It was a dark, drizzly Northwest autumn evening when I found myself following my wife to the front door of a lady I had never met––and somehow I knew this was my final chance. Final chance at what, you may ask? Let me back up several months to the events that led me to this door on this night.
For several months, I had been in a downward spiraling depression. I had visited doctors and they had found no organic base for my depression but had still tried to treat it with medication. Yet, it continued and even intensified. I felt totally cut off from God and began to seriously question His existence.
My Self-worth Plummeted––At the same time, my feeling of self-worth plummeted to the point that I began to feel that my existence was a burden to everyone I knew, and maybe it would be better for the world if I wasn’t in it anymore. The depression was so deep by this point that I was in an almost complete state of paralysis. I literally stayed in bed for twenty hours a day, only getting up to accomplish basic functions and get minimum sustenance.
I Walked Through Life's Memories––It was during this time alone on my bed that I began to go through the memories of my life. The best way to describe it is a long, dark, wood paneled alley disappearing into the dark, dusty distance with large doors on either side. Behind each door lays a vivid memory from my past and the farther down the hall the further back in time. Behind several of the doors I ran into incredibly painful, repressed memories of childhood sexual and physical abuse.
My dear, long-suffering, and wise wife Christina realized that I needed help immediately and asked me if I would be willing to meet with a lady who might be able to help me. I was feeling like I was in a surrealistic dream, the rain was dripping from below and then suddenly the door opened and a warmth poured forth from within.
A petite woman with blue eyes whom I felt was seasoned in experience greeted us. She had a radiant smile and a bigger heart, and reached out to hug me. I knew right then and there that I was loved and accepted unconditionally. I felt the presence of Jesus but something else that was a little different––a little exciting and unusual––at least for me. This was a house of healing––the home of Rita Bennett.
Healing from the Inside Out––Over the next couple of months, I spent a lot of time with Rita and some of her friends she introduced me to. I spent a lot of time in inner healing prayer where you go back to your painful memories with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, to help you forgive and let go. You can heal from the inside out. That "something else" I first experienced when I entered Rita's home was the Holy Spirit. Having grown up within the traditional Evangelistic community, my focus had always been on God the Father and Jesus as Savior and mediator, but the role of the Holy Spirit was muted. No longer! God is one––yet three!
The Holy Spirit's Empowerment––It is by the power of the blood of Jesus that we can be saved from our sins but it is the Holy Spirit who empowers us with God's gifts to be His tools on earth! The two go together.
During this time of depression, and then, spiritual healing and restoration, I had been on hiatus from taking care of my mother in North Carolina. With a renewed relationship with God, His armor firmly in place, and an understanding of the Holy Spirit's role in my life, I returned to Montreat, North Carolina. I continued caring for my mom for two and a half more years until she passed into Heaven on June 14, 2007.
Spending these last two years with my mom, we had devotions every evening; and spent hours talking about this kingdom (man's/Satan’s) and God's Kingdom. The closer Mom came to the end of her physical existence, the more she lived in God's Kingdom, and the less she held onto the things of this world.
Choosing to Live in God's Kingdom––As I witnessed this, it hit me that where we choose to live is an act of "free will." Followers of Jesus live with one foot in this earthly kingdom and one foot in God's Kingdom, and every day we wake up, we have the choice of how much weight we place on which foot. Our daily goal should be to freely surrender our "free will" to God so that we can live as fully as we can in God's Kingdom! Now I have never been to hell, although I feel as though I have experienced hell on earth. And I have never had a near death experience, nor been to Heaven, but I have experienced a taste of what is to come in Heaven.
My Taste of Heaven––It happened one night when Mom was having difficulty sleeping and the nurse called me to come down and be with her for a while. The fire was crackling in her fireplace and the candles were lit on the mantle. Mom was lying on her side staring at the wall above her desk. I sat down gently beside her. As the shadows danced about the room, I asked her what she was looking at, and she said, "The Cross." On the wall above her desk was the Cross I had made for her when I was a boy, and hanging over it was a life-size crown of thorns. I asked Mom what she was thinking, and she whispered "Guilty." I asked, "For what?" She looked up into my eyes with her fading sight and tears in her eyes and simply said, "For all He has done for me!"
Being a Conduit for Love––I just looked at her in amazement. With all her pain and suffering, she was worshiping! I reached out, stroked her hair, then bent over and kissed her forehead with my hand still on her head. Then all of a sudden it was as if God let me become a conduit between Him and Mother. The absolute, joyous, peaceful, warm, exhilarating, unimaginable, all encompassing love of God for Mom was passing through me and her reciprocal love for God was also passing through me. I just looked at Mom and asked, "Do you feel that?" She smiled warmly and said, "Yes." I said, “God loves you so much!” I praise God for the privilege of letting me experience a taste of what Heaven will be like when we are in constant relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit without any encumbrances of this world.
For more of what Heaven is like read on with gusto! Rita has pulled together great material that will help you understand that death is not the end, but the beginning. The beginning of eternity is beyond imagination!
Ned Graham M.A., President, East Gates International, China
Youngest son of Billy and Ruth Graham
October 14, 2008
Excerpt from Heaven Tours––Astonishing Journeys by Rita Bennett, 2016
BACKGROUND DETAILS by Rita Bennett
On February 3, 2009 my second book on Heaven was published entitled, Heaven Tours––Astonishing Journeys. It uniquely featured full-color illustrations of Heaven in accordance with Holy Scripture. Artist friend, Sally Moser assisted me with these eight original biblical illustrations.
The Rev. Dr. Dennis J. Bennett and I had met in Miami, at the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship Conference, and we married after our courtship in 1966. Following my mother's (Loretta Ellen Reed) death, and later, my husband's (Dennis) passing on November 1, 1991, I felt the desire to study more about what the Bible says about Heaven (called "Shemiem" in Hebrew). I joined a video class on the last book of the Bible, Revelation, taught by Bible scholar, Kay Arthur. Dennis and I had walked hand-in-hand in ministry both nationally and internationally, and we authored and co-authored many books during our 25 years of marriage. While I miss him greatly, the Lord has found much for me to do in God's Kingdom.
As an educator, author, teacher and leader in Counseling and Inner Healing Prayer, I continue to work as the President and CEO of Christian Renewal Association Inc., P.O. Box 576, Edmonds, Washington 98020. Visit CRA on the web at www.EmotionallyFree.org, or contact us at 425-775-2965. Blessings!
THE MOUNT OF OLIVES – HOLY GROTTO by Rita Bennett
One of the most inspiring things you can do is to visit The Mount of Olives in Israel to see The Holy Grotto where Jesus taught His disciples The Lord's Prayer. On September 6, 2002, my friend Kaoru drove me to the Holy Grotto three days before my return to the U.S. She took photos of me as you see on this page. We joyfully sang The Lord's Prayer together standing in the doorway into the entrance of the Grotto. To learn more, check out the introduction to my book THE LORD'S PRAYER HEALS. Inside, you will find this special bookmark where I am standing with my hand on the white stone entrance. You can go there yourself and with a tour group. What an opportunity––it's close to a touch from Heaven!