Note: This April 22 is the fifth-year anniversary of the Good Friday trip I was given to somewhere on the perimeter of Heaven. It remains as vivid in my every waking moment today as right after it happened.
I wanted to again present the articles I wrote at the end of that year–2011–because I believe we are so very near the time of Christ’s Call to us– “Come up hither!” (Revelation 4:1).
Also, I wish to announce my just-completed book that is now being prepared for publication at New Leaf Publishing Group. Rapture Ready…Or Not: 15 Reasons This Is the Generation That Will Be Left Behind” is scheduled for release July 1, 2016.
I’m certain in the deepest regions of my spirit that this book is a major reason for the round trip to that other dimension on that Good Friday five years ago. I’m having considerable trouble exercising patience as this book approaches its release. I just can’t wait to share it with you.
Without intending to attract unto myself any aggrandizement–for the Lord of Heaven is the only Person deserving such–I believe I was commissioned to deliver this message. Rapture Ready…Or Not, this generation is on the brink of God’s most profound intervention into human history since the day the great Flood of Noah’s day burst upon the world.
Here, then, is Part I of my thoughts in December, 2011, following that April 22, 2011, Good Friday event.
Being prepared to meet Jesus Christ face to face–as far as trying to make that my constant state of mind is concerned–has been part of my every waking moment since Good Friday of this year. Not wishing to go over it in a public forum like this one ad nauseam, nonetheless, I’ve been considering the relationship between my near-death moments of April 22, and being Rapture ready, as is the thought wrapped up in our website’s name. So, here goes yet again…
This is intended to be an exhortation for all of us who name Christ as our Lord–urging us individually and collectively to hold Him close to our spiritual hearts during this Christmas season. It is not meant to dwell upon my personal experience as an overriding point of focus. Many who read this column on a regular basis know some of the details of my heart event on Good Friday of this year. I’m often corrected by my wife, Margaret, for not calling it a heart attack. For some reason that description just doesn’t register within my aging gray matter. Others have heart attacks, not me.
I remember thinking at the time it was occurring that this wasn’t possible. The EMT working on me told the hospital dispatcher that he had a “coronary in progress.” It didn’t register then, either. There I was, however, being rushed toward Saline Memorial Hospital, gasping for breath, the pain behind my sternum feeling as if it would explode my chest at any second.
I remember arriving and the gurney being tugged toward the ER outer doors. Then, there was the computer-like blip and I was suddenly before a large heavenly throng of young, beautiful, cheering men and women. The ambiance of my surroundings was dazzling, and I wanted to join them. There was no recollection whatsoever of where I had been–no memories of this planetary existence.
I was, the doctor later told Margaret, dead on arrival.
They hit me with the defibrillation paddles–yes, just like you’ve seen in the shows where they say “Clear!” and then apply the paddles, making the body nearly jump off the table.
I felt nothing, but the action did cause me to leave the place I never wanted to leave. I remembered thinking, “I want to stay here forever in this perfect place.” But, everything turned dark and I awoke in total darkness on the gurney. This is because I’m blind due to a retinal disease, as many who read the account know. The pain behind the sternum grew worse and I heard the blip twice more. Each time I was before that cheering, enthusiastic throng of vibrant, young people. The sights were astonishing, colors of every description emanating from somewhere I could neither determine, nor cared to investigate. The third time I was among them, we were all racing, or being drawn by some powerful energy toward a destination I would never know. I was again in the hospital, this time on the cardiac unit’s procedure table. I had again been hit with the paddles.
I had survived the “widow maker,” an artery-blockage that I was told only 5 percent of victims live through. I was clinically dead three times, my heart having stopped each time. I had been given a journey and return trip that few are privileged to experience–and I say that meaning it as humbly as it is possible to express the fact.
The reasons for and meanings of this experience have been confirmed and affirmed in my spiritual understanding. I’ve dealt briefly with those impressions from the Holy Spirit in a previous article, “HeavenVision.” God willing, there will be a more in-depth presentation on these matters in a book we have planned for release early in 2012, entitled HeavenVision: Glimpses of Glory.
I continue to be given insight into what it all means. As stated at the beginning of this commentary, my thoughts have been turned toward being ever ready to meet the Lord Jesus Christ face to face since that Good Friday when my heart ceased to beat those three times. One of the things constantly on my mind is that my heart could fail again at any moment.
My rehabilitation has been an absolutely amazing success story. And, in that regard, I thank so many of you whose prayers were obviously heard in the throne room of Heaven. I honestly haven’t experienced one moment’s problem, in any way, with my heart or anything else of consequence regarding my health. In fact, I was given the “Arkansas Cardiologist Association’s Patient of the Year Award for 2011” on November 18. I was asked to speak to their convention and I told them that I don’t know why I should be honored. All I did was survive. My Lord, Jesus Christ, deserves top honors, because He holds the keys to death and hell. I then said that they, the wonderful medical professionals, also deserve honors for being the ones God chose to put me back into this race.
The only problem has been cracked teeth and one crowned tooth broken completely off that resulted from being hit with the paddles those three times. Nonetheless, the thought is there that one’s last heartbeat can occur at any moment.
Each time my heart stopped, I stood not before Jesus Christ, but in front of a cheering cloud of witnesses as given in Hebrews 12:1-3. This simply means, I have been assured in my spiritual understanding, that this wasn’t really death. It was a preview I was given for reasons the Lord has determined. But, I will, when God’s timing has come to fullness for my life, stand before my Lord and Savior. It will happen just as instantaneously as did my near-death trip to the fringes of glory. I am ready for that moment, because Jesus saved my soul with His work of redemption on the cross at Calvary nearly 2,000 years ago. When my heart beats that final time, I will, in the twinkling of an eye (see 1 Corinthians 15: 52), stand before Him, and will be with Him for all of eternity.
But, my heart has not stopped for that final time. When Christ calls all believers, living and dead, to Himself, I will, if still alive, stand instantaneously before Him just as I stood instantaneously before that cheering cloud of witnesses on Good Friday, April 22, 2011.
Being Rapture ready is being ready, period. It means you are prepared to meet the Lord at any moment–at all times. Every believer has the same promise–to be present with the Lord when life on earth is over.
“We are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight): We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).
Next week we will go in-depth, examining details about what it means to be Rapture ready.