Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jesus Meets People

If you suddenly meet Jesus face-to-face, what would you say?

"The Wonderful Catch of Fish"
 (Painting by Anton Losenko, Russian 1762)

That's what I want to ask you! What would you do walking up the street, down the sidewalk, or across the park, and you meet Jesus? What would you say to him? What would he say to you?

I'm sure people are surprised. In fact, 150,000 people die everyday and hardly one expected it. Some of 'em meet the Son of God; some of 'em don't. Those that enter the Heaven of Lights are wonderfully glorious! Those that enter the isolation of Hell, the Lake of Fire, are not. They don't meet their friends there, either. They are all alone, forever. Yes, they planned it. Every person makes his very own lifetime choice.

But let's back up. I'm walking across the park and I meet Jesus. Now, I'm a big guy. I fall to the ground with a thump. I'm in absolute awe and I'm overcome. This loving Jesus takes my arm and raises me to my feet. He's all smiles, the joyful Jesus! His brightness and cheer make me smile. I can't help it!

Most people miss the joy of Jesus in scripture. They think he walks around in solemn prayer all the time with a pale face, a British accent, and head bowed. Take another look. Yes, there's one question I just have to blubber out!

May I follow you?”

Yes!” he laughs with a loud, cheerful laugh. “Follow me.”

Well, what would you say if you meet him? Look at what people did in scripture.

Jesus returns from the desert encounter with Satan “on the scene.” He announces himself in the synagogue in his hometown, Nazareth. Jesus' problem is he always tells the Truth. They take him up to a cliff to throw him down. Not time to die yet, he walks away.

But the devil's still around. Next Sabbath, he meets a man in the synagogue in Capernaum. This fellow is possessed with demons.

Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? 
  Have you come to destroy us (Luke 4: 34 NIV)?”

Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him (4:35 NIV)!”

So, if you've got serious demon problems, Jesus is the right one to meet.

Don't laugh, more people have, than you recognize!

As Simon's guest, Jesus meets his mother-in-law, she's sick in bed with fever. I love to watch Jesus when he meets a man or a woman. He has profound respect for them, for the humble. He instantly healed her. She rose up and began serving her guests as a woman does. So, if you're not feeling well, he knows what to do. That evening, he laid hands on all the sick who crowded in, and he cast demons out of those restrained.

Are you ready to answer, what would you 
say, if you suddenly meet Jesus?

Jesus is preaching from a boat slightly rolling in the water's edge from the breezes at Lake Gennesaret. When he finished the lesson, Jesus took sympathy for poor Peter who fished all night long, to no avail.

Put out in to deep water, and let down the nets for a catch (Lk 5:4 NIV).”

The nets began to break and an extra boat helps to load the overflowing fish.

Go away from me, Lord; I am
a sinful man (Lk 5:8 NIV).”

Peter spoke from his knees in the sand.

Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men (Lk 5:10 NIV).”

If you met Jesus face-to-face, would you stand or get on your knees or just pass out? What would you say to him? What would he say to you. I know he will speak Truth to you whoever you are. I know he will know everything about you. He already does.

The most amazing thing is he Loves you with the same Love the Father Loves you, your Creator, even with all your sins. You need to know Jesus paid the price for all your sins on his painful cross. He wants you to turn from your sins and trust your life to him for eternity. When you do, this perfect God forgives perfectly and forgets your sins, perfectly. Once more, he Loves you perfectly!

Now, again, what would you say to him?

--Bill Hunt

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

True Tongues a Spiritual Gift

Is the gift of tongues of the mind or a gift of the Spirit? Is this gift cognitional or personally experiential? Tongues was first openly heard in Jerusalem at Pentecost. Was it also heard when Phillip, Peter, and John ministered in Samaria? 

Variety of Tongues Like Rays of Light”

(Variety of Tongues from the same Spirit,
like Rays of Light from the same Sun.
Photo by Bill Hunt © 2011.)

When I don't know what or how to pray, the gift of tongues becomes a treasure working in my spirit (Rom 8:26). The Holy Spirit prays within me according to the mind of God.

I thank God that I speak in tongues more than
all of you” (1 Cor 14:18 NIV), said the Apostle Paul.

Telling someone about a gift of the Holy Spirit who has not experienced it is really like trying to tell someone about true love. Love is not first cognitional, of the mind, although it involves the intellect. Primarily, it is experiential, or we could say, of the heart. Love must first be experienced to be understood!

When your listener first hears of love, he will accept it on faith, reject it for lack of experience, or misinterpret it with his own limited knowledge. He could even build a defense of religious doctrine about himself to protect his unbelief. But man’s doctrine never rules God’s reality.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and
today and forever (Heb 13:8 NIV).”

