The Holy Tingles
One day at church, the announcement videos started to play. A common occurrence in most churches that separates the praise and worship part of service from the pastoral message. Included in the video package of announcements was a testimonial video from an older married couple. The white-haired couple – who were both retired, talked about the last several years of doctors visit and health struggles that the wife had undergone.
The woman described an unusual health condition where inflamed red bumps appeared in her throat and on the inside of her mouth. They had been there for years causing pain and discomfort. The doctors weren’t really sure what or why they were there. The testimonial then shifted to a previous service where the pastor had stopped in the middle of service to say, “There is someone in here right now, who has been dealing with bumps on the inside of your mouth. God is about to heal you.”
The video testimony continued, the woman said that she had been sitting in that service and felt the presence of God surround her in that moment. She knew that message was for her. Two weeks later, a doctor confirmed that all of the redness, irritation and bumps had dissipated. As soon as the sickness showed up without reason or diagnosis it was gone without reason, except that God had revealed what He was about to do through His people before it happened.
There are two things that many people focus on most when hearing this story. One is the revelation given to the pastor both about the sickness in the congregation. Did he actually hear that from God? Does God speak through others? Did the pastor already know she was sick? Is this account fabricated?
The other would be the supernatural healing of God. I know the great debate that exists between Christians who believe God heals today and those that struggle with it. However, neither one of these issues are what I want you to focus on today. Instead, I want you to go back and put yourself in the shoes of the woman who, when told she was about to be healed said, “I knew the message was for me. I felt the presence of God surround me.”
Have you ever felt the presence of God? Do you believe it is even possible to feel?
The first time it happened to me, I was inside the same church with the same pastor when he stopped and said, “There is someone who is here tonight who is about to get a huge opportunity in your career tomorrow. It’s going to change the way you live. Tomorrow is the day you’ve been waiting for. I don’t know who you are, but that will settle right inside you and bear witness with you.”
I didn’t know this pastor personally. He had no idea that I had been praying and fasting for months to receive the vision from God for His plans and purpose for my life. He also didn’t know that in the moment, the presence of God surrounded me like a warm blanket and I knew that word was for me. The next day I received the long awaited plans and purpose for my life I had been waiting for — which was a vision to start Testimony House. In the months that followed that revelation I quit my job, found a wife, was delivered completely from addiction, moved to an area of St. Louis God called me, wrote two books, held revival events, hosted radio and live streaming shows and shared the gospel with everyone I could.
God absolutely changed the way I live. Just like the word I had heard in the presence of God said.
I felt that same presence of God when I met Megan and He told me I would marry her. I have heard my friends and other believers share similar stories of the presence of God revealing something to previously unknown them those moments. The Bible is also full of stories where God’s presence is felt and revelation follows.
· Paul is knocked off a horse and told he will share the gospel with the gentiles
· Cornelius has a vision that he needs to bring Peter to his house
· Peter has a similar vision and visits Cornelius to baptize them
· Moses saw God in a bush and was told to lead the Jews out of Egypt
God’s word has dozens of Scriptures about the presence of God being a tangible thing. Peter reflects back to an old testament Scripture in a New Testament message to a crowd in Acts 2:28 when he says about God, “You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.”
I struggled in my early walk with Christ believing in the truth and power of the presence of God manifesting in the natural world. While I believe in it now, I know there are still many people who also disagree with this theology. Those that disagree often hold the belief that Scripture is sufficient and physical experience of any kind is not necessary for God to reveal Himself, plans or purpose to us. However, I would point to the above examples and others that physical experience is recorded throughout the Old and New Testament.
My question would be, if the Holy Spirit who lives inside me can’t make His presence known in my life physically how do I know He is there?
Is God’s word sufficient? Absolutely. However, should it be the only thing you want to receive from God when so many other believers and so many biblical accounts tell us there is more than God’s word for us to receive. If all we never connect with the spirit inside us, are we any different than the Pharisees and scholars of the Bible who knew God’s word and obeyed it but had no relationship with God?
I have a relationship with my wife. When she enters a room, I can sense her presence. I know she is there. Why is it so hard for some Christians to believe that this same feeling of presence doesn’t translate to our relationship with God? Is my relationship with my wife more real than my relationship with God?
When God enters the room, can I not feel His presence? When His Holy Spirit fills the sanctuary should the church not feel it also? I’ve heard so many other Christmas and worship leaders express that God has made His presence known to them and revealed something to them previously unknown. I’ve seen it for myself.
Are we all wrong? If so, Does God not want us to feel His presence? What will God say to you when you find yourself in His presence?
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