afterlife · Apologetics · book review · Five Star Review

Answering the Toughest Questions About Heaven and Hell

Answering tough questions about heaven and hell
Image courtesy of Bethany House

Answering the Toughest Questions About Heaven and Hell by Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz

Published by Bethany House(2017)

ISBN:978-0-7-7642-1871-2(Print)

Grab your copy on Amazon!

*Book received for free from Bethany House Publishers*

Here’s a sobering fact: “More than 7,000 people die each day in the U.S. Nearly 11,000 are born each day.”(Answering the Toughest Questions, pg.28, 2017).

Bickel and Jantz began this book in the most logical way by asking: Is there an afterlife in general? The tone of the book is conversational, intellectual and made for very easy reading.

However, where the book excels in being  highly organized, the answers given may satisfy those who are deep in the religion and who never waver from the Word of God whilst “new school” believers like myself, believe in Christ but are not quite sure if everything the bible paints is 100% accurate or made clear.

The good part is that the authors actually save the biblical teachings for later. They offer information on the afterlife based off of sound research and used ingenious quotes from Peter Kreeft, Freeman Dyson, Alan Segal, and more.

The real question remains though: Were they able to give us what we want?

Well, the authors were humble enough throughout the book to mention that they do not have clear answers on everything. In fact, going with God, reading the bible and combing through research dealing with the afterlife is anyone’s best bet.

Another cool feature of this book are the reflection questions at the end of each chapter. The questions are tough too! Not something to take lightly. This is your afterlife we’re talking about here.

Below are a few teaser bits of what I learned from this book:

  • Before followers of Jesus were called Christians, they were called people of the way because Jesus said it first that he was/is the way to heaven.
  • C.S. Lewis said “we have an innate desire for immortality so immortality(in some form) must exist.
  • Death may not sting, but it still hurts(I love how they put that!)
  • Life after death can be explained through biology, consciousness, teleology, and physics- to some degree.
  • Our brains and minds are separate. Therefore, when the body dies our minds or spirits will live on.

I enjoyed this book completely. It sort of rekindled my faith. I love reading theology and Christian living books for this reason.

Do you have any thoughts or experiences you’d like to share here? If you have reviewed the book also, let me know!

-The Write Web 🙂

afterlife · Uncategorized · writing

Heaven or Nah?(the conclusion )

Taking my hand, this man who felt new and old to me, I let him lead me through the beautiful, forest. The sun, about three suns shone brightly. There was no darkness, no shadows.

Wanna know the super cool, mysterious inspiration for this story? Click to skip to it!

Then roughly, I am pulled tight up against him. Our naked bodies- whatever they were made of, felt a thousand times more sensitive than on earth. Many tingles rippled throughout my body, causing me to moan.

Suddenly it all came to me.

Tipping my head up with a finger, the handsome being drags his lips across mine like twin feathers rubbing against each other. His arms wrapped about my waist and then our lips pressed harder.

His mouth was a like a vacuum sucking me up into the feeling, into his lips and his touch.

Teeth, tongue, mouths wet clashed and clanged against each other full of unnatural want and need.

My heart, wherever that was, beat loud in my ears. My spirit was incendiary and instead of seeing colors. I FELT them.

“Who are you?” I asked after we pulled away. I had to gasp for breath. I couldn’t help but stare at and through this magnificent man. “I think I know you.”

The right side of his mouth curled into a smile. A wicked, sexy one. “You know me, Nanine. I am yours back there.”

My skin prickled in confusion and excitement. Both his large hands rubbed down the length of my arms. I made the mistake of looking into his eyes. Which suddenly looked like small, twin planets. In them and through them, I saw what looked like stars, bursts of light and a shadow of doubt and of love.

Beautiful.

“Adin. My name is Adin.” He said wearily.

“Adin! The love of my life!??” My brain snapped back to the past. The white hospital room, the alcohol scent, sick smells, the wailing of my family. My boyfriend, Adin.

The cancer that ate my life.

I am dead. But what am I now?

