Do You Have an Altar’ed Moment?

This past weekend was really special.  On Sunday morning I was ministering from God’s Word in a local church here in Texas. About halfway through my message I and everyone in the building experienced an “altar’ed” moment.

 

The Presence of the Holy Spirit poured into the auditorium. Without effort, the message I was preaching came flowing out from my heart and mouth like an unstoppable flood. The people began raising their hands and expressing themselves, each giving glory to God. The atmosphere changed in a matter of moments causing tears to flow and lives to be changed. For over an hour we embraced, enjoyed and experienced His glorious Presence.

 

A few hours later the Holy Spirit nudged me. Everyone had gone home and I was on my way home to Austin. That’s when the Spirit began reminding me of similar times and experiences. He reminded me of a time when I was a teenager. My family had moved because my dad had found a new job. Because of the move, I had to change school districts between my sophomore and junior year. Changing high schools can be hard. Making new friends, learning new teaching styles, adjusting to new teachers and new surroundings for some teens can be really difficult and the changes were taking their toll on me.

 

Then a few months into the school term I had an “altar’ed” moment. It happened during the praise and worship time of a Sunday night church service. We were not singing anything special or new. In fact, we were singing an old chorus, when all of a sudden the Presence of God began filling the room. Without invitation people began leaving their seats and moving toward the front and gathering at the altar.

 

A local ministry team/singing group called The King’s Witnesses (they were was based out of our church) went to the platform and began ministering in song. The pastor and the elders began praying for people. In a matter of minutes heaven filled the place. It was as though we were in the throne room of the Most High. You could almost hear angels singing. The Shekinah was so thick it felt awkward to breathe.

 

I was kneeling at the end of the altar when I looked up and saw my name written on the front of one of the guitars that belonged to a member of the King’s Witnesses. At that moment my life was altar’ed. I don’t know why me seeing my name on that guitar did anything. I just remember that at that moment…the Lord touched me and did the work. I don’t remember asking the Lord to act on my behalf, heal me or deliver me. I just know that at that moment, I was altar’ed and the struggle I had been experiencing was over.

 

Peace flooded my heart and soul like the storm surge that invades the coast when a hurricane comes onshore. I knew at that moment everything was going to be ok. I knew…that I knew…that I knew…the Lord would not leave or forsake me. I knew that He had the whole world AND ME in His hands! After that night the school seemed different. The teachers were not the same. The other students were changed. Even I was different. What had really happened? I can say with confidence, I had been altar’ed by being in the Presence of the Lord.

 

I have been reminded of that night many times since. It has become a “touch point” of faith for me. Whenever I face difficult circumstances or a situation to which I have no answer, I am reminded of that night. I am reminded that the Lord knows where I am, He knows who I am and He knows what I have need of before I even ask. The time spent that night at the altar…truly altered my life.

 

Would you like to share one of your “altar’ed” moments? If so, email me today at info@altarofhispresence.com. I will read your story and rejoice with you concerning the goodness of our Lord Jesus Christ. The bible says that we are to rejoice with those who rejoice and I want to rejoice with you. Let me know if I have your permission to share it with our readers. I know that there are many who are reading today that would love to hear the story of your life being altar’ed.

 

One more thing, if you are carrying a heavy burden or if you are ill, hurting or need an answer from the Lord, email me. Susan and I will pray for you. We will ask and agree with you for the Holy Spirit to provide an answer to your prayer. We will pray that He will give you an altar’ed moment! Soon you will be healed, delivered and rejoicing over what the Lord has done for you! Either way, write to me today and share your heart!

 

I look forward to hearing from you…Robert.

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The Fruit that Flows from Love

 

The Holy Spirit flowed through the pen of the apostle. He wanted the Church in Galatia to know that the fruit of the Spirit is love and that from that marvelous, wondrous and everlasting agape flows fruit that testifies of the goodness, grace and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. That testimony begins with unspeakable joy and peace beyond human understanding. Paul had used joy and peace in addition to righteousness in his letter to the Romans (Romans 14). The word translated “joy” is from the Greek word chara (khar-ah’) and literally speaks to the joy and gladness others receive from the Lord or from an occasion of joy. The root word of chara is chairo (khah’-ee-ro) meaning to rejoice, be glad, to rejoice exceedingly or to give one greeting or salute.

