C.S. Lewis once said, “If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next…”Aim at Heaven and you will get earth thrown in; aim at earth and you will get neither.”

In the Western World we have been taught to live for ourselves… People have a plan for career, a plan for family, a plan for vacations, and a plan for retirement. People have a mental image or vision of what retirement will look like… a big house on a beautifully manicured golf course, or maybe in the mountains or on a beach, with time to play golf, boat, hike, garden and spend time with the people they love. Because we can picture it, most of us work for it, save for it, and sacrifice something for it. Of course, there is nothing wrong with retirement or taking a vacation but we are only here a few decades at best.

What if we decided that we became people who had a vision of our ultimate destiny or life to come? What if the bible is true that this life is merely a tiny taste on the tip of our tongues of the real feast that is yet to come? What if Heaven is going to be better than your wildest dreams? And the final and most important question… What if how you live right now does matter for the life to come? Would that change how we live and what we live for?

Let me share a Near Death Experience ( NDE) with you and then share some thoughts from medical doctors, scientists, and researchers.

With the advent of modern medicine and superior resuscitation techniques, the prevalence of people being brought back from clinical death has soared. A Gallup poll reported that 8 million people have had near death episodes, according to the New York Times. Studies in the United States and Germany suggest approximately 4.2 percent of the population has reported a near death experience. That’s one out of every twenty five people, or nearly 13 million Americans.

Vicki’s story… “I’ve never seen anything, no light, no shadows, no nothing.” Vicki explained to Kenneth Ring, a professor at the University of Connecticut who was conducting a study on NDE of blind people. Both optic nerves were so severely damaged, Vicki had never visually seen anything during the first twenty- two years of her life. As Vicki explains, ” A lot of people ask me if I see black.” No, I don’t see black nor do I see anything visual in my dreams.” “It’s just taste, touch, sound, and smell.

That was until one fateful night at the age of twenty-two. Vicki occasionally sang at a Seattle nightclub. Unable to catch a taxi, she hitched a ride with two patrons who had been drinking. They crashed and Vicki was hurled from the car and suffered a basal skull fracture and a broken back and neck.

All she remembers is looking down at what she realized must be a crumpled up vehicle. Having never seen anything as a blind person, Vicki recalls, “It was hard to adjust to, and seeing was scary at first. Then, I liked it, and it was ok. I had trouble relating one thing to another- what I was seeing and perceiving versus what I had touched and known.

She did not remember the ambulance ride to Harborview Medical Center, but the next thing she recalls is she left her body again and floated up near the ceiling where she watched a male doctor and a woman working on a woman’s body. “I was quite tall and thin at that point.” I recognized a body but did not know it was my body at first. She could overhear the doctors ‘conversation about their fear of her also losing her hearing due to the damage of her eardrum. She said she tried to communicate with them that she felt fine, actually better than she had ever felt but naturally there was no response. “I finally recognized my wedding ring and my long hair from my own touch.”

“Is this my body down there?” “Am I dead?” The doctors were saying”We can’t bring her back?” They were frantically working on me.” “I wondered what they were getting so upset about?”  When the thought popped into her head that she was leaving earth, she went up through the ceiling as if it were nothing. She heard wind chimes that had the most incredible sound- nothing she had ever heard. She proceeded to go through the hospital roof and saw a panoramic view of her surroundings like the streets and other buildings. She felt very exhilarated during her ascension and enjoyed tremendously all she was experiencing. Vicki noticed she was fully herself ( many accounts of the description of other NDE of being fully known-true identity), and had a distinct form and a nonphysical body that was made of light. As she was being pulled up through a small entry point, she had no fear and could hear harmonious music that were songs of praise to God. As she reached the opening, she found herself lying on grass. Trees and flowers and a vast number of people surrounding her. She said you could feel everything, even the light. “There was love everywhere.” “It was like the love came from the grass, the trees, the flowers, the birds.” “I was overwhelmed and still to this day, I get emotional when I talk about it.”

Vicki was met by two of her schoolmates who were also blind and had both died previously at different times. One had also been mentally challenged but in Heaven was no longer blind or mentally challenged. She was bright, beautiful, healthy, and vital. She said they were no longer children but now as Vicki phrased it, in their prime.

Vicki said it was like she knew everything, “this was a place where I had all the answers to all the questions I had on earth including God.” She says in Heaven we communicate with our minds. She encountered Jesus and he hugged her and said with His mind to hers..”Isn’t everything wonderful here?” Everything is perfect and fits together. He told her she would be going back but she did not want to. She begged to stay but he said she had to go back to learn and teach more on loving and forgiving. Before He sent her back, she was shown a complete panoramic view of her entire life starting from birth including those two childhood friends/schoolmates. He was showing her the significance of her actions and their repercussions. Then she was back in her body, feeling heavy again and full of pain.

These stories of Vicki and others are forcing scientist to consider new ideas about the relationship between the consciousness and the brain. Vicki describing her friends in Heaven in detail of their physical appearance could not be explained due to her blindness. She described Jesus too in a similar regard from historical accounts.

The more I study and read various accounts, the more I realize that we get a major upgrade in every possible way in Heaven. However, not every NDE is glorious, some our absolute wake up calls of grace of what is possibly to come. This life very much determines our next.  God wants to bring all of us home but ultimately it is our choice.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago-  Ephesians 2:10

We all have a destiny, one that only each one of us can complete. God knows everything that has, will, and is happening in your life. He is not surprised by anything. The Bible says that this life is preparation for the next. God wired us with certain abilities, spiritual gifts, passions, personalities, and experiences. There is no one like you or me in the entire universe because of our unique mix of talents. It’s our destiny not our parents or our friends. How cool is that to ponder on?

But wait, here’s the truth and this truth might hurt… You can miss God’s destiny for your life and people do it all of the time based on free-will, your own choices. Like Rick Warren says, If you choose to chase pleasures, popularity, and or money instead of God, you will miss it and that is tragic.

God gives us a choice to follow His will or our own. If I decided to be reckless with my driving while speeding and hit a pole and died, that would not be God’s will for my life. It would be my own arrogance and stupidity to think I was invisible. God does have a destiny for us but He will not force himself onto us. To be continued…..

Mere Christianity- C.S. Lewis

Consciousness Beyond Life- The Science of Near Death Experiences- Im Van Lommel

Mindsight- Kenneth Ring

Imagine Heaven ( excerpts) John Burke

Check out Part 2 next week on the dark side of NDE’s. 

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