From the desk of Steve Shultz:
God always wants to take us deeper and into His presence. I pray that this latest word by Sandie Freed will help you to do just that and hunger for much more of Him.
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Hungering For More of His Presence
There is absolutely nothing that compares with it! To what I am referring is the presence of the Lord. Everywhere I travel, and even in our own ministry in the Hurst, Texas, area, people are crying out to not only experience God's presence but to also see Him face-to face. Because seeking more of His presence has become all-consuming for me, I can say with all honesty that I believe this has come with a great price. Precious Believer, I believe that as Christians we are all in this place – seeking His presence more! Why? Because there is so much uncertainty that we are facing today – that is one reason. It is difficult to have faith each day as we face the difficulties in the world.
Jesus told His disciples that they would be offended at Him and fall away (see Matthew 24:10). The word offend is the Greek word skandalizo (pronounced skan-dl-id'zo). Some of its meanings are to "entrap" and to "trip up." Thus, causing one to fall away or to sin. The main word we associate with this is the word "stumbling block." In Biblical times, those with cruel intent would deliberately place a block of wood in front of someone blind and as he/she walked, they would stumble over it and the perpetrators would then laugh. I know you feel as I do and are imagining how cruel that was. But Jesus told His disciples that He Himself would be a stumbling block. And to those who are blinded to truth, or to those who are blinded with mindsets, every one of us might stumble over present truth and Kingdom manifestation – as we are also "blinded" to the new wine He is pouring out.
Jesus was warning His disciples that He would become a stumbling block to many – this is because He had come with the purpose to die on the Cross. His kingship was not of this world, yet many believed He would become the present king in the natural to govern. In other words, Jesus was not fulfilling their expectations and mindsets of what should be happening!
Again, aren't many of us the same way? It is difficult to maintain faith in a world of problems. If we do not guard our hearts, we will look at our circumstances with natural eyesight and, therefore, stumble over situations rather than putting complete trust in God. This is why we need more of His presence – we will be strengthened as we see Him as He is!
His Strength Through Hard Times
For me, the realization for the need for more of His presence was fully realized after my mother died from liver cancer. My sister, Pam, and I had brought mother home during her time with hospice care and she and I were her main caregivers. Never before had I cried out to God in the way that I was as I watched her waste away day after day. Yet, through it all, Mother never gave up hope of being healed. I, on the other hand, was amazed at her great faith.
When I realized that she, a dying person, had more faith than I was demonstrating, I realized I needed a heavenly invasion. I desperately needed Heaven to touch my earth and I needed to see God in this situation, somehow. As a result, I began to write a book, Heaven's Voice Touching Earth; Hearing the Sounds of Heaven. I learned that if I could witness His presence that I would be strengthened to face my daily challenges. One of the ways I know that I am in His presence is when I hear God's voice – so I focused on that manifestation at the time. I had a whole list of questions to talk to God about – number one was, "Why aren't You healing my mother?" Yet, each day Mom would say, "Sandie, grab your computer and write some more about hearing Heaven's voice." She was an active part as she released her faith for me to write, and each day we prayed that both of us would experience more of God's presence.
Again, being completely honest, I thought Mom was on the same page as I was because I felt that the Lord was preparing my heart for her to actually go to Heaven and see Him face to face – in Heaven! This was because I did not see positive changes in her physically, and I was doing the best I could to hold on to what little faith I seemed to have left. On the other hand, she had no intention of waiting to be in His presence by that avenue – no way! She wanted His presence there with her that minute – right where she was in the house – and not physically dying to see Him. Oh my, what faith and courage Mother had.
I would peck away on my computer, writing the book for hours on end it seemed. I would then take breaks to talk to Mom about her childhood. I wanted memories tanked up so that I could easily recall our time together at a later time. We would always end up discussing the goodness of God and how wonderful His presence was. Being on many drugs for pain, she would often slip in and out of consciousnesses. She often slept with a smile on her face, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Holy Spirit was ministering somehow to her. Then, I would seek further revelation as to how to hear God's voice – even in the midst of great trials. God was faithful as He poured out revelation as to how to touch Heaven and bring it to earth. Hearing His voice and witnessing His divine presence became more and more important to me.
Maybe you have been a caregiver to someone diagnosed with cancer – or maybe you have been a caregiver to an elderly parent. Maybe you have a sick child and you have been standing for a physical healing. It's important not to ever give up! Do not allow your natural circumstances to rob you of pressing into His divine presence. It is possible to hear the voice of the Lord, which will encourage you through difficult times. Your natural understanding could cause you to become offended and you will stumble and be tempted to fall away.
