Holy Ghost Joy
by Todd Bentley
aus der Elijah Liste
Today, before we continue to drink from the river of pleasure, I want to invite you to actually jump right in! I believe that some of you are drinking from the shoreline somewhat fearful of really getting in there! Don't be afraid! We'll ask the Lord to fill us up from head to toe with His Spirit - then we'll really be able to stay afloat and receive the joy that's found in God’s presence. We'll even have some fun! So let's pray together:
Father, we want to thank you for your kindness to us! We didn't completely realize how much you want us to receive and experience Your joy. We want to honor You today as we dig into Your Word, and we invite You to expand our revelation about what it really means to walk with You, filled up with joy.
We want to soak up everything that You want to release to us today! Please fill us up from head to toe with Your Spirit so that we can stay afloat in the river of Your pleasures and receive everything You want to give us.
In Jesus name. Amen.
Last week we discussed the fact that God is into moving on (touching) our feelings and He wants each of us to release back to Him the same kind of emotions that we share with our husband, wife or friend. Relationship really is a two-way adventure. King Solomon expressed this so well:
"I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh along with my balsam. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk. Eat, friends; drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers" (So. 5:1).
God wants our whole heart and He is inviting us to come to a sacred place of intimacy with Him so that He can touch us in a way that no one else can. He wants us to imbibe deeply. Imbibe means: to take into the mind and keep, as ideas; to drink (Webster's New World Dictionary). When we draw close to God with our whole being (body, soul and spirit) He can't resist our devotion, and as a result, His presence comes upon us. That's how we imbibe deeply. We’re drinking and soaking in His presence. We’re drinking from the river of His pleasures.
As I said last week, it can actually become easy for us to receive all that God has for us from the river of His pleasuresthe joy, the fullness of the Spirit. But you know, if you’re like I was, you'll need to learn how to drink from the river. With this in mind I want to share with you several specific ways that will help you to imbibe deeply.
HOW TO DRINK
1. DRAW NEAR TO GOD AND RECEIVE
One of the first ways that I learned to drink was by taking the initiative to worship the Lord and press in. As I communed with Him, it wouldn't take long before I would begin to feel the presence of God and so I would actually lie down on my carpet and soak up His presence. If I felt His presence begin to lift or wane, then once again I would worship Him, pray and press in. As I spent time with the Holy Spirit this way there would be such an exchange of love between us, just like King Solomon wrote about in the scripture just mentioned.
And so I would keep a low posture and continue to drink and if His presence lifted I'd get up again and ask God again for the glory and I’d ask again for His manifest presence to stay. I'd say, "God I am drawing near unto you, draw near to me." When I felt that glory again, I'd get down on the carpet and soak it up. This would happen again and again - I would be deliberate about receiving from the Lord and giving to the Lord. Remember last week we discussed the fact that there is a difference between being in the presence of God and actually receiving the Holy Spirit. So I began to practice receiving "God consciousness" to the point that now I can close my eyes and in seconds feel the glory of God.
2. BE SET FREE FROM "PROGRAMMING"
As well, what brought me to the place where I can drink deeply was when I was set free from the "programming" (in religion and in church) that teaches that it's wrong to have emotions, experiences and manifestations. After the Lord told me to go ahead and drink from the river of pleasure, I realized that if God has a river of pleasure then He is into emotions, feelings and pleasure! This revelation set me free!
Having said that, I do realize that if the manifestations and the feelings aren't there then we must hold on to the truth and the Word of God. (And the truth of God is the truth of God.) But when the feelings are there then praise God, have the feelings! I'm not in that camp that says, "We don't need to feel or experience any manifestations." I'm like, "I need those manifestations!" Listen! A man with an experience far outweighs a man with an argument. I want to experience everything that I say I know because then I really know. Hallelujah!
He wants relationship with us. Listen. You wouldn't want to be in a relationship with your husband or with your wife and you wouldn't want to have intimacy and friendship with someone that was just downright cold. You don’t say to your beloved, "Let’s be together and just work. It's going to be serious, no emotions, no laughter and jokes. No intimacy. Nothing. I don’t want you to feel any affection for me and I don't want to feel any affection coming from you." Many of us believe that's how we must relate to God.