Added to such joy, wonderful joy is the peace that passes understanding. Using the Greek word eirene (i-ray’-nay), Paul chooses to such to declare that we who are “in the Spirit” can live in a state of spiritual and emotional tranquility. By using the word eirene Paul wants his readers to know that they have an exemption from the rage and havoc of war and the struggle that comes with it. Such peace comes with the promise of security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous). Thus, the peace experienced out of the Spirit’s love for us is the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation in Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.

 

Paul’s next triad of fruit is patience, kindness and goodness. Wayne Field in his message on The Fruit of the Spirit: Signs of Life – the Marks of Vibrant Living says the key point for all of us today, especially when it comes to patience, kindness and goodness, is to remember this, it takes the power of God to produce the character of God. Whereas human patience, kindness and goodness have their limitations, God’s is unlimited – endless, infinite, boundless, immeasurable. You don’t need to “try harder” to be more patient or kind or good. If you want a higher patience – you need to plug into a higher power.

 

In other words, we need to be filled full of the Holy Spirit and manifesting His patience, kindness and goodness. The word translated patience in the New International Version is translated as “long-suffering” in the KJV and other versions. Long-suffering comes from the Greek word makrothumia (mak-roth-oo-mee’-ah). Makrothumia is a compound of two words (Makro and thumia). When they are put together the word means patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance, longsuffering and slowness in avenging wrongs.

 

Kindness (or gentleness in the KJV) is from the word chrestotes (khray-stot’-ace) and means moral goodness or integrity. As a fruit of the Spirit, kindness means to exude the quality of being honest and fair as well as to possess the state of being complete or whole by being full of God. Kindness also speaks to “being of the same kind.” It is a group of people that belong together or have some shared quality (like salvation).

 

Goodness is next. The English name Agatha comes from this Greek word (agathosune). The word means to have uprightness of heart and life and is from the Greek root agathos (ag-ath-os’) which means to be of a good constitution or nature, to be useful, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, excellent, upright and honorable.

 

Paul’s last triad concerning the fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Faithfulness here is the same as faith (KJV). In both instances the Greek word is: pistis (pis’-tis). In the Word of God, faithfulness is the conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with the expectation of reward (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is having the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things; He is the provider and One who bestows eternal salvation through Christ Jesus. With such comes the idea of fidelity and faithfulness or the character of one who can be relied on to follow through.

 

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for (Hebrews 11:1-2). 

 

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). 

 

Gentleness (Meekness-KJV) is used twice by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. His use of the word has to do with the correction he tried his best to give to the believers in his letters. In 1 Corinthians 4:21 he wrote, “What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?” And in 2 Corinthians 10:1 Paul said, “By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you.” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance describes gentleness as mildness and meekness. It means to have a mild disposition and a gentle of spirit.

 

Self-control is sometimes called temperance. Temperance (egkrateia) is an old Greek word from stemming from egkratês. It means to be one who is holding control of one’s self or having self-control (the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites. This word is found in the New Testament only twice. It is used in this passage and in 2 Peter 1:6. Paul has a better list than the four cardinal virtues of the Greek Stoics (temperance, prudence, fortitude, justice), though they are included with better notes struck. Temperance is alike, but kindness is better than justice, long-suffering than fortitude, love than prudence.

 

The fruit of the Spirit is the result of agape. A life full of agape results in a person being able to manifest the character and grace of the Holy Spirit in practical ways. It is His fruit being manifested in, through and from our lives as we abide in the Vine (the Lord Jesus Christ) and are cared for and cultivated by the Husbandman (the Heavenly Father–read John 15:1-7).

Let us pray to be filled full and running over with the Spirit so that we might manifest the fruit of the Spirit to everyone around us. In doing so, Jesus will be lifted up and glorified. This will result in the Spirit drawing men to the Savior and enduing them with eternal life.

 

I love you,

 

Robert

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The Altar’ed Life: Filled with Agape Love

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In my soon to be released book titled, The Altar of His Presence, I speak about the necessity of one being willing to wholly and completely seek the Lord. This is in keeping with the words of Jesus. He said in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

An example of the precept Jesus said that day is found in Psalm 63:1-4. These are the words of King David. He said, “A psalm of David. O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.”

What is the result of such? What should we expect when we completely embrace the full and glorious manifested Presence of God? This may sound simple. But, we should expect the manifestation of the fruit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Before we get into the gifts of the Spirit, let me first speak concerning the fruit.

The manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit is a result of our constant state of abiding in Christ. The concept of “abiding in Christ” includes two things according to the Apostle Paul. He said in Galatians 5:24-25, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Full fruit manifestation is only possible by dying to the sinful nature and living in the Spirit. Such “abiding” is from a concept formed from an old English word signifying a progressive and permanent attitude of being. The word abide means to “await,” “remain,” “lodge,” “sojourn,” “dwell,” “continue,” and “endure.” The word abide is usually the translation of the Hebrew and Greek words yashabh (Hebrew), meaning “to dwell”; and meno, (Greek) meaning “to remain.”

During the time that Jesus was on the earth, the area around Jerusalem was filled with small vineyards. The cultivation of those vineyards required constant care or the vines, branches and fruit would soon degenerate. Whenever it rained the loosely made walls were required to have breaches repaired; the ground had to be plowed or harrowed and cleared of weeds. When the grapes ripened they had to be watched to keep off jackals and foxes (Song of Solomon 2:15), and in some districts even wild boars (Psalm 80:13) away.

When the grape season came, the whole family of the owner frequently took up their residence in a booth constructed upon one of the larger towers and remained there until the grape harvest was practically finished. Harvest time was a time of special happiness. Even the end of harvest time was filled with joy because the gleanings were left to the poor of the village or town (Leviticus 19:10; Deuteronomy 24:21; Isaiah 17:6; Jeremiah 49:9; and Micah 7:1) to have and enjoy.

The activity of developing the fruit of the Spirit is not limited to the service, ministry or supernatural gifts. The fruit that produces moral and spiritual character is traced to the Spirit’s operations as well. In other words, the fruit of the Spirit are expressions pointing to the ethical quality of the Spirit’s action. The ethical quality of dying to the sinful nature and then living in the Spirit is true holiness.

The word holy is from the Hebrew verb form qadhash, whose root meaning is “to be separated.” From qadhash comes the idea “to be exalted,” and this led to the conception “to be Divine.” And as the Lord is morally good, the conception of “the holy (= Divine) one” came to signify the holy one in the moral sense. Thence the word was applied to the Spirit of the Lord as well as to the Lord Himself.

The Holy Spirit desires to manifest the first of His first triad of fruit, the fruit of agape (love). Agape is superior to other kinds of love. The Greeks described love in the terms of philo (brotherly love) and eros (romantic love). The Bible uses the word agape to describe  God’s love. God’s love is faithful, unconditional and eternal. Paul described agape in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 in this way; “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

The Easton Bible Dictionary says the word agape must be understood in the light of its use by our Lord in his interview with “Simon, the son of Jonas.” After His resurrection in John 21:16-17, our Lord asked Peter (Simon, the son of Jonas), “Do you love me?” Jesus used the Greek word agape; but when Simon answered the question, he used the Greek word philo, i.e., “brotherly love.”

Jesus used agape in both His first and second questions put to Peter; but in the third our Lord used Simon’s word. The distinction between these two Greek words is thus fitly described by Trench. Agape speaks more to one’s judgment and deliberate choice; whereas, philo has more the idea of emotional attachment and peculiar personal affection. Thus, the question, “Do you love” (agapas) from the lips of the Lord no doubt seemed to Peter to be too cold a word, as though his Lord were keeping him at a distance, or at least not inviting him to draw near, as in the passionate yearning of his heart he desired now to do.

Therefore, Peter substitutes his own word “I love” (philo) in its place. A second time he did the same thing. When the Lord demands a third time whether or not Peter loves him, Jesus does it in the word which alone will satisfy Peter (“Do you love (philo) me, which alone claims from him that personal attachment and affection with which indeed he knows that his heart is full.”

The fruit of the Spirit is agape. In other words, agape loves whether or not there is the feeling of emotional attachment or affection. Agape is love based on a decision and that decision is the decision “to love.” Because God is eternally the same, when He chose “to love” the world He gave. This is because agape can only be witnessed by one’s actions. Agape shines when all other loves fail. Agape remains when brotherly love and romantic love have drifted away.

The Lord Himself…agapas…us and His love never fails!

His love is constant and never ending. So is love born as the fruit of the Spirit. Our first love (agape) must be the Lord. In fact, the Church at Ephesus was exhorted in Revelation 2:4 to return to the Lord because the people had lost their “first love.”

Let us decide to embrace, enjoy and encourage the Lord and then others with agape love.

Choose to do so today! Let the Spirit’s agape blossom and grow in your life! In Jesus’ Name!

Robert

 

Rise and Shine!

When an old pair of jeans becomes really worn around the knees, holes develop in the material exposing the skin beneath. The holes cause the skin to “show through.” In a similar way, as we are filled continually with the Holy Spirit, bring our lives into alignment with God’s Word and become like Jesus, His life becomes our way of life. What follows is both dynamic and exciting. The inward life given to us by the Holy Spirit will begin to show out. What things begin to shine? The fruit of the Spirit.

