All Growth is a Leap in the Dark…The Importance of Faith

All growth is a  leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without the benefit  of experience    Henry MillerYou may or may not know…not all near-death experiences are positive.

My experience was positive. Yet, when I returned to my body, I still had to contend with a body that was in constant pain, had 24/7 migraines, and was in the throes of severe depression.

I still had a lot to learn and I had a lot of healing to accomplish.

As I look back on my experience, I realize that my experience opened my heart and my soul to new perspectives.

Prior to my near-death experience, I was highly resistant to alternative medicine. Here we are 15 years later and I have adamantly embraced alternative medicine (think herbs, the body’s innate ability to heal, etc) and I have lost my confidence in western medicine.

Those fifteen years have included a considerable amount of healing and an amazing amount of growth. I figure that with another fifteen years of life under my belt, I may “begin” to scratch the surface of all there is to know and understand. 🙂

However, our growth and understanding come…faith is always an important component.

I have made many leaps of faith in my lifetime. When that leap of faith has involved God – I have never been disappointed.

I am grateful to know that God is real… I have seen His face and witnessed His utter and complete perfection.

I hope that in your own way, you too will know of God’s existence and His perfect love for and knowledge of you.

Today’s story really touched my heart. I hope it will touch yours as well!:

My Near Death Experience – Born again

I was not a religious person.  All of my adult life, I only had two prayers. The first, God when the time comes, give me a second chance; the second, please don’t take me until my children are grown.  Never really believing, I said these prayers every once in a while, just in case.  You know what I mean. Little did I know that both prayers would be answered on the same day, Easter Sunday, 1994.

I had one of those near death experiences that we’ve all heard so much about. They were coming to take me away. (ha-ha, ho-ho) I saw the light tunnel, while looking down at myself. The whole scenario; You know the bit. The twist, it was not pleasant, and I was definitely not going to Heaven. While I appeared to be sleeping peacefully, little did anyone know that there was a tug-of-war going on. I was desperately pleading for my life!!!

The night before, I was feeling rather cocky. I was lying in bed thinking, “Man, I’m really doing good.  I have a wife of 23 years, a daughter graduating from college as a civil engineer in two weeks, another in the national honor society going into her final year at high school.  I make an above average income, drive an expensive car, live in a nice home, money in the bank, yada yada.  I don’t think any body can mess with me now.”  As if all that wasn’t vain enough, I couldn’t stop there, I added, “Not even God.”

During the experience, I wasn’t cocky anymore! I was pleading and begging over and over, “God, please give me another chance; then I remember saying, “At least let me say goodbye.”  Suddenly, I felt a sense of relief.   A moment later, one demon conveyed to the other, “Come on, let’s go.  He’s fighting too much, we can get people like him anytime.”

After recovering from my stroke, I was embarrassed to tell anyone for fear that they would think that I had “lost it”.  I became totally obsessed with the Bible.  I bought several versions of it on CD Rom and began looking up, reading and watching everything that I could relating to my experience.

For years I wondered if I was I actually going to hell or was it a “very vivid dream”?  Finally, I swallowed my pride and began going to church to confide in preachers, telling them about my experience.  Instead of compassion, counseling and guidance, I was ridiculed.  Twice, I was actually asked to leave.  I was always asked, “Why you? What makes you so special?”  Only Jesus can arise from the dead.  (Special? I never died!!! It feels more like a curse!)

Later, when Dr. Vincent, the psychologist (The Death of Old Me) said the words, “Why not you? What makes you so special?  It’s our attitudes and choices in life that make the difference.” It all became very clear to me. I instantly realized that I had a choice to make! I could choose to believe that my experience was a dream, that my brain was starving from lack of blood as I’ve been told, and continue to worry about what others think; or that my prayers were answered and I was granted my second chance.

Suddenly, my mind was flooded with memories of past experiences that led up to this event! I began to experience a sense of relief that I had never felt before.  The bitterness and contempt just melted away.  I actually wanted to live again!  I understood that God does love me; and that I was given a second chance for a reason.  My mission is simply to tell “You” this story.  Within man, God has planted a devine seed.  A seed of his self.  (A seed of choice)   Just like me, you need to make a choice (Satan owns the fence).

