BEAST BITEBy: Darrelyn L. Tutt"And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, there came a vipor out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hanging on his hand, they said among themselves, 'No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.' And he shook off the beast into the fire and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have been swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly; but after they had looked a great while and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god."Acts 28:3-6-------A fantastic story to be sure of our beloved Paul.Today's adventure occurs enroute to Italy.Paul finds himself a prisoner bound for Rome and subject to a severe storm (Euroclydon) along the way. He and 276 shipmates are forced to jump ship, float on boards, and swim to shore.Interestingly and miraculously, all 276 men survive the ordeal, just as Paul had prophesied earlier (Acts 27,) and find themselves on the Island Melita.Melita is composed of hearty "rednecks" and a barbarous stock.Yikes ... but good news because the rednecks are kind.They get a roaring fire going on account of the weary and shiver-worn men and offer true island hospitality.It's impressive.-------This is where Paul has the most curious, supernatural "Huck Finn" thing happen:A vipor attaches itself to his hand like a demon flung out of the flames fastening itself to him. Evidently, the vipor is so large, he's termed a "venomous beast" by the rednecks who watch this extraordinary scene unfold with wonder.Paul flings the vipor into the flames and enflames the minds and tongues of the amazed rednecks. Surely Paul will die!This is better than Netflicks, friend.Wow!-------Paul is now declared an evil man by the rednecks on account of the cursed providence attending him and they prepare to dump him into a landgrave knowing it's impossible to survive the bite of this beast.But curiously, mysteriously, and strangely, the grave doesn't happen to Paul, who remains entirely and miraculously unaffected.The stupified rednecks scratch their heads and change their thought patterns.They now determine that Paul is not a cursed man but a god.Hmmm ...For a moment I'll give a "rabbit trail reminder" that difficulties and trials are rarely the sign of cursing but pronounced indicators of curious favor and blessing from God.In any event and back to our story, the "Paul god" is now listened to differently and watched with the utmost respect ... as the glorious Gospel unfolds.This testimony is God's and it is good.The intended "vipor bite" of Satan did nothing in the end but provide fodder for the glory and attendance of God.God's light is stronger than the viper bite ...and will always be.No evil, force, or beast preventing.Read the adventure through and make your own glorious discoveries.God will attend to the "viper on the hand" and it will be devoured by fire.Fling off the beast as He empowers you and send him flying and discover the glory of God.Amen and Hallelujah ... share the good news!-------THREE STUDY EMPOWERMENTS1) Read the account of Acts 27-28 and record the series of suggestive "ill calamities" that happen to Paul.What is God's ultimate purpose in hindsight?-------2) Have you ever experienced the "bite of the vipor" and been afraid?Have you ever experienced name-calling and cursing from men?What did this to you at the time and what, with hindsight, did it propel in you?What discoveries were made through this?-------3) God has power over the vipors.He knows where they are, when they'll attack, and where they'll bite.He remains the remedy and miraculous recovery and provides full redemption.Look to him, fling off the beast, and extol His name.------Love the life you live ...a mysterious adventure.
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