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Encountering Heaven and the Afterlife: True Stories From People Who Have Glimpsed the World Beyond

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Overview

What happens when we die? What is heaven really like? How do spiritual beings--angels and demons--interact with us here and in the hereafter? Real-life, credible stories of near-death experiences and spiritual encounters gathered by the authors of Heaven and the Afterlife paint a clearer, fuller picture of exactly what readers can expect when it's their turn to "cross over." These gripping true stories--written from a solidly biblical perspective but accessible to seekers--provide fascinating glimpses into the ...
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Encountering Heaven and the Afterlife: True Stories From People Who Have Glimpsed the World Beyond

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Overview

What happens when we die? What is heaven really like? How do spiritual beings--angels and demons--interact with us here and in the hereafter? Real-life, credible stories of near-death experiences and spiritual encounters gathered by the authors of Heaven and the Afterlife paint a clearer, fuller picture of exactly what readers can expect when it's their turn to "cross over." These gripping true stories--written from a solidly biblical perspective but accessible to seekers--provide fascinating glimpses into the spiritual world around us and the one that awaits us.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764208119
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/1/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 230,813
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

James L. Garlow is the coauthor of Cracking Da Vinci's Code, with half million in print. He is the senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego and a speaker at pastors' and leaders' conferences. Jim has master's degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Asbury Theological Seminary and a PhD in historical theology from Drew University. He speaks nationwide and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, FOX, and NBC. His daily radio commentary, The Garlow Perspective, can be heard on nearly five hundred radio outlets. Jim and his wife are the parents of four children and live in San Diego, California.

Keith Wall has served as an editor for Focus on the Family, Multnomah, and David C. Cook. He currently writes full-time in collaboration with several bestselling authors. He and his wife and two children live in Colorado Springs

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Read an Excerpt

Encountering Heaven and the Afterlife

True Stories From People Who Have Glimpsed the World Beyond
By James L. Garlow Keith Wall

Bethany House Publishers

Copyright © 2010 James L. Garlow and Keith Wall
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7642-0811-9


Chapter One

Your Personal Invitation to ...

Adventures in the Afterlife

Let's take a hypothetical excursion: Suppose you and your spouse completed the paperwork for a new life insurance policy—but health care being what it is these days, the company requires more than just a stack of signed forms and an at-home blood draw from a visiting nurse. So this morning you are scheduled for a physical at your doctor's office.

Once there, you find yourself being poked and prodded by your physician. She presses a stethoscope to your chest, wraps a blood-pressure cuff around your bicep, and asks about your family history and other potentially embarrassing questions. So far, so good. But this kind of physical requires something more: You've got to complete a brisk walk on a treadmill, with electrodes taped to your chest and attached to a nearby monitor.

Okay, you can do this. You consider yourself to be in reasonably good shape. What's a little uphill climb on a moving conveyor belt?

But twenty minutes into the test, with the treadmill's speed increasing as quickly as your drops of perspiration, something seems wrong. You feel pressure in your chest. Tightness. Like someone has put a bigger version of the blood-pressure cuff around your upper torso and started to inflate it. Then you notice a tingling sensation in your left arm. Suddenly lightheaded and nauseous, you stumble off the treadmill and collapse on the cold tile floor.

Fade to black.

The next thing you know, you are in a different place. It's not your doctor's office, but it still feels medical—stark walls, antiseptic odor, chrome-plated instruments, fluorescent lights, and lots of scurrying, unfamiliar people wearing white and green. They're also wearing concerned expressions. Furrowed brows, narrowed eyes, clenched teeth.

It's you they are concerned about. You realize you've been taken to an emergency room. A tall woman with graying hair utters the words myocardial infarction. Huh? Someone else says, "heart attack." Oh, that.

You notice that you're lying on a gurney, metal guardrails at your sides, a spider web of tubes and wires tangled around your limp body. Strangers frantically turn knobs, push buttons, jab needles into your flesh. Then you hear it ...

You've heard the sound in movies and lots of those hospital dramas on TV. It's the EKG machine that suddenly spews out a shrill, hitch-pitched blaring noise, reminiscent of your smoke detector at home. You look over just in time to see the once-jumping, squiggly line go flat.