I believe that it was then and there that I was “saved”.  It didn’t have to happen in a church on Sunday morning, in front of a preacher in a church full of people.  It is a personal experience between me and God.

am not special and have never claimed to be! I believe that we can all take up our cross and be modern day Disciples (Christian Soldiers) if we will take the time to listen and unconditionally do as we’re told. In fact, it seems strange to me that many of those that say “God has no beginning and no end, He can do miracles, and that He is with us always” seem to be the ones that have the most trouble grasping the concept that Christianity is not some out-dated, two-thousand year old, institutionalized religion. But that God is here and now.  We ask for His guidance, then if we don’t like what we hear simply ignore Him because of fear of ridicule, rejection and pride.

I still have trouble understanding how people that tell me, “God must really like you,” “He must have a purpose,” and that, “He isn’t through with you yet;” but if I explain my experience they shun me, begin to treat me in a condescending
manner, and are embarrassed to be seen around me.

After reading this, can you imagine being my wife, child or friend? Now, try to imagine how difficult it must have been for the original twelve Disciples.  He came to many of them in dreams too.  What made them so special?  Maybe it was their attitudes and choices in life that made the difference.  We read about the twelve Disciples that “took up their cross and followed Him“, but could there possibly have been others that simply chose to write Him off as a “very vivid dream” that we will never hear about?

I have literally seen the light! Quite frankly, now I am terrified not to believe.  Whenever in doubt, I just look in a mirror. I still enjoy life, only now my priorities have changed dramatically! I have absolutely nothing to gain by this; except
the next time I hope not to be begging, but to go peacefully knowing that I used my second chance wisely!!!

So many times we hear about others that lead sinful lives. Then, they have a near-death experience. Word spreads through in the media how exhilarating it was; creating the belief that you can get away with anything and still go to Heaven.

Please remember, that lucifer is the “angel of light” and the “father of lies”. He can be very convincing and deceiving. The “light” may not always be what it appears.

The single most important thing that was made crystal clear to me during my ordeal is that contrary to popular belief, “there will be a judgment day!”  I truly believe that God wants me to remind you about that.  Don’t worry about what others think.   You and you alone will be held accountable in the end!

Story shared from the following website: https://evri1.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/the-rest-of-the-story-my-near-death-experience/

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God Touches and Moves Each of Us…

God ouches and moves,  warns and desires all equally,  and He wants one quite as much  as another. The inequality lies  in the way in which His touch,  His warnings, and  His gifts are received   Johannes TaulerI think today’s post is for me. When I found today’s story, it spoke directly to my heart.

I know that God has giant dreams for me. I’m just as sure he has the same kind of dreams for you.

It has been my experience that God does not deal in the business of minimal growth and “just get by” projects. In all of His majesty, God always seeks to transform us from a shack to a castle.

What does God have in mind for you? As you read today’s story, listen to your heart. I suspect it will have important information to share with you…

Fulfilling God-Sized Dreams

By Susan Vanselow

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One Can Never Consent to Creep…Overcoming Adversity

One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar. Helen KellerAre you a fan of adversity? Do you wish it would go away and never haunt your life again?

I used to believe that adversity was a sign that my life was off track and/or I had done something to incur the Lord’s wrath.

Since the time of my near-death experience, I recognize it for what it is: difficult experiences which grow my depth, abilities and gifts.

My near-death taught me about the incalculable worth of adversity. Yet, even now, it is always difficult and often trying.

Yet, I find that as I keep my spiritual muscles well-exercised, I am able to utilize the Lord’s assistance with each trial and get through each event successfully. The bonus is that as I do so, I find myself additionally armed with greater wisdom, strength, and ammunition to address the next trial that comes my way.

What perspective do you use as you endure your trials?

I hope that as life provides difficulties, you will lean on the Lord to help you! I know that He is always there anxious to help you and me!

May great blessings be yours! I hope you will enjoy today’s story!:

Jim Abbott – A Story about Overcoming Adversity

If you’re a baseball fan—and even if you’re not—then you know that with spring comes Spring Training, wherein hope springs eternal…unless, of course, you’re a Mets fan.  (Sadly, we speak from experience here.)…

While we’re on the subject of pitchers, there have been quite a few who truly were and are inspirational people—you might say overcoming adversity is a prerequisite to succeeding in any sport.

