From Death Into Life Eternal (2016 Update)
The following occurred in October 2014, but the Holy Spirit and recent events prompted me to share it again here today.
“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.” 2 Timothy 4: 2
“……. “Death has been swallowed up in victory. “Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15: 54-57
Thursday night just after 8 pm. I found the nice older lady who lives in the apartment below me cold and dead in her chair. Her 20 something daughter came and got me when no one would answer her Mother’s door. I helped her daughter break in through the bedroom window, but we were too late to help.
Claudia was a kind and generous soul. She was my downstairs neighbor for over three years. Until just recently we did not have a lot of conversations, but starting about a month ago we seemed to always check our mailboxes at the same time. We normally did little more than exchange pleasantries, but 2 weeks ago I helped carry her groceries in from her car. This led to her asking me if I wanted a glass of fresh lemonade and that led to our very first lengthy conversation.
We must have talked for about a half hour and then she asked me to help her exchange her oxygen tanks. Claudia suffered from emphysema and I was glad to help. She knew I was a follower of Jesus from our brief communications over the years, but in that very moment I felt the Lord nudge me to talk to her frankly about the Holy Spirit. I told her I was familiar with breathing difficulties because I have had asthma in the past and my Mother had COPD before she died 13 years ago. Somehow (I don’t know how) that led to me explaining how the Spirit of Christ was like the breath of God and that the Wind of The Spirit could fill us and set us free in Christ.
Claudia’s face lit up as I was speaking the truth in love to her and after a few minutes she told me that she desired to have Jesus and the Spirit of Christ in her life. In that very moment I felt the Spirit come upon her and she invited The Lord Jesus to take charge of her life. At this point we were both in tears and I gave her a big hug and with a glad heart I welcomed her into the Body of Christ. This was clearly an upper room experience for the both of us.
Now I sit here two weeks later and Claudia has passed on to be with Jesus forever. Hard to believe for sure, but It seems that Claudia had been witnessing to her family and friends at great length during her last days on earth. I am now fielding numerous questions about Jesus and the one true faith from Claudia’s family and friends. To the point that I have given away all my bibles again. What a very nice problem to have. All of this just serves to prove that if you simply live your life for Jesus…HE will give you opportunities to share your faith in Him with neighbors and others along the way….no matter what season you find yourself in. Jesus is REAL! For over three years I was able to plant very small seeds in Claudia’s heart and mind by just being available to Jesus during very small exchanges of pleasantries and by serving her once in awhile by helping her carry in her groceries. In short, I was just being a good neighbor. So I prayed for her and waited for the opportunity for our conversations to turn towards Christ. Finally when she was ready so was I, and the rest is HIStory.
Kirk Out !
P.s.and update: I was asked by Claudia’s family to share at her memorial service and I was glad to do so. When I had finished sharing and opening it up for others to share we closed in prayer and to my surprise a handful of Claudia’s family members stayed behind to talk with me. They all wanted to know more about this Jesus I spoke so freely about and Who had entered into a relationship with Claudia recently. Understand, I gave no invitation or altar call of any sort. We must have conversed back and forth about 20 minutes or so when they all decided they wanted this Jesus in their lives too. So we prayed together and asked the Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth.
A few weeks after the memorial Claudia’s daughter and her boyfriend showed up at my apartment asking even more questions about Jesus. It was evident that they had been growing in Christ. They wanted to know why when they went to several “church” buildings ..that they did not feel Christ at all there like they had felt HIM at the memorial or when talking with me. We discussed this at some length and the outcome was our understanding that ,”The Spirit of the Lord no longer dwelled in houses made by the hands of men.” And also that “church” traditions nullify the Word of God or the Spirit of Christ and relationship triumphs over liturgical form. I was led to tell them that we are all called to fellowship with Christ and one another, but NOT to “go” to “church”. They agreed wholeheartedly and since that day they have stopped by for fellowship every now and then, including today. Which is why I am posting this now. Simple everyday living in and for Christ does bear great fruit my friends. Thanks for reading this. Kirk out!