The fruit of the Spirit being manifested in, through and from our lives is the way the Lord Jesus Christ has chosen to reveal the grace, the goodness and the glory of God to others. He doesn’t write a big fiery sign in the sky with His finger. He doesn’t dispatch a host of angelic beings to evangelize the lost and dying. He simply reveals Himself by shining His light through us.

There are two instances of the actual light of God shining out and through in the Scriptures. The first happened with Moses. Exodus 34:28-30 says, “Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.”

This is an amazing story. For the light was not shining “on” Moses, but rather, the light was shining “from” him. His body and clothes were irradiated as like a proverbial light bulb. Dim light would not have caused the Israelites to be amazed and frightened. I believe the light of God’s manifested Presence was brighter than the sun and illuminated everything and everyone around him.

There is an even greater manifestation in Matthew 17. The ministry of Jesus had reached critical mass. Jesus and His disciples had spent almost three years traveling throughout the countryside. His glorious power manifested by healing the sick, raising the dead and setting the captive free. But as Jesus climbed the mountain with His three confidants a change was in the air. His eyes were focused and His jaw set. He knew the time had come for Him to focus on His destiny. 

The coming months would move Him to alter the direction of the human race. A faceoff was coming. Darkness and light. Good and evil. Sin and righteousness. Offering Himself on the cross would pay the price for sin. His resurrection would enable those who would come to believe in His Name to be free from the penalty, power and presence of sin and be enabled to live in respect to righteousness.

As He took His last steps to the top of the mountain, Jesus became fully and completely given to prayer. Suddenly, a cloud (similar to the one in Exodus) manifested filling the atmosphere with glorious light. Holy gladness and celestial radiance exploded from Him and then blazed in every direction around Jesus and His disciples. At that moment, Moses and Elijah appeared and began speaking with Him about the coming events.

According to the Gospel writers, the manifestation of the cloud of glory caused His countenance to be altered and His clothes to both shine as bright as the noon day sun and glisten as freshly fallen snow. The light was not being shone upon Him, but from Him. The glorious light of God exploded out of Him from within. He was completely irradiated. His Person blazed in celestial glory. What a contrast to that which would come in a few months. Isaiah had seen what was coming and declared prophetically that at the Cross, “his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness (Isaiah 52:14).”

I believe the Lord’s transfiguration was an expansion of Moses’ experience on Mt. Sinai and a precursor to His own resurrection. It was also a forerunner to what happens to us spiritual when we come to the saving knowledge of His grace, repent and confess Jesus as our Lord. Paul told the Corinthians that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory, transitory though it was. He tells us that the glory, which Moses and Israel experienced, has no comparison with the surpassing glory that we experience. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

The glory of which Paul and I speak was spoken by Jesus in John 15.

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5) 

What was Jesus saying? He said that as we abide, dwell and live in His Presence we are constantly being filled fully (controlled and changed from glory to glory) with the Holy Spirit. Fruit, His fruit, the fruit of the Spirit will  then be manifested in, through and from our lives.  In other words, if we could “see” into the realm of the Spirit, we would “see” God’s light shining out from us just as the skin is shows out from a tear in a pair of jeans.

This same light is shining in a literal manifestation for others to see. It is being manifested as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  We who live and walk in the Spirit have been given a manifestation of the Spirit of the Lord and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty to produce His fruit. It is then up to us as to whether we will open our lives to the Spirit’s manifestation of His fruit.

If we do…a glorious shining begins to take place…in, through and from our lives. In the coming weeks my blog will explain how the fruit of the Spirit is manifested and how His fruit will change our lives as well as the lives of those around us. Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

I love you!

Robert

 

Clouds of His Presence

 

I pray that this blog on the ministry of the Holy Spirit has brought you in contact with the Manifest Presence of the Holy Spirit as never before. Every one of us experience Him in special and unique ways. Each person’s experience is different than that of others and yet similar. Examples of such are that in the Scripture He is said to manifest His Presence quietly and sweetly at certain times, then at other times He reveals His Presence with wind and fire (Read Acts 2). In the Old Testament the Manifest Presence of Yahweh (The LORD) is called Shekinah. The Shekinah is described in the Jewish Encyclopedia as the majestic Presence or manifestation of God which has descended to “dwell” among men.

