Rivers are symbolic of the Holy Spirit. We see that Jesus referred to the Spirit as “rivers of living water”. What are some characteristics of a river? One of the main attributes I think of is that it is water that continually flows. It is not dammed up or limited. It flows from source higher than itself. Many rivers come from ice capped mountains or from rain. The common theme is that the waters always comes from a high place. How we need the water that only heaven can give! One of the places I love to visit is the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Water flows from the top of the mountains as the ice melts creating beautiful and strong current rivers.
“There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.”
I. The Benefits of God’s River
People benefit from rivers. Historically cities have been built next to the rivers because everyone needs water. Not only that, but fish and the ability to create power with dams, irrigation in agriculture, for drinking water and even for transportation. Then people like to swim in the rivers – so there is a recreational aspect as well. Everyone needs refreshing! Joy, peace, serenity and community life all gather together by the river. Oh how we need the simplicity of life together in community. In so many churches that is all but lost because of the business, politicizing and mechanics of religion.
God has so much more in store for our lives that is fostered by family and love in His Presence. There is nothing greater than the gladness that comes from knowing the reality of God’s Presence and others that cherish that same experience. It is the river of His Presence that makes all the difference! When we gather together that is good, but it is God that makes it over the top great! When He is the common denominator in our gatherings then it changes everything.
II. Seeking God for More
There is something so powerful about being connected to the river of God‘s presence. I can remember having extended prayer times on Friday nights many years ago. Sometimes I would fast all day just before that time. In those evenings we would have worship, communion, some time talking about God‘s Word and then we would have a time for prayer for specific needs of people. I remember the healing anointing growing as I prepared my heart to be connected to God in a more powerful way.
All of this I would do to see God‘s anointing manifested – to be used by the Lord. That was my heart’s desire – wanting to be used by God in a powerful way. We had a faithful core group of people that would come every Friday night, then we would have a group of people that would show up – individuals who would show up for prayer. The anointing for healing just kept growing exponentially as I committed myself in this way to the river of His Presence.
I began to see an exponential increase in people being healed. One of the reasons for this was my own personal preparation but also that we were together in unity – practicing the presence of God together. We created a hub of the glory where people could come and receive their need of healing or a miracle or whatever it may be.
III. God Anoints Us
Be encouraged to press into the river of God – press into His Presence! Believe God to put an anointing on you that instead of always being the person on the receiving end – you can also be on the giving end things with the advantage of staying in that place of healing and blessing in the miraculous!
2 Corinthians 2:20-22
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
The river of the Spirit holds some memorable experiences. There was a time when I would minister with a lady who had guess of healing and flowed in miracles. I was sort of an intern at that time just hungry and learning – trying to figure out how to do the stuff and looking for any opportunity to be involved. At that time they made me a catcher. I don’t know if that was a good idea. Matter of fact, I’m sure it was not a good idea because I was not a very good catcher. If you are new to Holy Spirit ministry a catcher is a person who “catches” the person who is falling down to the ground under the power of the Holy Spirit .
There was a time where the glory of God was super thick in the atmosphere of the meeting and the minister was praying for everybody who wanted to receive. I would catch and was doing pretty good up to this particular point. Then one of my friends, an older lady who was an intercessor, went up to receive prayer. I was supposed to catch her but when she went down under the power! I was very much soaking up the Presence myself and I ended up dropping her. Not good. She went down with a thud! Oops. Then I realized I needed the anointing to heal! At that point I was relieved of catching duty. But this is just an example of how heavy God’s Presence can be where you’re simply intoxicated with his glory.
IV. Catching a New Song
There was an outpouring in the 90s that I got swept up in through it I was receiving new songs from the Lord refreshing in the presence of God it was a time we’re God was building new levels in the building of my life new levels of experience with him things I’ve never experienced before. My eyes are being opened up to understanding prophetic life the refreshing of the spirit communion with the spirit in a new way and the power of revival. At one point I received a song about the river Of God.
Let It Flow by John Belt
See the river flowing down from His throne
See the angels making music with their wings
See the glory of the Holy One of God
See his presence flowing down to you and me…
Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow, let it flow
Let the river bring joy let the river bring peace…
Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow, let it flow
Let the river of life flow!
V. Surrendering in the River of God
In this revival there was testimony after testimony of people with serious health problems and issues that would have encounters with angels and in the Holy Spirit where they would be totally healed and made whole. This was a time where revival was breaking out in Toronto, Canada breaking out in Pensacola, Florida and people were doing crusades throughout America. But there was a huge stirring of the Presence of God in this fresh outpouring of the Spirit. There were new songs of worship. Revival was in the air!
This was a life-changing time for me. For others it could’ve just been a moment in time and they went on with their lives. It is one thing to have an experience it is another thing to continue to carry that experience throughout your life. Everyone has a choice. That is why it is so important that we are not only converts but we are disciples of Jesus. It’s one thing to believe in Jesus and it’s another thing to follow Jesus. God gives us opportunities to get the weeds out of our soul. If we don’t take those opportunities in those weeds crowd out the good seeds of God’s Word and truth in our lives.
He is looking for whole-hearted worship from us. Jesus really does want us to surrender everything to Him. I’ve heard the analogy that our heart has many rooms. Using that analogy, I could see that it is true that many like to pick and choose which rooms to let the Lord into. At the same time there is a process that God takes us through. And there’s always more that we can surrender to the Lord what is important is that we are always making progress and heading the right direction. When Jesus shares the parable of different servants. When those are given the talents and our commended for being good stewards. The master does not say well done good and perfect servant, but rather well done good and faithful servant. So it is about our faithfulness not our perfection. We need to be faithful to have the right direction to obey God with a whole heart, by the grace of God, to the best of our ability.
“Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed.”
When the Holy Spirit comes in revival there is much joy peace and refreshing. There are life-changing encounters with God. When we jump into the river of His Presence we lose control and God takes control. Such is the picture in this verse above, where we cannot walk across but must swim. In the fullness of the passage it speaks about “ankle deep”, then “knee deep”, then “waist deep” – then finally where a person must swim! The deeper the water the less control we have. God pours His Spirit into our lives in a way that we’ve never experienced before.
Welcome the river of the Holy Spirit into your life today – allowing Him to take you into His deep waters!
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Dr. Clarice Fluitt