Fade to black once more.

Now the questions begin. Assuming the above scenario really happened to you (and it's certainly a possibility for any one of us), what do you think comes next? The physicians and other medical personnel swarming around you, despite their best efforts, declare you dead. Now what? You're going to have the adventure of your life, that's for sure.

Yes, some people are lucky enough to get resuscitated. But what if you weren't among the fortunate who "died" and lived to tell the tale?

Researcher Dinesh D'Souza asks the question that has been on the minds of human beings for millennia:

Is death the end, or is there something more? This is the ultimate question. It has been the defining issue for entire cultures from the ancient Egyptians to the present. And in truth, there is no more important question that any of us will face. It is the issue that makes every other issue trivial. If you have doubts about its significance, go to a hospital or a funeral or talk to a parent who has recently lost a child. You will discover very quickly that the apparent normalcy of everyday life is a sham.

What happens the moment you die? Where will you end up? How will you get there? When you arrive, will you know people? Will angels escort you to your next destination? What are heaven and hell really like?

* * *

The scene described above is not far off from a real-life drama that unfolded in the life of Earl Foster, pastor of Faith Community Church in Shady Hills, Florida. For him, the prospect of flatlining on a gurney was anything but hypothetical. On March 16, 2006, Earl, age sixty-three, lay on a table at New Port Richey Hospital while medical personnel began a blood transfusion. Suffering from diabetes and a condition that causes low blood counts, Earl had accepted this procedure as a necessary requirement to keep him well.

But something went wrong. Terribly wrong.

A few minutes into the procedure, his heart stopped, and in an instant he found himself up in a corner of the room watching as physicians tried to shock him back to life with a defibrillator. From his hovering position, Earl felt a vague sense of disappointment at their attempt to revive him, and he wasn't sure why exactly.

A split-second later, he discovered himself no longer in the hospital room, but somewhere indescribably beautiful. An overwhelming sense of peace swept over him. He knelt beside a stream to drink the cool, clear water from his cupped hands. Across a lush meadow, he saw his old dog, Ram, running as fast as he ever did and leaping over the meandering brook to greet his owner. Earl's long-lost cat, Puff, came scurrying up behind. As Earl reached out to meet them, he spotted his sister, Margie, with both legs perfectly okay and working fine—even though she had died with only one leg.

Following her down the grassy hill were his mother and father, happy and healthy, with no signs of the heart attacks that had ended their lives on earth. Soon Earl was surrounded by his grandparents, looking much younger than he'd ever seen them, and a welcoming horde of aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Everyone appeared so robust and full of unmistakable joy.

"Right then I realized that complete healing lies ahead for every child of God," Earl said. "The blind will see exquisite vistas, the deaf will hear blissful music, cancer will disappear, and the illnesses and ailments of old age will vanish."

It suddenly occurred to him why he felt disappointed that the medical personnel were trying to jump-start his heart. He didn't want to return to his earthly life. Now he knew he never wanted to leave this place. But soon enough, he woke up to find himself back on the hospital table. Thanks to the miracles of modern medical technology, Earl had no other choice but to conclude: Heaven can wait.

Earl's near-death experience (NDE) and glimpse of paradise echo thousands of similar stories. His vivid recollections—as clear in his mind as yesterday's golf game or trip to the coffee shop—give us all a foretaste of things to come.

For most people, one NDE would be astounding. A life-changing event, to be sure. For Earl, though, a repeat performance lay ahead, only with a different encounter on the other side.

A year and a half later, on August 26, 2007, Earl was back in the same hospital for another "routine" blood transfusion. Apparently for Earl such commonplace procedures are anything but routine. Once again his heart stopped and, as he was later told, he had no measurable signs of life for two minutes. This time, he immediately felt surrounded by light and propelled forward.

Suddenly he was stopped by someone who stepped in front of him. Earl recognized his brother, Robert, who had died the previous year of cancer. He put up his hand and said to Earl, "It's not your time. You have to go back. You have to endure. You must continue on with your life."

Disappointed, Earl asked, "Why do I have to continue on? You didn't."

"You still have work to do, and I squandered much of my time," Robert said. "You still have work to finish. You have to keep on."

