What if Revival is Normal?
This first book is going to look at the effects on our lives of an abundance of the Holy Spirit. This abundance that takes us from barrenness to…fruitfulness.
Refreshing Rain of the Holy Spirit
“The original design?”
Copyright © 2014 Author
All rights reserved.
A desert is the result of a shortage of water.
The economies of many countries became a desert when the supply of oil was cut off in 1973.
Here are 2 Quick Facts from the 1973-74 “Oil Shock”.
- The 1973 oil crisis started in October, when the members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries proclaimed an oil embargo “in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military” during the Yom Kippur war; it lasted until March 1974.
- Drivers of vehicles with license plates having an odd number as the last digit (or a vanity license plate) were allowed to purchase gasoline for their cars only on odd-numbered days of the month, while drivers of vehicles with even-numbered license plates were allowed to purchase fuel only on even-numbered days.
The 1973 Oil Shock made the normal way of life a distant memory, we had no petrol; therefore, we had no freedom to do what we wanted to do or go where we wanted to go.
Not being able to do what you wanted to do… became the new normal or the abnormal.
The abnormal became normal.
Today I can buy as much petrol as I want, when I want.
I can get it 24hrs a day.
Imagine if the shortage of petrol lasted until now.
You and I would think differently about a lot of things. We would be driving very small cars; we would not be driving long distances if it was not necessary.
Our children would have grown up in a completely different world regards cars and petrol.
If the 1973 Oil shock was still operating it would not be called the 1973 Oil Shock, we would refer to the date to explain when the shortage of petrol began but we would not get up every day shocked by a shortage of petrol we would have gotten used to the shortage and would now think it was normal to be short of petrol.
We would have gotten into the habit of buying petrol on the day that was indicated by your number plate [license plate].
Whether it was an even or odd number.
Cigarette smoking was also normal in the 1970’s.
People smoked on the trains and planes.
In restaurants and bars. All the while the children were passively inhaling.
No-one raised an eyebrow. It was normal, everyone did it.
But now it is abnormal.
Another example of the normal becoming abnormal.
When my parents grew up men did not have long hair. When I grew up they did. When I grew up tattoos were unusual for the mainstream, now everyone is getting one. I still find that abnormal but that is because of my age.
Here is something most of you would agree with:
The Bible considers marriage between a man and a woman to be normal. This is what the majority of Christians accept as truth and on that I will never change.
I just put that in to stir the pot.
My parents’ generation thought it was okay to drink and drive. They agreed that you should not be drunk and drive. But if someone did drive while they were drunk and they got away with it, then it became funny.
No-one laughs now about that sort of dangerous behaviour. Too many of us have seen the sad results of drink-driving.
Over the last 50 years the church has seen many things that were not normal become normal such as being baptised in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. Healings are also becoming more common.
Try to imagine what our Christian experience would have been if we had been introduced into a church situation where revival was normal. First of all… it would not be called revival, it wouldn’t even have a name.
You don’t call things that are normal by special names. They are just normal. No special name needed!
In the last 25 years we as Christians have seen or heard about revivals in many locations and these have manifested through a church or a minister or in a country. The terminology used to describe a revival always includes a start and finish date. How long a revival lasts seems to be measurable by the commentators. They use terms such as the 100 year revival or the 20 year revival.
They say.” This or that church or area has been in revival since the year, [and they name a date] and they are still in revival or it finished in the year [and they name the date].”
What if revival is normal?
What if it began on the day of Pentecost and was never meant to stop?
In this book I am going to define revival in a very simple way using the verse in Ephesians 5:18
“Do not get drunk on wine, which will only ruin you. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
I need to use a simple term to describe revival. I know it is much more than being filled with the Spirit, but if you strip away the layers of the “onion” you will always find the common thread of revival is a person who has experienced an in-filling of the Holy Spirit.
Here are a few scriptures from the book of Acts.
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them.
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said.
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
As you can see, being filled with the Spirit is a common theme in the experience of the early church.
If being filled with the Spirit is our equivalent of revival then what was normal [being filled with the Spirit] is now abnormal and therefore treated as a special event or season.
If Christmas was held every week-end it would not be considered special though the children would love it… the adults would be too tired and broke to enjoy it.
Some people retire too early because they think they will enjoy getting up in the morning and sitting around the swimming pool or going to the beach. Most people discover they can only do this for a certain amount of time before they get the urge to get involved in something more purposeful.
I have seen people get bored with revival. The reason they ended up in this position is because they were not receiving a touch from God or if they did receive a touch from heaven they considered, “that was all they needed” and they moved on and stopped entering in.
If a person has a mindset that thinks the season of revival will have… a beginning and an end… they will come to the conclusion that the experience is not permanently sustainable and cannot be repeated on a regular basis.
The person that thinks this way will anticipate a future where things will go back to normal.
You can see from the Book of Acts how there was no “cut off time” for being filled with the Holy Spirit.
