CLOSE ENCOUNTERS of a WONDERFUL KIND:
When Jesus comes for a visit!
Preface by brother Jeff
The following article retells a personal experience shared by a Central Indiana man who's been a Christian more than 30 years. This article is a written firsthand account by JIM HALL.
Biographical note: Jim is a seminary graduate. Who completed a Bible College ministry degree. Jim's Bible College training led to credentials as an ordained minister. For more than 25 years, Jim's been a writer & professional journalist (a college degreed professional writer for magazines, newspapers & book publishers). - Jeff
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS of a WONDERFUL
When Jesus comes for a visit!
By JIM HALL
Charles Finney, the great preacher and evangelist of the 19th Century, once had a close encounter of the wonderful kind. He met Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour of the world, literally face to face. His fantastic experience was recounted in the book "Charles Finney, The Great Revivalist" (by Bonnie C. Harvey).
"There was no fire or light in the room, yet the room appeared perfectly light. As I went and shut the door, it seemed to me that I saw Him as I would see any other man. He said nothing, but looked at me in a manner as to break me right down at His feet. He stood before me and I fell down at His feet and poured out my soul to Him. I could feel a wave of electricity going over me and through me. Indeed, it seemed to come in waves and waves of LIQUID LOVE. The waves came over me and over me and over me, one after another, until I cried out, 'I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me. Lord, I cannot bear any more!' But yet, I had no fear of death."
My jaw literally dropped when I read Finney's account recently. I had to put the book down and enter into quiet meditation for some time. In reading Finney's account of meeting Jesus face to face, I was hearing him describe an almost IDENTICAL experience to one I had as a very young man (of only 20) more than 30 years ago.
MY CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF A WONDERFUL KIND: Seeing Jesus (as reported by Jim Hall)
When I (Jim) had my Close Encounter of the Wonderful Kind, I had not yet even given my life to Christ. In fact, I was a mess. My childhood had been very difficult, with all of the factors that generally contribute to young people having problems as they move into adulthood. I felt empty and hopeless and unloved. I was trying, without success, to find relief in mystical Eastern religions.
One night, I (Jim) was watching television in my parents' family room (I was home on a weekend from college). Everyone else was sound asleep. Suddenly, I was startled by the sensation of a "presence" that had quietly entered the room. Someone was there, but yet at first, I could see no one. Then, the presence began to radiate and glow and shine brightly before me. I could see within the swirling energy of that powerful presence, something of a face and a body, much like that of a man. But yet, I could tell that this body was not flesh and blood, it was a body in spirit form. It was Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
I sat quietly in my chair for a few seconds, literally transfixed by what I was seeing and experiencing. Then, I blurted out, "It's YOU! It's really YOU!" When I said this, the Presence moved and came closer to me. Then, I began to experience what I could best describe as "liquid waves of love" washing over my body, mind and spirit. I began to laugh and cry at the same time because something was going on inside of me that words cannot describe. After only a short time of this had passed, I cried out to the presence, "Please! Enough!" I felt incredibly overwhelmed, yet, I was not afraid of death. And I didn't really want the waves of liquid love to stop washing over me - even if it meant physically leaving this planet.
Now, if you go back to the top of this article and read Finney's account of his Close Encounter of the Wonderful Kind, you can see why I was so blown away when I (years later, after my own experience) read his story. Finney had essentially the same experience, even to the point that this great hero of the faith described his experience as waves of LIQUID LOVE! But I had experienced this more than a century after Jesus had come to meet with Finney face to face. I've since read accounts by some very prominent people - such as Catholic music's No. 1 musical artist, John Michael Talbot, and the late internationally known Christian evangelist and musician Keith Green. Of nearly identical experiences.
A CLOSE ENCOUNTER AT AZUSA STREET
Frank Bartleman was a minister of the Gospel and a journalist who participated in and documented the amazing revival that began at a tiny Azusa Street church in Los Angeles. The Azusa Street Revival took place in the early 1900s and its spiritual impact is still being seen throughout the world. Bartleman also had a Close Encounter of the Wonderful Kind during the revival meetings. This is recounted in the book he wrote, "Azusa Street."
