Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Prayer for the 2008 Elections

Lord of all nations, bless our country especially in the upcoming election. Bring us leaders who will enact and enforce laws that protect and prosper all human beings. We pray for the protection and preservation of the unborn, the aged, the handicapped, and the sick. We pray for economic justice that those who work and invest may receive the fruit of their labors. We pray for educational opportunity that each person may grow in wisdom and skill. We pray for the continued freedom to believe and worship according to conscience. We pray for citizens who will take responsibility for themselves and their neighbors. We pray for the punishment, restraint, and rehabilitation of criminals and for protection against the enemies of freedom. Bless this country and grant that each one of us would be a part of that blessing by living according to Your will. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

90 Minutes in Heaven

Can a person die, go to heaven for 90 minutes, and then come back to tell about it? That’s what Pastor Don Piper does in his popular book 90 Minutes in Heaven. Don was is a terrible car accident, and the EMT’s left him for dead. Another pastor who happened onto the scene prayed with him and sang “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” When Don started singing along with him, he was astonished (freaked!). Finally Don was rushed to the hospital where he miraculously survived.

Don describes some of the things he saw and heard in heaven during the ninety minutes he was left for dead. But most of the book is really about his recovery from the accident. Don’s testimony raises a question about Near Death Experiences (NDEs). Do they really happen? Can people die and come back to earth again?

I’m always careful neither to criticize or affirm these experiences. They are personal, and I prefer to leave them to the individual. However some NDEs contradict the Bible and have to be disregarded. In a recent Bible study we looked at eight instances of people mentioned in the Bible who died and were brought back to life. None of them told us what the afterlife was like. Paul had a vision of heaven, but he refused to talk about it. John, on the other hand, had several visions of heaven in which he saw some very interesting things.

Probably the most important thing about an NDE is that they are not as important as the Bible itself. An NDE shouldn’t be the basis of anyone’s faith.