And Paul in Ephesians 5:18 encourages the people to:
“not get drunk on wine, which will only ruin you. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
Being drunk is normal for some, for others it is a rare occurrence. For some, drinking wine is a regular habit for others it never happens.
It is interesting to note how Paul links being filled with the Spirit with a type of behaviour [drinking wine] that is for some a regular pattern. He is urging the reader to exchange ordinary wine for extra-ordinary wine.
The Bible does not mind you getting drunk if you are getting drunk in the Holy Spirit.
When Peter addressed the crowd he had to explain the behaviour of the disciples and he referred to them as, “not drunk as you suppose.”
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.
These people are not drunk, as you suppose.”
Being filled with the Holy Spirit… means coming under the influence of the Holy Spirit. And that means you can feel it happening to you. It is unmistakable when you have an encounter with the Spirit of God. There is an attitude abroad in the church that says,” don’t trust your feelings.”
I agree with that thought with one small difference.
I would rather say, “Don’t trust your emotions.”
This is my point: you can feel when you have received an in-filling of the Holy Spirit because you can sense it in your spirit. Your emotions may respond in many different and varied ways but you know that you know… what your spirit is picking up!
You do not doubt even though your emotional reaction could be nothing or everything.
The result of all this is; we often get told from the pulpit that we have been filled just by attending church but we know in our hearts that we are going home empty on the inside. The service can be full of instruction and entertainment but no in-filling of the Spirit has happened to us.
We are told this is normal and one day revival will come and fix the problem.
But I want to say that being filled with the Spirit should be a normal and regular occurrence just like drinking wine for some is a normal and regular occurrence.
Being under the influence of the Holy Spirit is something that we need so we can live a supernatural Christian life.
Our faith determines the outcome, our thinking determines our faith.
God responds to faith. We are greatly influenced by what we see. We have been told since the year “dot” that revival is unusual, but what if it is not… as unusual as we have been led to believe?
What if revival is the in-filling of the Holy Spirit?
Surely we can go to church expecting to be filled with heavens wine. Why is one week different to another?
Isn’t Jesus the same yesterday and today?
He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
Notice they heard and saw what was happening. This verse does not mention their emotions it mentions their senses of sight and sound. Their senses were relaying accurate information.
The introduction of seeker sensitive-services to our church caused prophesying to be discouraged; the gifts of the Spirit eventually dried up and were replaced with video screens and intellectual content.
I have to admit that this did increase the number of salvations so I don’t know what the answer is and how to get the right balance.
The expectation of an actual experience with the tangible presence of God’s Spirit diminished over time and this was a problem that the strategy of bringing in the “big speakers” did not fix.
Their influence always dissipated over time and the anointing that was deposited in the church from their ministry waned.
The routine returned and our minds were once again massaged at the expense of real and experienced spiritual input.
In the Oil Shock of 1973 it was not unusual to see cars pulled over to the side of the road because the driver had run out of petrol as they were driving on a day that did not match their allotted day to purchase fuel.
Risk taking was in vogue and stealing petrol was at an all-time high.
This reminds me of Christians that I have known over the years who run out of puff. They faithfully attend church, read their bible and pray.
Then they stop.
That’s it, they run out of fuel. Of course, they don’t know that their tank is empty as there is no fuel gauge.
They would not have finished like that if they were continually being filled with the Holy Spirit.
They were waiting for revival, [they might have used a different term such as,” a time of refreshing.”]
but they ran out of time.
Deep down they would have known they needed more, whatever term they used. Revival or refreshing, I like both descriptions.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
Whichever way we say it… they needed more of the Holy Spirit! The pattern in the early church was for this to take place when people were gathered into groups.
Yes, sometimes we get filled while we are alone with the Lord, but most Christians need other Christians to create an atmosphere of faith and anticipation to provide the ingredients for a moving of the Holy Spirit.
A few years ago, Australia had its worst drought on record. It was a scary time for all those affected.
By 1995 the drought had spread to many parts of Australia and by 2003…it was recognised as the worst on record.
Most Australian mainland capital cities faced a major water crisis with less than 50% of water storages remaining.
Australia had previously relied solely on water from dams for agriculture and consumption.
The drought changed the way Australia treated its water resources.
The Prime Minister announced on 19 April 2007 that unless there was substantial rain in the next six weeks no water would be allocated to irrigators for the coming year. The result of this would have directly affected 50,000 farmers and the economy.
Electricity shortages may also have occurred if the Snowy Mountains Scheme had been forced to shut down its hydroelectric generators.
Many towns were close to running out of water.
Some towns did run out!
All the cities introduced water restrictions.
It’s amazing what a shortage of water can do; it can shut down a nation.
It changed our thinking, now we live with on-going water restrictions and we accept them as normal.
In the past we had unlimited use of water to wash our cars and water our gardens. Now we have special days for doing those jobs.