"A heaven of divine love filled and thrilled my soul," wrote Bartleman. "Burning fire went through me and my whole being seemed to flow down before Him, like wax before the fire. I lost all consciousness of time or space, being conscious only of His wonderful Presence. I worshipped at His Feet. I forgot I had eyes or ears, but my spirit recognized Him."
IS THIS THE REAL THING?
Perhaps at this point, you are thinking about factors that would discredit the validity of such an experience. I can't speak for these other folks - though I personally believe them completely. However, if I was reading this account and this hadn't happened to me, I would likely have the same kind of questions. Here are some answers for my personal experience: (1). No, I wasn't taking any drugs or drinking booze that night. (2). I wasn't mentally ill at the time (though I was very SPIRITUALLY ill) and I wasn't having hallucinations. (3). I didn't seek out this experience or know that it was possible and it came to me totally "out of the blue."
I had a Close Encounter of a Wonderful Kind with Jesus Christ because He wanted me to experience in a very personal and profound way the depth of His love for me. What is amazing, as I look back on it, is that it took me nearly three years to fully respond to this beautiful event by asking Jesus to come into my heart and take complete control of my life.
I have walked with the Lord for more than 30 years now. And my relationship with the Son of God grows sweeter with each passing year. He is my Lord, my Saviour, my Friend.
I felt the need to write about this experience so that, if you are a believer, you can gain a deeper revelation about the love of Jesus in your own life. I also felt the need to write this for the unbeliever who, like "Doubting Thomas" in the Scriptures, needs to see tangible evidence that Jesus is actually alive and involved in the affairs of mankind (John 20: 25-30).
DO YOU KNOW JESUS AND LOVE & SERVE HIM?
If you do not know the living Lord, Jesus Christ, I want to invite you to come to Him. I am not inviting you to "join a religion" or embrace a "belief system" or take a political position. I am asking you to consider making the first step on a long journey of relationship with the Living Son of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus took our sins on Himself at the Cross and died for us there. If you accept the free gift of God's grace through His Son Jesus, you can look forward to a life filled with meaning, purpose and satisfaction. Then, when this life is over, you will spend eternity in heaven with the One who gave His life for you at the hill called Calvary.
Please pray: "Jesus, I do believe that you died on the Cross for my sin and that you arose from the grave and defeated death. I want to know You and I want You to come into my heart and take control of my life. I am sorry for my sins and I ask you to help me to live a better life. I want to know You, Jesus, and I want You to be my Lifelong Friend."
If you have prayed this prayer, please seek out a church in your community where the truth from the Holy Bible is being preached and taught. Begin to pray to God in the same language that you would use to speak to a friend. Read portions of the Bible each and every day, beginning in the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
May God richly bless you and keep you under the Shadow of His Wings (His sheltered place of protection & care)!
The above article is a written firsthand account by JIM HALL.
P.S. The NEXT close encounter can be YOURS... How to find God
What is Heaven like? Who will go there? How can I be sure?
I dreamed about Heaven...
Postnote by brother Jeff
Isaiah was a man who had SUPERNATURAL encounters with God and SAW the Lord! Scripture reveals many men who had spiritual experiences like these. Their revelations are not fanciful allegory. Rather, LIVING REALITY! Daniel saw God by visions and dreams. Abraham knew humble and marvelous times when "the Lord APPEARED" to him. Supernatural experiences are actually NORMAL Christianity.
For example, here is one of Isaiah's experiences...
Isaiah 6:1 -8 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
Stephen is a man who had a similar
Acts 7:55-60 Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Paul (formerly Saul) also knew a
lifechanging encounter with the reality of Jesus...
Acts 9:3-8 As Saul neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless...
Every word of the Bible is true cover to cover. There is a
distinct PERSONAL element to much of what the Bible shares. Intended
to help each of us know that Jesus is ever-ready to reveal Himself
PERSONALLY to us, in a close encounter, which - like Jim Hall's
experience - will show us the LOVE we so desperately need to know!
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