An Altar: Christopher's Beanie Baby from the NICU
Yesterday, I got to teach. And I had a lot of fun. I had been asked to teach on Abraham for our Tuesday Ladies' Bible Study. It was like being on a favorite roller coaster for 45 minutes... with ups and downs and turns and twists and best of all... butterflies in my stomach.
And yes, I did wear the pink feather boa. I thought I wouldn't have to... I felt so calm and at ease yesterday morning... I felt your prayers... but as I began to speak the blood started pumping quicker and quicker and I thought I might faint... so I put it on... and ended up keeping it on.
Jackie, one of my new BFFs from the SSMTC reminded me that it wasn't about me... and with or without me God was going to do His thang...
Sheri, we had our Loving Well Retreat Friday and Saturday. Beth was saying right at the beginning how nervous she was because there was 19,000 women in the arena. In classic Bethese, she said that God told her "you're not good enough to mess this up. I'm (God) going to be there. You can come if you want or you can stay home."And I am so glad that I did not stay home! God had prepared me early on talk about the altars that Abraham built for God. I had been listening to a podcast by one of my favorite authors, Mark Batterson... and God let me know that this was what I was to share... but I was to make it mine. To make it personal. Because I am in the habit of setting up altars.
To me an altar is something that reminds me of God's faithfulness. Perhaps a pink feather boa that reminds me that it is okay to go out of my comfort zone. Or a Beanie Baby that newborn baby Christopher was given in the NICU... where God miraculously healed him. Or a book like "Anonymous" or "Conquering Depression" that changed my thinking... and my life. Or my many journals (and now my blogging) which mark the path where God has taken me from... and where He is taking me to...
Abraham would set up altars after a spiritually significant encounter with the Lord. Whether the Lord appeared to Abraham or revealed more details on His plans for Abraham or brought Abraham to a point of decision... and sometimes Abraham even ended up worshiping at an altar that he had built years before.
If we don't have some type of reminder... we will forget. You know I have a baby book for Christopher... because in all honesty... I don't remember when he took his first step... But I can open the book and find out. As I look back at the reminders of my pregnancy or depression or spiritual growth... they remind me that I have had some difficult times in my past... and I can see God's hand upon me... and the difference between then and now... Thank YOU, God! And if I ever go through another time like that... I have proof of God's faithfulness in my past, so I can count on His faithfulness in the future.
When we look back on Abraham's life, it wasn't easy. He was not raised to believe in The Most High God... he had been raised in a polytheistic home. (Joshua 24:2) His brother died at a young age (Genesis 11:28) and Abraham became like a son to him. (Genesis 12:4) His wife was barren. (Genesis 11:30) He was a foreigner in the land God promised his offspring. (Hebrews 11:9) He was tested by God. (Hebrews 11:17) He only saw his offspring to the 2nd generation. (Genesis 25:7-8) Yet, he is known as a friend of God. (2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23) And here is the thing... he never got his hands on what was promised. (Hebrews 11:39)
But God took every moment of Abraham's life... God didn't waste a moment of it. Through all of the trials and tests and sufferings and WAITING... Ultimately, Abraham became a father of a great nation and his name became great and the people on earth were blessed through him...
"A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ
the son of David,
the son of Abraham."
Is there an altar you can build today? Perhaps it is a photo or a journal or even a particular Bible verse... and it reminds you of God's faithfulness? We need to remember... because we are prone to forget.
Today my challenge is to find a way to mark my path... to set up a spiritual stepping stone... of the roller coaster I was on yesterday. Because it is not something I want to forget... ever. And I have a feeling that it is just the beginning...