In the drought, people’s behaviour changed. Neighbours reported their neighbours to the local council if they saw them watering their gardens… because there was a total water ban.
The normal became abnormal.
We discovered that our water supply was not unlimited.
Here is a verse that may surprise!
For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.
No limit on the Holy Spirit, no shortage, no restrictions.
Since the drought we have had floods and to release excess water from the dams some councils gave their communities free water days.
On the television news that night there were pictures of these “blessed” people going “nuts” with their garden hoses. For a day there were no limits and they took advantage of this in a big way.
Laughing, shouting, smiling…it was an artificial revival.
They were filling all their spare containers and their swimming pools and fish ponds. They were squirting each other. It was a refreshing on a large scale.
Other councils were not as generous and even though they had excess water at the time, they kept the restrictions in place. Sometimes rules and regulations are the problem rather than a lack of water.
While some communities had free water days other communities kept a tight hold on their water because those in authority decided to block the flow.
The bureaucrats were in charge and no way were they going to let people have a free water day.
In some churches the bureaucrats are also in charge and no way are they going to let the service be taken over by the Holy Spirit. Does this sound familiar?
The early church was always being opposed by the religious leaders.
“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!”
The most common blockage in the local church is normally the board of elders. They get so caught up in the budgets and business decisions…they unknowingly restrict the moving of the Holy Spirit in the local church.
The reason this happens is because the most suitable people for the board are normally the less spiritual type.
They are by nature practical and conservative people and therefore well suited to the job of looking after budgets and buildings.
But when the choice comes down to more people and more money or more of the Holy Spirit… guess which way they go? I don’t blame them as you have to be wise.
The early church had a similar situation and they had to continually choose to be led by the Holy Spirt rather than be led by what the dominant personalities wanted.
Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!”
Do you see the choice? To listen to the logic of the bureaucrats or to listen to what God wants!
I believe that God wants to fill us with the Holy Spirit.
In Acts chapter 10:
Peter is one step away from a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, he has no idea it is going to happen and he has no idea how it is going to happen. He has no clue that a change in his thinking… is about to be the catalyst for a move of the Holy Spirit among the Gentiles.
Peter thinks the gospel is a message of salvation for the Jews and maybe for some Samaritans. He goes upstairs to pray while waiting for his lunch to be prepared.
He gets a visit from God and is told in spiritual language and vision to “change his attitude” towards the Gentiles. Meanwhile there is a knock at the door and surprise, surprise…a group of men ask him to speak at the house of a Gentile. He accepts their invitation and the next day finds himself in the middle of a revival.
As he is speaking the Holy Spirit falls on all those present.
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.
The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.
For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Paul the apostle writes in the book of Galatians and mentions three different topics in the one verse.
The blessing of Abraham.
And the promise of the Holy Spirit.
He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
The experience of Peter in the house of Cornelius is summed up very neatly in this verse.
The blessing of Abraham is manifest in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and not just for the Jews but for all people. So wherever you see the blessing of Abraham mentioned you can associate it with the gift and person of the Holy Spirit. The gift and outpouring of the Holy Spirit is the fulfilment of the blessing of Abraham.
Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”
The blessing is a person… who not only comes upon you but who also comes to live in you.
You might have a rich relative who blesses you financially from time to time but if that relative comes to live in your house with you, there will probably be more blessing on a more consistent basis.
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is often likened to rain falling. Rain and the feeling of refreshing are also associated. It rains and we get refreshed, this is a common experience for people who have gone through a dry time or a drought.
The following scripture illustrates how rain is expected by farmers at certain times of the year.
See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.
The extremes for rain are drought and flood.
Farmers would prefer regular rain they can rely on as they plan how much seed to sow and what animals to keep.
People want their milk and bread fresh every day.
Christians need regular times of refreshing in the Spirit so they also can produce the fruit of the Spirit.
We need more than regular fellowship and bible study, we need more than good presentation and production, we even need more than “excellence” which is the “in word” at the moment.
We need the regular in-filling of the:
“most excellent one!”
The Great Artesian Basin, located within Australia, is the largest and deepest artesian basin in the world, stretching over 660,000 square miles. The basin provides the only reliable source of fresh water through much of inland Australia.
Prior to European occupation, this water discharged through springs, many in desert areas.
These springs supported extensive Aboriginal communities.
After the arrival of Europeans, the springs enabled early exploration. The Great Artesian Basin became an important water supply for cattle stations and irrigation and is a vital life line for some of the towns in rural Australia.
To tap it, water wells are drilled down to a suitable rock layer, where the pressure of the water forces it up, mostly without pumping.
The discovery and use of water held underground in the Great Artesian Basin opened up thousands of square miles of country away from regular rainfall and this land was previously unavailable for pastoral activities.
European discovery of the basin dates from 1878 when a shallow bore near the town of Bourke produced flowing water.
