Tag Archives: altar

Genesis 9-12; Luke 3

Lord, let me build my altar to you.

Ancestry–a lineage from Adam to Jesus. In these passages, I linger in Noah’s story. I witness a tower project–and a scattering. I travel territories with Abram. He stops. I notice what he does.

Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him. After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the Lord, and he worshiped the Lord. Then Abram continued traveling south by stages toward the Negev (Genesis 12:7-9, NLT).

I’ve read lots of reflection on a finished year, and I consider my own. In a digital age, the altars are images and words. Am I making monuments of milestones–or altars of angst? Still fresh, coming out of a year-end reading of Job and Revelation, was 2018 the year I lost (a sense of everything) or the year I was restored?

Ancestry–a lineage in a genetic test kit. I read my results with wonder. I think of sea views and mountain views and snowy valleys–journeys traveled through the ages leading here. This place. My place in the story of a history.

Lord, let me build my altar to you, grateful for your work in me and in my life.

I celebrate your majesty, your sovereignty, your faithfulness and love. I worship you here. Thank you for restoring me. You are near, and I am thankful.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Chronicles 7; 2 John 1; Habakkuk 2; Luke 21

This contrast of offerings. One to the Lord, overflowing. Joyful.

Solomon consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the Lord, and there he offered burnt offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar he had made could not hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat portions. (2 Chronicles 7:7, NLT, emphasis added)

Another, selfish gain.

“See, the enemy is puffed up;
    his desires are not upright—
    but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness—
indeed, wine betrays him;
    he is arrogant and never at rest.
Because he is as greedy as the grave
    and like death is never satisfied,
he gathers to himself all the nations
    and takes captive all the peoples.

“Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying,

“‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods
    and makes himself wealthy by extortion!
    How long must this go on?’
Will not your creditors suddenly arise?
    Will they not wake up and make you tremble?
    Then you will become their prey.
Because you have plundered many nations,
    the peoples who are left will plunder you.
For you have shed human blood;
    you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

“Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain,
    setting his nest on high
    to escape the clutches of ruin!
10 You have plotted the ruin of many peoples,
    shaming your own house and forfeiting your life.
11 The stones of the wall will cry out,
    and the beams of the woodwork will echo it. (Habakkuk 2:4-11, NLT, emphasis added)

Offerings.

As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4, NLT)

This year I felt that time was not my own. I have felt pulled by responsibilities, and often physically and emotionally depleted. It is December, and I wonder where the time went. Oh, but this:

37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple. (Luke 21:37-38, NLT)

Each day, He still teaches. In the early mornings, I want to be right at his feet. He frames my purpose and gives direction and I am reminded–it is all His anyway: time, talent, treasure. If I feel depleted, will He not fill me again? If I abide in Him, will this branch be fruitless and wither?

I laugh to think that time was mine to keep.

Could my offerings (of time, talent, treasure) ever be so large that the altar I made couldn’t hold them?

Lord, may my offerings to you be given in joy. You are sovereign.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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1 Kings 18; 1 Thessalonians 1; Ezekiel 48; Psalm 104

The people of Israel were getting desperate. Drought was ravishing their land and relief was not in sight, so they built an altar to Baal and sacrificed their limited resources. Elijah asked, “How long will you go limping about with two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21

I hear God ask me the same question. Like most people, I have a longstanding family issue that won’t go away (warning: the holidays are coming). Everything that I have done in the past has been powerless to bring about change or seemed to make things worse. Venting to anyone who would listen to my tale of woe didn’t help, except to reinforce my sense of self righteousness and gather tiny stones of bitterness for my altar. Like the people of Israel, I have limped around this petty altar for too many years and wasted precious time and effort.

This time around, I hear God’s call to step out of my negative do loop and come to his altar of prayer. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s time to confess anger, a desire to hold onto hurt and an unwillingness to forgive. It’s time to stop complaining and walk into the freedom of trusting God to be enough, even if I don’t get the outcome I want.

“…because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction…for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 1:5…6.

Lord, I long to live with the steady, unbreakable conviction that you are Lord in all situations. I want the kind of joy that comes only from trusting you. Holy Spirit, do your work in me. Holy Spirit, let your word take root and complete your will and work in my life. Jesus, you are the author and perfecter of my faith; it’s by your overflowing grace through that I ask this. Amen

Kathy

 

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Deuteronomy 26, 27; Mark 15:1-26

And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. And it was the third hour when they crucified him. Mark 15:12-15; 25

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And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O Lord, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you. Deuteronomy 26:10-11

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And there you shall build an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones. You shall wield no iron tool on them; you shall build an altar to the Lord your God of uncut stones. And you shall offer burnt offerings on it to the Lord your God, and you shall sacrifice peace offerings and shall eat there, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God. And you shall write on the stones all the words of this law very plainly.” Deuteronomy 27:5-8

An altar. The Cross.

Was, and is, and always will be…

The greatest sacrifice…made by God…made for me.

Extraordinary silence against accusations spat in His face.

