Bible study / devotion

2 Corinthians 12:4b

…and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.

In his book, “Ninety Minutes in Heaven”, Pastor Don Piper describes what some would call an out-of-body experience. After a serious car accident, Pastor Piper believes he died and went to heaven for ninety minutes. However, we really don’t know for certain if he actually saw heaven and spent time there — only God does.

From my perspective, we need to be very careful with Pastor Piper’s conclusions from a theological point of view. He says, now that he has “been to heaven”, he can speak “with more authority” than before. At funerals, his words of comfort to family members “are spoken with greater conviction.” Although some of this is good, I still think it is very dangerous ground. Why? Because anyone is wrong who states that their own personal experience has given them more authority to manage the hope of heaven than the perfect truth of Scripture. What if Pastor Piper’s memory of the event drifted somewhat in the retelling? What if he had a different “dream” that caused him to lose hope for eternity? And what if people who were desperate to find hope, found or lost it by following a pastor or other person, and not the Lord?

On the surface, Pastor Piper’s experience seems to be similar to the one Paul has been discussing in our present section of Scripture. However, there are a few glaring differences: first, Paul hadn’t spoken of it for over fourteen years; second, he didn’t claim it as his own experience (it was far too personal); and third, it was impossible and prohibited for Paul to describe what he saw (our passage today). The way Paul handled his own “out-of-body” experience makes me somewhat skeptical of anyone who “died” on the operating table (or in some other way), and then returns to write a book about it. Paul’s response was to immediately go back to preaching the Gospel — not write a book about it.

Questions to Ponder:

My hope is placed in Christ alone, not in the experiences of any man or woman. Stories of heaven, like Pastor Piper’s, are just that — stories — and should be treated as such. We must let the Lord and His Word be our inspiration. What is the source of your hope?


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Jesus is a safe harbor

I am a follower of Jesus. I am a grateful delivered woman who was once an addict, but now God has restored me and renewed me. I have been redeemed and remade by our Creator through salvation of His Son, Jesus Christ! I just want to share what God has done in my life that you may have the opportunity to experience the same joy He gave me. I give God all the glory for everything in my life for I couldn't accomplish anything apart from Him. If ye shall know the truth, the truth shall set you free, John 8:32. He puts people in my life that help me and gives me the opportunity to help another. I am never surprised by his love and blessings. God has placed a confidence and love in myself that I have never had before… so "Thank you God".. for the many True Blue Christians you have put in my life and for all the blessings you bestow on me daily. I have not come this far without lots of prayers and the help and love of my true friends and family and I thank you God for those special people in my life. You are 100% my Savior! I will forever have your name on my lips. I realize now with lots of prayer and reading of the Word… that all the answers were here for me and I never asked the questions. Although I still struggle daily with other life’s daily cards that are dealt, I have an attitude now of “NO MATTER WHAT “– I will praise You, Lord~~~through my storms and my triumphs! I have much more to share and would love to answer any questions anyone may have for through all my trials what has come to be is that I want to help others to see what I didn’t see and hopefully prevent the same hurts, guilt, shame and woes that I had to deal with and give them the best gift of all… JESUS! I believe it's important that we know who we are in God ... We are a one of a kind and God has made us like no other for a purpose- His purpose. Yes, bad things happen and yes, we make poor choices, but we don't have to continue to make them. God's mercies are new each day. Once we realize, know and most importantly believe who we are in Christ, that we are a child of God, we are not an accident, and whatever the circumstances before us each day no matter what they are... God gives us the choice and the power of Him to choose right and live right. We no longer have to live in the past, but in the present and look with expectation to the future with God by our side guiding us and directing our steps. He is our strength and our hope needs to reside in Him. Let his power and love work in your life today and see that life does not have to be the way you are living now. He wants to help you, but you have to let him. He can't make us come to him, he is not lost - WE ARE! Please share this blog with others to encourage them for the glory of God! Ministry: Lost Sheep Ministries on Facebook

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