The early explorers of inland Australia believed there was an inland river system to be discovered but as they trekked over the desert country they had no idea what they were looking for… was underneath their feet.
Imagine if what you have been looking for is inside of you. Then the search is over!
Irregular rainfall produces instability in farming communities and weakens the farmers and their families emotionally and financially.
Some of our largest inland towns rely completely on underground water and they thrive and survive because of this consistent and free water supply. Whereas our towns and cities that rely on above ground water from rainfall and dams can be shut down by a prolonged period of drought.
The same God who designed Australia’s Great Artesian Basin has also designed Christianity to work in a similar way.
By putting a spring of living water in the spirit of every new believer.
Jesus told the woman at the well about this spring:
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Christians are designed with a spring of water within them that “wells up”!
In other words it does not need a pump… it flows naturally.
Understanding this changes our thinking and changes how we view things. We are not as dependant on the inconsistent rain of revival as we first thought.
We are designed to carry within us an ongoing personal revival.
We have the ability to be refreshed from within on a continual basis by the Holy Spirit who lives within.
The same Holy Spirit who raised Christ from the dead [now that is a revival] dwells within us and he will also give life [refreshing] to our mortal body.
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
We appreciate and enjoy when we are in a church meeting where the Spirit is moving but we probably don’t realise we can take that refreshing with us 24/7.
The abnormal can become normal.
The towns in Australia that have learnt to source their water from the underground supply don’t worry when it doesn’t rain. They know they are not as dependant on rain as the other towns are… [That rely on dams for their drinking water].
God has designed us in a similar way because he has put the true source of spiritual life inside of us so that we are not as dependant on external factors as we thought we were; such as how your church is going and what season it is in.
Christians are individually in a season of perpetual blessing and it started when they were born again and it never ceases because it is eternal.
Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly [by the Holy Spirit] we are being renewed day by day.
[2 Corinthians 4:16]
So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen [our church situation], but on what is unseen [the supernatural spring in our spirit], since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
[2 Corinthians 4:18]
We all have an eternal spring within us and it flows day and night, in the good times and in the hard times.
Remember, it does not need a pump [no self-effort].
It is 100% natural and it is inexhaustible.
A nuclear submarine is a submarine powered by a nuclear reactor. The performance advantages of nuclear submarines over “conventional” submarines are considerable:
Nuclear propulsion, being completely independent of air, frees the submarine from the need to surface frequently, as is necessary for conventional submarines.
The large amount of power generated by a nuclear reactor allows nuclear submarines to operate at high speed for long periods of time.
Current generations of nuclear submarines never need to be refuelled throughout their 25-year lifespans. Conversely, the limited power stored in electric batteries means that even the most advanced conventional submarine can only remain submerged for a few days at slow speed, and only a few hours at top speed.
The advantages of a nuclear powered submarine are:
- Do not need to surface.
- Operate at high speed.
- Never need to be refuelled.
The source of energy for a nuclear submarine is contained within. The source of energy for a normal submarine is external.
Which submarine most closely resembles how a Christian gets their energy? Not their food or water or repairs or clothing but their energy.
My answer is influenced by the stories I have read of Christian men and women who have been imprisoned [for their faith] for long periods of time without any outside spiritual input. They often have testimonies that declare God was with them through their ordeal in a way that was picked up by their spirit rather than their mind.
These people still have their faith intact when they are released from prison. They may have been submerged in prison for years without any Christian input and yet they have survived.
A testimony that I watched on video recently was not about a person in prison in the normal sense but about a woman who had been in the prison of sickness for 22 years. She had been hit by a drunk driver and been paralysed from the waist down. She said she kept believing [for her healing] for the first 10 years and after that she had basically given up and accepted her fate. She quoted this verse:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
She said she deferred her hope and put it in the “too hard basket.”
How did she cope for 22 years? Her spirit within did not turn from God even though she gave up on her healing, she did not give up on God.
After 22 years she went to a church revival and was completely healed. Something within: enabled her to turn up to that church meeting with her faith intact even though she had been waiting for her healing for 22 years.
Her supply of grace and faith never ran out!
All Christians are given certain supplies when they are born again and these supplies have the ability to supernaturally regenerate if outside supply is not available.
You are given a measure of faith.
God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
You are also given grace.
Who receive God’s abundant provision of grace.
Your grace and faith never run out; they are never depleted. It may feel like they have been exhausted, but your provision of grace and faith is never exhausted.
You may be tired, but the spirit within is never tired and does not sleep.
Our abundance comes from within.
I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.
We have been given an abundant provision of grace.
Those who receive abundance of grace.
You may be looking at your circumstances right now and thinking how depleted everything is, but inwardly you have abundance in your spirit by the Holy Spirit.
And you do not have to pump yourself up artificially by emotional gymnastics with jumping and shouting and crying and laughing. Your spring flows naturally day and night whether you are conscious of it or not.