A broken body swathed in purple; a barbed circlet on His bloodied head.

The weight of my sin on His shoulders.

A heavy burden to carry.

The King brought low, brought to death. Perfection crucified.

Giving everything of Himself. Always willing. Always loving.

His death, His life, a gift of grace, a first fruit offering.

Redemption. Restoration. Relationship.

He gives all, and all He asks of me is all of myself.

A living sacrifice, prepared to worship, ready to rejoice.

Remembering His goodness. Recalling His faithfulness.

No longer bruised and battered. No longer a slave.

Suddenly, His reaffirmed treasure.

Suddenly, holy unto Him.

Walk into the land of milk and honey.

Enter into God’s promises. Enter into His peace.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Exodus 27, Exodus 28, Mark 1:23-45

Please read at – www.BibleGateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus%2027,28;%20Mk%201:23-45&version=NKJV

Exodus 27     “You shall make an altar, the court of the tabernacle, a screen, the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually, outside the veil which is before the Testimony.”

             The Old Testament sacrifice system is the foreshadow of the new, living and everlasting covenant which Jesus Christ fulfilled. Jesus is our sacrifice Atonement for our sins, past, present and future. Jesus is “the light of the world, the light of life.” Which can never be extinguished.  Thank You Jesus for taking the wrath of God for me!!

             You Lord, tell me that if I follow You, I shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. AND that I am “the light of the world.” Lord Jesus Christ, I rejoice in You, the Light of my soul, path and heart!! I praise you for being God and over powering me by Your Love to empower me by Who You are!! May I desire You more and more greatly that You shine through every pore of me and pour out!! Please let it be so! 

Exodus 28    You shall make holy garments, a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a tunic, a turban, and a sash, the engraving of a signet: HOLINESS TO THE LORD, and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord, that he may minister to Me as priest.”

               Thank You Lord Jesus Christ for asking me to come to You, that You would make me a new creature, Your child!! Thank You for being THE Royal High Priest so You forever intercede for me! Because of this, my God, make me honorable to You, fulfilling Your will to be “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”!!

               Thank you for continually using Your Hand to mold me, shape me and change me to be how You desire, for only in Your blood stained Palm am I eternally safe, grateful and having Your joy as my strength.

             Please dress me up in Your garb: Your honorable Armor, wearing Your righteousness! I can never forget that You won the war, but the battles rage on. Please save the rebellious people from hell and protect the persecuted church! Please! Thank You!  

Mark 1:23-45  An unclean spirit, cried out, You are—the Holy One of God!”  “He commands and they obey Him.” He took her by the hand, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them. Jesus, moved with compassion, touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And he was cleansed.

            Jesus, You are the King of kings Lord of lords.  You cast out demons, heal us by Your compassionate will, and for the purpose that we will serve You as You desire! Thank You for freeing us to have such an incredible position! I am humbled because I know no good thing is in me – but Only Good is You!! 

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” John 14:12  

Pondering – A repeated Old Testament theme, “You shall make”. But I cannot make Righteousness. Only the Lord Jesus can make me righteous. How I need to lean on Jesus to learn from Him for all I do, say, think, feel, etc – Holding every thought captive to God’s Word, so Jesus’ righteousness is visible!! What a quest! No wonder Jesus is our exceedingly great Reward! Genesis 15:1

Further reading for

Exodus 27     Leviticus 17:11, Matthew 26:28,  Hebrews 9:22, Hebrews 10:19-23, John 19:30, Matthew 27:51, Matthew 28, Luke 24:44-53, John 3:36, John 8:12, John 1:4-5, Matthew 5:14, Psalm 119:105, 160  

Exodus 28 and Mark 1: 23-45       Matthew 11:28-30; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 3:1; John 3:5-7; Hebrews 7:25; 1 Peter 2:9; Nehemiah 8:10; Ephesians 1:13-14; Isaiah 64:8; Isaiah 49:16, Ephesians 6:10-18; Mark 10:18, John 15; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Romans 12:1-2 

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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1 Kings 18; 1 Thessalonians 1; Ezekiel 48; Psalm 104

 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, …  and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!” 1 Kings 18

You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God… Jesus Who delivers us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1

 Bless the LORD, O my soul!… O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions— Psalm 104

Read at – www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1Kings%2018;%201Thess.1;%20Ezek.48;%20Ps.104&version=NKJV

1 Kings 18                Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!” v. 38-39

                   Elijah’s identity was marked by God’s Mount Carmel Victory! Elijah stood for the Lord God Almighty and against the false god and idol of Baal. God’s majesty and sovereignty were magnificently displayed because Elijah took a bold stand. The God of the Bible was honored!

                   We as new-creation believers (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:20) can have occurrences like these daily because we are indwelled by the Holy God (Acts 2:4; Acts 4:31; Acts 13:52; Romans 15:13; Ephesians 4:30; 2 Timothy 1:14; Isaiah 57:15; John 20:22; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:38). (See the book of Acts)

What did it take for Elijah?