“You are one of us.”

“Wait. One of you?” I pull back farther. I am happy to see Adin, but what was he doing here?

Once again, he heard my silent question.

“I am with everyone in their final hour, Nanine.” His brows furrowed. “I have always been with you. Exclusively in your last hours though.”

“No. We. We dated. We were planning to get married. Remember?” Sunlight began drift from over his face, slowly and his skin began to lose its glow., a beautiful shade of navy and purple midnight crossed his handsome features.

“We have been together some time, Nanine. I, particularly like you, but I am not what you’ve been thinking. You already know my name, don’t be afraid to say it.”

The words bubbled in my subconscious. His name floated on every wind trail, every cell of my body. It was in every kiss. Every whispered conversation.

Every look.

The name that was ancient and forever. An ancient forever name, an event no one can escape.

“The cold one. The one that should not have been. A perfect, exact non-discriminatory design.”

His eyebrow raised. His full lips twitched.

Death.” I said as the suns dipped lower and we were finally cloaked in darkness. I heard the humming of women and children. A gentle tune of sorrow and loss. But saw no one. It was just us.

He nods solemnly, his long brown hair and brawny body, lithe and muscular, shimmers and shifts to a more pale color, a design slowly crawls over his left torso, down his left rib cage. Ink. Ebony ink, in the shape of a huge, black scorpion.

Gone were the rainbows, the squirrels- life. We both stood in a dark forest. I did not hurt. There was no devil chasing me.

“You can move around however you wish here. There is a boundary you can not go beyond though.” He points behind me and up into the sky where I see a silver lining arc across the night sky.

“So this isn’t, heaven? Is there a heaven?”

“Heaven….” He comes over to me and take my hand. His feels like a solid block of ice. “Heaven is in your mind.”

“Then the churches and the bible was wrong.”

He did not flinch when I said bible. Wasn’t he bad or something? Evil? Did he believe in God’s word? Funny I should be this judgmental in the afterlife.

“Actually, darlin’ the bible is a snippet of stories woven together to tell truths based off of personal experiences. I can not say it is completely wrong, but your finite minds cannot grasp the whole truth.” He lands another soft kiss on my lips, surprising me by how soft and cold his kiss is. “But you accepted me and kept your mind open. Which is why you’re here.”

Adin went on to explain that others before me, made it here, but are in another location. Others who pass on, stay in darkness forever, their minds shut down. He called it ultimate hell.

With a thought, I wished it light again. I wished for the silver blue oasis of water and the birds and squirrels and it made my Adin happy. When I opened my eyes again…all had come true.

Unfortunately he told me there are men, women, and children whom he granted the Kiss of Death to and I felt a familiar pang in my chest. Could be jealousy, not sure. But I watch his naked back as it turns away and walks into the clearing of the forest, the ground lighting up as he walks his path and into some void I can not see. A path where he will collect more of the dying.

I wonder if I will be alone here forever…

*****************

©Copyright 2017 Ericajean

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed the conclusion to my Flash Walk story.

***BONUS: What inspired me to write this story?***

A few years back, I had a dream that I was “trapped” in this wooden gazebo thingee. It was big enough all around but I could touch the smooth glass and peek through it looking at life all around me. Somehow, without anyone telling me, I knew I was dead.

The gazebo kept me encased where “the dead belong” but I was floating and there were others around me in these small gazebos.

Inside me a voice said, I can move about but not past the gazebo, because then my spirit would fall.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this. Stay tuned for more blog posts and stories this month!

 

afterlife · Communicating with God · contemporary christian fiction · heaven · Romance · writing

Heaven, or Nah?(A short, fictional romance)

Image from unsplash.com/Designed by Ericajean using Canva

His hands crushed mine, not tenderly, but tender in love and fiercely. The honey brown orbs that were his eyes, pierced mine as he grabbed hold of me, already feeling me slip away.

I never seen my boyfriend cry before. But I am now. It hurts like no other pain.

