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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Is It Safe to Die? Negative NDE's, Part I


Howard Pitman’s Near Death Experience, August 3, 1979

I first heard part of this story on www.theedgeam.com web radio station, but I found myself frustrated because the interviewer had to pass on many questions sent in by the listeners as Howard spoke. It interrupted the flow of the story and, in my view, wasted time. So on June 17, 2006, I called him in New Orleans and got the rest of it. I wasn’t so interested in all of his theology, which could be his own interpretation of the Bible, as I was his actual experience. At the time of his shave with death, Rev. Pittman had been a preacher for over 30 years and a foster parent of 32 children besides his own three. His life had been full of good Christian works. He attended a typical fundamentalist Baptist church that likes to emphasize the positive side of the Gospel message, God’s love and mercy. He had also been a policeman in New Orleans, and had attended seminary.

Like many fundamentalists, he was laden with theological certainties and was rather legalistic. He didn’t believe in modern miracles, and he didn’t know anything about demons. He believed in a rapture of the church, but felt that the Christians would not have to go through the Great Tribulation. He was God’s man, uncompromising, the head of his household, the spiritual ‘covering’ for his family, a pillar in his denomination, and an authority on the Holy Word.

Howard was at a meeting in 1979 when he passed out. An aneurysm had burst in his body and he began to bleed internally. He was placed in an ambulance and rushed to a small hospital, but they weren’t able to help him, so they sent him 45 miles away to a larger facility.

On Friday afternoon, 4:45 p.m., on the way, he died. The EMT radioed that information to the hospital, which was prepared to take him for resuscitation the minute he arrived at 5:00 p.m. They worked on him from 5 p.m. until midnight, cutting his chest open and infusing fresh blood directly into his veins. He lost 9 pints of blood, which were replaced with 11 more. At midnight they moved him from the ER to the ICU. At 6 a.m. Saturday, he began to fade again. He was still in the hospital on Sunday.

When he died for 15 minutes in the ambulance, his spiritual journey began. The first thing he experienced was total darkness. It is a typical beginning to many NDE’s, both positive and negative. Howard called that ‘the valley of the shadow of death.’

There he saw an object turning before his gaze. It was the Scriptural passage, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,” (Heb. 9:27 NIV). It turned before him 3 times before he began to plead for an extension of his life. He heard a beautiful, seductive voice suggesting that he just quit breathing and he would receive peace and all the wonderful things he ever wanted. Howard was certain that such a lovely voice must be the voice of God, so he tried to obey and tried to just give up and let go. Suddenly, he realized that he had just asked for an extension of life and that the voice might be the devil, so he said No! and rebuked it and began to fight for life again. The spirit of the voice fled.

In fact, quite a few who were in peril of final death and a negative eternity encountered some sort of a lure. I can think of 3 cases off the top of my head in which a dying man saved his life and got a second chance at living it right by realizing that they had to resist what the voice was telling him to do. The Howard Storm story, found at http://www.near-death.com/storm.html, is just one of them, and it clearly identifies the malicious intent of these spirits.

Suddenly Howard sensed light, and angels appeared to accompany him to what he calls the second heaven. He had no sense of travel and no sense of time. For Howard, the first heaven is this physical world with its finite limitations. The second heaven is just across the dimension dividing us from the realm where the devil is ‘the god of this world’ (2 Cor. 4:4). Howard explains that the Greek word for ‘world’ is aeon, which really means ‘time’ or ‘age,’ which includes our own time-space continuum. Paul tells us that Satan is the prince of the powers of the air, which for Howard is the ‘firmament’ or dimensional barrier which separates the first heaven from the second.

In that dimension, he was allowed to see a panoramic view of 5 classes of demons acting out plotting to make war against Christians. He wasn’t talking about a future end times war, but the everyday warfare that Christians go through and must overcome by faith. He explains that non-Christians don’t experience this type of warfare because they are already ‘prisoners of war’ (2 Timothy 2:25, 26).

