WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DEATH? April 29
Dear friends and neighbors…
Thank you for your response to our invitation to participate in this E-mail Forum presentation WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DEATH. It is our sincerest desire that you have been greatly comforted, especially now during these troubling times.
Our initial presentation which was launched on April 22nd, as a practical matter so as not to be overwhelming, was spread out over 4 consecutive days and concludes our E-mail Forum presentation WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DEATH. We will now continue in greater depth on a weekly basis every Wednesday hereafter, beginning with today, April 29th. Feel free at any time to E-mail any questions you may have, or to contribute any thoughts and input. We will always get back to you on a personal one-to-one basis, so as to maintain confidentiality and your privacy. None of your personal information will be shared with anyone else in the Forum; we will honor and respect confidentiality in all matters.
If you remember nothing else from this Forum, never forget this: GOD LOVES YOU.
God’s Love 4 U is…
ETERNAL PROVISION: GIFT OF MY HOLY SPIRIT:
Obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit always brings the blessings of God.
Prayer, in accordance with God’s will, moves the hand of God.
It was June 11, 1995. Four years earlier, in March 1991, I had come to the place in my walk with the Lord that I no longer wanted just to do things that I thought would be good and pleasing and acceptable to Him. I wanted to hear from Him; I wanted to know specifically what He wanted me to do. And so I went before the Lord with a determined prayer, “Lord, I want to be led and guided by Your Holy Spirit. I don’t want to do anything anymore until You show me…plainly, clearly, beyond the shadow of any doubt…what You have planned and purposed for me to do.”
During those four years of watching and waiting, looking off unto Him and listening for His voice, I often said to the Lord, “How will I know You are showing me what I am to do; how can I be sure it is You, and not just something I am thinking or imagining? How will I know it is Your voice?” I had never before experienced this leading of the Holy Spirit that I was now asking for. I only knew that it was an intense desire, and I was determined to consciously and deliberately refuse to do anything for Him until I heard directly from Him. My antennas were up as I patiently waited, straining to hear His voice. Oftentimes, I wondered what He would lead me to do; I thought of a hundred things it could be, and hoped it might be this one or that one of my several special preferences.
On that Sunday morning in June 1995, as I [and two thousand other believers] was walking out of the sanctuary of the Brooklyn Tabernacle after the morning service, I heard a brother across the way call out my name. I didn’t recognize him, but as we began to talk, he reminded me that we had met several years earlier at a men’s retreat. After a while in our conversation, he said, “I’m involved in Prison Ministry.” Since my antennas were up, I immediately said to myself, “Lord…prison ministry? Well, OK…if that is what You want, I will do it. But how can I be sure this is You?” Prison ministry was not one of the things I had thought of during those past four years. It was so foreign to me, and not the least bit appealing…and I knew absolutely nothing at all about it. Even so, I told the Lord that I would be willing to do whatever He wanted; I just wanted to be sure it was Him.
I sought counsel from a brother Paul…a man of God whom I had come to know and respect, who was President of Elim Bible Institute in Rochester, New York. He invited me to come up to the college for the weekend where we could talk, and for me to spend some time alone together with the Lord on their beautiful campus, to inquire of Him. They were having their annual week long Camp Meeting Retreat at that time as well. I booked an early flight to Rochester, and arrived Saturday late morning. After a brief meeting with brother Paul, I decided I would avoid fellowshiping with any of the many people who were there for the Camp Meeting. I just wanted to be alone with the Lord. At lunchtime, I got my tray of food in the cafeteria and picked out a table where no one else was sitting. After awhile, a brother came by with his tray, and asked if it was OK for him to sit there with me. As we engaged in conversation, he said, “I am involved in prison ministry.” I said to myself, “Whoa, Lord; prison ministry, again…a second time!” The Lord said to me as clearly and unmistakably as two friends speaking together face to face… although not in an audible voice, “Are you sure yet? Well just in case you’re not, I am going to show you another thing.”
I spent the remainder of the afternoon alone with the Lord on the Campus grounds. At dinner time, I again took my tray and sat at an empty table. Shortly thereafter, a brother came over with his wife and their two boys, and asked if they could sit with me. As we engaged in conversation, he said, “I’m involved in prison ministry.” Again, I said to myself in utter disbelief, “Lord…that’s three times now!” The Lord again said to me clearly and unmistakably [and these words are quotes!], “Are you sure yet? Well just in case you’re not, I am going to show you another thing.”
Next morning, after Sunday service and breakfast, as I left the cafeteria [this time I did sit alone], I was passing by a brother who was cleaning something on the grass outside when he called out, “Where are you from?” I replied, “The Brooklyn Tabernacle.” He responded, “Really? So am I!” As we engaged in conversation, he said, “I’m involved in prison ministry there.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing; “Lord, the only people I have spoken to here are all involved in prison ministry!” He responded in that clear, unmistakable, yet inaudible voice, “Are you sure yet? Well just in case you’re not, I am going to show you another thing.” I met briefly again with Brother Paul before leaving for the Rochester airport, relating to him these incredible incidents involving meeting only people who were involved in prison ministry during my stay. I told him, “My only problem is…I don’t know any prison chaplains, nor even how to get in touch with them!”