All that you need… to live the life you have always wanted to live is already deposited in your spirit.
And put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit.
[2 Corinthians 1:22]
We are told to guard this deposit.
Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you; guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
[2 timothy 1:14]
The enemy will tell you that you are empty, but God says we are full.
And in Christ you have been given fullness.
The Bible says we have been delivered from the empty way of living.
You were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you.
[1 Peter 1:18]
The culture in a lot of churches is to tell you that after your initial salvation experience you will experience hard times. You may experience hard times but how you go through those hard times will depend on whether you have learnt to access your inner resources or whether you will pick up the bad habits of the Christians around you who are totally influenced by what they see.
They are dependent on the rain which is always inconsistent, they are dependent on their church but you are dependent on the Holy Spirit who lives within you. People get caught up in church politics and arguments. Or they follow this preacher or that teacher.
We need church and we need good teaching, but it is not our source of life. Our spiritual life comes from an internal spring not an external spring.
Remember, guard the good deposit that is within you.
Guard it from doubt and unbelief.
You have an “internal” and “eternal” spring of living water flowing effortlessly from the Holy Spirit.
It is bubbling up and out of you 24 hrs a day. It is unceasing!
Therefore it is reliable and stable. Around you may be absolute turmoil but within you is a completely predictable supply of life and energy.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
You have a spring, “Whose waters never fail.”
If the water never fails…you never fail!
The source of success that you have always been looking for is within you.
Wherever you are…success will flow and turn the barren desert into a garden.
Because the water never fails…therefore:
You are… a “Well-watered garden.”
John 15:1 says your,” Father is the gardener.”
You are a garden and God your Father is the gardener.
We know that God likes gardening as he planted a garden in Eden.
Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.
The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.
You have the God given ability, to cause every situation to flourish.
In the past your experience may have been the opposite because you had a desert self-image.
Now your mind can be filled with images of a:
A beautiful garden.
A garden without weeds.
Fruitful and productive garden.
Jesus chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit.
You have been chosen to bear fruit.
You have been appointed to bear fruit.
And you have been equipped with a spring of living water to enable that fruitfulness to appear.
Adam was placed in the garden that God planted, now it is different, we have the God-given ability [placed in us] to cause a garden to spring up wherever we are.
We carry all the ingredients for a flourishing garden within us.
Wherever you are planted…a garden appears!
Murray River Facts: [Australia’s largest river]
The Murray is the third longest navigable river in the world, after the Amazon and Nile.
Its total length is 2520 kilometres and it is continuously navigable for 1986 kilometres.
It flows through 3 states, Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia and is the major domestic water supply for over 1.5 million households.
Along with its tributaries, the Murray is part of the third largest water catchment on earth.
The Murray is a virtual water highway.
The world’s largest canoe race is held each year on the Murray.
Murray Cod can easily grow up to 1.8m in size.
The Murray has the world’s largest Red Gum forest and Ibis rookery on its banks.
An irrigation system was introduced in 1887 by the Canadian… George Chaffey; this greatly accelerated the settlement of farmers who use the river’s water supply to provide food for Australia.
Some benefits of a large river are:
Provides food for the people.
The fish are large and plentiful.
Provides fresh drinking water.
A source of fun and enjoyment.
Reliable transport [It can carry large loads].
Large numbers of living creatures.
Irrigation for fruit trees and vines.
Influences large numbers of people.
Please keep these in mind as we look at some of the things the Bible says about you.
Ezekiel chapter 47 has an expanded description of a river of living water. I won’t quote the chapter but I would like to mention that some characteristics of the river in Ezekiel 47 are the same or similar to a natural river such as the River Murray.
Did you know that a large river [of living water] is flowing from within you?
In this chapter I want to enlarge your vision. Let’s start out by looking at a verse in the Gospel of John.
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said,
RIVERS of living water will flow from within them.’
By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.
Jesus is clearly saying to us that,” RIVERS of living water will flow from within us.”
In John Chapter 4:14, Jesus talks about a spring of living water.
“The water I give them will become in them a SPRING of water welling up to eternal life.”
Jesus himself has increased his description from a spring to a river. He has enlarged and increased the situation by using language that leaves no room for doubt.
He has SUPER-SIZED us!!!
One minute he is telling you about this lovely little spring and the next minute he is telling you about this huge river that is gushing out of you.
I want to leave you with this thought:
YOU HAVE BEEN SUPER-SIZED!
Here are parts of Ezekiel 47 that might stir your faith for everything [the good things] in your life to get larger and also stir your imagination and dreams and vision.
“I saw water coming out from under the temple and the water was trickling and then the water that was ankle-deep and then the water was knee-deep and then it was up to the waist.
Now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in – a river that no one could cross.
When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh.
Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.
Fishermen will stand along the shore; there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds.
I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river.
Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”
[A river like this is flowing out of you!]