Christy Mathewson, one of the game’s first clean-cut role models and a WWI veteran, and Sandy Koufax, another great pitcher and role model, throwing no-hitters (including a perfect game and Vin Scully’s legendary 9th inning call) while standing up for his Jewish heritage, refusing to pitch on Yom Kippur—the holiest day on the Hebrew Calendar—before coming back in pitch the Dodgers to victory, both come to mind, as does Tommy John himself, the pitcher for whom the surgery is named.overcoming adversity 6 Inspiring Stories of Overcoming Adversity You Might not Know ir t interconnectedlives 20 l as2 o 1 a 0345523261

But while Christy and Sandy are in the Hall of Fame and Tommy was a trailblazer, when it comes to overcoming adversity, few compare to Jim Abbott.  In making the big leagues, Abbott truly was one of a kind—he is the only player to have played Major League Baseball with only one hand.

As a boy, he would throw a rubber ball against a wall, slip his throwing hand into his glove—which rested on the stump which ends his right hand—and then fielded the ball using his now-gloved left hand.

But those rubber ball exercises gave Abbott great reflexes, and he went on to not just make his high school and later college baseball teams, where he not only pitched, but batted for himself—and hit home runs one-handed.

He attended and pitched for the University of Michigan, where he won the Big Ten Player of the Year in 1988.  From there he made the US Men’s Baseball Team and won an unofficial Gold medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and the following year he realized his dream and made it to the big leagues, signing with the then-California Angels.

But his crowning moment of glory was still to come.  After pitching solidly for the Angels, Jim Abbott moved on to the biggest names in baseball—and sworn enemies of every Mets fan out there—the New York Yankees.

The original Yankee Stadium was called “the House that Ruth Built,” and it saw more than two dozen World Series winners, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, the 1950s Yankees of Mantle, Berra, Ford and Casey, the 1970s variety with Reggie Jackson—suffice it to say it saw some of the biggest names and moments in baseball history.

Even among such hallowed baseball history, Jim Abbott not only showed himself to be an All-Star when it came to overcoming adversity, he earned baseball immortality and joined those other Yankee greats in 1993 by pitching a no-hitter at Yankee Stadium.  He also pitched for the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he got his first MLB hit—an RBI.

No one overcame more physical adversity to make it to the major leagues than Jim Abbott, after that incredible no-hitter and a career that spanned more than a decade, he’s still working to inspire people, having appeared on Boy Meets World and making his living today as a motivational speaker.

Remember—with baseball, hope springs eternal.  Here’s hoping that Matt Harvey makes a great comeback this year…and that he and everyone else who plays the game may do so with the same degree of determination and character as Jim Abbott.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.interconnectedlives.com/overcoming-adversity/2/

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Trust in the Lord With All Thine Heart…

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean  not unto thine own understanding.  Proverbs 3:5Trusting in the Lord requires faith and accepting the design and timing of the Lord.

I have often struggled with trusting in the Lord with all my heart. The positive side to that struggle is that the Lord never gives up on me and is always willing to let me repent and try again.

I know that trusting in the Lord is always the best choice – it just it not always the easiest choice or the most obvious choice. Often, I have thought that I was trusting fully in the Lord only to find, in retrospect, that I was holding back in some way.

If you sometimes struggle to trust in the Lord, I hope you will take the time to read today’s story.Today’s story shares a wonderful lesson in Trusting the Lord!:

Trust in God’s Plan for You

Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars and said, “I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I’ll be the most beautiful treasure in the world!” The second little tree looked out at a small stream trickling by on it’s way to the ocean. “I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I’ll be the strongest ship in the world.”

The third tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. “I don’t want to leave this mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they will raise there eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.” Years passed. Rain came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall. One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain. The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, “This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining ax, the first tree fell. “Now I will be made into a beautiful chest. I shall hold wonderful treasure!” the first tree said. The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, “this tree is strong, it is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining ax, the second tree fell. “Now I shall sail mighty waters!” thought the second tree. “I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!” The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looker her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter toppled it. Any kind of tree will do for me.” he muttered. With a swoop of his shining ax the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter’s shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feedbox for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, nor with treasure. She was covered in saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals. The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead, the once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail an ocean, or even a river; instead she was taken to a small lake. The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. “What happened?” the once tall tree wondered. “All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God.”

Many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. “I wish I could make a cradle for him, her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. “This manger is beautiful,” she said. And suddenly the first tree knew she was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through with the wind and the rain. The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand and said, “Peace, be still.” The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew she was carrying the King of Heaven and Earth. Early one morning a couple years later, the third tree was startled when her beam was yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man’s hands to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But three days later, with he sun shining and the earth trembling beneath her, the third tree knew that God’s love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong, And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God, that was better than being the tallest tree in the world!

Story shared from the following website: https://2jesus.org/inspstories/trust.html

 

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