Please pray – My Father in Heaven, thank you for allowing me to be a vessel for your Word. Thank you Mighty God for your tender mercy and for Your Son who stood in my place for my sins. Lord, let this message reach me and let me hear the comfort of Your voice. Guide me to where you would have me and let your Will be done and not my own. Keep me humble to your Word Holy God and strike down my enemies that would bind me and keep me from You. Thank you Lord Jesus for all you have done and are doing on my behalf. Let my works here on earth please you Father; I pray for the Holy Spirit to fill me with love, to fill me with compassion, wisdom and meekness. Jesus, touch those that read this message and allow a multitude of blessings fall upon them and their families; but most of all Lord, allow your message to convict those that are close to falling or slipping. Help them Holy Spirit, heal them and help their hearts know you have not left their sides; speak to them; in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
As a matter of fact, look at these statistics:
Causes of death in the United States of America (Jan 1, 2016 – Apr 19, 2016):
- Abortion: 328459
- Heart Disease: 179441
- Cancer: 173460
- Tobacco: 105275
- Obesity: 92341
- Medical Errors: 63165
- Stroke: 38781
- Lower Respiratory Disease: 42995
- Accident (unintentional): 38031
- Hospital Associated Infection: 29778
- Alcohol: 30078
- Diabetes: 22207
- Alzheimer Disease: 25559
- Influenza/Pneumonia: 16190
- Kidney Failure: 12862
- Blood Infection: 10065
- Suicide: 11886
- Drunk Driving: 10169
- Unintentional Poisoning: 9552
- All Drug Abuse: 7521
- Homicide: 5053
- Prescription Drug Overdose: 4512
- Murder by gun: 3457
- Texting while Driving: 1801
- Pedestrian: 1504
- Drowning: 1178
- Fire Related: 1053
- Malnutrition: 834
- Domestic Violence: 439
- Smoking in Bed: 235
- Falling out of Bed: 179
- Falling Tree: 44
- Struck by Lightning: 25
- Mass Shooting: 10
There is one thing we can be certain of; the mortality rate is 100% – every one of us will die, no question. The website of which I found the statistics is listed above. The most sobering and profound realization are what these numbers will be by the time you look at the website. It is “real time” and the numbers are totaled automatically as they are reported. During the time it took for me to organize the list and write this short paragraph, the death toll on Heart Disease increased by 20 deaths to 179461 and Cancer death increased by 19 deaths to 173479. These are real people, not just a number, leaving this earth and awaiting Judgment. I urge you to look at this website and compare the numbers to what I have, but be ready for your heart to break knowing that not all will make it to the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Perfect Sleep
Stay with me here Saints, this is a twist of words but important to state some “not so obvious reasoning”. (Re-read this if you need to grasp it. It was tough to write it also).
It cannot be either proved or disproved (at least not before death) if there is life after death, because by definition all of our experience before death is the experience of life. Now, since we cannot “scientifically” prove or disprove there is life after death, it is not scientific, therefore it is a dogma (principle) of faith.
Now that the ground work has been established for those disciplined in science, allow me to take you on a little journey that I had the opportunity to go on a few years ago. Periodically, check the numbers in real time, it’s alarming. This is why the phrase, “we don’t have much time” is so predominant to the believers who know.
Ecclesiastes 9 5 For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing…their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished.
A hard scripture to read and realize, I would say. Death to most people is a taboo topic. No one really wants to talk about it and this can even be difficult to mention when someone close has passed. However, we cannot let the enemy twist any part of the truth to keep us from our quest to seek and understand God.