 

In the Old Testament, the Shekinah generally manifested in the form of a cloud. Such is seen in 1 Kings 8:10-11 which says, “And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.”

 

In the natural clouds are visible accumulations of tiny water droplets or ice crystals in the Earth’s atmosphere. Clouds form when air becomes saturated, or filled, with water vapor. Clouds usually appear white because the tiny water droplets inside them are tightly packed, reflecting most of the sunlight that hits them. The color white is what we see because that is how our eyes perceive things when all the wavelengths of sunlight mixed together with the moisture.

The metaphoric and symbolic uses of clouds in Scripture are many, and provide some of the most powerful and glorious illustrations. English Baptist pastor and biblical scholar, John Gill wrote about the Shekinah being manifested as a cloud in his commentary on Isaiah 60:8 which says, “Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?” Gill believed that Isaiah was referring to a vast number of future converts. These converts are being compared to a “cloud” because of the number of them, because they covered the land of Judea as the clouds fill the heavens, and for their elevation and situation, being raised from an earthly to a heavenly state; being called with a high calling, and made partakers of an heavenly one; and for their being filled with the grace of God, as clouds with water; and for their unanimity, their coming together in a body, making as it were one cloud, and that openly and publicly, professing Christ, and joining them in His Church.”

No doubt the foundation of Gill’s understanding is found in Numbers 11:24-25. “So Moses went out and told the people what the LORD had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the Tent. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again.”

 

Clouds, according to McKenzie, are “an almost universal element of the revelation of Yahweh to His people.” The occurrences of clouds indicate the Divine Presence is heavily distributed throughout both Testaments. The cloud is, perhaps, the earliest element that was connected to the Divine presence by Israel. Such is the example of the “Pillar of Cloud” which guided and protected the Israelites during their escape from Egypt. When the host of Israelites first met the LORD, at the foot of Mt. Sinai, the mountain was covered in a “Pillar of cloud.” Hiebert suggests that the image of the cloud is connected to the Hebrew term for “glory”. While this image is directly connected to Priestly writings and, often, associated with the Temple, Hiebert argues that it “may more narrowly also derive from the aura of the fiery storm cloud.”

 

I truly believe that we are seeing the formation of His glorious Presence. Pressure is being put on Christians from every country to surrender to secularism and religion. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is calling a group of us to come together for the purpose of true worship and intercessory prayer. The same type of pressure was put on the infant church right after the resurrection of our Lord. An in response to the obedience, worship and prayer of God’s people the manifested Presence of the Holy Spirit was experienced on the Day of Pentecost, during the prayer meeting in Acts Chapter 4 and at the house of Cornelius in Acts 10:44-47.

“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.” Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”

 

Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to manifest the Lord Jesus Christ into, for and through our lives. Such manifestation will reveal the love, the peace, the joy and the righteousness we see in the life of Jesus (as He walked here on earth). When others see His Presence being manifested in and through our lives they will see Jesus. They will see His grace, His goodness and His glory.

Let us gather together as mighty clouds of joy and fill the heavens with shouts of praise. Let us become one (as clouds do) and form one glorious cloud of His Presence. Let us be witnesses and surround the hurting and dying around us with the testimony of Jesus (which is the spirit of prophecy). For as we call upon the Lord together, humble ourselves and seek His face, then will we hear from heaven. Only then will the Lord heal our land. Bless His Name!

I love you!

Robert

 

 

 

Expressing Gladness of Heart

I want to share a word of encouragement with you today. This is part of a message the Holy Spirit led me to put in my new book, The Altar of His Presence. He said it was a word to those who are seeking to abide in a greater dimension of His Presence and power. I also would like to share the response we received from two of today’s great Christian leaders after they read our new book. Please continue to pray with us as we and our publisher, Destiny Image, prepare to launch this “word of the Lord.”

The Holy Spirit said, “Enter each new day with thanksgiving and every situation with praise. Give thanks to the Lord by declaring the blessings you have received (past) and praise His Name for the things He is about to do on your behalf (see Psalm 100). For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations (Ps. 100:5). Honoring the Lord with true praise is an expression of gladness and rejoicing of the heart; it is a music of the soul and spirit which no language can adequately express and where the Lord has promised to dwell (see Ps. 4:7; 33:21; 103:1; 106:2; Luke 1:46; 2 Cor. 9:15).”