Everything was growing blurry…two of him, twin tearing men. His white shirt, rumpled with a few paling brown coffee stains splattered on the front, probably from rushing into to see me in my final hour.

“NANINNNNNE! Don’t you dare leave ME!” He growled, his hands no longer felt tight on mine. Was I slipping from this world to the next so soon?

I said something, I think. My lips moved, a tear raced down my cheek as my truly handsome boyfriend stared in terror.

Did not matter how often we prepped for this moment.

All the prayers and all the research of my breast cancer. Late stage, lead us here. I guess, the Final Act cuts deep.

My grip suddenly felt ghost to me. Foreign. My hold loosened on it own as Eric leaned closer to me. My family were all crowded around me, their hands touching my legs, my stomach. Praying. Weeping.

A door slammed in the distance. Another reaction to my dying.

Adin’s warm breath reached my eyelids. My heart began a lub….DUB….lub…..so achingly slow. My lungs couldn’t catch up to any natural rhythm either. The pain meds wore off long ago.

“Nanine.” He slides his hand up the side of my arm. “Don’t. You. Leave. Me. I will chase you across worlds. Remember? I will-” My poor man choked up. I gather strength enough to look into his eyes.

What I saw shocked me.

Shocked me enough to make my heart hit a few beeps.

His eyes, pupils dilated, were deep pools of black. His full lips leaned down over me and my gaze stuck to his as his hot lips landed on mine sensuously in front of everyone.

Only Adin can make me feel this way. Even with my bald head, body nothing but bones from the chemo that ravaged my body, he made me feel sexy. Alive. Always have.

His hot gaze, fierce, determined, supremely angry, swallowed me whole. I believed for a full minute that he literally could chase my soaring soul to wherever.

Our connection have always been so strong.

After the kiss, he only moved an inch from my face and ran his hand down my cheek. “I will find you.”

Suddenly, I couldn’t chase air. My heart’s rhythm, a normal drum in my chest, ceased it’s beat.

I can’t! I can’t breathe! My heart won’t tick!

Oh!

The room, Adin, my family their echoes of pain sounded so far away. I mentally clawed for life. Clawed for it.

Adin’s face of anguish, his honey eyes were the last things I saw before complete darkness overtook me.

*

My lips were kissing something wet and very cool. Smooth.

My eyes were drawn so tight, they felt like lead at this point and I was afraid to open them. My memory slipped from me. Where am I ?

I risked opening my eyes slowly, shocked at the clarity without my glasses. In clear, HD panoramic view, there were lush trees and bushes everywhere, birds chirping.

Some cherry blossoms, floated by me and landed near my face. My face was hovering above clear, beautiful liquid, too amazing to just call water.

My body felt so…clean and lightweight.

Staring at my reflection, I was shocked my skin seemed to glow whereas it was usually pale. It had a hint of gold to it, but the ripples in the water from my movement caused my shimmery glow to vanish.

I finally pushed myself up and on the bank, startling a small squirrel prancing around, chasing its own tail.

The squirrel seemed more orange than brown.

Where am I?

“Nanine Bijou.”

A deeply male, familiar voice made my heart race. I look down at my slightly sun kissed skin and was terrified at how I could see through hands, as though through a veil.

The male approached me.

He was as naked as I am. Shimmering like me. Barely solid, barely ghost.

Oddly familiar too.

His eyes were large, his body designed and perfected in some lab probably and his lips had to be fashioned in supreme love by God himself. I felt nervous, giddy, confused.

He approached me but kept a safe enough distance. “Welcome home, Nanine.”

“Home?”

He reached out to me with his hand. Feeling lost and so utterly confused, even with all the beauty surrounding me, I take his large hand.

“I told you I would chase you from one world to the next.”

Familiar words. Familiar face and lips. Those eyes.

Why did they look so familiar?

Why do I feel…connected to him somehow?

___________________________________

Stay tuned this week for the short conclusion to this love story!

Please comment. Like. Subscribe and share if you like this post!

Thank you!