In 2001 I retired from the paper mill and moved to Washington to work with my brother in an appraisal business. I spent a lot of time on the road over the 5 years as an appraiser. When I left Panama City I was walking with the Lord, (I would say pretty close), but because of the change of the area and obligations, I became more and more distant from the word, God and my fellowship with the body of Christ. It was my excuse for allowing myself to fall even further away and now becoming less important to be whom I was in God’s eyes. I still prayed every once in a while and even attended church on the “special” days. My life in the world became more important than the afterlife promised to me. One afternoon I was on an inspection and as I finished, I returned to my vehicle and drove 2 blocks up the road when I became very hot, so hot I was sweating profusely. I pulled over, turned on the air conditioner and put my head in front of the blowers but it didn’t help. “Something is wrong here”, I said to myself. My brother, Bill, was going to be out antique shopping that day which was in the mountain areas and would have put him out of cell range but for divine reasons, (which were later known), he couldn’t leave the office on time because of some work issues. In my distress, even though I knew Bill should be out of range by that time, I called Bill. He had my exact location and he was the best source for help. I tried to stay calm and explained to him something isn’t right and I needed help quickly. I had some idea of what was about to take place and I was completely helpless. Immediately after we hung up Bill called for help. In my hast, I asked the Lord to forgive me of all my sins and if this was it to please forgive me; then everything went black! Completely dark and I couldn’t stop it from happening. Suddenly, I woke up, catching my breath, I called my brother back and whispered, “Bill, something is really wrong here, I need help!” I told him with deep concern. “They’re on their way, just stay on the phone with me” he said. As much as I tried to reason with myself that it was going to pass, it didn’t. It felt like an eternity for them to arrive and before they reached me – I was gone again. I woke up once more and finally they were at my door, pulling me out and putting me on a gurney and while asking for my name, they started CPR. In my helpless state, I tried to tell them and then it happened again! I looked to the EMT and fearfully said, “I’m going, I’m going…..” and instantly, I was gone! Total darkness again, and suddenly I had no idea of time or where I was, nor did I care. They worked frantically and finally revived me and I found myself in the ambulance speeding through traffic, looking into the (blue) eyes of the Medic, (I’ll never forget those eyes). “There you are,” he said with a reassuring grin. I looked at him and in my confused state and felt I needed to apologize for soiling myself. Later I was informed when someone dies they lose control of their bowels and generally soil themselves.
Saints, they defibrillated me three times and performed CPR. This entire event
took about an hour although it seemed only minutes to me. Once we reached the hospital, Doctors put two stents in the main arteries to the heart to open the blockage that caused the heart attack. The realization of this event for me was how did I survive when the medics were not there; I was not in good standing with God nor was I living in His word or doing His work, at least not that I thought. Why did I get this second chance?
This is what I can tell you about my experience. I died that day but God through His mercy had other plans for me. Looking back now I’ve realized everything had to be just as they were for me to survive this life changing experience, although they were not so evident at the time. Among other small coincidences, the most significant and divine coincidence was my brother being delayed on his trip out to the mountains. Had he gone out that day, at that time, there would have been no way for me to let the Emergency team know where to find me for being incoherent for most of this experience. This, fellow believers, is divine intervention and tells me exactly who is in charge.
The Bible compares death to sleep more than fifty times. After death we are
asleep, we are unconscious; we are not aware of the passing of time or of what is going on around us. It makes sense that after Lazarus was raised from the dead, he doesn’t share what he saw or experienced. He didn’t have anything to tell, except that once he was dead for four days, and the next thing he knows he’s alive. He didn’t experience heaven or hell. When my heart stopped beating, I found myself looking into a calming and subtle darkness, no light, no tunnel and no relatives there to meet me. It was simply the deepest sleep I have ever had. I still remember how calming it was and how comfortable I felt even though I had no idea where I was, what was going on or why I was having such a wonderful sleep. Later I realized, where I was in my life at that time I didn’t deserve such a restful somber. Knowing me, who I was and what was truly in my heart, I reflected on everything that I could remember about that experience. There was an unsettling and concerning feeling in my mind and in my spirit over the fact that I didn’t see any light or tunnel or relatives. My thoughts were, was I in a place where my eternity would be darkness? I began to study the Word and the Lord spoke to me in a way that put things into perspective.