Then Earl asked him, "How will I know when I am finished? Will it be soon?"

Robert said simply, "You will know!"

Earl desperately wanted to ask what it was he had left to finish, but he abruptly regained consciousness on the treatment table. A physician stood over him, paddles in hand, while nurses bustled about. He had—once again—been shocked back to life.

* * *

In the pages ahead, we'll present to you more than thirty stories like Earl's, and not only about near-death experiences leading to a glimpse of heaven (or hell). We'll also tell of deathbed scenes where the final visions of dying people open a window, ever so briefly, into the next world. We'll share the experiences of men and women certain they were visited by deceased loved ones. We'll highlight the unexpected visions and spiritual insights that offer unique perspectives on the afterlife. We'll show that angels and demons travel from the spiritual world to our physical world, either to help or harass human beings. We'll even share tales of ghost appearances.

This isn't a book filled with comprehensive explanations, convincing elucidations, or cogent expositions from the Bible. Rather it is an eclectic collection, offering an intriguing look into the lives of ordinary people who have had extraordinary spiritual encounters. But you'll find much more than poignant and gripping tales: You'll gain a peek into the (usually) invisible world that surrounds us every second of every day.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Encountering Heaven and the Afterlife by James L. Garlow Keith Wall Copyright © 2010 by James L. Garlow and Keith Wall. Excerpted by permission of Bethany House Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Adventures in the Afterlife 9

Doubter … or Questioner? 17

Part 1 Eyewitness Accounts

People who have had near-death experiences bring back vivid descriptions of the pathway to paradise and descent into darkness.

1 Heaven on Wheels 27

2 "An Angel Picked Me Up and We Flew" 35

3 To the Edge of Hell 44

4 Road Trip to Redemption 52

5 Upward and Onward 58

Part 2 Someone to Watch Over Me

Angels, wearing halos or Harley jackets, regularly intervene in the lives of ordinary people.

6 Angles All Around 69

7 Divine Defenders 75

8 Friends of the Family 81

9 Mountaintop Miracle 89

Part 3 Mischief-Makers

The devil's minions seek to harass, confuse, and distract people from the truth.

10 Dueling in the Dark 101

11 Evil Comes Home to Roost 110

12 Fight for Freedom 115

13 Kitchen Table Conflict 123

Part 4 Found Farewells

A window between this life and the next opens routinely-in the eyes of the dying.

14 Welcome Home 133

15 The Final Ascent 140

16 A Time for Letting Go 146

Part 5 Many Happy Returns

If a deceased loved one pays you a visit, should you … Rub your eyes? Run? Or rejoice?

17 Never Far Away 160

18 A Bond Between Brothers 167

19 "You've Come Back!" 173

20 1127 179

21 A Gift Like No Other 184

22 When Grandpa Said Good-bye 191

Part 6 Do You Believe in Ghosts?

In spite of our best efforts at denial, mysterious encounters with otherworldly entities seem as common as ever.

23 The Room With a Bay Window 201

24 Attention-Starved Spirits 207

25 Treasure on Earth 213

Part 7 An Eye Toward Eternity

Visions and divine signs provide a peek into the afterlife.

26 "Tonight I'm Going to Take You to Heaven." 223

27 The Scars to Prove It 231

28 Comfort in a Cloud 239

29 Eternally Anonymous 245

30 A Helping Hand 251

Further Glimpses of the Afterlife 255

Afterword 274

Acknowledgments 280

Notes 282

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 27 )
Rating Distribution

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(11)

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(5)

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(4)

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(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2011

    Great Book

    I was reading this book when my mother passed away. It helped me so much to know that there really IS a heaven, and that I would see her again someday. Don't wait until you in my situation to read it, though.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2012

    Good book that will make you think.

    During the last stages of his long illness, my father began to share things he was "seeing". He also would tell us things that were happening that he couldn't possibly know. After my dad died, I began to read books about the afterlife. This one is one of the best, as so many of the stories parallel what we first-hand experienced ourselves.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2012

    No longer afraid of death

    I aleays feared death, I thought when you died your world was forever darkness. Now I know there is real proof heaven exists. Believers in God go to heaven. Nonbelievers go to hell.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2012

    Heaven and the Afterlife

    One of many books on this subject that answered almost every question I had. I would definatly say this is a book you need to read, and want to read, and will ease your fears of passing

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Biased

    Some good information. Unfortunately, a constant need to refer to christian faith. One would hope that these experiences are taken for what they are without the veil of a specific religion. This is an opportunity to go beyond any religion...

