Saturday, March 19, 2011


A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High.
[Psalm 46:4 NLT]

The children of men…drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; and You give them to drink of the river of Your delights.
[Psalm 36:8 NAS]

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
[Isaiah 12:3 NIV]

I like how Pastor Bill Johnson often says at the beginning of a church service: “I have news for you - God is in a good mood!” That statement usually lightens the atmosphere and draws laughter, as people in the audience reconsider their possibly over-serious approach to spirituality. Spiritual things are important, but not joyless. God is joyful! In Your presence is fullness of joy. [Psalm 16:11 NAS] Various forms of the word “joy” (“joyful,” “joyous,” etc.) - and related words like “gladness,” “rejoicing,” etc. – appear hundreds of times in the Bible. Psalm 36:8 (quoted above) says that God allows us to drink from His “river of delights.” Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that God rejoices over His people “with singing” [NIV].
The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
[Zephaniah 3:17 NAS]
So… how do we tap into God’s joy?

I got to thinking about the concept of water as a symbol of the Holy Spirit and “drawing water” as a metaphor for our ability to experience God’s joyful Spirit. God’s “river” moves powerfully from heaven to earth; and the word translated “wells” in Isaiah 12:3 [NIV, KJV] is alternately rendered “springs” [NAS] or “fountains” [NLT]. So we’re talking about more than a shallow, temporary puddle of fun – God’s Spirit is a deep, life-giving Source of continual refreshing!

If the Holy Spirit indwells and communicates with believers [John 14:16-17, 16:13-15, Galatians 4:6, etc.], shouldn’t we be living in touch with God’s joy – unless some kind of blockage hinders or obstructs the flow?

Below is a list of possible “Joybusters” (blockages) that come readily to mind - along with some scripture verses that encourage us to break through these dry, hard places - so we can tap into deeper levels of spiritual reality, where God’s “river of joy” is already flowing:

Sin, disobedience to Godyour sins have separated you from your God. [Isaiah 59:2 NIRV] “Turn from your sins and turn to God, because the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” [Matthew 3:2 & 4:17 NLT] If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [I John 1:9 NAS]

Ignorance of God’s Word - My people are ruined because they don't know what's right or true. [Hosea 4:6a MSG] Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. [2 Timothy 2:15 NAS]

FearGod has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. [2 Tim 1:7 NKJ] There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. [I John 4:18a MSG]

Worry, anxiety – “Don't worry…Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs…live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” [Matthew 6:31-33 NLT] Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:6-7 NKJ]
Depression, despair, discouragement - Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. [Psalm 42:11 NIV]

Resentment, anger, bitterness – "Don't sin by letting anger gain control over you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry. [Ephesians 4:26 NLT] Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. [Ephesians 4:31 NIV] See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. [Hebrews 12:15 NIV] God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger. [James 1:20 MSG]

Unforgiveness – “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” [Matthew 6:14-15 NIV]

PrideGod opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. [Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6, I Peter 5:5 NIV - this statement is repeated verbatim 3 times in the Bible, so I think it must be important!]

Man-made religion or traditions“Thus, with your tradition which you had handed down to you, you nullify the Word of God! And you do other things like this." [Mark 7:13 CJB] See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. [Colossians 2:8 NIV]

I’m sure we could list many more – the whole gamut of human weaknesses, unscriptural mindsets, spiritual darkness… anything that contradicts or opposes the Word and Spirit of God. In their book Biblical Healing & Deliverance,* Chester & Betsy Kylstra identify 4 general areas of resistance to the Holy Spirit flowing freely in and through us. Without going into great detail, I’ve listed these with a few scripture references (plus links to websites with more information below this posting):

Sins of the Past – although God offers full forgiveness & freedom based on Christ’s finished work at the Cross [Gal 3:13, Col 2:14], we may be unconsciously allowing our past to affect our present. This can include behaviors and thought patterns inherited from previous generations, or residual guilt & shame for our own past actions. [Repent / confess / forgive - Lev 26:40, I John 1:9, Mt 6:14]

Ungodly Beliefs – any belief, thought pattern or mindset which is contrary to scripture. Untrue beliefs may be formed through experience, false teaching, deception, family or peer pressure, etc. “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” [Eph 4:23 – see also Prov 23:7, Rom 12:2, Col 3:2]

Soul & Spirit Hurts – God is able to heal any kind of spiritual, mental or emotional woundedness, including experiences we’ve forgotten, suppressed, or were too young to process at the time. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. [Psalm 147:3 – also Isaiah 61:1-3, Luke 4:18)

Demonic Influence – as we repent of areas where we have previously allowed or agreed with spiritual darkness, believers are empowered to walk in Jesus Christ’s authority and freedom from oppression. “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” [Luke 10:19 NIV – also Mark 16:17]

We may find layers of issues that require more help than a quick prayer, good intentions or a few scripture verses; but nothing is too hard for God [Jeremiah 32:17] as we persevere in seeking Him for effective breakthrough. One piece of “heavy equipment” I don’t want to neglect is the power of confession (honesty, transparency) and prayer of agreement (mutual faith) with other believers:
"I also tell you this: If two of you agree down here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together because they are mine, I am there among them."
[Matthew 18:19-20 NLT, words of Jesus]

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.
[James 5:16 NLT]

Ask God to show you the “joybusters” in your life, as well as His powerful tools (joybuster-busters :)) to help you break through to deeper levels of spiritual joy!

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
[2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NIV]

* Biblical Healing & Deliverance by Chester & Betsy Kylstra, is available on or RTF Resources website

For more information about the Kylstra’s “Restoring the Foundations” approach to ministry,

Bonus: inspiring stories from Iris Ministries’ well-drilling program in Mozambique (photos below):
“The joy never ends!” – Pastor Surpresa Sithole, Iris Ministries

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