The prophets never mention in the Bible that the righteous immediately go to
heaven or the wicked go to hell when they die. Neither did Jesus and His apostles teach it. When Jesus was about to leave His disciples, He didn’t tell them they would soon come to Him.
John 14:1-3 Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
Saints, there is a reason I was allowed to stay here, not mine, but His. Although I have been blessed tremendously by it, if I had gone to judgment that day I couldn’t tell you with certainty where my eternal address would have been. This day and all the days that follow are blessed with another day I have to reach another soul for the Kingdom of our Lord.
You see, while working on this message, I thought I was to preach about the church and how disappointed I was in my findings of how far some are from the guidelines Jesus had set up and what Paul wrote about. But that wasn’t the message at all (not this time anyway), and once again, I’m deleting a five page dissertation of my findings, but not all is lost, He gave me this message that has been in my heart for a while. God works through our loved ones, our friends and even strangers to get His message out, Amen? Robin, (my wife) a devout woman of God, was instrumental this time and was able to sit down with me, as we often do, and discuss the messages I prepare. Her insight quieted my spirit and allowed the Lord’s compassion to be my guide. Based on my own experience and the crisis my family and I have recently been through and are still going through, the Holy Spirit revealed to me some very much needed comfort while reading the scriptures. Allow me to explain.
My mother passed away recently (6 months ago), and it was a devastating time for all of us. Mom was a somewhat of a matriarch (even though dad is the dominant figure, he faithfully did what mom wanted or needed him to do). She was our spiritual leader in the family as well and maintained it by example. I knew anytime I needed something from God, I would call mom and ask her to pray and she would with no hesitation. What is so impressive, she has a relationship with Jesus that is so close and personal she would tell me, Jesus listens to her, “He’d better”, she would say with an Italian accent and a childish smirk. Mom was a prayer warrior with a deep conviction to the Lord. A conviction that built a relationship with Jesus that was so close, you could literally see the love of God in her and all around her. When my sister, Maria, called me to tell me mom had passed, initially before the realization set in, there was a calm in me and I felt I didn’t need to worry about her. Don’t misunderstand me, I was a wreck shortly afterwards. There are good days and some not so good even now. After all it is mom and she is no longer here for me to call on. The most comforting of all this is I never once doubted mom’s standing with God. I believe she knew her time was coming and I also believe she was ready.
While researching that other message, I was led to this scripture and the Holy Spirit showed me something that gave me an overwhelming sense of comfort and an “ah-ha” moment that I’ve not seen before.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede, (go before), those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
For the believer, death is the beginning of a wonderful new existence with God. The death of our mortal bodies is simply the door through which we must pass to gain entrance into this heavenly realm. However, there is a process just as there was a process for salvation. A process we must go through in each phase of being with our Father in Heaven. Whether it be salvation, death and everlasting life. Let’s look at the process for salvation (for the benefit of those who may not know):
- Accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. By faith, we believe He died for our sins and rose from the grave. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
- We must also be water baptized. Baptism (by full immersion as taught in the Bible) is an act of obedience that should be an immediate part of our acceptance of the gift of Grace. This process is a condition to our salvation.
- Finally, Jesus baptizes us in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us the power protection and comfort. Mark 1:8 “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
These are the steps we must take to receive salvation. The promise of passing
from this life and into the new life is another process. Not a process that is up to us to undertake however. What do I mean? Let me explain…
Let’s look at the process of death to life; When we pass, as believers, we are in a state of rest. 1Thesselonians is a letter Paul wrote to a group of believers that have been Christians for only a short time. In chapter 4:13-18, he mentions the word, “asleep” in his description of death and was allowing some understanding of what death was to the believer. “But we do not want you to be uninformed”. He goes on to explain we are to wait on the Lord to come back for us while we are in this “sleep”. That when Jesus comes back He will call up all those that are “asleep” in Christ first; “…the dead in Christ will rise first”.
When we release our last physical breath, we are in a sleep in which we do not know of time, love, hate, or any other emotional or physical state. This is where I was and how I know this with certainty.
