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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.
In the service this past weekend, I saw the same thing happen to a man named Tom. I took special notice of him as I began to preach. It was evident to me that Tom had come to the church service with a heavy burden. But when the Spirit filled the room, Tom came almost running to the front. He wanted prayer. He wanted to be touched by the Lord and for his life to be altar’ed. I can gladly say that when he left, his countenance was different because his burden was light. Tom came troubled. He left victorious. He now knows that everything is going to be alright. The tears flowed freely as Tom hugged me. He couldn’t help but share both his heart and experience. I hugged back. I knew what he was talking about. I knew exactly how he felt. Tom had been altar’ed and so have I.
Would you like to share one of your “altar’ed” moments? If so, email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
THE ALTAR'ED LIFE--A BLOG BY ROBERT STONE CONCERNING THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you (John 14:26). There are two parts to the Holy Spirit’s ministry. First, He takes the things of Christ Jesus. Secondly, He reveals them to, in and through the believer. His revelation is not only to give knowledge and understanding, but expression.
The Holy Spirit desires to express the Lord Jesus Christ TO, IN and THROUGH the life of the believer.
The Christian’s life is a prism in which the Holy Spirit breaks up the expression of the Lord Jesus into His component graces (the beauty of our Lord—see Psalm 27:4). If the believer does not have an intelligent understanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit and does not submit to His ministry, there is little of the Lord Jesus seen in the believer’s life.1
It is important to note that the Holy Spirit does the best He can under the limitations imposed upon Him by the believer. The Lord Jesus will not glorify Himself by His own self-expression through the Christian, and if the Holy Spirit cannot, because He is prevented by the believer, then the life of the Christian reveals a very small amount of the grace, goodness and glory of the Son of God. Herein lies the imperative necessity of every believer. He must first understand and then be willing to express the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Dr. Max I. Reich put this beautifully when he said: “If we make room for the Holy Spirit, He will make room for the Lord Jesus.” The converse is true, that if we do not make room for the Holy Spirit, He cannot make room for the Lord Jesus.2 The Holy Spirit does all He can for believers. A believer’s life is certainly different than what it was before the believer was saved. For some believers there has been a right-about-face, and for others, the transformation is slow and almost unnoticeable. For most, there is only a small amount of victory over sin. Most enjoy some of the things of God. But as for their lives radiating the Lord Jesus, there is very little of that.3
If the Lord Jesus is only left to dwelling in their hearts, He will not give an outward expression of Himself in their lives. He has given that ministry over to the Holy Spirit. And if the Holy Spirit is not recognized, received and depended upon for this work, He simply cannot perform it. Just as Jesus never saves a person until a person recognizes His ministry, and by an act of his free will, chooses to trust Him to perform it.4 Most Christians never depend upon the Holy Spirit in this way. They see His dwelling in them as a guest. He is present, but confined to having little room to express His fruit and gifts.
I encourage you to make room today. How? Begin by rescheduling your time. Find 15-20 minutes each morning to spend fostering the manifest Presence of God. Second, open your heart through thanksgiving. Our spiritual eyes come open when we express our gratitude for our redemption. Express freely, openly and vocally your heartfelt thanks for all of the goodness God has shown to you. Begin with the day of your salvation and then focus on two or three things where the evidence shows the Lord loves you, has been with you and has chosen to bless you.
David said in Psalm 103, “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Come to the altar today…the Lord will meet you there.
THE LIVING WATER OF THE SPIRIT BY ROBERT STONE
Understanding the biblical types of the Holy Spirit become essential to our gaining an understanding of what He’s like, not only in an objective way of analyzing truth, but also in the subjective way that He comes to penetrate our lives—ways in which the reality of the invisible penetrates the visible.
In this blog we will begin with the Holy Spirit as like water.
There are 722 references of water in the Scriptures. Typically, water speaks of natural and spiritual birth. In Genesis 1:20, we read of the first mention of life, and this life comes from water, “let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life.”
