When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Acts 2:1-4 (NIV)
â€œâ€¦they were all togetherâ€ Now THAT is a wonderful phrase to describe a group of Believers, isnâ€™t it? When Pentecost, arguably one of the greatest days in the Christian Church came â€“ the Believers were all together. They were in one place and what do you want to bet â€“ they were once again in unity??? I am struck again by the IMPORTANCE of the word â€˜unityâ€™ when it describes the Body of Believers.
â€œSuddenlyâ€¦â€ God comes to us â€˜suddenlyâ€™. When we look back in retrospect, we can see that He would come to this group because of their unity; because of their faith; because of their love for Him; because of their need. But the moment when God actually responds and comes in the power of His presence, it always seems sudden. We are surprised. We are awed.
â€œâ€¦a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.â€ These manifestations of Godâ€™s Spirit were something they had NEVER seen or heard before this day. Has God ever done something that youâ€™ve never seen or heard before? Iâ€™m going to share a personal story with you.
I made my life commitment to God, accepting that I needed a Savior at the revival known as the Pensacola Outpouring in July 1996. That fall, my daughter, a gymnast at the time, was at a state gymnastics meet in central Florida. She called me that afternoon to tell me she had won a gold medal as the all-around champion. That was the highest achievement of her career. The evangelist, Rev. Steve Hill, had prayed for her before she left for the meet and so she asked me to report what God had done to him when I went to the revival service that night. Now, manifestations of the Holy Spirit were something new for me. I had been attending the revival for about three months or so and had seen many people fall down and shake, etc. I had never walked forward for prayer. I had been wonderfully â€˜touchedâ€™ by the music and the preaching. My spiritual life was growing as I studied and prayed daily. I was so happy and blessed. Besides, I did not want anything like â€˜fallingâ€™ and â€˜shakingâ€™ to happen to me! So at the end of the service I walked up to Rev. Hill and gave him Janetâ€™s message. In a moment of joy at what God had done, we praised God and clasped hands. Suddenly my feet left the ground and I flew back approximately six feet (no exaggeration!) and landed flat on my back on the carpet. I tried to open my eyes. I tried to lift myself from the floor. I could not. As I looked at my watch later, I laid there on the floor for 30 minutes as God spoke to my heart about His love for me. It felt like a warm, soft blanket was over me and God was just holding me in His arms, speaking softly to His daughter. It was sudden and I had never seen or heard anything like that before in my life. I got up and have not been the same since. It was not about falling down or the manifestation itself. I had an encounter with my Living God and I was forever changed!
I am no one special except for one specific point: I am Godâ€™s child. I am not the perfect child. I am not the special child â€“ any more than ALL of my own children are special to me and so I am special to God. I believe that God wants â€“ no, DESIRES with all that HE is â€“ to have that special encounter with ALL of His children. Each encounter would be as diverse as the child He is encountering! The encounter may not be about flying through the air â€“ it may be a dream that is so vivid that you know you have been touched by the Living God. It may be as you sing in worship and SEE your Lord before you, receiving the praise you offer. It may be sitting quietly in a chair and God is there and you know you have His ear.
How awesome is our Lord! How extravagant is His love for us!