer in the sanctuary. A time for personal and intercessory prayer.

About half way through the prayer time, the associate pastor came to the front of the sanctuary and was urgently whispering to Tom.

Tom announced that he wanted all of us at the front. The woman that was on her way had called on her cell phone. Members of the cult had followed her.

They had succeeded in blocking her from her exit.

Now she was lost. In a strange city, with these cult members after her. Tom asked for everyone to join in prayer.

As we stood in a small circle, you could sense a presence there with us. Encouraging, uniting us.

About ten minutes passed, and suddenly the tension was broken. She had arrived safely and with no incident. She relayed how she was hopelessly lost but was somehow directed to make this turn and that turn, and suddenly she was at the church.

As she walked down the center aisle of the sanctuary, there was a hush over the crowd. When she got about half way to the front, my wife walked up to her, took her necklace off and put it around her neck. And then she hugged her.

It was a simple act. Done with great love. The love of Christ. And it had cosmic implications beyond anything we could imagine.

Following the service, we all went out to lunch. Tom gave us some more insight as to how the church had come into possession of the gorgeous facility we had just visited.

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