Stir up your faith to believe for a [weed free] garden to manifest itself in every area of your life, because a river of living water is flowing out of you.
A river that does not fail.
A river that produces success [supernatural life] wherever it goes.
In your relationships.
In your health and finances.
In your ministry and career.
Remember you have been super-sized!
My wife and I are blessed with a good view from our house as we live high on a hill overlooking a valley. Our house is on a property in a semi-rural area and we always enjoy the changing view of the clouds.
I want to speak to you about another cloud.
I want to speak to you about the cloud that led the people of Israel while they were wandering around in the wilderness.
In the book of Numbers in the Old Testament in chapter 9, we see the story of the cloud and how it led the people.
Here is verse 17.
Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped.
There are three different ways that the cloud moved.
Here they are.
Verse 19 mentions the cloud staying a long time.
Verse 20 mentions the cloud staying a few days.
Verse 21 mentions the cloud only staying overnight.
The way I would like to explain this is by using the following terms.
A short-term stay, a medium term stay and a long term stay.
I believe that things like sickness should not be here tomorrow.
We want all sickness to be short term.
We want it to go quickly.
I think that our marriages should be long term.
We want them to last a lifetime.
Some of the things that only last a few years are our cars and sometimes our jobs. The world is changing at a fast pace and your job or career can also be changing quickly.
We have to keep our eyes on the cloud.
God may want to give us a better job.
I should not say “God may want to give you a better job.”
I should say,” You will get a better job because you are blessed.”
When you became a Christian, you were blessed by God.
Ephesians chapter 1 verse 3 says;
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Let me say that again in plain English.
God has blessed you with every blessing.
The key words are “has blessed you.”
And the other key words are, ”with every blessing.”
So you are already blessed and you are already blessed with every blessing.
I know you are probably thinking by now that what I am saying sounds good.
But that is not how it happens in real life.
You may be thinking, “Well, that is not my experience as a Christian.”
Can I tell you a secret, “Most Christians do not experience continual blessing!”
Most Christians go through lots of hard times.
You could be going through a hard time at the moment.
This is a big problem.
The Bible says we are blessed, but you and I know that we still go through hard times?
We have a decision to make.
Ephesians chapter 1 verse 3 states that, “We have been blessed.”
In other words it has already happened!
Ephesians chapter1 verse 3 also states that the type of blessing we have received is called “every blessing.”
There is no room for doubt.
The Bible is clear, the blessing has taken place and because the Bible uses the words, ”every blessing” it means nothing has been left out.
Let us apply this to your career and your job.
Even if you have been unemployed for years.
And even if you have been fired from all your jobs, that does not mean that you are not blessed.
It just means that it looks like you are not blessed.
If everything you have ever done has failed, that does not mean you are cursed.
It just means that things have not gone well for you.
But that still does not prove you are not blessed.
If the Bible says that you are blessed, then you are blessed.
Here is a story that shows how Jesus behaves under pressure.
The story begins in the book of Matthew chapter 9 verses 18 and 19.
A synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said,
“My daughter has just died.
But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.”
Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.
This is a pressure situation.
Watch what happens.
The story continues in Matthew chapter 9 verses 23 and 24.
When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, he said,
“Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.”
But they laughed at him.
Yes, they laughed at him because the girl was not asleep, she was really dead!
But if Jesus says she is asleep, what can we do?
Do we correct him?
No, we would not correct him!
He can say what he wants, when he wants and how he wants.
We are not whistling in the air, we have been tangibly blessed.
This means our blessing that God has given us has substance.
It is not just words.
People can see blessing when it manifests in our lives and in our circumstances.
When we are saved we receive the Holy Spirit.
Our salvation comes about by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.
We say the words of the sinners’ prayer and we are changed.
Lots of things happen in that moment.
We are born again and have a fresh start in life.
We are adopted into God’s family.
We are forgiven all our sins.
We are cleansed by the blood of Jesus.
We become a temple of the Holy Spirit.
We are going to heaven when we die.
All these things are real, they are not just words.
These things actually happen to us in an instant.
I am saying all this to show you that if the Bible says you were blessed at your salvation. Then that blessing must have come upon you in a real way.
It must be upon you now.
If the Holy Spirit is in you right now, then the blessing must be on you.
When the Holy Spirit speaks to you he speaks to your spirit.
Romans chapter 8 verse 16 says:
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
When you were saved a sense of knowing came into your spirit.
That was the Holy Spirit speaking to your spirit.
God can speak to you in many different ways.
He can speak to you through the Holy Spirit or He can speak to you through the Bible.
When you read Ephesians chapter 1 verse 3 and you see written that you are blessed with every blessing.
That is God speaking to you.
And what is He saying?
He is saying clearly and without hesitation that you are blessed.
Now let me talk about what that blessing does.
The blessing of God is the opposite of a curse.
Everyone knows that a curse causes things to go wrong.
When people curse someone, they are doing that in the hope that things will go badly for that person.
