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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

God Is Like a River

There is a river near my hometown.  It is spanned with a mile-long bridge. The bridge starts at the edge of the flood plain and extends until you can see the rather small body of water below. There have been times when it has spilled over its banks and taken the entire flood plain. During droughts the river has shrunk to little more than a creek.

I haven’t  seen this river for a long time but I am sure that it is still there. I am sure there is some amount of water flowing through the banks. I am sure that the river doesn’t appear only when I come to look at it. I am sure that the water that is flowing in it now will be long gone before I see the river again.

Sunday morning God gave me a “vision” of that river. I prayed that He would do some things during the worship service. I asked that He do even more in our church. He said very clearly to me, “Do you not realize that I am working right now?”

You see, I asked God to do some things as if He was waiting to start when I asked. I acted as if my asking activated His work. I acted like He wasn’t there in this need until I arrived. I saw this as that river that runs so near my home town. It is there and flowing even when I am unaware of it. God is there in the middle of each need and acting even when I am unaware of the need.

Now, I know that God doesn’t say, “Oh, I am so glad you told me of this need. I wasn’t aware there was a need there at all.” Yet, I have acted like it. I have acted like God didn’t act until I told Him what the need was. I acted like He didn’t want to do the things I asked Him for.

No, God is like that river in this way. The water that has passed did so without my observing it pass. It represents the continual action of God. He never stops flowing. I can choose to jump in the river but my only real progress comes when I go with its flow rather than trying to “swim upstream.” My prayers jump in the river and go with Him or they will be mute. The river is not changed when I enter it. My location has changed. I am moving with the river.

Yet, the river beckons me to jump in. It is as if the full purpose of its flowing is not met unless it has a passenger. I enter into this in prayer.

Have you ever thought that God is not working until you told Him of the need? That’s silly when you think of it but it is exactly how I was acting. His grace is coming all the time for every need so that His work will succeed.

2 Corinthians 9:8 (ESV)
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 

4 comments: said...

Now, how should I put it... Aaaah! I will say it straight; Ps  Prentis, I  don't know if you really had a vision or not, because you used "" mark with your using of the word, vision, but I had a vision last Sunday in the first morning church service, involving a river.  Afterwards, a sister said that, in a separate service in another church, prior to Sunday, the preacher preached along the interpretation I released to the church congregation, for the vision. I will elaborate on that vision of mine in a moment, but I want also to say that, that same sister (who was a cancer survivor; the Lord healed her), she also said, that morning's prophetic painting, painted impromptu from the start of the morning service, before the congregation, was about the river of God.  I saw that painting, being painted at one corner of the stage, and it was blue and white.  The sister said the painter shared with her, she was inspired to paint a river, and this sister ended our conversation, saying she would get the full interpretation of the painting from the painter, and let me know.

I will now share more fully the vision I had. The entire vision was of 3 segments. The first segment was received in my hour of intercession before the start of the service, at the front of the sanctuary. The Lord showed me a tea pot filling up a beautiful cup to the brim.  The second segment was received in the 10 minutes before the start of the praise and worship of the morning service, when I was seated at my usual seat.  I was first shown a patch of water.  This patch quickly grew over a much larger area, and then turned into a river, and this river, over an arid place, extended further and further away, without end.  The picture then changed to show a smallish drain (longkang, colloquially), like one I would typically find in the housing estates of Singapore (where I live). When that drain disappeared, I saw a water-fall, instead.  The third segment, I received it during the sermon (sermon was about afflictions).  This, like the first segment picture, was singular and brief.  I was shown an arid ground, and then all of a sudden a few fishes, the size of about one foot in length, were thrown to the ground, as I was looking at the ground; it was dry ground, and so the fishes jumped about in desperation.

I released the vision to the congregation with interpretation, after the praise and worship, before the sermon (with the Senior Pastor's consent), and so, the last segment was not released, as it was received afterwards, during the sermon.  This is the interpretation I released:  

Cont.... said...

Cont. From above

The vision, I believe was a revelation of God's heart and desire.  That the Holy Spirit and His living water given to the members of the body (represented by the teapot filling up the cup) should be flowing out (represented by the formation of the river, extending out, never ending), to reach the  community, the surrounding residents, and residents in the country (represented by the drain or "longkang") and beyond, overseas (represented by the waterfall; there is no waterfall in Singapore).  

In other words, God's desire is for the church to reach out, to go into the community, and beyond, bringing the Spirit and living water to those needing them. The unreleased segment further confirmed it, indicating that there is still ground where the water (the Spirit and living water; out of the belly of the believer, shall flow out streams of living water) has not reached.  The fishes represented the unsaved to be fished by us, the fisher of men, or they could anyone in need.

Indeed, it is always that God is able to make all grace abound to us, that we may have everything we need to abound in every good works.  But are we responding to the desire and will of God, and choose to leave our pews to reach out to those outside the church?  I believe this heart-beat of God is not only for me, for my church in Singapore; it is for churches in Singapore, for churches in USA, and His churches and children all over the world.  Today, will you and I reach out to any "struggling fishes" out there, bringing the Spirit to them, and bring the water of life to them?

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Prentis McGoldrick said...

Actually, I didn't mean "vision" in the sense you are speaking. I meant more of a simile of explanation. said...