Posts Tagged ‘milestones’

Altars of Consecration

October 21st, 2014

“Abraham built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.” Genesis 12:7 NKJV.

The promises you seek are only found in the consecration God expects.

My thoughts and comments today are about “altars of consecration.”

The story of Abraham’s journey is told in “milestones of obedience and altars of consecration.” Those characteristics will describe any intentional pursuit of God. Obedience is the sincere expression of faith. By faith Abraham obeyed . . . [and] went without knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8 NLT. Obedience is essential and non-negotiable. (Review EDL, Part 1: Today, I suggest the very important, second aspect of Abraham’s faith journey, “Altars of Consecration.”

Altars are significant to God and prominent in each person’s spiritual journey. Godly consecration is essential and non-negotiable to all spiritual progress. Be advised; consecration is not a casual affair; it is costly. Old Testament altars were messy, bloody places where only the first and finest of offerings were acceptable. Those sacrifices merely foreshadowed the ultimate sacrifice, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

Out of painful recognition of his sin, David discovered God’s heart, “The sacrifices God [desires] are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:16-17. The best definition of a broken and contrite heart that I have heard is: “A heart in which the evil has been crushed.” Today, an altar of consecration is where you humbly bow to the singular sovereignty of God, a sacred place of worship expressed in costly sacrifice and sincere consecration of your allegiance, affections and will.

Consecration became Abraham’s lifestyle, and it must be yours as well. Every place Abraham pitched his tent, he built an altar, dug a well, and worshipped the Lord there. Again and again, it is said of him, “Abraham built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.” Genesis 12:7 NKJV. See Genesis 12:8/13:18/22:9. On every altar, Abraham offered a sacrifice and made a further consecration of himself to God and His promises to multiply and bless his seed. Romans 4:17-21 NIV. No other occasion evidences the extent of Abraham’s obedience and consecration more than his altar on Mount Moriah. Read Genesis 22:1-17.

“By faith Abraham made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents . . for he was looking forward to a city with foundations whose builder was God.” See Hebrews 11:8-10 NIV. Consecration is best expressed through obedience despite present realities, while holding fast to a relentless faith in a promised future. The promises and permanence you seek are only found in the obedience and consecration God expects. “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us . . Our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV/Romans 8:18.

There are times when an altar of consecration needs to be repaired, as occurred with Israel. “And Elijah repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down . . with twelve stones, he built an altar in the name of the Lord . . then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice.” Read 1 Kings 18:30-39. If any, what repair needs to occur to the altars where you have made consecrations to God? “I urge you by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God . . that you may prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2. You and your life are “the living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.”

Today, my prayer is that you renew your consecration and devote yourself to be altogether His.

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Thoughts on a Birthday

July 18th, 2012

Reflections upon a milestone birthday

EveryDay life began in 2006 as a means of sharing our faith with our grandchildren. Last year on my birthday, I wrote the comments I share below for our children and their children, and hopefully for the sake of the family’s generation(s) that will follow after my journey is complete. To celebrate this milestone birthday as well as our 49th anniversary the first of August, Gayle and I are taking some leisure time together and I will not be writing EveryDay Life the remainder of this month. I thought this would be a good time to share with you the words I first wrote to our family, since you have become a fellow traveler on our journey and an extension of our spiritual family of faith. My comments to our family upon my birthday last year are really at the heart of why I write this daily devotional each day. I am privileged to share EveryDay Life Ministries with a widening circle of readers, and it is now translated into Bulgarian and touching lives in more than a dozen countries from which readers have made contact with us.

Today is my birthday – 70 years! I prefer to think of this day as the successful achievement of six decades of God’s favor and grace, accompanied by so many people’s gracious kindnesses. I can hardly believe that number of years. That is a long time to live, but not nearly enough yet. The customary greeting on such a day is “Happy Birthday,” and as I read greetings in cards, emails, and Facebook this morning, I reflected on what makes me truly happy. Happiness for its self can be strangely elusive. Happiness is much less than Gayle and I have sought; from God,we have expected and experienced something better – His joy and true satisfaction. I have concluded that among all that we enjoy, central to our joy and satisfaction are three things: our faith, our family, and our friends. My “birthday wish” would be that those we love and serve would share those three values sincerely.

