Pete and Harriet Deison were enjoying a full life of being parents, grandparents, and partners in ministry when deep depression spiraled Harriet into a darkness that caused her to take her own life. Suddenly thrust into unimaginable grief, Pete, a Presbyterian minister, turned to his roots as a student and educator in an attempt to make sense of it all.
Visits from Heaven is the love story of a man and his wife of forty-three years, which quietly becomes the story of God's love for his children. The narrative of strange coincidences, amazing answers to prayer, and dozens of dreams and visions by Pete and others affirms that there is a continued existence of loved ones that can be experienced here on earth.
Is heaven a place where real life continues, or is it all clouds, pearly gates, and long church services? Visits from Heaven answers those questions, giving readers a clearer picture of what life is like for a believer after death. It's also a wake-up call for those who secretly think heaven is a dry and boring place.
In Visits from Heaven, Deison shares biblical truths about the reality of our continued existence and the nature of our heavenly home, gently leading grieving people on an effective and insightful journey through the grief and recovery process.
Q: Pete, thank you so much for your time. Let's start with yourself, tell us a little about yourself and your ministry.
I have worked in three different areas of ministry. My first was with college students. I have served as a campus, state and national team director for CRU ministries. After seminary, I was ordained in the Presbyterian Church of America. I have pastored in three churches for over 30 years. In between, I also taught as an Assistant Professor in a seminary for five years. This has been a joyful ministry for me.
Q: Congratulations on your new book, "Visits from Heaven." Briefly tell us what is the book about.
Visits from heaven is about my journey through my wife's sudden death, understanding grief and in the process experiencing her reality in heaven through dreams. I poured through the scriptures to understand what was happening and also read scores of books about heaven, NDE's, angels, and the great writers of the past and found I was on solid footing. The comfort I received was astounding.
Q: In the book you do talk about the veil between heaven and earth is more transparent than we often think. What do you mean by that?
The veil between heaven and earth is more transparent than we know. Heaven is very aware of what is happening on earth. There are several biblical examples. King Saul seeks to get help from Samuel who had died. He does so through a medium, which was forbidden. Yet, by God's grace Samuel comes and is fully aware of all that is going on. Jesus says that when a sinner repents there is joy in heaven.(Luke 15). In other words, heaven knows when that occurs, which would be frequently. We know that angels appear and disappear easily as does Jesus. And often when there is a crisis event, as in Stephen being stoned, the scripture says heaven was opened. The clearest scripture is Hebrews 12:1, which says there is a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. The word surround is the Greek word for amphitheater. This means a crowd is watching. How much and how often, we can not say, but it does occur. There are other scriptures as well.
Q: You also touch on the topic of suicide. Do you think it's the unpardonable sin? And why is suicide never the solution to our problems?
The scripture never says that suicide is an unpardonable sin. Jesus says that the only unforgiveable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 12:31-32). It is a sin of murder, yet that is forgivable as seen in David's life. There are also different kinds of suicide, those from shame, anger, guilt and those that involve mental illness, which may incorporate some of the before mentioned conditions as well.
Q: You also talk about the God's use of dreams and visions in your lives. How does God still guide us through dreams and visions today?
Dreams and visions are still possible today because of the work of the Holy Spirit( Acts 2:17) , but differently in that now that the Scripture is complete we do not receive new revelation or new truth.We can receive greater understanding of the truth or more illumination of the truth, which is the work of the Holy Spirit. I do not take dreams as guidance rather I see them as gifts. I do believe they can act as warnings in some instances, yet if they are from God they will never lead us to do anything that contradicts His word.
Q: What are some of the take home lessons you want to impress on readers after reading your book?
There are many take home lessons in the book. It is divided into three parts. In part one, which is our story, the best lesson is that God is always at work in our lives. We receive visits from Him all the time, usually without realizing it. He has a purpose for each one of us and is developing that purpose as He develops us. In all our weaknesses, sicknesses, mistakes and even sins, He is lovingly guiding us for His glory and our joy.In part two, we understand that God reveals His presence, power, and grace more clearly when we suffer. He never leaves us to suffer alone. We sometimes may not be immediately aware of it, yet when we look back we find He was there. Death and even grief have purposes. Also, He personalizes His grace to each of us. In my case He blessed me with dreams. Not everyone has dreams like I had.In part three, I focus on the way God leads us up and out of suffering and then gives us understanding of the glories of heaven that await us all as believers. The purpose of the book is not to focus on death or dreams but to focus us on our wonderful Father in heaven who likes to visit us often.
Q: Through all your experiences, how has your understanding God changed or remain the same over time?
My understanding of God has expanded and deepened. I always knew He was there yet now I have personal evidences and incredible answers to prayer that remove my doubts. Will I ever doubt again, sure I am still a sinner, but not like before. I also have lost my fear of death and I have gained a new excitement for Heaven and a new understanding of how important our present journey is in fulfilling God's plan for me on earth.
Pre-Order Visits From Heaven at http://visitsfromheaven.com.