RIVER OF PLEASURE

Ps. 36:8 – They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.

All of us have a huge thirst for pleasure, that is part of being created in the image of God. Obviously, the Lord Himself has an infinite thirst for pleasure. With Him there is a total contentment in Himself which is quite interesting. How can someone be satisfied yet at the same time long for more? That is the unusual characteristic of spiritual thirst. We too are ever thirsting even as we are totally satisfied in Christ alone. In this verse David sang of a river of pleasure. Ezekiel swam in it, John had a vision of it, and Jesus prophesied about it. David connected this river to the house of God. That is quite amazing. Today, that is exactly where this river is flowing. Churches, the house of God, is the place where this river can be found. Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes this verse.

“And thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. As they have the fruits of Eden to feed on, so shall they have the river of Paradise to drink from. God’s everlasting love bears to us a constant and ample comfort, of which grace makes us to drink by faith, and then our pleasure is of the richest kind. The Lord not only brings us to this river, but makes us drink: herein we see the condescension of divine love. Heaven will, in the fullest sense, fulfill these words; but they who trust in the Lord enjoy the ante-past even here. The happiness given to the faithful is that of God himself; purified spirits joy with the same joy as the Lord himself. “That my joy may be in you, that your joy may be full.”

Spurgeon used an interesting phrase in his commentary, ante-past. This is a foretaste of the coming feast. In this life we drink as the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us. In the coming kingdom we will actually live in the river of His presence. If the foretaste is so satisfying and attractive, how much more when the fullness comes. David spoke of something more than casual satisfaction. The word he used could be translated soak, satiate, or intoxicate. David is describing an excessive encounter. If that is available in this life imagine the unbridled joy in heaven

BLOOD OF THE CROSS

Jn. 19:34 – But one of the soldiers took a spear and pierced Jesus’ side, and blood and water gushed out.

John was an eyewitness of this event, blood and water flowing out of the side of Jesus. This is a picture of the River of life that flows out from Christ on the throne of God today. There is a crucified, glorified man on the throne of God at this very moment. I often think about seeing Him one day for myself. Inevitably I think about the wounds in His body. How do I know they are still there? He told Thomas to put his finger in the nail-prints in His hand and to thrust his hand into the hole in His side. That event was after the resurrection. The marks of redemption are still in His body. Could the River be flowing from the hole in His side? Here are some thoughts from the Moravian leader Count Zinzendorf.

“God sweated in agony in Gethsemane.  God died on the cross.The story of the salvation is that God took on human form and willingly suffering for the sake of his creation. Humans were enslaved to sin, death, and the devil, but Christ redeemed them from their misery. Christ came to reconcile the world to God, and the crucifixion stands as the assurance of forgiveness and makes it possible for the creature to become the bride of the creator. The blood streaming from the cross impresses the believer with the reality of his or her ransom from sin. We are purchased from wrath, from judgment, from the curse, from the Fall and all ruin, from sin, death, the devil and hell through a true, legal and complete payment, namely, through the blood of the one who tasted death for us all through the grace of God. This is what John meant when he said that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

Think about the wounds of Jesus. The thorns pierced His brow. The life of God flows from His brow declaring the curse of poverty is broken. After all, the thorns that pierced Him were a mark of the curse. The holes in His hand guarantee His help. I am in His hand and nothing can separate me from His love. His back carries the wounds of the whip, by His stripes I am healed. His feet are marked by the nails. He carries and protects all of those who are the blessed feet that carry His gospel. From His wounded side flows the River. This is the River of God’s love for the world. There is a River, this mighty river is flowing out to you and to me today, this River will never run dry.

EZEKIEL’S RIVER

Ezekiel:47:1 – Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar.

This River has shown up all throughout the history of prophetic revelation. In Ezekiel’s vision he sees the water flowing out from the threshold of the temple. This is quite stunning in light of what John tells us in Revelation. He says that there is no temple (per se) in the city because the Lord is the temple. This corresponds to what John also said, the River flows from the throne of the Father and the Son of God. Here are some interesting comments on this passage from John Bunyan.

“This water is said in Ezekiel and Revelation to have the tree of life grow on the banks of it and was a type of the Word and Spirit of God, by which Christ himself sanctified himself, in order to worship as high priest (Ezek 47; Rev 22). And also this water is that which heals all those that shall be saved and by which, they being sanctified thereby also, do all their works of worship and service acceptably, through Jesus Christ our Lord. This water therefore is said to go forth into the sea, the world, and to heal its fish, the sinners therein; indeed, this is that water of which Christ Jesus our Lord says, “Whoever shall drink thereof shall live forever”.