In John 3:5 Jesus told Nicodemus, “except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Notice here, the water birth (natural) comes before the Spirit birth (spiritual).
Water is involved when a woman is in labor and the baby is about to be born. The water that surrounds the baby must break before the baby can be born. Spiritually speaking, we cannot be spiritually born until the water of the Holy Spirit breaks over or into our lives.
Water speaks of the Holy Spirit’s cleansing. Concerning the Tabernacle in the Old Testament; Exodus 30:18-20 tells us that Moses was to make a laver of brass and put water in it. The laver was to be situated between the Holy Place and the brazen altar. The priests were to wash their hands and feet in the laver prior to entering the Holy Place “so they would not die.”
The metaphor used here reveals to us that the priests needed to cleansed or purified. Paul wrote in Titus 3:5 that we are saved “through the washing (Greek “laver”) of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” The reference, in this passage, speaks to the physical purity demanded of the Jewish priests when serving in the temple. Christians are a holy priesthood, and are cleansed not by water only, but, with the word (Ephesians 5:26); and by the renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). The feet-washing mentioned by Jesus is emblematic of the same thing (John13:10).7 Therefore, the laver and water in the laver speaks to us of the purification or sanctification that the Holy Spirit does in and expresses through the life of a believer.
The following verses also speak to this spiritual understanding.
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. Ezekiel 36:25
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22
The Holy Spirit not only washes us, but expresses purity and holiness through us as we live and walk in the Spirit. (See Galatians 5:25)
Water also speaks to us from the Scriptures as to the Holy Spirit being the basis of all spiritual life. In Genesis 2 we read of the perfect conditions of the Garden of Eden. This garden was watered by a river (2:10). Water cannot be seen in the plants within the Garden, but the expression of the water is revealed in the life of each plant. Without water, the Garden would have died, first the plants, and then the animals and humans would have perished because the plants, animals nor humans are able to survive without water. The river that flows out from the midst of the Garden is a beautiful picture of the Holy Spirit filling, flooding and flowing out of the believer’s life. Consider the following verses that speak of this:
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as (Or If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me. And let him drink, who believes in me. As) the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. John 7:37-39
Peter addressed the crowd on the Day of Pentecost from the Book of Joel and used words that bring more typical association of water and the Holy Spirit by declaring, “In the last days, God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy” (Acts 2:17-18).
The idea is that the Holy Spirit was being “poured out.” On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was being poured out from heaven. Jesus, on the other hand, said in John 7:37-39 that the Holy Spirit would be poured out of the inner most being of the believer, after the Holy Spirit was poured out from heaven. This agrees with John 4 that with our salvation comes a well of water (from within) that springs up and must be allowed to flow out of the life of the believer.
Acts 2:17 refers to the “pouring out.” Peter’s use of the phrase at Pentecost is not an abstract use of the phrase because it has to do with the latter rain that brought about the hastening of the harvest and fruitful crops. Peter was saying that the Lord will send the Spirit from the clouds (believers) to the harvest fields (people) that are dry and barren (without God).
And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. Genesis 2:10
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” Isaiah 55:1
For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:13
In our next blog we will examine how the Holy Spirit is likened in Scripture to rivers.
Have a blessed day,
THERE IS A RIVER THAT FLOWS FROM DEEP WITHIN BY ROBERT STONE
It is so important, with all that is happening in our world, for every follower of Jesus Christ to make room for the Holy Spirit’s ministry. His ministry empowered the Lord Jesus Who “went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him (Acts 10:38).” Following after the example of our Lord and Savior the Holy Spirit desires to flow through our lives for the sake of bringing healing and deliverance to the hurting, helpless and hopeless of our world.
Metaphorically, the Holy Spirit flows as like a river. Rivers are channels or conduits to places where the refreshing of water is needed. Jesus pinpoints that the work of the Spirit as rivers or streams of living water was to flow from the believer’s life after Jesus’ ascension (John 7:37-39). The Holy Spirit manifested as a flowing river brings refreshing from within the believer outwardly making the believer an overflowing tributary of His Holy Spirit’s fullness, life, and love.