©2017Ericajean. All Rights Reserved.

 

afterlife · book review · Five Star Review · Romance · Youth/Young Adult

‘Dying to Remember’, Another 5 Star Review

portrait of a beautiful blonde on the beachDying to Remember (The Station Series, #2)*

Trish Marie Dawson

Copyright 2014

Read on Kindle App

*Click book title link above for more details!

5 Stars

**********

WARNING! Some Spoilers for those who have not read the first part. Thanks for your understanding!

The Backstory to The Station Series and Sloan

Dying to Remember picks up exactly where Dying to Forget left off.

At the end of Book 1, Piper finds Sloan in the Station with her. Sloan is the handsome young man whose mind she resided in for some time.

For those of you a little lost, let me help you out a bit. Piper Willow is dead. She now resides in the afterlife at a place called the Station, where it is her job to be the consciousness of teens about to commit suicide.

Sloan was one of her assignments.

She did great with him so why is he here at the station?

Being inside of Sloan’s head is one thing. But to have him appear at the station in all his deliciousness, having every female bat their eye at him and every man jealous of him, things have kicked up a notch at the station. But Piper learns that when she was pulled from him abruptly, he missed her Voice.

Image designed by Ericajean using Canva
Image designed by Ericajean using Canva

In other words, he heard her and when she left, he became depressed again.

Sloan killed himself because he learned a few surprising things and these things are enough to wrench your heart.

And yes. He and Piper get awfully close.

Then something amazing happens.

I will let that part be a secret. Just get the book already 😉

My Thoughts and Reaction to Dying to Remember

Now, what is this Beyond that is spoken of in the book?

As someone who likes reading about spiritual stuff and the afterlife, but within context of my own beliefs, The Station Series proves to be a bit challenging and exciting.

I say this because, there is mention of a Beyond and even of Hell, but hell is what a persona makes it.

This is not your ordinary Sunday school teaching here.

The Beyond is a mystery.

Second, the visual feast of words Trish Marie Dawson uses is worthy of a Steven Spielberg production. I believe this can be a film. Truly.

When I tell you this book has me itching to read Book 3, I am so serious. If you have not read the Free download of the first part, please head over to my Dying to Remember blog post, and grab the link quick!

Stay tuned for more reviews and remember to share these posts with your friends and your own teen at home.

I appreciate it! 🙂

afterlife · book review · Five Star Review · Romance · Youth/Young Adult

‘Dying to Forget’, The Station Series, Book 1 Review

Dying to Forget by Trish Marie Dawson
Dying to Forget by Trish Marie Dawson

Dying to Forget, The Station Series, Book 1

Trish Marie Dawson

Copyright 2015

Read on the Kindle App

5 Stars

***************

This was a good book.

No. It was a really, really good Darn book. First, let me tell you the gist of the story and why after reading it, I did an impulse purchase of the second.

So, Piper Willow is dead. In the Afterlife, there is a place called The Station. This is where “special” people go. And when I say “special”, you have to read the book to find out. Literally saying it is a spoiler.

Piper finds out the hard way that dying is only the beginning. Her job is to now become the consciousness of depressed teens, not unlike herself. And when she becomes the consciousness of a boy, things get weird really fast.

My reaction:

This book had me occupied with the writing, the world, the characters-Everything.

Especially the characters. Piper Willow is strong and trust me, you’ll adore her. But what really gives the book high marks is originality. Who could ever think that the dead becomes our consciousness?

The author did well to describe the transitioning from The Station to someone else’s mind. You can feel the tingly sensation or the fiery burns along your skin when Piper is entering someone’s mind. Living vicariously through a spirit in someone’s mind is worthy of the Twilight Zone award.

My favorite moment is when she wakes up inside a dude’s mind. That is trippy, in fact that whole scene in the book gave me life.

But on a more important note, I highly recommend this book to other readers who feel there is no way out, or that no one loves you. There are people who care about you and care to know you.

Anyway, now that you know a bit about Piper and her conscious crawling activities, why not download the free book onto your Kindle now?