This is not a time to cower down to what we see in the natural but rather to access the unseen with greater faith. My heart is to encourage you right now and to empower you with great faith in a God that does what appears to be impossible. Please allow me to be very clear as I continue to discuss my hunger for the presence of God. Hungering for more is a deep desire within myself – not a requirement from God so that He will draw near. Jesus paid the price at the Cross, which gave me complete access to the Father. The hunger I have felt has nothing to do with personal performance for Him, but rather a desire within myself to know Him more!
The Divine Visitation
Mom went to Heaven in September, 2007. She is forever in His presence. Though we did not see her healed here on this earth, she is walking the streets of gold with Jesus and having a glorious time. Although I grieved, I did not allow her death to cause me to stumble, but that experience caused me to hunger and thirst for more, more God! I am determined to be like Mom and witness more of His presence now, and I am realizing that there are many Believers who feel the same way. You can press into asking Him for more – right now. He will be faithful to speak and manifest His presence. Ask God to invade your atmosphere as you spend more time ministering to Him. Ministering to God is different than to ministering to His people – I'm realizing this truth at this time. I need to sing songs to Him in intimate worship – this will cause His presence to manifest. As you sing in worship, remember this point: I believe it will change your life!
It was in February of 2009 when I had a divine visitation that radically changed my life. First, let me just tell you what I was personally going through. I was having brain seizures that were puzzling even the neurologist. I would lose hours of time, even days, without remembering anything. Yet, after the doctor ruled out a stroke, I grabbed my computer and was hungering to continue to write another book. In fact, I was right in the middle of the book Crushing the Spirits of Greed and Poverty: Discerning and Defeating the Ancient Powers of Mammon and Babylon when I came under a tremendous demonic assignment.
For over a month I had been prey to demonic visitations during the night and I was certain this was because I was exposing a territorial stronghold that was robbing God's children of their inheritance – spiritually and physically! I have been amazed at how many Christians are yoked with a spirit of Mammon. Many are not aware that Mammon is the actual name of a false Syrian god! If you have a fear concerning money, please be aware that the enemy may be contending for your worship. Remember, what you fear you give power to – even worship – if a lot of attention is given to that fear.
Again, as I stated, writing a book like this caused much contention with the enemy. After all, he wants to enslave us. Then one night, after being completely exhausted from the warfare, I cried out for God's presence. I was at the point of actually believing that I was the problem in this equation and that I had maybe committed an unforgivable sin and this is why I was under such a demonic assault! Even though I knew that all of my sins were forgiven at the Cross, I was so tired and exasperated that I couldn't think straight! Have you ever felt that way? Read on.
As I cried out for His presence, suddenly a lightning bolt shot through the room. A surge of uncontrollable power hit my head and brain and for over an hour my head was jerking and bobbing uncontrollably! I knew that it was God, but I also thought What if this is somehow changing the shape of my head – or is this affecting my face? Will my eyebrows end up pointed like Dr. Spock on Star Trek? (I know, it's a woman thing, I suppose).
Then I heard the voice of Jesus. He spoke with electrifying power. His words to me will always remain at the forefront of my life's quest to seek Him more. Jesus said to me, "Sandie, don't you know I would never leave you or forsake you? There is absolutely nothing you could ever do that would cause Me to stop loving you. And, when your mind is renewed, you will understand how much I love you." I have realized that He is always near, I just hadn't realized that He was always so easily accessible. Hard times come; He is always there.
God's Grace and Love
Within minutes the electrical charge left and I got out of bed to write down the visitation. It has been several years since the visitation, and I must admit that ever since that night I have been on a quest for more of His presence, though I do not believe I have to pray more or continually cry out for His presence. In other words, there is no requirement or price to pay for Him to love us or draw near to us. Yet, each day in my prayer time, I keep asking Him for more, and quite often I have reminded the Lord that Moses asked to see His glory and that God honored Moses' request:
"Then Moses said, 'Now show me Your glory.' And the LORD said, 'I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim My name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,' he said, 'you cannot see My face, for no one may see Me and live.'
"Then the LORD said, 'There is a place near Me where you may stand on a rock. When My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen'" (Exodus 33:18-34:1 NIV).
Though He hid Moses in the cleft of the rock and passed by to where Moses only saw His back, I am convinced that even then this was a shadow of Christ, the Rock, the New Testament example of the Lord revealing His glory through Christ. In fact, as Believers in Christ, we each represent God's glory on this earth, but I believe it is because of who Christ is in each of us, as Colossians 1:27 (ASV) states: "to whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (my emphasis).