Ezekiel 47:1-9 says, “The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was flowing from the south side. As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in – a river that no one could cross. He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?” Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Sea. When it empties into the Sea, the water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.”
Look at these truths about Ezekiel’s river:
1) Water came out from within.
2) Water was flowing.
3) The river sought the path of least resistance.
4) The farther the river flowed the deeper the river became.
5) The river can be measured as to its expression and effectiveness.
6) Everywhere the river flows, it brings life.
7) Salty water become fresh and blessing is found wherever the river is flooding or flowing.
The River in Ezekiel 47 describes:
• Water to the ankles: changing our direction.
• Water to the knees: changing our praying.
• Water to the Loins: changing our witnessing.
• Water to Swim in: changing our lives.
Spiritual Expression given through us by the Person of the Holy Spirit it is important. We must remember to:
• Pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to teach us.
• Submit to the Scriptures as our only rule of faith and practice.
• Believe that Holy Spirit intends for us to fully understand Who He Is and His expression.
• Desire to grow emotionally, intellectually and spiritually as we learn.
I encourage you to ask the Lord Jesus to help you make room for the Holy Spirit’s manifest presence to flow in, through and from your life today. There are both adults and children who are in your life who need His touch, His encouragement and His blessing. Open your heart to Him and then open your heart to others with the expectation of Him flowing from your heart, your voice and your touch. You will witness first-hand His goodness, His grace and His glory.
Have a blessed day.
THE WIND OF THE SPIRIT IS BLOWING AGAIN
The whole creation has been groaning as though it was experiencing the pains of childbirth. As followers of Jesus Christ we have a hope (concerning these pains) that the world does not have. Our hope? The Holy Spirit will help us in our weakness. When we do not know what to say or even what we ought to pray for, the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Listen for carefully today for the sound of His voice. The wind of the Spirit is blowing again. He is ever interceding.
I have been writing about the Holy Spirit’s expression. He historically has revealed Himself as like smoke, water, rivers and wind.
Jesus said that the Spirit—like the wind—is sovereign. In John 3:8 Jesus said, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
• Like the wind, the Holy Spirit is invisible.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18
• Like the wind, the Holy Spirit is incomprehensible.
God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. Job 37:5
• Like the wind, the Holy Spirit is indispensable.
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit." John 3:5
• Like the wind, the Holy Spirit is life giving.
I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'" So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet -- a vast army. Ezekiel 37:8-10
• Like the wind, the Spirit is irresistible.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8
Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, "This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, said the LORD of hosts." Zechariah 4:6 KJV
In all things the Holy Spirit desires to explain and express.
Jesus said, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13)
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11
His expression grows exponentially when we fully embrace the Altar of His Presence through:
DEVOTION: Ardent and selfless affection for the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and for people.
DEDICATION: The act of committing yourself experientially and expressively to the Kingdom of God.
DISCIPLINE: Training that produces God’s character and His pattern of behavior revealed in Jesus Christ.
His expression grows exponentially when we seek to Enlarge Our Understanding through:
EXPERIENCE: Some things are better caught than taught.
ENLIGHTENMENT: Removing the dimness or blindness from our eyes or heart. (Ephesians 1:18)
ENRICHMENT: Ask the Holy Spirit to express and improve the quality of our lives.
His expression grows exponentially when we willing to Bear the Burdens of One Another through:
SERVING: Making room in our own lives so that we can be made a storehouse for others.
SUPPORTING: Encouraging and elevating the ministry of others by adding value and strength to their lives as the Holy Spirit leads. How can we better support our brothers and sisters in Christ?
We must be willing to:
• Praise each other
• Accept each other
• Respect each other
• Trust each other
• Need each other
• Encourage each other
• Reinforce each other