255. Times of Refreshing

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Blameless Innocence

Let’s celebrate God! He lavished every blessing heaven has upon us in Christ! He associated us in Christ before the fall of the world! Jesus is God’s mind made up about us! He always knew in his love that he would present us again face-to-face before him in blameless innocence. God found us in Christ before he lost us in Adam! (Eph 1:3-4 Mirror Bible).

God lavished His blessing upon mankind, from the very beginning, to empower us to fulfil the plans he has always had for us. He had a plan, before ever things went wrong, to ensure that His original intention would be fulfilled. He always knew that we would appear before Him righteous – in what Francois Du Toit calls ‘face-to-face blameless innocence’.

To be ‘blamelessly innocent’ it must be as if we never did anything wrong. Is that how we think of ourselves? Or are we still thinking of ourselves from the perspective of the history of our life, all the things we may have done in our life that we are ashamed of, all the things that were not quite aligned with what God wanted us to do? He does not look at it like that! He found us in Christ before He ever lost us in Adam. I love that thought. Already, God was looking to restore everything, even before we messed it up. He has already made a plan for us to be face to face before Him, blamelessly innocent.

He is the architect of our design; his heart dream realized our coming of age in Christ. His grace-plan is to be celebrated: he greatly endeared us and highly favoured us in Christ. His love for his Son is his love for us (Eph 1:5-6 Mirror Bible).

If there is going to be a restoration, and He is the original architect, then surely that restoration will be in accordance with His original design. He had a dream in His heart, and He is going to bring that dream to fruition. This is cause for celebration! And it is grace, His divine enabling power, which causes that to come about.

The secret is out! His cherished love dream now unfolds in front of our very eyes. In the economy of the fullness of time, everything culminates in Christ. All that is in heaven and all that is on earth is reconciled in him… This is how we fit into God’s picture… (Eph 1:9,11 Mirror Bible).

Restoration is unfolding before us. It is not just an event that will happen some time in the future, but a process that is already in motion; a process in which we have a part to play as maturing sons. There is an element of past, present and future in all of this. If everything on earth and everything in heaven is reconciled, and reconciliation is restoration of relationship, and we are ministers of reconciliation, then can we begin to see how we fit into this picture?

Repent and return

Peter, leading up to his mention of the restoration of all things on the day of Pentecost, says:

“Therefore repent and return, so that the sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you…” (Acts 3:19-20).

In reality, he is already talking about restoration. Repentance, we know, has nothing to do with being sorry enough about something to cause God to respond, but everything to do with getting God’s perspective on our situation and agreeing with how He thinks about us. And we have seen what God’s perspective is: blameless innocence.

Returning has to do with coming back to our original identity and purpose. The sin is the loss of that identity, our losing sight of the original image of God within us, a loss which has caused us to act in ways which have damaged both ourselves and others. Our whole fallen identity has been blotted out and wiped away; every accusation against us nailed to the cross.

Breathe again

‘Refreshing’ is the Greek word ‘anapsyxis‘, which means a breathing space(1), an opportunity to catch your breath and breathe easily again. God breathed life into Adam in a face to face encounter, and he became a living being. In this promised refreshing, God is looking to breathe the breath of life into us again:

He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).

Jesus breathed on them; this was a face to face encounter in which the refreshing breath of God was imparted to the disciples after his resurrection. Continually refreshed in His presence, we will never need to try to draw from another source.

More than that, as Bill Johnson has remarked, “Whenever God restores something, He restores it to a place greater than it was before.”(2) Restoring our status as living beings is only the precursor to our being able to mature into the godlike beings which, as sons of God, He always intended us to be. He does not seek to restore us only to what we were on earth, but to what we were in the heart of God; in the ‘what was’, outside of time and space.

Presence

…and the God of the peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved unblameably in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5:23 YLT).

Young’s Literal Translation has it right. Most translations say ‘at the coming’ of our Lord Jesus Christ, but that Greek word ‘parousia‘ is really rooted in ‘presence’. If you are only looking to be sanctified and without blame sometime in the future when Jesus returns, then you will likely miss out on the potential of it happening now. But if you see it as the ‘presence’ of the Lord which brings refreshing as He breathes into us and restores us on a moment-by-moment, breath-by-breath basis, then you can enjoy that as a present experience, here and now. Because …you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God (1 Cor 6:11, emphasis mine).