But when we're set free from those mindsets, it’s a whole lot easier to be able to drink and receive from the Holy Ghost. As I said last week, we’re set free when we make up our minds to deliberately receive from God what He has on His heart for us. When we cooperate with God, we'll be set free!
3. BE OPEN TO RECEIVE
One other way is learning how to be quiet and still in His presence (Psalm 46:10) - being open to receive from God. In fact, in that quiet place I learned to come into His presence and lie on the floor with my mouth open! "I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide, and I will fill it (Psalm 81:10). With my mouth wide open, thirsty, He would fill me up from His river of pleasures.
God wants to fill you up, too! Did you know that God issued an invitation through the prophet Isaiah: "Ho! Everyone who thirsts: come to the waters; … come, buy wine and milk without money and without price… and let your soul delight itself in abundance" (55:1. 2b). God always does things in abundance. He wants us to go ahead and delight our soul in abundance. He is essentially saying something like this: "Come to the waters. Come without money. I want you to come for the wine." He is talking about the new wine.
So I started having a revelation about letting my soul delight itself in abundance and about coming to the waters, taking freely. Although I knew that I could drink as much as I wanted, I didn't actually see "the waters." I realized that I must come to the waters by faith because without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). And that's how we were all saved - by faith - believing that Jesus died on the cross atoning for our sins and then praying and asking Him to come into our heart as our Lord and Savior. We can drink the same way that we were saved. We're invited to come to the waters and we can drink as much as we want to, just like when we believe from our heart and receive anything else from God.
By faith we can jump into the river, dip our faces into the water and lap it up! I said, "Lord, right now I am thirsty. So I come to the river and I'm going to let my soul delight itself in You. I want abundance, God. And You said I could freely drink so I am dipping myself in your river, Jesus, and I'm drinking right now. I'm drinking, Lord. I’m drinking. Yep. I'm opening my mouth wide! I'm freely taking. Just like Lord when I asked You to come into my life, I'm receiving." This may seem absolutely foolish to you. But some things really do confound our minds!
Listen. Jesus made some statements and decrees that most of the people never understood, that confounded their minds. The apostle John wrote about the time when Jesus "cried out, saying, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink'" (John 7:37). Right in the middle of the feast, on the last day, that great day of the feast (the Feast of Booths), Jesus got up and cried out, "Hey! Is anyone thirsty? Let Him come unto me and drink!" We might be thinking: come on! Why does God have to shout that out right then and there? That might shake somebody up or offend somebody.
Well, He said, "…let him come to Me and drink," so I took God at His word. I said, "Lord I can drink freely so I come and I'm putting my face in the river!" I started to drink by faith. And then I started to teach other people how to drink by faith. I'd tell them, "Okay guys, let's make a barrel; get out your barrel." Then I'd declare, "We take our barrel and we dip our barrel down into the river and we say, 'Lord we drink.'" And I'd tell everyone to put their head back and open their mouth and say, "Lord, I tip my barrel back and I drink!" The reason why I'd have people say, "Lord, I tip my barrel back and I drink" is because when we have our mouth open we can't talk! (And it’s by faith that we receive.)
When we tip our head back and open our mouth we have to receive! We're directing our heart and our love to God - we're giving ourselves to Him! And He's giving Himself to us! You know, there is a principle that we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7) and when we give generously, we receive blessings in return (Luke 6:38, Proverbs 11:25). When we give ourselves to the Lord, He gives Himself to us.
THE "LAW OF DRINKING"
The word principle means: a fundamental truth, law, etc. upon which others are based (Webster's New World Dictionary). With this in mind, I want to discuss the "law of drinking" found in the book of Esther because there is a principle in this law that the Lord wants us to understand.
Let's turn to the first chapter of Esther where we read that King Ahasuerus hosted two magnificent banquets so that every invited guest would have a revelation of the riches, glory and splendor of his great majesty (v. 3-5). At each feast royal wine was served in abundance (v. 7). And they served this royal wine "in accordance with the law" which means that each person could drink as much as he wanted or not at all - there was no compulsion (v. 8). The wine was served according to the generosity of the King but nobody was being forced to drink.