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And concerning The Altar of His Presence from Charles Patterson, Pastor Emeritus of Church of the Hills and current President of Charles Patterson Ministries in Austin, Texas:

“Many people today are often intimidated by the idea of developing a personal and intimate relationship with the Lord which I define as, ‘a relationship within which one can actually experience His Presence and recognize His voice as He speaks in many different ways.’ Robert Stone skillfully opens Scripture to reveal that this idea is actually God’s. Furthermore, as God’s invitation to us becomes our priority we discover God’s purpose, pattern, and pathway to know and experience Him in a new and very intimate way. I highly recommend this book both as a study guide and a daily devotion to discover the beauty of God’s Presence more fully. It will truly alter your life.”

Ric Shields, the President of the great international missions’ organization, Doorways (Broken Arrow, Oklahoma) also said:

The Altar of His Presence is not for those who wish to be motivated by other people’s stories. Instead, Robert Stone skillfully weaves life lessons of his own, richly seasoned with Scripture, in order to lead the reader into an altar’ed life. This devotional will help you to understand and establish your “trysting place”—an appointed time and place to call upon the Lord and to become His voice in our world. May each of us ‘fully commit to hearing the voice of the Spirit and obeying the illumination He gives from His Word’ as we become altar’ed by His Presence in our lives.”

Again, I want to thank you for your love and support of our ministry. Continue to pray with us that the Lord will give us “open doors” in which to share the message of The Altar of His Presence.

God bless you today!

Robert

Are You Thirsty, Yet?

David was a man known for being a man after the heart of the Lord. In fact, David’s own words declared just how focused he was on experiencing the Lord’s Presence and gaining special understanding of the Lord and His ways.

Psalm 86:11-12 says, “Teach me your way, Lordthat I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your Name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your Name forever.” And, Psalm 63:1-3 David prayed, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory…your love is better than life.”

These words speak to many of us. From my youth I have spent much time reading, praying and praising in these two Psalms. Again and again my heart has been thirsty with spiritual desire. Like David, my soul has been painfully unsatisfied at times. My prayers continually describe how I eagerly I long for the Presence and Manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

I am convinced that there are many others like me. From the hundreds of people who continue to faithfully read this blog to the others that I hear talking in casual conversation, thousands of people are now convinced that neither religion, science, education or money will ever quench their thirsty soul.

Just as natural thirst can be the result of exertion, eating salty foods or going without water, the act of becoming spiritually thirsty can result from a personal crisis (like cancer), a financial crisis (like losing your job) or a crisis of faith (due to an educational or political experience).

True spiritual thirst should be the result of spiritual revelation. Like David, we must come to know that only the Holy Spirit’s Manifested Presence in our lives can fully refresh, support and strengthen the thirsty heart and soul. In fact, as I am writing this blog, I am reminded of an old hymn by Lanny Wolfe that said,

“The world may try to satisfy that longing in your soul.  You may search the wide world over, but you’ll be just as before.

You’ll never find true satisfaction until you’ve found the Lord, for only Jesus can satisfy your soul.
 
Only Jesus can satisfy your soul. Yes, only He can change your heart and make you whole.
He’ll give you peace you never knew, sweet joy and love and Heaven, too.
For only Jesus can satisfy your soul.”
Are you thirsty, yet?

Spiritual thirst calls for us to desire; to examine or explore; to seek earnestly; to diligently search for; to wish for;  to crave; to investigate; and to pursue the Lord and His Presence.

Being thirsty moves from wishing to acting. Thirst calls us to put action to our plans and intentions. Without thirst there is no motivation to move toward a higher level of faith and fulfillment. One doesn’t drift into discipleship and transformation of soul without choosing to do so.

Being thirsty to know the Lord must involve our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Our relationship with the Lord must not be viewed with a lukewarm or hapless commitment. Effort must be consistently exerted. Progress can only be marked with total devotion, extreme fervor and passionate zeal.

When we are thirsty, we are internally motivated. We give, share our faith, enter fellowship, worship, pray, study, engage in world missions— not because someone is forcing to, or are manipulating us into, but because our thirst for the Lord Jesus Christ becomes our greatest desire. We then live to know, love and serve Him.

Are you thirsty, yet?

If this sounds like what is going on inside of you, I encourage you to pray these words…Dear Lord Jesus, how awesome and glorious is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! Your dwelling place is me! And yet, my heart and soul yearns, thirsts and even faints for more of you Lord. Lord, my heart and my flesh cry out for You. I ask you to fill me to the fullest degree. Move upon me by Your Holy Spirit. Flood and overflow me. Saturate me in my attitude, opinion, emotion, commitment, action and pursuit of You. Saturate and inebriate  me with Your Presence.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen!