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Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Amazing Testimony of Former Atheist-turned-Christian Pastor, Howard Storm -- The Man Who Descended into Hell and Lived to Tell

Howard Storm's painting of the Cross. He 'died' as an atheist, and went back from Hell a renewed person and a Christian.

Sometimes the Lord allows me to undergo a series of similar experiences and then inspires me to write about them consecutively such as when I wrote my Christian Movie series --- 'Fireproof', 'Courageous' and 'Flywheel' --- earlier this year. 

After watching 'Heaven is For Real' and writing about it, the Lord inspired me to search more on Near Death Experiences, while also being wary to test the spirits, since NDE's do oftentimes go into anti-biblical, New Age territory. 

In my research, I chanced upon what was probably the most astounding and amazing Near Death Experience of a man who was an atheist who went to hell and back. His name is Howard Storm.

Before his near-death experience, Howard Storm at  was a Professor of Art at Northern Kentucky University, and was not a very pleasant man by his own admission. He was an avowed atheist and was hostile to every form of religion and those who practiced it. He often would use rage to control everyone around him and he didn’t find joy in anything. Anything that wasn’t seen, touched or felt, he had no faith in. He knew with certainty that the material world was the full extent of everything that was. He considered all belief systems associated with religion to be fantasies for people to deceive themselves with. Beyond what science said, there was nothing else. But then on June 1, 1985, at the age of 38, Howard Storm had a near-death experience due to a perforation of the stomach and his life was since forever changed. His near-death experience is one of the most profound, if not the most profound, afterlife experience I have ever documented. His life was so immensely changed after his near-death experience, he resigned as a professor and devoted his time attending the United Theological Seminary to become a United Church of Christ minister. Today, Howard Storm is presently happily married to his wife Marcia and is Pastor of the Covington United Church of Christ in Covington, Ohio. - by Kevin Williams (Please read his astounding, awe-inspiring story here.)
* * * * * * * * * 

I would not go into full detail on his amazing journey from hell and back, but something struck me in his recollection of what had transpired to him there and his conversations with Jesus and the heavenly angels while he was in the place that he said was "between Heaven and Hell" (what we Catholics would call 'purgatory'.)

This is an excerpt from that heavenly conversation with 
the heavenly beings:

"Asking them how it would be possible to change the course of many people, I observed that it was difficult, if not impossible, to change anything on Earth. I expressed the opinion that it was a hopeless task to try.
My friends (the angels) explained, quite clearly, that all it takes to make a change was one person. One person, trying, and then because of that, another person changing for the better.

They said that the only way to change the world was to begin with one person. One will become two, which will become three, and so on. That's the only way to affect a major change. 

I inquired as to where the world would be going in an optimistic, future one where some of the changes they desired were to take place. The image of the future that they gave me then, and it was their image, not one that I created, surprised me. My image had previously been sort of like Star Wars, where everything was space age, plastics, and technology. 
Howard's vision of the future is NOT what is going to happen.

The future that they showed me was almost no technology at all. What everybody, absolutely everybody, in this euphoric future spent most of their time doing was raising children. The chief concern of people was children, and everybody considered children to be the most precious commodity in the world." 
                                                                                          Howard Storm painting 
 In the future, the most precious 'commodity' will be children and people will live in a very natural setting.

And when he talked to Jesus, this was what
 the Lord told him: 

Howard Storm's painting of Jesus
“When He [Jesus] told me that I had to come back to the world and I was trying to convince him not to send me back…, I asked Him what would I do if I came back… Before He had a chance to answer, I said, 'You know I am an artist and I would like to build a shrine for You… I would make this shrine so big and beautiful and bizarre that people would come from all over the world out of curiosity to see what it was about. And what they would find was it would be about You. And that would make them think about You. That’s what I would like to do if I came back'.

He said, "I would rather you didn’t do that".
                                                                        Howard Storm

And I said, "WHAT?!! People have been building shrines to You forever. There are lots of shrines. Why can’t I build a shrine? I would like to build a shrine."

He said "You spent so much of your life hiding out in the studio, avoiding people, I would prefer it if you didn’t avoid people by building this big shrine… I don’t really care about shrines. People like to build shrines. I understand that. It makes them feel good. It does absolutely nothing for me or for God. We don’t have any use for them whatsoever. If that’s what amuses you, I guess that’s what you gotta do. But don’t do it for me. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking it’s something I want or need, because I don’t".

I’m like, "OK, You shot down my idea, what’s Your idea of what would I do"?

“And He said, "Love the person that you’re with".
Howard Storm painting of a radiant Jesus

And I said, "OK, great, I’ll do that. No problem. What do You want me to do"?

He said, "I just told you what I want you to do: Love the person that you’re with".

And I said, "Yeah, but after I do that, what do You really want me to do"?

“No, that is what I want you to do: Love the person that you’re with".

I said well, that’s simple enough, that’s easy, I can do that.

And he said, "Oh really. Well, that’s what I want you to do. That’s enough".