That is one reason God’s supreme command of love must first be lived by the believing disciple who attempts to witness the gospel. Conviction, faith, and experience are the works of the Holy Spirit. The believing disciple has no place to condemn another for his ignorance, but for the grace of God he would be in the same condition.

The witness must exercise patience, a fruit of the Holy Spirit. So it is with attempting to witness the true manifestations of the Holy Spirit, for, as disciples, we are indeed called to witness truth.

But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 

As for us, we cannot help speaking about what
we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20 NIV).

In JERUSALEM, at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit poured himself on the church in tongues of fire to each of the 120 disciples assembled in earnest prayer.

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in other tongues,
as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4 NKJV).”

The initial baptism of the Holy Spirit is often marked by a foreign languages not known to the speaker or by glossolalia (spiritual sounds). In my case, as a linguist I recognized Indonesian, although it was not otherwise spoken by me. One thing I know, the true gift of tongues is not taught by men, but a spiritual gift of the Holy Spirit.

A similar outpouring happened again to the Jerusalem believers a few days later.

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31 NKJV).

Missionaries told of a Japanese prayer group praying in tongues regularly followed by healings and miracles. Years ago, I prayed in a home prayer group with Tulsa Christian Fellowship, where starting in tongues was regularly followed by answered prayers.

As the church began to spread, Peter and John followed Phillip into SAMARIA to minister this baptism of the Holy Spirit to the new converts there.

Then they laid hands on them, and they
received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17 NKJV).

For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Gal 6:8 NKJV).

As scripture theologians report, the amazing thing was the original language of the Bible implies Simon heard some kind of utterance that caused him enthusiastically and mistakenly to want to buy this gift with money.

Peter rebuked Simon.

At the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Samaritans, Simon, himself, enthusiastically responded when he heard this utterance coming from his fellow new believers. In fact, he was so intrigued by it, he was mistakenly ready to buy it.

You have neither part nor portion in this matter ((utterance)), for your heart is not right in the sight of God” (Acts 8:21 NKJV).

The word for “matter” is the Greek “logos” meaning “word” or “kind of speaking” or “kind of utterance.” So Simon’s hearing of this “speaking” at the baptism of the Holy Spirit caused an enthusiastic response in this now former “clever wizard,” highly regarded in the region. And Simon, as a result, repented of his mercenary response.

We fault Simon, but the truth appears, people today hear tongues or see healings or miracles or other manifestations of the Holy Spirit and are far more reluctant to believe or to obtain them!

Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor 14:39-40 NKJV).

--Bill Hunt

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ten Commandments, Moral Law

How should we live? A perfect GOD abhors sin and requires perfect holiness in his presence for eternal life. His Law points toward the gift of his Son's redemption.

GOD Gives Moses the Ten Commandments.
  (Painted by Gebhard Fugal, 1900, German)

I. I am the Lord your God. You shall
have no other gods before me.

There is only One True God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of the Bible. 
II. You shall not make any 
graven idol.

This includes making God out to be any other god, giving attributes other than the God of the Bible who with perfect love and perfect justice abhors sin and requires holiness.

III. You shall not take the Name of 
the Lord your God in vain.

Any form of misusing his Divine Name is blasphemy.

IV. Remember the Sabbath Day, 
to keep it holy.

Saturday or Sunday. Early Christians after the Resurrection chose to break bread on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7) and to collect donations (1 Cor 16:2). The Apostle Paul taught the Gentiles converts not to regard the old traditions and festive days including Sabbaths (Col 2:16), but to live by grace (Eph 2:8-9) and not to forsake meeting together (Heb 10:25).

V. Honor your Father and 
your Mother.

The old law seriously called for anyone who cursed his mother or father to be put to death (Lev 20:9). But this commandment also bears a blessing, one who honors his father and mother will live a long life (Ex 20:12).

VI. You shall not kill.

This does not forbid killing in national defense for war or for personal defense as demonstrated in the Bible. However, Jesus points out that anger against someone is itself murder and liable to judgment (Matt 5:22, 1 John 3:15).

VII. You shall not commit adultery.

Forbids all forms of sexual immorality. He who looks at another with lust has already committed adultery in his heart (Matt 5:28). Jesus said the pure in heart will see God (Matt 5:8).

VIII. You shall not steal.

Most often man steals or cheats to benefit himself. Stealing, cheating, and all forms of dishonesty are offenses against God and man. The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).

IX. You shall not bear false witness 
against your neighbor.

Slander is listed along with other sins. Includes gossip, lies, and any false or defaming reports. 
v9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were (1 Cor 6:9-11 NIV). (See also Rev 20:8.)

X. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife,
nor your neighbor's property.

v17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Ex 20:17 NIV).

NOTE: Only One Man ever
kept the Ten Commandments!

The only man who ever kept the ten commandments without sin is Jesus. In fact, most men sin against all ten commands. Anyone who claims not to be a sinner is a liar (1 John 1:10). For this reason, Jesus, the Son of God, came and died on the cross to redeem mankind. He is either the Son of God as he claims, or he is a liar.

Two things are necessary for our eternal life as the Bible teaches, to totally believe and trust our salvation to Jesus and to repent for our sins.

v22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
v24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live (John 5:22-25 NIV). 
--Bill Hunt

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Grouchy Midnight Mountain Lion

Yes, like for Samuel, David or Daniel, God protects from a grouchy midnight mountain lion.

(Photo by fPat Murray, Flickr.com)


One evening, the growls of a mountain lion interrupted my sleep about midnight.

"Mountain lion!!!"

I rushed into my clothes and headed up the other end of the house to the back door, barefoot. In the light of my flashlight, I could see the big, saucer size, bright reflecting eyes of a male Texas Panther. Florida State transplanted the lions into Northern Florida for a time as an experiment in change of habitat.

The lion continued to growl repeatedly, looking straight at me not a hundred feet away. Then the worst possible thing happened. My entire herd of goats came rushing out of their hutch to see what was happening. Oh, no!

Goats are very, very curious. I was in panic, and knew I had to act fast. I possessed no gun.

"Shall I fight the lion barehanded like
David with a kitchen knife?"

I thought fast, as I looked back through the open kitchen door at the knife drawer.

v34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it (1Sam 17:34-35 NIV).

"No, that's not a good idea!" Of course, there was Samson....

v5 Samson went down to Timnah together with his father and mother. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion came roaring toward him. 6 The Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done (Judges 14:5-6 NIV).

I ran out of the house,
jumping off the porch!

I dived into my small car, an old Chevrolet Cavalier. I drove it onto my woods road, honking the horn, and flashing the lights wildly. I was in a panic to save my goats!

Mister Lion actually backed off toward the snake ravine! He remained in that area, growling demonstratively through the hours of the night.

The blessing for the shepherd was this--none of my goats were harmed. No lamb chops! And the grouchy midnight mountain lion on his rounds never came back!

I felt the victory of Daniel!

v19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
v21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
v23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God (Dan 6:19-23 NIV).

--Bill Hunt

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Miracle of a Vicious Snake Strike

Yes, as for Paul the Apostle, God protects his servants from the danger of snake attacks.

Do You Trust God to Protect You Even From a Vicious Snake Attack?

 (Photo by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission fhwa.dot.gov)

Overhead, a bald eagle flies by, looking like a huge bomber bird. Two rusty Cooper's Hawks regularly visit my back field where a herd of goats pastures. The prime purpose of the herd is to keep the grass short to discourage the presence of Florida's poisonous snakes. Over the years, I've encountered rattlesnakes, coral snakes, and water moccasins in turn.

In the far front corner of the wild property is a ravine overgrown with bushes, wild grasses and leafy trees. It's a deep, dark, murky pool of water in the rainy season. One day I trudged down there to fix the barbed wire fence line built around the property.

As I came close to a woody fence post, I heard the tail rattling of a nervous snake, noisy in the dried grasses. Looking carefully, I caught a glimpse of him stretched out barely seen near the fence line. He looked like a rattlesnake, but I saw rows of long sharp teeth. Being too close, I turned my back to step away from the post.

WHACK! That snake struck at 
my leg with a mighty force!

But he bit the fence post instead! This was a miracle. Snakes see with infrared eyes, and he confused the fence post for my leg which was exactly behind the post. The snake's teeth stuck hard in the wood post for a few moments as he struggled to free himself with his figure eight coiling body.

I raised my long handled shovel to strike at him, but in a flash he disappeared as I shifted my feet to make the hit. I walked away trembling with double layer goosebumps all over my skin. I felt frightened and alone. But the still, soothing voice of the Lord spoke to me calmly and echoed through my whole being.

"I will never leave you nor forsake you” 
(Joshua 1:5 NIV).

Later, I learned the snake was a Florida Banded Water Snake. With his rows of long razor sharp teeth, he could tear a cube of flesh out of man's leg.

Preachers often have trouble with the snake scripture, but I've had my encounters a few times, and I believe it!

"And these signs will accompany those who believe:… they will pick up snakes with their hands…it will not hurt them at all” (Mark 16:17-18 NIV).

Paul the Apostle understood.

When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god (Acts 28:4-6 NIV).
Now, I understood, too.

--Bill Hunt

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