Here is a story that my hairdresser told me about his upbringing in Cyprus.
He said that if someone had something against you they would get some of your hair and go into the forest to find a tree that was dying.
They would then nail your hair to the tree and they believed that when the tree died you would die.
You and I can both see from this story how a curse works.
Well a blessing works in the exact opposite way.
When you bless someone you are hoping that things go well for them.
When someone is blessed you expect to see a pattern of positive results.
If someone is blessed with every blessing, then you are going to expect every area of their life to be successful.
Their health, their family, their job or business and their finances.
Here is a great scripture from the Old Testament.
This is Deuteronomy chapter 7 verses 13 to 15.
God will love you and bless you and increase your numbers.
God will bless your children, and your farms.
You will be blessed more than any other people.
None of you will be childless.
The Lord will keep you free from every disease.
What an incredible blessing.
That certainly covers every area.
If the blessings were that great in the Old Testament won’t they be even better in the New Testament?
Yes, they will be even better in the New Testament.
In the Old Testament the blessings were for the community.
But in the New Testament the blessings are for the individual.
A Christian is blessed no matter what the community is doing.
That knowledge should set you free!
Your blessing does not depend on someone else’s behaviour.
It depends on your salvation, which came about because you made a personal decision to follow Jesus.
And because you are saved, you are blessed.
That’s it, there is nothing more to know.
You are blessed.
Be like Jesus and say it without seeing it.
He said the young girl was asleep when the father told him she was dead.
Jesus did not care if everyone laughed at him.
He did not let the facts get in the way.
He said it like he wanted to say it.
And you can to.
Do you want to say you are blessed?
It is okay to agree with the Bible.
You have God’s permission to say it.
Let me say it for you.
“Yes, you are blessed with every blessing.”
How does that sound?
It sounds good, doesn’t it?
Here is a wonderful scripture from Genesis chapter 1 verse 31.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
The first chapter in the Bible has a very positive theme.
Everything God had made was good.
God made man in his own image and then he blessed him.
The Bible tells us this in Genesis chapter 1 and verse 27 and 28.
So, God created mankind in his own image,
In the image of God, he created them;
Male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number.”
God’s original intention and plan was for us to be blessed.
And now He has done that in your life.
Remember that you are blessed.
As I mentioned before, my wife and I live on a property just outside of Brisbane.
We have a lot of trees around the house and this week I decided to get up on the roof and blow them off with my leaf blower.
The problem is with the motor on the leaf blower, it is very hard to start.
This machine was a gift from a friend and his wife.
They also had a lot of trees and when they bought a leaf blower they couldn’t believe how easy it was to blow the leaves and bark from their roof and driveway. So they decided to give us one of these machines as a gift.
How generous is that?
Because I could not get the machine started, I got up on the roof of my house and did it manually with a broom and small shovel.
That machine is a blessing when it works and it almost does the work for me.
It saves time and labour.
Have you noticed how the human race loves to invent machines that make our life easier?
I have a theory about this! Do you want to hear it?
I am going to use Adam as an example.
Before he was kicked out of the Garden of Eden life was pretty easy for Adam. But after he was kicked out life became hard.
Here is a scripture that describes what happened.
And to Adam, God said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate the fruit when I told you not to, I have placed a curse upon the soil. All your life you will struggle to extract a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, and you shall eat its grasses. All your life you will sweat to master it, until your dying day.
[Genesis 3: 17-19]
Yes Sir, things got a whole lot harder for Adam.
It seems to me that us humans love gardens, we find them relaxing to be in and a lot of people even find them relaxing to work in.
My point is, something inside of us yearns for an easier life, a more peaceful life, a life with less struggle. So we invent machines to do the work for us.
And these machines are a blessing.
I know there are exceptions but the point I am making is.
Most people sense there is a life style somewhere out there that reflects how Adam and Eve lived before they were booted out of the Garden of Eden.
We don’t want a way of life that is hard and a struggle.
But that is what Adam and Eve got.
Let me quote the scripture again.
All your life you will struggle…
This sounds like a curse; it certainly is not a blessing.
The good news is Jesus is called the last Adam and this means we get a second chance to recover a way of life that is blessed instead of cursed.
“The first man Adam became a living being.”
The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
[1 Corinthians 15:45]
The first Adam lost a way of life that was blessed and ended up in,
The last Adam [Jesus] recovered what was lost and restored us back into the “Garden of Good Times.”
He did this by becoming a curse for us.
The Bible tells us this in Galatians 3:13.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.
Jesus did this so that a blessing would come on our lives.
In Galatians 3:14 we are told about this blessing.
He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come.
We see that Jesus redeemed us from the curse so that a blessing could replace that curse.
That is what has happened to every Christian.
A curse has been removed from us and it has been replaced by a blessing.
Now if a curse is associated with struggle then a blessing has to be associated with the opposite of struggle.
