After we moved to the desert of southern central Oregon last year to start our homestead and our new adventure as retirees, I had expressed concern to my long time Pastor in California that I wasn’t sure what kind of church our small rural town would have.
For nearly twelve years I’d been part of such a vibrant, Spirit-filled body where I had grown by leaps and bounds spiritually. In my conversation with my Pastor, he just encouraged me that wherever the Lord placed me, that I should “Be the river!”
I’m happy to say that the church God picked for me is a good, Bible based, well-rounded congregation that loves the Lord. So I will see how He allows me to accomplish my Pastor’s admonition.
In the mean time, this Winter we’ve been staying in Roseburg, Oregon because our homestead we started last Spring was not ready for Winter habitation. So, I discovered a wonderful church here to attend until we move back home.
One Sunday, I particularly enjoyed the service and knew the temporary place the Lord led me was a great opportunity to be refreshed and encouraged.
After church, we went on a Sunday drive and I continued mulling over the message. The Pastor who spoke shared many healing testimonies and some of the core values of their church. He used a term my Pastor had said hundreds of times. “We are to be change agents.”
As he explained how this region has been plagued by a spirit of hopelessness for decades, he made another poignant statement. “Instead of being a thermometer, we need to be a thermostat!”
The basic take-away from his message was that despite our circumstances, no matter how hopeless things might seem around us, that, because of our new life in Christ, we carry with us the ability to bring the Kingdom of God to bear in every circumstance.
At one point on our drive, we came upon a place where two rivers come together, called Colliding Rivers. We got out to look at the churning waters. I’d seen the place once before and was reminded of a sad story.
Someone I know had once come to that same spot with suicidal thoughts, intending to jump into the rocky, dangerous waters.
Just like the Pastor here had touched on, hopelessness had overwhelmed to the point of utter despair.
Thankfully the Holy Spirit intervened and the person didn’t follow through on their sad intention and all is well now. I’m very grateful to the Lord for that, because the devastation would have been unbearable.
But as I stood there, I realized the Lord was showing me something I want to share today.
The two rivers symbolize several things. First of all, I saw how the desperation of hopelessness had intersected the life giving flow of the Spirit of God.
Because the person chose not to jump, the flesh and it’s bent toward death had crashed into life like these two rivers. Rather than giving up in despair, a life surrendered to Christ found the hope of new life.
I also recognized that as one powerful river merged with another, a new one was formed. This is new life and reminds us that our will has to give over to the will of God so we can become the powerful force for change we are meant to be.
Jesus told us in John 7:38, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”
To become the change agents and control the atmosphere of hopelessness by setting the thermostat so hope can be restored, this new river of life must be allowed to prevail.
That’s one aspect of what my Pastor meant by his urging for me to “Be the river.” If I do not surrender my will to Jesus and allow His Spirit to overtake me, then I will only collide with His purpose and the churning turmoil won’t bring His Kingdom on earth.
Additionally, I saw the power inherent in both rivers as they crashed and swirled together. When the waters intermingled, the power of the new river became much stronger.
God wants to use us as Sons and Daughters, fully surrendered to Him, so His power can overtake us and cause us to flow with it.
The rocky area around where the rivers came together had the marks of the rivers’ force. An information sign said that during a particular flood one year, the water had been 5 feet over the top of the sign.
The drastic results of the powerful collision literally changed the landscape. This is God’s desire for us. He allows us to partner with Him to change everything around us so His Kingdom dominates.
When we drove away from the site, I realized that ‘being the river,’ means that what I do impacts everything I touch. Like that analogy of the thermometer versus the thermostat, this is a proactive position.
It means that in the face of the stronghold of hopelessness, I can set the atmosphere to the atmosphere of Heaven and despair must bow to the power of Christ’s life, thereby destroying the power of hell that tries to come against it.
My prayer for you today is that no matter what hopeless or desperate situation you may be facing, you will surrender your life and will to Jesus so He can bring Heaven to bear and carry you forward with His life within you.
If you’re between a rock and a hard place, I pray you’ll see how His power can flood where you are with His amazing life giving flow and change everything around you.
Even if your flesh is trying to rear up and fight the inevitable clash with the holiness God brings, I pray you’ll see how useless it is to try going your own way. If you belong to the Lord Jesus, He will eventually have the victory.
If the surrounding circumstances are stagnant and seemingly immovable, I pray you’ll see how to set the temperature to the hot fire of the Spirit by merging with that raging river of God’s power.
My hope in sharing this word today, is that you, too, will recognize God’s admonition and challenge to “Be the river.”
Always in Jesus,
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