And I said, "How is it enough"?

He said, "If you do that, you’ll change the world".

And I said, "Oh, You want me to change the world"?!

"Exactly, that’s why I put you in the world in the first place: to change the world... The way that I want you to change the world is by loving the person you are with".

“Wait a minute, that’s a contradiction. You want me to change the world but You just want me to love the person I’m with?
"Every Knee Shall Bow" painting by Howard Storm

Yes, that’s the plan; that’s The Big PlanIf you love the person that you’re with, then they will go out and love the person that they’re with, and they will go out and love the person they’re with and it will be like a chain reaction and love will conquer the world and everyone will love one another. That’s God’s Big Plan."

With his second wife, Marcia, together they serve God's Kingdom. 
His first wife, an atheist, left him after he emerged a (new) believer 
of God, following his spiritual experience with the Divine.

"Double-atheist" Howard Storm quit his high-salaried and prominent job as an art professor in the university he was working for, and then went into the seminary to become a minister after his faith experience. Skeptics and cynics alike can raise eyebrows on a LOT of what he's said, but for me, the proof is in the pudding.

Nothing witnesses more greatly than a life totally TRANSFORMED in obedience to the commandments of our Lord; and Reverend Howard Storm's life now as a Christian is so full of love and compassion, (which he admitted he had none of before when he had his career and himself as god) that it cannot be attributed to anyone other than to God Himself.

* * * * * * * * *
The Lord singled out some messages for me, from Howard's testimony. (I have been reading almost all of the pages in Google on Howard Storm, for the past two days.) And this is what I felt led to write about today, and which touched me greatly from having researched on his supernatural, extraordinary spiritual experience:

        CHILDREN and LOVE.

The Lord changed me and made me into a new person on September 1, 2013. I didn't have a near-death experience like Howard Storm, but I did experience a string of highly stressful events that shook me to my very core. I was so broken during that time, and I asked the Lord to help me. In my despair, He saved me, the Spirit convicted me of my many sins, I repented; and life has never been the same! Since that time, I have totally let go and let God. I fully submitted to the Lord and after that, I submitted also to my earthly authority, my husband Dong.

Isaiah 66:2
My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the LORD, have spoken! "I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word.

Since that time too, I have been taking seriously, my roles as a wife and mother, and find inspiration and direction too from these Bible verses:

Titus 2:4-5 part
" love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."

How wonderful to know a future wherein the people's major assets are children!!! :) In these modern evil times where children are viewed as a hassle, a burden and a chore; the Lord wants to remind us that children are His most precious treasures; and that in the far-off, highly spiritually evolved and better future, they will be considered as such.

Psalm 127:3-5(NIV)

3 Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.

4  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior

    are children born in one’s youth.


5 Blessed is the man

    whose quiver is full of them.

They will not be put to shame

    when they contend with their opponents in court.
Our children are our greatest treasure. :) - the Alejars Aug 2013

Even before my conversion, I have always professed that: "My religion is LOVE". I long for Christ's united Church of believers one day, wherein all true followers of our Lord and Savior will worship Him together, minus the nasty and rabid accusations and slandering that "Christians" usually hurl at each other. Though we differ in dogma, we all do worship and love God, so what's the problem? I find it such a turn-off when people claim to be the "true Christians" while judging and condemning others who may not hold their same beliefs or doctrines. Nothing is more un-Christian than unloving, judgmental, Pharisaic people. Those who do not know Christ will not find Him in those people with that kind of behavior. :(

Wasn't it Mahatma Gandhi who said, "I like your Christ. 
I don't like your Christians."? 

                                                                                          Howard Storm painting
Jesus died for ALL of us, not just one denomination or race.

I was blessed by this atheist-turned-Christian pastor's testimony. I pray that we do not wait for us to be near death before we realize that there really is a God, a very loving God Who is just there waiting for us to believe in Him and to love Him. Whether we believe it or not, God loves us. Whether we accept it or not, Jesus had already died for us. We are all God's Children. I pray that we respond to our Heavenly Father's call to accept His Son NOW. Not tomorrow, not when we get old and wrinkled, not when we are nearing death... but N-O-W.

Howard Storm's portrayal of the Holy Trinity
Hebrews 3:15
Scripture says, "If you hear God speak today, don't be stubborn.
Don't be stubborn like those who rebelled."
* * * * * * *
Borrowing from Howard Storm's words as taken from Jesus, 

"Let us love the person we are with, 

and help change the world one person at a time."

                                   (Peacefulwife Philippines note: Beginning with our husbands! :

May we all be richly blessed! :)

P.S. I write this while the ongoing monstrosity is happening at Iraq. Join me in prayer for our Christian brothers and sisters being persecuted and killed by the ISIS. Let's pray too that the Lord will turn their persecutors' hardened hearts into hearts of flesh. Lord, nothing is impossible with you o Lord. Have mercy on us. We pray for Peace. Amen.

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