References

(1) Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, via biblehub.com
(2) Hosting The Presence: Unveiling Heaven’s Agenda (Bill Johnson; Destiny Image, 2012)

Soundtrack: Great Are You Lord – All Sons and Daughters

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only

Recent posts by FreedomARC

Explore ‘The Restoration of All Things‘ at a deeper level.
Join Mike and his guests Nancy Coen, Justin Paul Abraham and Lindy Strong for an intensive here in Barnstaple UK from 4-8 June 2019.
More details and tickets via Eventbrite at https://freedomarc.org/roat

195. The Source and River of Life

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

Jesus died to give us access to heaven, and not only when we die: eternal spiritual life begins here and now. He died, but He did not stay dead. He rose again and is alive today. He is alive in heaven; He is alive in those who believe in Him; He manifests His presence here with us. Because of our relationship with Him, we can have intimate relationship with the Father as adopted sons, and with one another as brothers and sisters in God’s family.

We are connected to the source of life, and the source of life is connected to us. Within our spirit, there is a door that connects to God and to heaven, and it is up to us whether we open the door:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me (Rev 3:20).

When we choose to open that door on a daily basis, He comes in, fills us, and manifests around us so that people see and experience Him through us.

Living Water

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10).

Jesus was not offering the Samaritan woman a cupful, He was offering her the River of Life which is flowing in heaven. It is the same river that was in the Garden, where it split into four rivers and watered the earth.

The river that Ezekiel saw (see Ezek 47) was ankle-deep as it flowed out from the Temple. Ankle-deep water can refresh your feet; you can even reach down and get a drink from it. But it did not stay ankle-deep, or even waist-deep, but got deeper and deeper until it was so deep you could not cross it. Wherever that river went, it brought life. God wants us to bring that water to others so that they too can be filled and experience that life.

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’ (John 7:38).

If we go to that spring every day and drink of it, it will become a fountain of eternal life not only for us, but also for those around us. It will flow through our whole being, spirit soul and body. But we do have to draw water from the well. We have to get into the river. We have to drink the water.

Do we know the gift of God?
Are we connected to the flow of living water?
Do we drink from the internal well of water springing up to eternal life?
Do we experience the constant flow of the source of life, the Holy Spirit?

There is a river

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns (Psa 46:4-5).

How deeply have we drunk of this river?

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers (Psa 1:3).

That is a description of what our life can be like when we live connected to that source of life, putting our roots down and constantly drawing from it.

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22: 1-2).

We can follow that river flowing in our spirit, back up into the heavenly realms. Years ago, we would only have expected to encounter the river in this realm – ‘we rejoice for the river is here’, as we used to sing – but we can also experience the river in the realms of heaven.

Five Rivers

The River of Life is only one of five rivers that God showed me cascading like waterfalls out of heaven today. We can jump in and experience:

  • The River of Life – New Birth
  • The River of death and resurrection – Water Baptism
  • The River of the Spirit – Baptism in the Holy Spirit
  • The River of Fire – Consuming Fire
  • The River of Glory – Heavenly presence

Jump into the River of Life. Experience something deeper of the presence of God. Open that door in your own life and begin to sense the flow of His life in you. And if you have never met Jesus before, open up that door for the first time and drink of the River of Life. Drink that water until it becomes a well, a spring that bubbles up in you.

If you have had a baptism experience but you want more, plunge into the river of death and resurrection. Be washed inside and out, cleansed from your past, have the power of sin broken over your life. Exchange all the old for the new. Exchange the struggles, the sickness, the guilt, the shame. Exchange your old identity for a new one. Stop to trying to meet your own needs and allow God to meet them. Walk in resurrection power.

Jump into the River of the Spirit. Whoever wants to be filled with the joy, whoever is eager for the gifts, whoever wants to speak in tongues, come and receive a river flowing from within. Open your heart and receive all He has for you. Experience the power of baptism in the Holy Spirit at a completely new level.

Be empowered. Then give it away; let it flow from you.

If you need to be transformed, if you need the fire of God, then jump in and open your heart to the all-consuming River of Fire. Allow God’s fire to refine you, purify you, transform you. Allow God’s fire to destroy your chains. Jesus came to baptise in the Holy Spirit and fire (see Matt 3:11). Experience the power of baptism in fire.

Open your heart and receive all He has for you. Do not be satisfied with less.

Upstream to the source

If you are born again and have never engaged with God in your own heart and spirit, He is there, and you can do so right now. If you have never been into the realms of heaven, find the river within you and follow it back upstream to its source.

Experience God at a new level today. If you don’t want to jump right in, you can start by standing in the shallows. Feel the river flowing, and gradually go deeper. Eventually, go under, breathe in, and drink. Feel the energy, His life flowing in and through you.

Taste and see that the Lord is good (Ps 34:8a).

Activation

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Image attribution: Picture taken by John Maxwell in June of 2005 at the en:Krka National Park in Croatia. By Version13 at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3012949

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