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Building Altars
Photo: Studiomill
I've always been intrigued with the altars that the people of the Old Testament built. Even as a kid, I was impressed with the great stories that included altars. There were altars of sacrifice, altars of incense, altars to false gods, and especially altars to the Living God like Elijah's altar, which put the smack-down on Baal. The ones that continue to intrigue me most, however, are the altars that were built to mark the place where God's power or presence had been shown in some special way. Like Abram building an altar after God appeared to him, promising his descendants the land of Canaan. And there was Jacob's altar at Bethel which he built after having had a life-changing encounter with God during his time of trouble.  

So why don't we still build altars? Really. I know we don't build altars of sacrifice anymore as Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sins. Praise His name for that! But what about “remembrance” altars that were built as signs of God's power being shown? After all, God does still communicate with us and in some pretty spectacular ways sometimes. So why not build one to mark it? Maybe not an actual pile of stones, but some kind of memorial of a special connection with God.

For example, many times people give testimony of being in nature, praying to God over a burden in their lives. Joyfully, they also tell of having a sure impression of God's answer to them. So why not mark that spot somehow in remembrance?

A Way of Remembering

Many times I've been aware of God telling me something, whether it is an answer to prayer or maybe even a rebuke that I needed. In both cases, I've been so grateful for God's leading. So, while it isn't necessary to make altars, couldn't it still be a way of remembering? Additionally, it might be a way to instill in our children visible evidence of our invisible God? Perhaps it would be a reminder to them that we truly do believe in God's power to connect with us and that we don't want to forget how he has led. Obviously, we can't always put up a marker where something happened. It might be public property, after all. But we could still create a sign of remembrance.

Well, if I'm not the only one who wonders about this, here are some ideas for building “altars” of remembrance to God's power and love in our lives:
  • Plant a special garden. Many flowers represent certain ideas and meanings. Do a little research and find plants that fit the blessing. As your family cares for them, they'll relive God's power in the life of the family.
  • Adopt a special song as a family. When future experiences with God happen, sing that song as a sign of remembrance for previous events of God's leading.
  • Adopt a specific Bible text or promise that fits the event. Perhaps have it printed on a plaque, or better yet, have the children create something to display in your home with that Bible verse on it.
God loves our families and wants to have an intimate connection. Surely, the more we remember, the more God will give us to remember.

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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