My Descent Into Death: A Second Chance at Life

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As I lay on the ground, my tormentors swarming around me, a voice emerged from my chest. It sounded like my voice, but it wasn’t a thought of mine. I didn’t say it. The voice that sounded like my voice, but wasn’t, said, “Pray to God.” I remember thinking, “Why? What a stupid idea. That doesn’t work. What a cop-out . . .”
That voice said it again, “Pray to God!” It was more definite this time. I wasn’t sure what to do. Praying, for me as a child, had been something I had watched adults doing. It was something fancy and had to be done just so. I tried to remember prayers from my childhood experiences in Sunday school. Prayer was something you memorized. What could I remember from so long ago? Tentatively, I murmured a line, which was a jumble from the Twenty-third Psalm, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the Lord’s Prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and “God Bless America,” and whatever other churchly sounding phrases came to mind.
“Yea, though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. For purple mountain majesty, mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. Deliver us from evil. One nation under God. God Bless America.”
To my amazement, the cruel, merciless beings tearing the life out of me were incited to rage by my ragged prayer. It was as if I were throwing boiling oil on them. They screamed at me, “There is no God! Who do you think you’re talking to? Nobody can hear you! Now we are really going to hurt you.” They spoke in the most obscene language, worse than any blasphemy said on earth. But at the same time, they were backing away.

—From My Descent into Death

Not since Betty Eadie’s Embraced by the Light has a personal account of a Near-Death Experience (NDE) been so utterly different from most others—or nearly as compelling

In the thirty years since Raymond Moody’s Life After Life appeared, a familiar pattern of NDEs has emerged: suddenly floating over one’s own body, usually in a hospital setting, then a sudden hurtling through a tunnel of light toward a presence of love. Not so in Howard Storm’s case.
Storm, an avowed atheist, was awaiting emergency surgery when he realized that he was at death’s door. Storm found himself out of his own body, looking down on the hospital room scene below. Next, rather than going “toward the light,” he found himself being torturously dragged to excruciating realms of darkness and death, where he was physically assaulted by monstrous beings of evil. His description of his pure terror and torture is unnerving in its utter originality and convincing detail.
Finally, drawn away from death and transported to the realm of heaven, Storm met angelic beings as well as the God of Creation. In this fascinating account, Storm tells of his “life review,” his conversation with God, even answers to age-old questions such as why the Holocaust was allowed to take place. Storm was sent back to his body with a new knowledge of the purpose of life here on earth. This book is his message of hope.
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About the author

HOWARD STORM was a studio art professor at Northern Kentucky University for more than twenty years. Today he is an ordained minister and pastor of Zion United Church of Christ in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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Published on
Feb 15, 2005
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Religion / Christian Life / General
Religion / Inspirational
Self-Help / Spiritual
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Eligible for Family Library

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“If we can stay awake when our lives are changing, secrets will be revealed to us—secrets about ourselves, about the nature of life, and about the eternal source of happiness and peace that is always available, always renewable, already within us.”

During times of transition, amid everyday stress, and even when we face seemingly insurmountable adversity, life offers us a choice: to turn away from change or to embrace it; to shut down or to be broken open and transformed. In the more than twenty-five years since she cofounded the Omega Institute—now the world’s largest personal-growth and spiritual retreat center—Elizabeth Lesser has been an intimate witness to the ways in which human beings deal with change, loss, and difficulty. She herself has struggled to submit to what she calls the “Phoenix Process”— allowing herself to be broken open in order to rise like the mythical bird from the ashes of past mistakes and suffering.

In this beautifully written, often funny, and always inspiring book, Lesser has gathered together true stories about ordinary people who by design or disaster decided to step boldly into a fuller life. Here are profoundly moving narratives of fears overcome and risks taken; of hard times and difficult passages; of betrayal, divorce, sickness, and death; and of the day-to-day challenges of raising children, earning a living, and growing older. By sharing her own most human traits, Lesser helps us feel less lonely in our own struggles, and more optimistic about the possibility of transformation. Broken Open also introduces us to some of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers—both ancient and living—and imparts the wisdom of various traditions, from Buddhist meditation to Sufi dance, and from Christian prayer to contemporary psychotherapy. Eminently practical, Lesser provides tools to support us in our quest for a clearer sense of purpose and a new passion for life.

Broken Open is not only a testament to the inner richness and potential of every life but also a deeply trustworthy guide to the dynamics of healing and growth—how we resist and how we surrender, how we stay stuck and how we grow, and how we can turn misfortune into insight, and grief into joy. It helps us to discover within ourselves a fearless heart, a clear mind, and a shining soul.

From the Hardcover edition.

We were not created to just get by with average, unrewarding or unfulfilling lives. God created us to leave our marks on our generations. Every person has seeds of greatness planted within by the Creator. When life weighs upon us, pushing us down, limiting our thinking, labeling us in negative ways, we have what it takes to overcome and rise above into the fullness of our destinies. In his dynamic, inspiring and faith-building new book, BREAK OUT: Five Ways To Go Beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life, best-selling author Joel Osteen provides practical steps and encouragement for creating a life without limitations. This book will help readers break out and break free so they can believe bigger, increase their productivity, improve their relationships and accomplish their dreams. Osteen's uplifting message focuses on moving beyond barriers by:
Daring to believe that the best will happen for usAdopting an irrepressible "break out" attitudeMaking room for increasePraying bold prayersFollowing God's plan beyond our circumstances Filled with faith and inspiration, BREAK OUT challenges readers to have a new perspective, to let nothing hold them back, and to reject any labels that might limit them. Osteen inspires and encourages with the message that our first break outs must occur within our own minds: "When you break though in your mind, believing you can rise higher and overcome obstacles, then God will unleash the power within that will enable you to go beyond the ordinary into the extraordinary life you were designed to live."
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