    2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2014

    Enlightening Read!

    It's like talking to a hundred people about their paranormal experiences and then reflecting on your own. In many ways the stories can give us comfort in knowing we have been given life beyond this, while also reminding us that the darkness of our souls need redemption here and now.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2013

    Dsbs

    This book is one I will read often.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2013

    Good

    Book

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2013

    Softvoice

    Defening silence... nice allegory.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2013

    Lightnings Journey......Part 2

    The silence of the wood around him was deafening. Every step was heard. Lightning followed the clan cats, the tom occasionally nipping at him to speed up. Soon he could scent several cats. Lightnongs fur bristled and he looked aound with unease. The ginger looked back at him, sympathy hining in jer eyes. "We're almost there. I'm Ambermoon by the way." Lightning looks up, startled slightly by the kindness Ambermoon was showing him. "Lightning." He says in reply. A sml hiss sounds from nearby. "You brought a rouge to our camp!" A dark gray cat jumps down from a tree. Lightning steps back. Ambermoon pads over to him. "He was an intruder and is being taken to froststar. You should know the rules by now shadefury." Shadefury hisses softly. "Fine." He glances at lightning with a cold glare then there is a sudden flash of anger and recognition but he covers it quickly. Lightning looks at him puzzled then thinks he just imagined it. The scents kept getting stronger. They entered a clearingin which there were several dens. A small kit looked at the cats and squeaked with fright at the sight of Lightning. Lightning loiked around, his pelt squrming with unease. "Fetch froststar!" Shadefury calls to a blueish she cat. They see Lightning and run off immediatly. After a moment a silvery she cat pads in. Lightning looks over at her and could feel every pair of eyes watching him. Friststar looks at ambermoon. "Who is this?" Ambermoon glances at lightning. "This is lightning. We found him within our territory" Froststar gives a slight snarl. "Was anyone else with him?" Lightning stands then. "My two friends who were chased here by a fox." Froststar turns to him. "They are still there, their spirits now gone. But your warriors had me leave them to stay as fox food!" Froststar blinks. "The fox is still alive?" Lightning lts out an agitated hiss. "Foxes live in pack. The first is gone but others will still come!" Friststar narrows her eyes. "Send out a patrol!" She says to shadefury then beckons to lightning. "Follow me." He blinks, confused, but follows. They push through some vines into a den. "By all means you should been killed." Froststar says. "But my clan is low on members, we cannot afford to start fights. So tell me, what will you do when you leave?" Lightning looks at her. "I can go back to my den out of your borders. Live alone." Froststar laughs. "You dont strike me as a loner. Actually, i'm quite impressed. You ran over our borders just to try and save your friends. That is wh i am going to offer you something that few get offered. I do hope you choose wisely." Lightning looks confused and curious. "Would you like to join us as a warrior of lightclan?" Lightning lets out a startled mew. "Join a clan?" He looks at her incredulously. "The very cats i was meant to aviod?!" Friststar looks at him kindly. "You would be well cared for! Everyobe would accept you in a matter of time!" Lightning shakes his head. "You only want me because you're low on members. I don't blame you." Froststar keeps trying. "I'm sure you would make a great warrior." Then she shakes her head. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't push. I guess i'm just a little desperate. You are free to go." She says with a sigh. Lightning feels a small prick of guilt. "Couls i posibly stay just for tonight? I mean, get to know the clan, see if its all right." Froststar looks up hopefully. "Of course! And im sorry for how i acted. I'm not usually like that." Lightning exits, exausted. He sleeps quickly.

    0 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2013

    4stars

    Good read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted December 23, 2011

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    Posted March 15, 2012

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    Posted April 6, 2012

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    Posted February 20, 2012

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    Posted April 5, 2011

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    Posted July 23, 2011

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews

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