I am excited each time I remind myself that I am "hidden in Christ," and that, because of Him, I am seated in heavenly places (see Colossians 3:3 and Ephesians 2:6)! Believer, God is hiding you right now in the cleft of the rock. The Rock is Jesus Christ, and no matter what you are experiencing, you are hidden completely in Christ. Be assured, you are protected, loved and provided for. His glory is in you and you are seated in heavenly places with Him. It's time for you to see yourself as victorious over every situation. His grace will be there for anything you need as you move forward, leaving the past behind and possessing every promise!
I am totally bent on learning more and more about the grace of God and His divine love for me and for those who are willing to co-labor with Him to build His Kingdom. I had witnessed His presence in a very tangible way and this has made me desire even more of Him in my life. I have realized that many people are content to discuss the presence of God, but are many willing to pay the price to seek Him daily and truly experience and encounter His presence? You can have this same experience as you are also called to co-labor with Him.
His presence means everything to me now. Without His presence, I don't want to even attempt to minister. I have realized that I can desire more of Him, and He will always show up. It is His desire to fill me completely with His presence. I take time to worship to Him, and some people feel as if there is no time to even do that. Again, it's not about what we do for Him but how to minister to Him. Whatever time I sow into studying His Word and maturing in God while housing His presence is pale in comparison for what Christ did for me on the Cross. I believe the visitation I experienced was because I kept crying out to know Him more. As you also cry out for more, He will visit you and He will speak to you. Do not do this because you believe you have to do this to please God – it is not a legalistic desire but rather a freeing one. I believe it is a season of favor for each of us and that He will answer us when we pray (see 2 Corinthians 6:2 and Isaiah 49:8).
By the way, did you notice that when Moses requested to see God's glory that God referred to His "goodness" passing before him? I love that – because I now understand that God is always one hundred percent good! I am hidden in Christ, hidden from the enemy and hidden from harm. I completely trust His goodness, don't you? If you don't trust His goodness, it is possible that you have stumbled due to a past disappointment.
Dear one, don't allow any disappointment to cause you to miss your appointments in God! If not careful, any of us could develop a hard heart due to a past disappointment. Repentance is what will begin to cultivate your trust in God. Repent means to change the way you think – so, change how you feel concerning God's goodness. The Word of God declares that God is good. After repenting for your lack of trust, then find Scriptures that prove that He is full of grace and that He is always good!
It is my heart's cry for even deeper encounters. I desire for everyone to know God in a more intimate way. As I have deep encounters, it empowers me with more faith and empowerment to demonstrate His Kingdom on earth. As I minister, I have felt the Lord prompt me to pray for people in pain, and amazingly the pain leaves their bodies! Why should I be surprised? God declares that it is He Who heals, right? Many times I never lay hands on anyone – others pray for those needing healing and, yes, God still heals. So, precious Believer, it is not Sandie Freed doing the healing. Yet, it is His presence that shows up and then He just takes over! I have been witnessing frozen shoulders completely healed, arthritis leave bodies, necks and backs healed, and barrenness completely healed. I have also ministered alongside my husband and we have both seen God completely heal cancerous tumors – they just disappear!
I truly believe, with all of my heart, that God is answering my prayers and times of crying out for more! You can ask the same of Him – maybe you can start right now!
Allow me to pray for you: Father God, I know that it is Your desire to reveal Your divine glory through us who believe. I pray for each reader today that You would draw them unto Yourself and that You would begin to reveal Your glory in them and through them. Lord, I join each reader in crying out for more of Your presence! Without You and Your presence we will never be completely fulfilled. You are all that we need in life to be content. Empower each of us as we pursue destiny and the demonstration of Your Kingdom on earth. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Sandie Freed co-labors with her husband, Mickey Freed, doing the work of the Lord as a ministry team. In addition, Sandie is the Founder and Director of the School of the Prophets and Apostolic Training Center in Bedford, Texas. With a strong anointing of discerning of spirits, Sandie has been known to discern territorial strongholds and release churches and regions from spiritual assignments that withhold finances, deliverances, and breakthroughs. Prophetess Sandie and Apostle Mickey are ordained with Christian International Ministries, serving on their Board of Governors and the Board of Directors. Together they serve as the Mid-Southern Regional Directors of the Christian International Network of Churches, which is the Prophetic-Apostolic oversight for Texas and Oklahoma regions, as well as several other states and regions. They have been married since 1973, and have one daughter, Kim Putman.