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Monday, June 9, 2008

Listening to the River

By Emil Swift and Michele Swift

"Brat!" has become one of my wife's favorite terms of endearment lately. I have to admit, I work hard to deserve it. I find little ways to tease her -- that's one way little boys show their endearment, of course.

One of my favorites is to announce to her that the water's hot. That is, living far from the water heater, turning on the tap for either the sink or the shower won't deliver hot water for at least a minute. But, sitting nearby in my little office-cubby, I can hear the water running through the pipes in the wall.

And I can hear the change in pitch as the temperature rises from cold to hot. So I wait for a half-minute, start paying closer attention, and when I hear the pitch of the flowing water change, I call out, "Water's hot!" and she so often says, "But I just turned it on!

"O.K. But it's hot now!"

And she checks and asks, "How did you know?" and I say, "Just listened. I hear when it runs hot."

And she closes the discussion neatly, saying, "You're a brat, you know that?"

"I try hard," I mutter.

I've tried to explain about listening to fluids, to her and others through the years. I can even hear the fluid in a cup of hot coffee cooling down as you stir it with a metal spoon. The pitch consistently changes as the temperature descends. But even though (on several occasions) I've stood in demonstration, stirring a cup of coffee with a ringing sound of the spoon tapping its side, no one has successfully picked up that same, marvelous skill. In fact, there's one young woman (a grandmother now) who as a teen in our congregation I taught how to listen for this very sound -- and who now introduces me as, "This is Emil... he was my pastor when I was a teenager and he tried to teach me to listen to the sound of a cup of coffee." (Snigger.)

You see, I'm not unfamiliar with persecution.

There's a much more important Flow of Water today, a River that (as Ezekiel 47 puts it) Flows out of the Temple of God, from under the threshold to the East and down, across the dead wastelands of the world. And everywhere it flows, it enlivens, strengthens, invigorates...

Some people claim that this Temple in Ezekiel is one day going to be built in Jerusalem, and somehow the Second Coming of Christ is connected to its construction. Others teach that after the "Rapture", when God steals away all the "Christians", that the Jews will return to this Temple and begin sacrificing animals on its altar again (especially, a "red heifer", an extinct bovine breed used in the Old Testament Temple.) Let them think whatever they want. If they are in Christ, then they have Eternal Life no matter what they think.

But the New Testament makes it clear that Jesus Christ -- crucified "outside the gate" -- is the final Sacrifice as well as the new altar of the new Temple. And we are that Temple -- a Temple not made by the hands of men but of God, from living stones which are us, all those who by faith have been made one in Christ.

Here's where the River comes in -- we're not only the Temple in which God has chosen to dwell, we're the River which flows out into the dead lands of this world. We are the ones who come from the Temple -- from the Presence of God -- and take His Presence in His Spirit into the lives of people sitting, waiting in spiritual darkness and death.

In another sense, we are the only "Jesus" this world will ever see. We are His "hands", His "feet", His touch", His "breath", His "Love"... we are the Body of Christ.

Just as Ezekiel's River -- flowing out of the Presence of God -- distributes supernatural healing, life, restoration for the sick, and delivers justice, righteousness and freedom for the oppressed -- we are the Flow of God's Spirit throughout the land.

Now, I'm not saying "we will be" or "we can be" -- I'm saying, "That's who we are." Whether we know it or not. It's just like a person being the child of a king, but not ever knowing it! That child can live in poverty and fear, despite the reality that all the power of the kingdom lies within reach -- but if you don't know to "reach out" for it, ignorance reigns.

In just that same way, if you and I are in Christ, we are already the "flow" of God's Presence throughout the land. I say already because it isn't a "work" God still yet needs to do, because in Hebrews 4, we are assured that God has already completed His Work. It's already done! Jesus said, on the Cross, "It is finished."

But knowing that we are Ezekiel's River, flowing with Spiritual life into the wastelands of this world, and manifesting that Flow are totally, two different things. The difference is a lot like the difference between turning on the tap which ways "Hot" and getting water that's ice cold out of it.

Now -- here's where I get to be a brat. Sitting here in my little office-cubby, I'm calling out to you all and saying, "Hey! The water's hot!" There's been a change in the sound in the Flow of the Spirit in people's lives across this nation and around this world. I'm not saying, "Get hot!" but "Jump in!" The River's carrying the Power of God like we haven't experienced for a long time! We don't have to wait any longer to pray for the sick, to deliver the afflicted, to bind-up the broken-hearted!"

But how does one "get into the water?" Start in the Temple, in the Holy of Holies. Hear the Call of God (Heb 4.16 & 10.19) to Come close into His Presence. And that intimacy energizes us with both His Power and His Heart. Out of that Holy Place in His Temple, His people will flow like a healing River.

Maybe you haven't heard that shift in the sound -- so let me give you a "head's up!" Climb in the Shower, get in the Flow, do whatever you have to do but know this: TODAY, the River of God is hot with His Power!

© 2008 by Emil B. Swift

"KingdomScribes" is a ministry led by Emil and Michele Swift. For further teachings concerning the spiritual Reformation sweeping through the world today and how to position ourselves to participate, go to KingdomScribes.net/

The Swifts have been called by God to minister together uniquely to the Body of Christ and share a revelatory teaching ministry - gifted in the Spirit to teach mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven in a simple, direct fashion. Emil and Michele are "Kingdom Scribes" whose hearts are to raise every Believer into living and ministering in the power of the Spirit and the Word as "scribes of the Kingdom". A passion to engage the hearts, souls and spirits of their listeners has led the Swifts into a teaching style characterized by its lack of religion, rituals and church jargon. They minister in words easily understood by those to whom they speak.

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