Bunyan says that this River speaks to us of the Word and the Spirit. He says it is the River that sanctifies us to minister as priests before the Lord. He also says that this water heals all of those that shall be saved, it is the Spirit that draws us, regenerates us, and perfects us for our priestly duties. Then Bunyan makes an interesting observation reminiscent of what Jesus said to Peter about being a fisher of men. Bunyan says the water goes out to heal the fish or the sinners of the world. Just as Jesus ministered to the Samaritan woman and restored her, this River attracts and heals all the so called fish in the sea. The River is still flowing out from the threshold of the temple, today the temple is the local church. These waters are for the healing and conversion of the nations.

THE RIVER THAT RESTORES AND REVIVES

Ps.23:1-3 – The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough. He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss. That’s where he restores and revives my life.

What a beautiful picture of God’s waters of rest. Jesus is our Good Shepherd Who leads us to the river of the Holy Spirit, our place of rest and restoration. I see in my mind’s eye sheep laying near the edge of the river, drinking in the life giving waters of renewal. Maybe we were exhausted from the journey but our exhaustion has been swallowed up by His supernatural rest. Here are some comments from the Passion notes that describe this beautiful passage.

“The Greek word for “love” is agape, which is a merging of two words and two concepts. Ago means “to lead like a shepherd,” and pao is a verb that means “to rest.” Love is our Shepherd leading us to the place of true rest in his heart.”

“The Hebrew word menuhâ means “the waters of a resting place.”

When our journey leads us through the valley of the shadow of death only the living water of the Spirit can restore our wounded soul. Over these last several months all of us have gone through some uncharted minefields. Sometimes it feels like the endless “Groundhog Day”, and other times it seems wildly unpredictable. This Psalm reminds us of the nearness of the Shepherd and the power of His waters of rest. Here is how Spurgeon describes this renewal.

“When the soul grows sorrowful he revives it; when it is sinful he sanctifies it; when it is weak he strengthens it. “He” does it. His ministers could not do it if he did not. His Word would not avail by itself. “He restoreth my soul.” Are any of us low in grace? Do we feel that our spirituality is at its lowest ebb? He who turns the ebb into the flood can soon restore our soul. Pray to him, then, for the blessing—“Restore thou me, thou Shepherd of my soul!”

The waters of the Holy Spirit are essential. Without His healing qualities our hearts stay hard and callous, without His love our hearts stay wounded, without His rivers of peace we stay in turmoil. It’s time to lay down by the waters of rest, my only place of restoration and revival.

RIVER OF LIFE

Rev.22:1,2 – Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, flowing with water clear as crystal, continuously pouring out from the throne of God and of the Lamb. The river was flowing in the middle of the street of the city, and on either side of the river was the Tree of Life, with its twelve kinds of ripe fruit according to each month of the year. The leaves of the Tree of Life are for the healing of the nations.

This is the final vision in the book of Revelation. You could say this is the closing of one chapter and the beginning of a whole new world. We see the Tree of Life in the beginning of the book of Genesis, we see it again in the closing chapter of Revelation. Jesus is the Beginning and the End, He has made all things new and our eternity with the Lord begins with this vision of the River of God. I want to make a few observations from these two verses of this unfolding new life. First, we see the River of Life. This immediately reminds us of a hot afternoon when Jesus was speaking a a Samaritan woman, “If you only knew who I am and the gift that God wants to give you—you’d ask me for a drink, and I would give to you living water.” This is the water of life that flows from Christ, this is the Spirit of God that awakens and satisfies our thirsty souls. Next, we see this River is as clear as crystal. As Matthew Henry said, “All the streams of earthly comfort are muddy; but these are clear, salutary, and refreshing, giving life, and preserving life, to those who drink of them.”

A closer look and you see the source of the River. This River flows from the throne and actually from Christ Himself. This awakens images of blood and water flowing from Christ on the cross. This cleansing flow is still washing whosoever will today. This River flows right in the middle of the city. This is the New Jerusalem, the Bride of Christ. This River is flowing through His church on earth today. Notice the fruit of this river, the Tree of Life. The fruit of this tree is healing for the nations. This is true for eternity, it is also true today. Make your home in the City of God close to the River. There you will find healing and wholeness for your whole being.

