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Altars of Remembrance

Altars of Remembrance

27 January 2019

Altars of Remembrance
Jim Stephens

Reading: Exodus 17-20; Acts 3

24 “The altars you make for me must be simple altars of earth. Offer on such altars your sacrifices to me – your burnt offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Build altars in the places where I remind you who I am, and I will come and bless you there. 25 If you use stones to build my altar, use only natural, uncut stones. Do not shape the stones with a tool, for that would make the altar unfit for holy use.” (Exodus 20:24-25 NLT)

From the time of Abraham, God’s people had built altars in the places where they had memorable encounters with God. Now God was formalizing the practice as he moved from dealing with a man and his family to forming a nation. God said that they were to build altars—simple altars—of sacrifice in the places where they encountered God and where God reminded them of who he is. These altars would be places of remembrance, of offering, and of blessing.

Jean and I practice intentionally remembering places and experiences in which God has taught us and reminded us of who he is to us. We do this through our periodic mini-retreats, at family holidays and events, and during times when we have the kids and grand kids together. When we are facing challenges and when we have important decisions to make, we build altars of remembrance by telling (again and again) the stories of what God has done in our lives. We’re learning to celebrate each blessing of God’s provision and direction with an altar of remembrance. This helps to keep our faith steady and strong.

Today I spent some time reading through one of my old journals, written in a season of radical change in my life. It was good to read my thoughts and concerns, my anxieties and fears, and my prayers and requests that God would work deeply in my heart through those experiences. Then I contrasted those concerns and anxieties with the incredible way God has guided and provided. It was good for my soul!

Friends, it’s more important than ever for us to remember who God is and what He has done in our lives! How will you build altars of remembrance?

Prayer:

Father, Thanks for helping me see something fresh in an old Bible story today. I’m looking forward to creating faith-strengthening “altars of remembrance” and visiting them often, by myself, and with Jean and the kids and grand kids. Please show us creative ways to add the element of giving a remembrance offering. Amen.

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