“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Open the Floodgates!
by Randall D. Kittle
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Last Fall, our family went to Galena, Illinois to celebrate my wife’s birthday. As we crossed the river, heading toward downtown Galena, I couldn’t help but notice the earthen dike built to separate the river from downtown. It was built on the edge of Grant Park to protect historic downtown Galena from flooding. We saw an even more startling sign of this city’s struggle against flooding as we drove the few short blocks from US 20 along Main Street toward downtown. To enter this popular shopping area, we had to pass through a pair of 20-foot floodgates — one on each side of the road!

Seeing these mighty floodgates, I couldn’t help but think of Meredith Andrew’s song, Open Up the Heavens, in which she sings:
“Open up the heavens
We want to see you
Open up the floodgates
A mighty river
Flowing from your heart
Filling every part of our praise.”

To understand what a “floodgate” is, we have to realize this word has two different meanings. The dictionary defines “floodgate” as:
“1) Something serving to restrain a flood or outpouring; 2) a gate for regulating the water flow released from a body of water.” This song is speaking about the second kind of floodgate; a floodgate like those on a dam that is opened to release an abundance of water being held back.

Heaven’s Floodgate is Open
Jesus came so we no longer have to be mere “children of Adam” — ones who are hiding from God because we’re afraid He will reject us. Now, because of the finished work of the Cross, we can be “children of Abraham” — those who willingly give up all they’re accustomed to in pursuit of God.

While the Lord loves those who diligently seek Him, we don’t have to beg Him or wonder if He is willing to pour out His presence.
“For all the promises of God in Christ are yes and in Him amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20). The veil of separation between man and God has already been torn (see Matthew 27:51), so the floodgates of heaven are already open and He is pouring out the blessing of His presence! His only prerequisite is that we desire Him and pursue Him with nothing held back.

The question is, “Are the floodgates of our hearts open so we can be filled to overflowing with God’s amazing presence?” Or, like when the river is rising in the city of Galena, are the floodgates of our hearts closed to block out the heavenly downpour?

Renowned author and theologian A. W. Tozer can help us answer this question. In the first chapter of his classic book, 
The Pursuit of God, he invites us to ask the question, “What do you want more than anything else in the world?” This question is designed to help us understand what our priorities are. It is followed by a second question in chapter two, “What are you willing to pay for what you want most?”  This question examines the price of getting what we want most and brings us to the place of evaluating if we’re truly willing to pay the price.

Let me encourage you to choose the presence of God first and foremost in your life. Nothing else can compare to seeing God’s glory and seeing it touch and change others. That is why David declared,
“One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple” (Psalm 27:4).

If God’s presence is our #1 priority, then we should be willing to pursue it at all cost. The apostle Paul considered everything in his life a loss other than the privilege of knowing Christ and being known by Him. In Philippians 3:7-10, he wrote,
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things … that I may know Him.”  So, what should we be willing to pay for the presence of God? Anything … and everything!

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