RIVER FLOWS FROM HIS SIDE

Jn.7:37-39 – Then on the most important day of the feast, the last day, Jesus stood and shouted out to the crowds—“All you thirsty ones, come to me! Come to me and drink! Believe in me so that rivers of living water will burst out from within you, flowing from your innermost being, just like the Scripture says!”

Jesus was prophesying about the Holy Spirit that believers were being prepared to receive. But the Holy Spirit had not yet been poured out upon them, because Jesus had not yet been unveiled in his full splendor.

There is a river that flows from the throne of God. Seated on this throne is the One John saw in the book of Revelations. He said that this One on the throne was both the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. This is what Jesus was prophesying about in today’s passage. He was speaking of the day when He would be glorified with His Father on the throne with the River of Life streaming out from Him. We live in that day. There is a River and it flows from the glorified Lord into and out of His church on earth. Here are some comments from the Passion Notes on this passage.

“This splendor included the splendor of the cross, the splendor of his resurrection, and the glory of his ascension into heaven. Just as water poured out of the rock that was struck by Moses, so from the wounded side of Jesus living water poured out to heal, save, and bring life to everyone who believes. The Holy Spirit poured out of Christ and into the church at Pentecost.”

John said Jesus was prophesying about the glory flooding from Christ after He took His place at the Father’s right hand. John saw this living water flow out from Christ when He was pierced on the cross. John19:34 – “But one of the soldiers took a spear and pierced Jesus’ side, and blood and water gushed out”. There is still living water flowing out of the wounds of Jesus on us today. There is a River of life flowing out to the thirsty; whoever drinks from this river will never thirst again. This Living Water will heal our broken heart, restore our devastated lives, and heal our bodies. Look to Him now, there is a River that flows from the throne of God.

EVERYWHERE THE RIVER GOES THERE IS HEALING

Ezekiel.47:9 – And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the river goes, will live.

Ezekiel’s vision is a glimpse into the recovery of our world at the end of this age. Ezekiel saw the millennial temple and the river of God flowing out to bring healing to our devastated world. When Jesus returns there will be a great need for the healing nature of His river to flow all throughout the land. In Ezekiel’s vision the Lord led Ezekiel out into the healing waters for himself. We don’t have to wait for the millennium to enjoy the healing properties of the River of God. Even now anyone who is thirsty can come and drink. This living water will flow into you and heal and restore every broken part of your life. Everything, from your mind to your emotions, your inner man to your body; everywhere this river flows there is healing and there is life. Here is how Matthew Henry described this passage.

“The healing virtue of this river. The waters of the sanctuary, wherever they come and have a free course, will be found a wonderful restorative. Being brought forth into the sea, the sulphureous lake of Sodom, that standing monument of divine vengeance, even those waters shall be healed, shall become sweet, and pleasant, and healthful. This intimates the wonderful and blessed change that the gospel would make, wheresoever it came in its power, a great change, in respect both of character and condition, as the turning of the dead sea into a fountain of gardens…..Christ, coming into the world to be its physician, sent his gospel as the great medicine, the panpharmacon; there is in it a remedy for every malady. Nay, wherever these rivers come, they make things to live, both plants and animals; they are the water of life. Christ came, that we might have life and for that end he sends his gospel. Every thing shall live whither the river comes. The grace of God makes dead sinners alive and living saints lively; everything is made fruitful and flourishing by it.”

The river restores every part of our life. Actually the river is a person, the blessed Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a healing spirit; the Holy Spirit is the spirit of life. Today, find some way to get into the river. Worship the Lord, gather with friends in prayer, find a service where the Holy Spirit is being poured out; Push out into the depths of the river and experience His healing and life.

Christ gives us everything that pertains to life and godliness

MERRY TUESDAY BY PARRIS-

As his divine power has given to us all things which relate to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us by glory and virtue, through which he has given to us the greatest and precious promises, that through these ye may become partakers of [the] divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” I Pet.1:3

Adults are a lot like children. We live in perpetual repeat in our lives learning the same lessons over and over again since infancy. We just haven’t learned the lesson of “if you get too close to the fire it will burn you”, what we eat can definitely ruin us, or learning to drive the speed limit. As we move into adolescence, we learn painfully to pay our taxes, pay the ticket we just got and show up at work on time. For the ‘millennials’ we pray that they just SHOW UP! The stress that we accrue in the process of life becomes so debilitating that we self medicate, plunging ourselves into a deeper hole. Over and over again the cycle of life is repeated,

Christians need to change that way of life. There is another way. I call it RIVER LIFE! Christ can meet you and with a little effort your life can have a breakthrough to where you live free of this world and it’s cycle of pitfalls.