I guarantee you would want to purchase Book 2 in the same sitting.

I double dare you.

Want to learn more about author Trish Marie Dawson? Head over to her website at www.writertrishmariedawson.com

afterlife · Communicating with God · Flash Walk Fiction · Marriage · Uncategorized · writing

Flash Walk Fiction: Life After

sliding patio doors overlooking trees
Image found on doorsmith.ca/ Image design altered by Ericajean

Twelve days and eleven nights has gone by and the house have been eerily silent. Sarah blew out one more scented candle before going upstairs.

She purposely closes her eyes so she can avoid pictures frames of him and her together on their wedding night. Birthdays. Vacations. His handsome broad smile and always perfectly white teeth. All frames in neat order along the wall as she ascends to bed.

Smiles, laughter, lovemaking-

Are no more.

Twelve days since the eulogy she couldn’t finish. Twelve days since the burial and then the repast at this home.

And now she was alone.

They were supposed to make it past their fifties, yet cancer killed the dream, causing her strapping, strong husband to become a skeletal frame from a horror film and riddled with pain before taking his final breath.

And tonight will be another lonely one as she sits up with the television on in the dark, her bible laid across her lap.

“Jesus. There has to be an afterlife. I miss him so much,” she hugs the good book to her chest and cries harder.

Crickets begin their music and it drowns out the television. The stars were in the millions tonight and they were little bulbs of beautiful fires. The creaks and moans of her home grew worse tonight but she’ll get used to it.

Finally lying her bible down. She gets out of bed, throw on her silk, white robe she wore on her honey moon and walk over to the large patio doors and open them to look down into the darkened backyard, now lit with the millions of lights.

A soft breeze caresses her cheeks and hair like a lover’s touch.

“There is no such thing as heaven or hell. Loneliness is what I got for loving you.” She hugs her arms around herself, feeling slightly insane that the wind touching her cheeks and flicking her hair, felt too good and familiar.

Finally it swirled all around her, cool and warm all at once.

The scent of Tomorrow.

The End

©Copyright 2016 Erica Jean

afterlife · Angels · book review · Romance · Uncategorized · Youth/Young Adult

Catch Me When I Fall, Dreamcatchers, #1

 

Catch Me When I Fall (Dreamcatcher #1)Catch Me When I Fall by Vicki Leigh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

His job is to catch dreams and protect the human world from nightmares.

For two hundred years, Daniel Graham has been the protector of Night fighting red eyed monsters that haunt people’s dreams. His next mission: Kayla Bartlett, a sixteen year old clinically depressed patient in a psychiatric ward.

Daniel finds himself attracted to her and bending(breaking) all the rules to get close to her.

But he has to be careful, because Kayla’s nightmares are not normal and what Daniel and others like him discover soon enough that they will need all the help they can get to fight her nightmares.

My Reaction:

This was definitely supernatural teen romance at its best. My two favorite parts of the book is the action and the love scenes.

The book is pretty dark because there are psychological battles and supernatural battles going on that Daniel must face. At first I thought the nightmares were just that, but they can be physical and the way the author describes scenes in the book you can pretty much imagine them on the screen. The fighting scenes are gruesome, very descriptive but important to the story.

Even the sensual/sex scene is done somewhat in taste but still there, FYI.

I actually enjoyed this one and hope that the next book is just as good.

Warning: Sex and Violence

About Vicki Leigh

Adopted by a construction worker and stay-at-home mom, Vicki grew up in a small suburb of Akron, Ohio where at the age of four she began to read and by the sixth grade she penned her first full-length screen play.

If she couldn’t be a writer, Vicki would be a hunter,(like on the show Supernatural) or a Jedi.

Book Details:

Catch Me When I Fall(Dreamcatchers, #1), Vicki Leigh

Curiosity Quills Press, LLC(2014)

ISBN: 978-1-62007-486-2(ebook)

ISBN: 978-1-62007-487-9(paperback)

 

View all my reviews