Acts 2:34 David did not ascend to heaven at death, but awaits the coming of Jesus and the first resurrection.
We are to wait on the Lord to return to gather His children and in the meantime, while we are alive in the physical form, He has commissioned us to do His work and continually seek and obey Him, (and to store up treasures in Heaven). Those who have “fallen asleep”, are waiting for the Lord to come back and claim His children. Remember, God’s time is not ours and we being “asleep” do not have any sense or concept of time or what is around us. We don’t know when He is coming but He will and those who know Him will ascend to the heavens where He is.
John 14:3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
Some would believe the dead will go straight to the Throne and then to their eternal destination according to God’s judgment. Why would He say He is going to prepare a place for us first and then say, “I will come again and receive you to Myself” if we are already in Heaven? Because we aren’t there yet, we are asleep waiting for Him to return as David did.
What about those who have seen the light in the tunnel and have seen heaven and some who have even witnessed seeing hell? Am I discounting those and their experiences? Not at all, not any more than what I know of my experience to be. God’s glory has a way to prevail in every situation. Those who had witnessed more extreme circumstances such as out of body experiences, etc., is not for me to judge, I have no way of knowing what took place with them or what they need to do with the information the Holy One afforded them.
The Holy Spirit gave me this message to raise awareness of this topic and to not be confused of what to expect and also not to miss the main point of what this message is. In the meantime, He ministered to me in my grief for my mother. I don’t fear death, on the contrary, I fear not being pleasing to God; have I done everything He wanted me to do? Will He be proud of me for staying the course and doing everything I could to gather His children? These are my biggest fears; my burden is rooted in the scriptures the Holy Spirit gave me in 1 Thesselonians 14 and 16, and should be to all believers who are eager to be in God’s favor. The process of us receiving our new bodies and living eternity with Jesus is before we die we have to know and accept Jesus as our Savior so that when we die, we will be resting in Jesus;
1 Thesselonians 4:14, 16 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus… 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, and the dead in Christ will rise first…
This, children of God, is the point of this message. We all must be “in” Christ to receive eternal life. As we have determined in “Real Time”, there are thousands upon thousands that are dying every second and thousands upon thousands that are not hearing the Truth of salvation or have fallen away or lost their way and they are leaving this world for an eternity without God. Could you imagine eternity without God? Now imagine your son or daughter, mother or father or even your best of friends in a place for the eternal dead?
Psalm 6:4, 5 4 Turn, O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. 5 No one remembers You when he is dead. Who praises You from the grave?
Ecclesiastes 9:5 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
The dead without Christ will not be with us in Heaven, the scripture is very clear on this issue. They will spend eternity without God. If you are without God, then whom are you with? Who do you know that needs this message? Who is out there that we absolutely want to see when the end of all lives on earth is over? Does your heart ache for those that are lost? In Heaven we will be aware of those who are with us but we will not grieve for those who are not. In Heaven there is no grief or sadness. There is no pain or strife; no concept of an emptiness such as missing my mom, ever again. Thank you Lord. My mom is resting right now, in the best sleep she has ever experienced; completely unaware of where or why, a perfect sleep from the Perfect Master. 28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” She will be lifted up in her glorious, new spiritual body when our Lord and Savior comes to call us all home. I thank God for this revelation. The Comforter is with us, Jesus said He would send another once He left this earth.
John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you;
and He has done just as He said He would. Give God praise and reach out to someone you know that needs this message in their life. For my family, we will praise Jesus for accepting our mother into a much needed restful sleep as we all await His return. Death is defeated and He said He would give us rest. I know for certain He will. Father, I thank you so much for allowing me this precious time to seek you and to hear you. Thank you ever so much for giving me the courage to proclaim your Word, for it is not my will but Yours be done. Bless all those who read and hear this message for what you have intended it for. I love you Jesus, I worship you and honor you, in Your Holy name Jesus, Amen.