Several weeks later, on a Saturday about mid-morning at my home on Long Island, the Lord startled me saying, out of the clear blue, “Go to JFK airport.” I responded, “Well… OK, Lord; I will do that.” I wondered why He wanted me, of all things, to go to the airport. I had just recently published my first book “Personal Letters From The Heart Of God,” and reasoned that maybe I was to go there just to give out some copies of the book to people He would show me. As I approached the airport, not knowing exactly where I should go, I decided to go to the main terminal. As I walked through the terminal with a bag of my books to randomly give out, I wondered whether it was permissible for me to do this. Just then I saw a sign pointing up an escalator that read “Chapel.” I decided to go there and ask the minister if I was allowed to give out books in the airport. There was a service taking place, so I attended, and at the end of the service I introduced myself to the minister, who invited me to come into his office. As we engaged in conversation, I began telling him about my recent incredible “call to prison ministry” experiences, lamenting that I did not know any chaplains, or even how to go about getting in touch with them. Patiently listening as I finished pouring out my heart, he looked at me and said, “I am the Regional Director of chaplains for the entire Northeast region!” Driving back home, I was stunned…and the Lord spoke to me again, “Are you sure yet? Well just in case you’re not, I am going to show you another thing.”
Two weeks later, on a Saturday mid-morning, I decided to drive to a hospital in downtown Brooklyn to give out some of my books to people in the waiting room. As I was approaching the hospital, the Lord spoke in that clear, yet inaudible voice, “Go to Brooklyn House.” I responded, “Well…OK, Lord; I will do that.” Brooklyn House of Detention is a maximum security prison located three blocks from the hospital. I did not know why I was to go there, but thought maybe I could get contact information for the prison chaplain and get in touch with him. There was a sprawling set of concrete steps leading up to massive doors, and I wondered if I should go on up; it seemed very intimidating. There was also a line of people at ground level waiting to get to a small window; I got on that line, thinking the person at the window could give me the contact information I needed. It was early August and the sun was beating down on us; I was hot and sweating, and the line seemed to be taking forever. I thought to myself that I should leave and go to the hospital, and then come back here later. But the voice of the Lord said, “No; stay on line.” Finally…I got to the window, and asked the person how I could get in touch with the Chaplain. She said, “I don’t know; this is a bail window.” I walked slowly away, wondering what I am to do now. Just then, a man in a suit came out of the massive doors and was walking down the stairs. I approached him, introduced myself, and asked if he knew how I could get in touch with the Chaplain. He looked at me and said, “I am the Chaplain.” As I recounted to him the events that had taken place concerning my apparent call to prison ministry, and the fact that I knew absolutely nothing about prison ministry, he invited me to come into the prison on the following Thursday evening with a ministry group that conducted a Bible study there every Thursday. Incredible! The Lord spoke to me again, for the sixth time, “Are you sure yet? Well just in case you’re not, I am going to show you another thing.”
The following Thursday I found a parking space two blocks from the prison, and as I got out of my car, a voice seemingly surrounding me was just continually screaming, “What are you doing! You don’t know what you are doing! Just turn back!” I knew it was Satan, trying to stop me! I called on the Name of the Lord, and set my face like flint; looking neither to the right or the left, I just kept moving one step at a time toward the prison as the voice continued to harass me!
There were eight of us, including myself, as we entered the prison and were escorted to the chapel to wait for the inmates to be to brought in. There was a delay, so I began a conversation with a sister who was the only female in the group. I soon realized that this lady was Spirit-filled, and we were having a great conversation together! When the inmates arrived, the group leader instructed us to break down into pairs and spread out in the sanctuary. Merlyn immediately said, “Michael is coming with me!” We went to our spot and were joined by a handful of inmates, and I thought to myself, being totally unfamiliar with this setting, that I would just kind of lay back and observe what Merlyn does and learn from her. After an opening prayer, an inmate immediately looked directly at me and said, “What do you have to say to us?” So much for laying back and observing! I silently called on the Lord for help, and was led by the Spirit to speak out of 1 John 3:1…which was part of the book I had just written. As I was speaking, I realized I had the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon me, and commented to the Lord, “Whoa, Lord… this is not me; this is You!” As I continued speaking, I could see that Merlyn was just sitting there, contentedly watching and smiling, enjoying it all! After our time was over and the inmates left the chapel, Merlyn’s countenance was all lit up as she said to me, “I have been asking the Lord for months to send someone like you to our ministry; you are an answer to prayer!” As I was leaving Brooklyn House to go home, the Lord started speaking for the seventh time, “Are you sure yet?” Before He could finish, I replied, “Yes Lord, I am sure!“ Hallelujah!
I had never before heard the voice of the Lord, and now I have heard! The Lord Himself Personally taught me! It is so simple a child can understand: Watch for the Lord and wait upon Me; look off unto Me and listen for My voice. I will most assuredly lead you and guide you by My Holy Spirit…and obedience to the leading of My Spirit always brings the blessings of God!
Our God is faithful; I have experienced the leading of the Spirit hundreds of times since then! Blessed Jesus…formerly, in years gone by, my ears had only heard of You and my eyes read about You, but now my eyes have seen You…with my own spiritual eyes I have seen You, and I have beheld Your Glory! Oh Lord!…I have gazed attentively upon You in the Sanctuary, and I have beheld Your Power and Your Glory! Therefore, in the midst of the congregation I will proclaim Your great Name and mighty Power according to all that my eyes have seen! Because Your steadfast Love for me is better than life, my lips continually proclaim Your Glory! My lips shout for joy as I sing praises to You! I will open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise; with singing lips my mouth overflows with Your praises! Surely, I will enter Your gates with thanksgiving; I will come into Your courts with praise! Hallelujah!
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