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The Fire and The Altar

Throughout the Old and New Testament, you’ll find many references to fire and the altar. God was the Fire in the burning bush and the Fire that led the Israelites at night to the Promised Land. Fire from heaven consumed altars laden with offerings to the Lord for sin. Tongues of fire came down from heaven upon Jesus’ followers when the Holy Spirit descended after His resurrection.

Noah built the first altar to the Lord after the flood. Abraham built altars to thank Him after every blessing. Moses built an altar of sacrifice in the Tabernacle for atonement of the Israelites’ sins. God told him what to offer, how to offer, and when to offer the sacrifices. The cross became an altar where Jesus was crucified (sacrificed) for our sins so that we could have a direct relationship with God.

Today, however, it is unnecessary for us to make sacrifices as they did in the Old Testament. Jesus became the sacrificial Lamb for us once and for all when He died for our sins and was resurrected. Instead, our hearts have become altars where we meet Jesus to ask for forgiveness of our sins and healing, to declare our love, and to lift up the Lord’s name in praise. Our hearts are the altars where we receive His eternal fire.

Where does this fire come from? After Moses built the altar, fire came down from heaven and lit the altar. The Lord told Moses, “Remember, the fire must be kept burning on the altar at all times. It must never go out.” (Leviticus 6:13) After Jesus ascended into heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to light the fire on the altars of our hearts. What God told Moses then is true for us now: we must keep the fire burning in our hearts at all times and never let it go out.

Is your heart on fire for Jesus? Does it burn continuously for Him? Do you want more of Him? That fire isn’t contingent on how you feel or what’s happening in your life. When life gets tough, that fire keeps you moving and gives you your victory. That fire is a gift. It should be nourished every day by throwing logs of praise, prayer and worship on it so it doesn’t go out.

Access to God has always been through an altar. So take up the sword of the Spirit and let your body be your sacrifice. Through faith, come to Him on His terms and not your own. Claim your sacred place. Have that personal encounter with God through Christ. Open your heart and allow the Holy Spirit to light the fire on the altar of your heart. Then keep the flames burning.

Sing a new song in your heart: “We bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. And we offer up to you, the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and we offer up to you the sacrifices of praise.”
 
“I’ll give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed.” Ezekial 36:26 (MSG)

“I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living and holy.” Romans 12:1

Prayer

Lord,

I will give thanks to You because of Your righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High. I will give thanks to You, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonderful deeds. I will give You thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise You. I will praise Your name in song and glorify You with thanksgiving. I will sing for joy to You; I will shout aloud to the Rock of my salvation. I will come before You with thanksgiving and extol You with music and song. For You are the great God, the great King above all gods. I enter Your gates with thanksgiving and Your courts with praise; I give thanks to You and praise Your name. For You are good and Your love endures forever; Your faithfulness continues through all generations. Amen!

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