The highest order was a soldier-like creature reminiscent of Greek mythology who would be very tall on our earth, but Howard explains that these images are probably figurative, because our finite minds cannot really comprehend what life is really like in that realm. (I agree with that thought.) Another order was just like a ‘good old boy,’ looking perfectly human. One represented the mystery of disease. Another one was like an ugly misshapen frog. In our phone conversation, he told me that that particular demon followed him throughout his journey. When I asked him what it represented, he answered, ‘Perversion.’ There were many other beings in that realm of all shapes and forms. He didn’t communicate at all with these entities, but the tall demon came to him and leered in his face. Howard felt no love at all in this realm, just hatred of Christians and fear of their demon masters.

Next he was at the huge, double gate of the third heaven. (Many Christian NDE’s include a city surrounded by a wall with a large gate. Some actually pass through the gate and still come back. I have been amazed at how many describe streets of translucent gold.) Howard was told that if he went in, he could not return, but if he wanted to live, he must plead for his life. So he began his plea, reminding the Lord of all the good works he had performed as a foster parent and preacher.

Suddenly a voice answered him. It was the voice of God, sounding like thunder, and surprisingly, sounding wrathful. He wound up on his face as God began to rebuke him. He said, “Your faith is dead, your works are in vain, and your life of Christian service is an abomination to me. What made you think that I would accept such an offering from a Laodicean type Christian? Untold millions live in the same lukewarm state, and they stand in danger of my wrath.”

Howard protested, “No, you can’t be speaking about me! I’m a preacher. I preached the gospel in the church, the home, the jail, the street. I raised foster children.” Suddenly his life passed before his eyes and he was amazed to see so many negative things. God said, “I was there when you did those good works, my works, but they are vain because you did them for a false god.”

Howard answered, “I called you Lord.”

God said, “You called me Lord, but you didn’t make me Lord.”

Howard: “But I did these things in your name.”

God: “You did them in my name, but you did them for yourself.”

Howard was so shaken up that the angels took him back to his hospital bed for a bit to regain his composure. At his own request, he was brought back for a second chance to plea. Suddenly the scales fell from his eyes and he realized that he was pleading for the wrong life. He began to plead for the inner, eternal life. That’s when God answered his request. He told him that He was sending him back to deliver a message, which Howard lays out in 5 points.

A.  We are in the Laodicean church age now where people honor God with their mouth but don’t honor him with their lives.

B.  The devil is personal and powerful and we tend to underestimate him.

C.  If we want miracles in our lives, we need to walk the true Christian walk. 

D.  The end times will be like the days of Noah where people lived for pleasure and wealth.

E.  God is recruiting an army. He is looking for a church without blemish or wrinkle.

While Howard was standing at the gate, he saw 50 people go in. He believes that this was during the 15 minutes when he was dead that these 50 died and went to heaven. However, 1, 950 other people died and went the other way. That’s about 2.5% that went through the gates. Howard feels that God was showing him the state of the earth in 1979.

The big change in Howard’s life was that he needed to be more loving. God as Father was more real to him, and his limited view of spiritual influence on this earth (both negative and positive) was transformed. A fuller version of this story can be found at www.howardpittman.com. Pittman’s book ‘Placebo’ can be purchased from there.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Another Wave Rolls In: My Prophetic Dream about the Fall of Richard Nixon

It was around March or April of ’71. That’s the best recollection I can muster of when I saw Nixon sitting on a tree stump. The first part of the dream had to do with military haircuts. I saw young recruits having a hissy fit about having their long locks shaved off. Then I saw a new decree come forth (in the dream) that longer hair was OK. The barbers were chagrined, but the recruits were ecstatic.

Oddly, I (peanut of a person that I am) found myself chastening the president. Very respectfully I offered, “Mr. President, you didn’t get to be where you are today by relaxing discipline. You got there by doing what had to be done when it had to be done, no matter how you felt.”

What is doubly almost humorous about my statement is that I was not a politically savvy person, and I was a Democrat, one who did not vote for the man. I was a very conservative Christian at the time, and was more interested in my church life and my own personal theological pursuits.