What is the opposite of struggle?
How does the blessing work?
Let me explain this by showing you a couple of examples.
The first example is a man called Laban. He has Jacob staying with him and Jacob is looking after his sheep and goats. Jacob has left his own home because he took his brothers blessing.
Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him.
Jacob arrived at Laban’s house with the blessing of God on him. And Laban is aware that the blessing on Jacob is overflowing onto his flocks.
Here is Laban admitting this.
But Laban said to him, ‘If I have found favour in your eyes, please stay. I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you.’
Jacob already knows this.
The little you had before I came has increased greatly, and the Lord has blessed you wherever I have been.
The question I wanted to answer was, “What is the opposite of struggle or how does the blessing work?”
In Laban’s story the blessing worked by increasing the size or number of his flocks. This is another way of saying that the blessing increased his wealth.
Please note that the blessing came on Laban through a person.
Wherever Jacob went the blessing went with him.
The second example is the story of Joseph. His brothers sold him into slavery and he ended up working for a man called Potiphar.
Here is the story as it unfolds in Genesis 39; Joseph has been put in charge of everything in Potiphar’s house.
The Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field.
Once again, we see that the blessing came through a person. The blessing was on Joseph and wherever he went the blessing went. We can also see how the blessing worked. It made everything go well. Things went so well that Potiphar left everything in Josephs care.
So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.
How relaxed is that? Potiphar’s biggest worry was about his dinner!
The blessing sure makes life easier.
So far in these two stories we have learnt that:
The blessing comes through a person.
The blessing causes things to work in a prosperous and successful way.
The blessing makes life easier.
The blessing makes your numbers increase.
In the following verse we are told that we have received the same blessing that Abraham got.
Now God can bless the Gentiles, too, with this same blessing he promised to Abraham; and all of us as Christians can have the promised Holy Spirit through this faith.
We are also told that we can receive the promised Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the blessing and the Holy Spirit brings the blessing.
This is similar to what happened when Jacob went to Laban’s house.
Jacob was a blessing and Jacob brought the blessing to that house.
When we become Christians the Holy Spirit comes to live in us.
He is the blessing and he brings the blessing.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
[1 Corinthians 6:19]
Someone [Holy Spirit] lives in you and brings the blessing to you.
Now that we have located the blessing and found out how the blessing came into your life we have another point to discuss.
We have to talk about why so many Christians do not see this blessing working in their lives and circumstances.
I am going to go back to the story of my leaf blower.
I told you that this machine was given to me as a gift.
My friends wanted to bless me and make my life easier.
But I cannot start the machine.
This is the way I would like to explain the situation.
The machine is like the blessing.
God gave us the blessing when we became Christians to help us live better lives. But some of us including me find it hard to get the blessing to work.
Some days it is working well and other days it seems like it is not working at all.
The question I want to know is, “How to I activate the blessing?”
The answer I have heard all the experts tell me is.” Activate your faith.” Because when you activate your faith you are activating the blessing.
They use this scripture in Galatians 3:9.
Therefore, those who believe are blessed together with Abraham, the one who believed.
This verse is telling me that I need to believe.
I can accept that advice. It is simple and straight to the point.
But what exactly do I need to believe?
I already believe in Jesus and the Cross.
I believe in heaven and hell.
I believe in so many things that the Bible tells me to believe in.
Here is the problem, “Do I really believe that I am personally blessed.”
Yes I can say,” I believe that I am blessed.”
But when I look at my situation I cannot see much evidence of this blessing.
My friend and his wife who gave me the leaf blower is coming over for dinner on Saturday night. My friend knows how to fix things and he will know what the problem is and probably rectify it for me.
The Holy Spirit is also a friend when we are in need. The next scripture shows us what to do when you come to the end of your own efforts.
In the same way the Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us.
Isn’t that great? The Holy Spirit comes to help us.
He doesn’t have to come far!
We don’t have to wait till He comes over on Saturday night.
All we have to do is start praying in the Holy Spirit.
But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit.
This is the answer to the answer.
The Holy Spirit knows what to say and how to intercede on our behalf.
He knows how to get the blessing activated.
The advantage the Holy Spirit has is that He knows what the will of God is.
He can intercede for us.
Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
What a blessing the Holy Spirit is!
When He intercedes through us and for us everything starts to work.
This next verse tells us the good news.
And we know that all things work together for good.
Wow, that sounds wonderful. All things working….together for good!
You can’t get more blessed than that.
There we have it folks. Not only are you blessed but if the blessing stops working you know who to go to for help.
And the person who originally brought the blessing into your life still lives in you.
He [the Holy Spirit] is never distant or unavailable.
He is the gift who keeps on giving.
God has delivered you out of “Struggle Street” and taken you into the “Garden of Good Times!!”
By removing the curse and replacing it with a blessing.
Be blessed everyone and I will see you again in the next book.
God Bless from Tony.
Written by Tony Egar
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