Now I want us to come to understand the spiritual principle symbolized in the law of drinking; namely that we’re permitted to drink as much as we want according to the great generosity of the King of Kings! You know, Jesus is making a feast for us! In eternity His followers, believers, will gather together at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9) where the best wine ever created will be poured into our wine goblets (Matthews 26:29). But for now, here in planet earth He has lovingly poured out precious seasons of renewal and revival for us, His church - an outpouring of the Holy Ghost and renewed intimacy - like good wine. We can drink as much as we want from His river of pleasures!
In this blessed place we can receive fresh revelation of the majesty, strength and power of Jesus Christ and His kingdom. Today, His generosity continues and He is telling us to go ahead and drink the royal wine in abundance. He is pouring out His Spirit with new wine! God is actually working into the heart of His bride a love for Him and a fresh revelation of His glory and His kingdom.
THE FRUIT OF RENEWAL
So we must not offend the Lord with a mindset that believes it's wrong to go after manifestations and that it's wrong for God to move in our emotions! Rather, let's let God offend our minds and any religious self-righteousness dwelling in our hearts. God has a way of offending us, doesn't He?! The fact is, when He uses the foolish, weak, base things of the world - even people like me - that can offend us! It can offend the "status quo!" But we can take comfort in the fact that Jesus always upset and offended the status quo!
Actually, when we went to Africa, for awhile we offended the status quo there because of the way we ministered. Our contacts said, "Todd, many souls are being saved but you don't wear a tie like the rest of us. You don't handle the church meetings like we do and when you minister, the Africans get drunk and laid out under the power of God." Even though, at first they had difficulty with this, later they said, "But you know what, we really love it!"
Also in Canada I hear some believers say they don't understand the manifestations and some of the drunkenness. The way we function seems so foolish to them and even offends them. However, they do admit that there is good fruit that has come out of drinking from the river - like thousands of souls saved and miracles happening!
Today, perhaps you're getting somewhat wet in the river but you're wanting more - more good fruit manifesting in your life - the joy of the Lord, ministering to the lost, healing the sick and even raising the dead. Maybe you're not getting as blasted and pickled as you want because there's a part of you that receives, but you can only go so far and then you shut down.
So we're going to pray and break the bondages that are hindering you from getting as wet as God wants you to get. We're going to believe the Lord will set you free from the guilt of wanting more than the walking by faith and not by sight mentality. He wants to set you free from this even as He continues to pour out the royal wine of His spirit in abundance. Your mind does not have to be dry. He wants you to be filled with Holy Ghost joy and to taste and share the fruit of renewal!
I want to invite you to pray with me that by the Spirit of God, freedom and liberty is going to come. Let's make some declarations, too.
Father, we want to thank you for Your great kindness to us. Thank you for setting such a magnificent banqueting table before us in the presence of our enemies. We want to taste the royal wine and we want to drink from Your river of pleasures according to Your generosity! O God, we don’t take this for granted! We want to drink the wine, the refreshing and the renewal of the Holy Ghost!
Yes Lord, let the vats overflow with the new wine and new oil. Today, Spirit of God, please set us free from religious spirits, religious thinking and that mindset that causes us to get stuck in religious duty. We want to be rid of that guilt that tries to come on us when we want to enjoy the emotions and the manifestations of Your presence upon us.
God, we just want to thank You SO MUCH for giving us permission to enjoy your river of pleasures! We're smiling, God! Wow! We ARE being set free! Talk about Holy Ghost joy!
We want to take this freedom and joy to the streets! Lord, please anoint us to share the gospel - the good news that the kingdom of God is at hand - so those who are thirsty and weary can come freely to the waters and be refreshed and saved.
We don't want to keep this good news to ourselves, God. We're going with Holy Ghost joy in Your name, Lord Jesus! We're going to share about Your goodness and Your glory!
In Jesus Name. Amen.
Fresh Fire Ministries