One of our congregation's most jovial members stood and wept loudly and openly as the Holy Spirit touched him sovereignly in a service, delivering him from a depression he had kept hidden from all of us.
Almost every member was being touched. Then healing miracles began to happen. Within a few weeks, five people had received documented healings confirmed by radiologists.
For me, however, the greatest miracle was taking place in my own once-cynical heart. I was falling in love with Jesus all over again.
Nearly four years had passed. I received prayer-mostly from ordinary people, not well-known ministers-hundreds of times in big and small churches flowing in this same river of blessing, and the sense of the Lord's presence has flourished in my life. Waves of panic have been washed away by wave after wave of His healing love.
Now the trickle has become a gushing river in my soul. It has carried me into dimensions of His love I never knew existed, as well as into foreign nations and even prisons.
In Spain I saw this river touch a Muslim man, hardened by the bruises of life. He began to shake as the Holy Spirit's presence sovereignly fell upon Him, and He turned immediately to Christ.
In England I watched a teen-age boy, unsaved and skeptical, fall to the ground under the influence of God's power, then sit up and give his life to Jesus. In prisons, I've seen laughter and spiritual drunkenness overcome once-hardened sex offenders and murderers who have then turned to Christ.
I've seen widows healed of their searing grief. I've seen hopeless addicts gradually restored to lasting sobriety through repeated doses of His soaking love. I've seen deadly tumors disappear both suddenly and gradually under repeated touches of the Holy Spirit.
But while the river is blessing multitudes, others are wondering whether or not it is God. In the beginning I, too, was a skeptic. I ridiculed this precious outpouring, despising the laughter and all I still do not fully understand.
When I saw the river's powerful restorative effects, however, I was faced with a choice. Would there ever be any substitute for that final risky leap of faith?
No. So I jumped in.
I've given myself to practically every expression of His power and love. I've unashamedly made 22 trips from Pittsburgh to Toronto to enjoy the meetings. I've received "soaking prayer" over 500 times, allowing the Holy Spirit to touch me in practically every service I've attended, both here and abroad.
Isn't this extreme? Perhaps. But how would a dying man in a scorching desert react if he suddenly happened upon a pure, deep river? Would you consider his behavior extreme if he threw himself into the waters and began to drink?
Ultimately, I decided that there are no toxic levels of the Holy Spirit. Can anyone, after all, receive too much of Jesus' love, too much of His joy, too much of His peace? Can any of us receive too much of the Father's blessing?
Some ask, "Is it renewal-or revival?" I guess that depends on how dead you were when it started!
Whatever it's called, I believe this is the beginning of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our generation. "There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God" (Ps. 46:4, NKJV)-and the river is here!
Melinda Fish is the author of several books, including The River Is Here (Chosen/Baker Books).
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