  • Elijah spent time with God on God’s terms (Psalm 1).
  • Elijah listened to and obeyed the living God.
  • Elijah had stalwart allegiance to the Lord God Almighty with great trust in God’s Word and Character.
  • Elijah stood firmly apart from the gods of his day. NO compromise, excuse, rationalization or people pleasing, even at the risk of losing his life by the king.
  • Elijah trusted what was not humanly possible. It would take God to accomplish this task! (1 Kings 18:30-37)

 What did it take for God? Being in relationship with Elijah, meeting his needs, and joyously winning unbelievers over by displaying His Power and Glory!  (Philippians 4:19) (1 Kings 18:38)

What was the result? Rain. God reigned! The people were rejoiced and were pleased. The land was refreshed and restored. The idol worshippers and those opposed to God were vanquished. (1 Kings 18:39-46)

What does it take for me? The very same things – Purity and faithfulness to God. Keeping Jesus Christ in my sights within my heart and outward in my life. Continually bowing my heart and will before the Lord Jesus Christ, with confession and repentance of sin, learning and growing under His power and tutelage. Living joyously with praise and grateful indebtedness to the only One Who truly sees me. Doing what is not natural to my nature, but super-natural by God’s nature within me. Romans 8:1; Romans 8:5-10; Romans 8:26-27; Galatians 2:20; 1 Peter 4:6; Romans 12:1-2

Taking a stand Every Where I go and what I do! – To live speaking Truth, thinking Truth and loving Truth (John 14:6). And in that way God will reveal His magnificence to unbelievers through me and my life. (1 Corinthians 13:1)

1 Thessalonians 1             You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God… Jesus Who delivers us from the wrath to come.

                      Oh the joy of being with new-creation believers (John 3:3-7; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 1:23)! Those who “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” v.9, and whose “joy of the Holy Spirit” and ”faith toward God has gone out” v.7-8.  May I do likewise: “give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers” v.2.

                      Thank You Lord Jesus Christ for sending workers who give the gospel “in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance” v.5. Use me, too, my Deliverer Lord Jesus (v.10)!

Ezekiel 48                 “and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.”  

                    Lord God Almighty, You are specific in Your directions, according to Your Good pleasure! You divided the holy land. You set apart a district just for Yourself (v.10). You order our steps and lives. May we not kick against You, but yield with contrite and glad hearts! Higher are Your ways than ours. Only by walking under and in You will I fulfill Your desires for my life and for Your glory! Please Lord Jesus Christ, make me Your delight! (1 Peter 3:15; 1 Peter 2:9; Acts 9:5; Psalm 34:18; Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 55:9; Micah 6:8; Psalm 37:4; Hebrews 11:6)

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Psalm 37:23  NKJV

Psalm 104                 Bless the LORD, O my soul!… The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works…. In wisdom You have made them all. … I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

O LORD my God, You are very great:are clothed with honor and majesty, cover Yourself with light, stretch out the heavens like a curtain.

My God – lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, makes the clouds His chariot, walks on the wings of the wind, makes His angels spirits, ministers a flame of fire.

Laid the foundations of the earth, covered it with the deep, set a boundary that they may not pass over, sends the springs into the valleys; (giving) drink to every beast of the field;  Waters the hills from His upper chambers; to …bring forth food from the earth, appointed the moon for seasons;

You hide Your face, they are troubled; You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the earth.

May the glory of the LORD endure forever; May the LORD rejoice in His works.

He looks on the earth, and it trembles; He touches the hills, and they smoke.  

                And who am I to not trust You to purify and sanctify my wayward child? How arrogant am I to not trust Your Holy Spirit to make new that which is not Yours. John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 5:17 – I come to You in prayer, boldly to the throne of Christ Jesus. Lord Jesus save from hell “___” and have them make You their First Love For Ever! Amen  (Revelation 2:4)

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25, Hebrews 9:11-15

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

 

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Numbers 35, Psalm 79, Isaiah 27, 1 John 5

Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake. Psalm 79:9

By this, then, will Jacob’s guilt be atoned for, and this will be the full fruitage of the removal of his sin: When he makes all the altar stones to be like chalk stones crushed to pieces, no Asherah poles nor incense altars will be left standing. Isaiah 27:9

Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it. Do not defile the land where you live and where I dwell, for I, the LORD, dwell among the Israelites.’ ” Numbers 35:33-34

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1John 5:11

God had Israel set up cities of refuge to avoid needless bloodshed. Yet it was the sacrifice of an innocent, Jesus, that atoned for the sins of the world. We needed a Savior. In 70 AD the temple was destroyed and the altars crushed. There was no further need for sacrifice. Christ died once for all.

Lord,  sometimes I feel like my behavior doesn’t always reflect the truth of your sacrifice for me, especially when I’m interacting with the world. The natural tendencies of my flesh start showing themselves. I regret things that I’ve said. Put a guard over my lips.  Help me to only speak words that give glory to your Name. By your grace and power may I blossom fully bear spotless fruit as you intended. In Jesus Name I pray.

yicareggie

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