In part 2 of the dream, Nixon was at a place similar to San Clemente. He was sitting on a tree stump, crying with his head in his hands. I was amazed to see him weep. In the third scene, he was standing in the ocean, waist deep. He struggled to maintain his footing as the waves rolled in against him. Then I woke up.

Since I was neither a person used to predicting future events, I found the whole thing quite incomprehensible. As one who diligently studied the Old Testament even in those far away days, I naturally recognized the symbol of the tree stump. It refers in the Bible to a fallen ruler or a family cut off from existence and greatness. Or it meant a nation destroyed in war. Since Nixon was sitting on a stump and weeping, there is only one possible interpretation… that his presidency would end quickly and badly.

A few days after I had the dream, there was an ad in the newspaper about the new Army. It said that recruits could now keep their longer hair. No more automatic butches. That caught my attention. Frankly I didn’t care one way or the other about the issue, but it alerted me to pay attention to the dream.

I had had occasional brushes with intuitive moments, but not enough for me to fashion myself as one having a consistent prophetic gift. I just wrote it down and squirreled it away somewhere in a journal. I have learned in life to just not think about things that would uselessly tie your brain in a knot. I did NOT run around predicting a bad end to Nixon’s presidency. The Watergate break in didn’t occur until 1972. I made no connection to the dream and wasn’t too interested in the story of the Pentagon papers. In hindsight, however, I can see that the seeds of Nixon’s fall were being sown even before the break in.

I watched the Watergate scandal develop over the next couple of years, but not as closely as the political savants, pundits, and junkies. I really didn’t think too much about the dream until the day in 1974 when a headline blared, “Another Wave Rolls In.” That is when I absolutely knew that something extraordinary had occurred. My jaw dropped again when Nixon wept in public at the full revelation of his deception. I was blown away as he resigned on August 8, 1974.

It shook my world to watch the movie “All the President’s Men.” Naivety crumbled as we learned of the deception and stupidity of the people who run our country. I would just love to put them all on a pedestal and think that they deserve the office in which they serve. However, in a world where the media washes into our homes and awareness like a rising tide, there is no way that these leaders can keep their private doings secret forever. We learned that Jack Kennedy was a womanizer in spite of the fuss over his Catholic faith. Lyndon Johnson was just as bad. That certainly does not nullify the brave and useful things they did as President. Every president does something great, no matter how many personal flaws they have or which Party they represent. That is one reason it would behoove Christians to pray for their leaders rather than curse them and hate them and speak doom to the nation if their party is not in power.

In the book In The President’s Secret Service, author Ronald Kessler quotes a Washington psychiatrist Bertram S. Brown who warned that power distorts character. “Many of those who run crave superficial celebrity. They are hollow people who have no principals and simply want to be elected. Even if an individual is balanced, once someone becomes president, how does one solve the conundrum of staying real and somewhat humble when one is surrounded by the most powerful office in the land, and from becoming overwhelmed by an almost pathological environment that treats you every day as an emperor?” (p. 38)

Bill Clinton, “I did not have sex with that woman.” John Edwards, “That child cannot possibly be mine.” Nixon, “I am not a crook.” When Ronald Reagan was informed about the affair between Gary Hart and Donna Rice, he intoned, “Boys will be boys.” Then he turned to his Secret Service escort and added, “But boys will not be president.” (p.92)  Well, we hope not! The problem is, they have been.

No matter which office, no matter which party, power corrupts and candidates lie. We need to be wary and not just soak up the pious pontificating that we hear on TV. And we SURE should not believe all the righteous emails we receive from our friends. I think it was during an interview with a former agent who was addressing the recent SS scandal in Columbia. He stated that if the American people really knew what their leaders were like, they would scream. As I read this book, I can see what he means.

If Ronald Kessler can be believed, the Secret Service, ever known for their restraint and discretion, are finally dishing on the presidents and other leaders. It’s a kind of professional review. The rationale is that if they lead double lives, with one hypocritical face for the public and another vile persona in private, they will not be effective leaders. Another sore point beyond their sexual adventures is how they treat the people serving them. Rude leaders who care nothing for their servants will not care about the average tax-paying American. They have a point.

