It has been ten years since I wrote my first editorial for Spread the Fire. Now this is the last. The River has taken me in a direction that I never intended, but it has been the ride of my life. I’m still in the River and believe I will be until the day I die. The River is the move of the Holy Spirit in my lifetime, the difference between life and death. What is happening now is a bend in its path, and I can’t see very far down that way. But I’ve come to trust this substance, more than I trust the scenery. I can navigate on it and trust it to hold me up even when I don’t know where it is taking me.
In 1978 missionary, Elliott Tepper, prophesied in our church one Sunday morning that we would see something called a “river” and a “blessing.” We had no idea how to prepare for it. The mystery of the River was hidden from us for eighteen years while we traversed the hills and valleys of a hope and disappointment roller coaster. In the end, we found the River not because we wanted to give its blessings away, but we found the River because we needed God. We were desperate for His refreshing.
I remember the night in Toronto when a lady testifying said, with tears running down her face, “I got in to this River because I was hungry for my first love passion for Jesus, and I didn’t know how to get it back.”
I identified with this statement, because before this, I had thought that words of prophecy over my life were like homework assignments. I needed to discover their meaning and perform them. I didn’t know that God loved me and would furnish the supernatural strength. Afterward I went up for prayer. A man named Ron Dick prayed for me, and I crumpled under the weight of the Holy Spirit for the first time.
After this, receiving prayer became my chief pursuit. I wanted more of the Lord and now that I was convinced it was possible, I submitted myself to every prayer team that offered it. I long ago lost count of the number of times I have received prayer, and I have also lost count of the number of times I crawled to Toronto to discover another facet of the Holy Spirit.
This River is the greatest blessing of my life and the fruit of it is unparalleled. My two children are serving God today, married to River people themselves, and we have three grandsons now who owe their existence to the River of God’s love. My husband is on fire for God and our church is full of the power of God’s presence. We still have visitors say that they’ve never felt the presence of God like this. I like it this way, quiet, family like and hidden for God’s purpose. In this River, we’ve found our purpose, to love God and each other. For over twelve years, our church formally gave away this blessing every Friday night. I guess you could say that we still are giving Him away, because I’ve become convinced that this River is forever. I don’t think I will see its end.
As you read the final issue of Spread the Fire, may the testimonies of the people in this magazine sing to you that the joy of the presence of Jesus Christ is still yours if you want Him. I believe that God wants the River to rise again back to flood stage. So if you long for His presence and simply say, “Come, Holy Spirit,” the River of God’s love will fill you and you, too, will find yourself on the ride of eternity!
Originally Published May/June 2009 Editor Melinda Fish
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