The Apostle John saw a pure river clear as crystal that was for the healing of the nations. Great cities since the beginning of time learned to live around rivers to ensure health, commerce and pleasure. We too must do the same. Learn to live on the river that flows from His Throne, His presence. On his river the healing of the nations is provided. His river purifies the unclean soul and washes out the deepest dye of our sin that has stained our garments of flesh. Malachi describes this white as no fuller on earth can whiten! Whatever you have gone through, experienced as trauma God has sent this precious river to provide the help we need. This river provides enjoyment and recreation on a daily basis that we don’t need to “go near the fires of the world that try to inflame our hearts”. The things of the earth are barren and lifeless and can hold no life source or give any lasting value to our upkeep. But whenever the river flows there is life and life abundantly. Christ himself is upholding this world by his word and he upholds us by his amazing power! All a man needs is sustainable in this river. He quenches our thirsty soul. Our natures are renewed, refreshed and reproduced over and over again. Its a supernatural life.

I pray you will find this precious river—it’s running right next to you! Jump in!

RESTING BY THE RIVER

Psa. 23:1,2  The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

This is a beautiful picture of the spiritual rest the Lord gives His sons and daughters. The Amplified Bible says it like this, “He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters”. That is one of the beautiful functions of the wonderful Holy Spirit, He gives us rest for our souls. This is one of the greatest of all needs in today’s crazy world. Stress seems to be the order of the day; seasons of earthquakes and national disasters, political chaos, racial contention, economic tsunamis, and incurable pandemics. Without this place of rest to run to, we can easily be overwhelmed by the troubles of this life. Have you learned the importance of following the Shepherd daily to the waters of rest? I think I would have shipwrecked long ago without learning the blessing of resting in the Spirit. Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry of the waters of rest.

“The still waters by which he leads them yield them, not only a pleasant prospect, but many a cooling draught, many a reviving cordial, when they are thirsty and weary. God provides for his people not only food and rest, but refreshment also and pleasure. The consolations of God, the joys of the Holy Ghost, are these still waters, by which the saints are led, streams which flow from the fountain of living waters and make glad the city of our God. God leads his people, not to the standing waters which corrupt and gather filth, not to the troubled sea, nor to the rapid rolling floods, but to the silent purling waters; for the still but running waters agree best with those spirits that flow out towards God and yet do it silently.”

I can remember very clearly the first time I found myself in this semi-conscious state resting in the Holy Ghost. I was prayed for and fell under the power of the Spirit for the first time. I found myself totally caught by surprise as I was overtaken by the restful waters of joy. Resting, laughing, and overcome by love; that’s the very place the Shepherd wants to takes us. This is the beautiful place of restoration, cleansing, and empowering. Go ahead and take a break in the River, this is the place you have been looking for all of your life.

GOD IS A RIVER

Ps. 46:4

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,

The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.

Is it possible that this river that we see all throughout scripture is actually God Himself? Several years ago there was an international outpouring of the Holy Spirit that was characterized by the River. Anytime you were around Christian gatherings in the mid-nineties everyone was talking about “the River”. The question on everyone’s lips was “have you been touched by the River?” It was everywhere at the same time; the river was a living, breathing thing. Some began to see the River as an experience that would surely be temporary. It seemed that many ministers were anxious for things to “get back to normal”. That has been twenty five years ago now, I’m still not back to normal. The conclusion I came to is that the River is not an experience but a person. Ralph Erskine, a Puritan minister in Scotland in the 1600’s said this about the River.

“What is the river that makes glad the city of God? I answer, God himself is the river, as in the following verse, “God is in the midst of her.” 1. God the Father is the river: “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Jer 2:13. 2. God the Son is the river, the fountain of salvation: “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” Zec 13:1. 3. God the Spirit is the river: “He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Jn. 7:38. What are the streams of this river? Answer—the perfections of God, the fulness of Christ, the operations of the Spirit, and these running in the channel of the covenant of promise.”

The Father is the fountain of the River which is the love of God. Everything springs from this overflowing fountain. Jesus is the very radiance or display of God’s love. In Him we see the glory of this River of love. The Holy Spirit is the very essence of God, the manifestation of the love of God. When we are immersed into the Holy Spirit we begin to experience the blessing of the River, the amazing love of God.