My point in mentioning all of this is: Yes, the Bible does say that what we whisper in our closet will be shouted from the house tops (Luke 12:3). God is clearly so up on the news that He writes the headlines before they happen. But even beyond the Bible, so many who have been near death, or who have actually died and been resuscitated, have claimed that a life review awaits us. Every deed, every thought, will be there before us in the presence of a being of light who far surpasses the president of the United States. Lies and hypocrisy, whether that of a world leader, an agent of the Secret Service, or a housewife, will be utterly exposed. At least Nixon had enough sense of right and wrong to weep over his transgressions. Today’s politicians seem to have no conscious at all.

But they will not live forever, and when they stand before the light being, what shock awaits them. They will not sail into eternity on an ocean going yacht.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Debi's Miracle Prayer


The story below was recently posted by my friend Debi Smith on a Facebook group she started called Friends of the Bay Revival (or Little Bay for short). I’ve known Debi since the mid-seventies, which is when the event below occurred. We have been through a lot of trials and tribulations together. I was also acquainted with Evelyn H. mentioned in the story. I loaned Debi my little old VW beetle to get to the Kathryn Kuhlman meeting.

Debi is a home care giver in TX. I fixed some of the grammar and spelling, but the words came bubbling out of her pretty much as you see it below.
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God has given words over me back in the ‘70’s. I don’t know what He is gonna do... But I’m gonna be listening, and I want to be God’s Love to those who can’t pay back... there have been those who have been that to me. We all hear how Jesse Duplantis does things like that! I want God to help where and when it’s needed. I have seen miracles.

I remember the very first time I felt this towards a total stranger. He was walkin’ on the edge of the sidewalk half in the street. But see, that was the only way he could walk straight... one of his legs was a lot shorter than the other one. My heart! Oh, I just wanted to cry for him... so I told my friend to pull over and stop! I told her, “Look back in your mirror. See that man walking? Well, trying to walk? God wants to heal him.” So we got out and started talking to him. We convinced him to let us pray for him. I had a leg shorter, and a Christian brother prayed, and it grew out in front of my eyes! I just didn’t want him to have to struggle like that anymore. So we went behind a building looking for a place to measure his feet.

And when he sat down and I got both feet in front of him, I thought, “Oh my God! What have I gotten myself into? His one leg was AT LEAST 3 1/2 inches shorter than the other one. I thought, I don’t have faith for that! But now look, what I got myself into? But Ev and I began to pray that God would heal him.

I was just a kid in my early 20’s. What did I know? I had been to a Katheryn Kulman meeting, and I saw with my own eyes a woman who was wheeled in on a gurney. She literally looked like death warmed over. I was watchin’ that lady. I was singin’ in the choir, so I had a bird's eye view. She was white as a ghost, and I knew that anyone staying in bed for a week couldn’t stand up like that, especially being so sick and all. But I watched this lady pull out her IV. Her nurse just gasped at her. She sat up and immediately stood and began pushing her gurney all over that auditorium! My life from that day was never the same. She had cancer!

Anyways... this little man just sat there and looked at me. I had said my little prayer and didn’t know what else to do. So Ev and I started prayin’ in tongues, and in a little while I heard the shoe squeekin’. And in front of my eyes that man’s leg grew out even with his other leg and foot. Well, that man had just told me, “I’ve been this way all my life.” He was probably in his late 40’s and so poor. But this man jumped up and started runnin’ and jumping for the first time in his life. Needless to say, I was in total shock! He wanted to give us all the money in his wallet. We told him, we don’t want your money, we just wanted God to help you. It was several months later that I saw that man riding a bike, which I’m SURE he had never been able to do all his life. So I know what it is to pray and see miracle.

There was also a woman in the hospital where I worked at the time who had liver failure, and the same pit in my stomach hit me. The long and short of it, she was given up and was in total liver failure, and she was there to die. But I went to her and asked if I could pray for her. The Lord healed her, too. I want to just encourage you all to Let God be God Wherever you are. We are the Church. Let’s Let God be God to all we come in contact with.
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My next blog will be about NDE’s, the negative ones. Watch for “Maybe It’s Not Safe to Die.”
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