Our faith has been central to all else, the source and  support for daily life through good and not so good times and things, making us more than we would have been without it, providing our family with a network of others who share and depend upon that faith, keeping us on track when we could have gone astray, and opening doors of opportunity for us that I would not have wanted to miss. Most of all, faith makes me know that our hearts and future are safely in God’s hands. All is well, and will be well forever. Our greatest joy is seeing that our “children walk in the truth.” Remember, faith cannot be inherited; it is a personal and individual decision that you alone can make, and you must. The earlier in life you decide that, the simpler it is to do so. It is primary, not secondary to all other decisions you will make, and is best reaffirmed every day. Don’t waste a day of life without a clear and personal faith. Do not live a single day facing eternity without that assurance of soul.

Marriage and family have brought us a greater joy than I could ever have foreseen in my youth. Had I been wiser sooner I would have invested more of myself much earlier. Family is the greatest investment I have ever made – producing far richer and more satisfying dividends than property and possessions ever could. I wish for you the joy and pleasure multiplied in your lives that we have received from you. Prize the time and times you have together. The years are too brief and pass too quickly to take them for granted because of busyness or lesser pursuits. You are the one who can make every day a joy-filled day. Our family has enjoyed privileges and blessings to the degree that faith has been central to who we are and how we choose to live our lives together.

The right friends are the greatest of God’s gifts to your life. Choose them well and wisely. Friends who share your faith and values will best shape who you become in many ways that you may not realize until later. The older I have become, the more appreciative I am of the unmistakable influence of the people God has placed in and around my life. Gayle and I are blessed. Like family, friends become invaluable with each year, through the common experiences and memories you will share. By their acceptance and example, friends have helped me become a man, husband, father, friend, and pastor far better than I would have been without them. I would counsel you to be purposeful about friendships and, most importantly, become the kind of friend that you would want others to be in your life. When you are young you have many acquaintances and associations; the years sort those and reveal the friendships that make your latter years full and satisfying, as ours have been. Lots of people around you cannot make your life full; but even a few of the right kind of friends who challenge and inspire you will make life richer than you dream.

These are the eternal, therefore important, things – faith, family, and friends – that are important to my life on this birthday, and that I pray you will prioritize and value in your life. You know, now that I think about it, this really is a happy birthday.

With love and prayers . .

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March 9th, 2012

“This I call to mind and therefore I have hope.” Lamentations 3:21 NIV

“The journey of faith is marked by milestones of obedience and altars of consecration.”

My thoughts and comments today are about “reminders.”

What would I do if it were not for Gayle, a most helpful wife, and Charlotte, a trusted secretary, who keep track of my appointments and schedules, reminding me of where I am supposed to be, what I am supposed to be doing, and with whom I am supposed to be doing that? Who could recall all they need to remember without the ubiquitous Post It notes? As I embrace the challenge of “aging gracefully,” I am not getting any more forgetful; unfortunately, neither am I getting any less. In my own defense, my claim is that I just have a more sizable and growing library of people, places, and stuff that can be forgotten. I guess we all struggle with memory; therefore, everyone needs reminders.

Ever puzzled why it is so easy to forget and so hard to remember? Someone said, “We are not slow learners, just quick forgetters.” The problem seems to me that most of us remember what we should forget, and forget what we should remember. With little effort, you may remember failure and pain, but need reminders of faithfulness and blessing. “My soul still remembers my (affliction) and sinks within me. This I recall to my mind, and therefore have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness . . therefore I hope in Him! . . It is good that one should hope and wait quietly.” Lamentations 3:20-26 NKJV. Hope is birthed in your heart and rests on God and His promises, not present circumstances.

You need reminders! You need to forget things that complicate your life and trouble your soul, and you need to build enduring memorials and altars that remind you of God’s goodness and faithfulness in your life. Those good and Godly memories renew and establish hope for the path ahead. After Israel’s decisive victory over their staunchest enemy, the Old Testament prophet, Samuel, took a stone and named it, “Ebenezer, meaning ‘thus far the Lord has helped us.’” 1 Samuel 7:12 NKJV. Everyone who appreciates the grace of God has a personal testimony of “thus far the Lord has helped me.” That blessed history needs to become a firm declaration and conviction, “Therefore I hope in Him!” Real hope is planted firmly on the solid rock of God and your personal history with Him.

Many years ago, my dear friend, Campbell, said to me, “The journey of faith is marked by Milestones of obedience and Altars of consecration.” I have never forgotten the wisdom of his words. Milestones of obedience – the places where God has spoken to you when and where you responded in faith – mark the path you have traveled and evidence the extent of your progress, or lack thereof. Such moments are enduring memorials raised to the glory of God as reminders for you and testimonials to others. They mark the way you have come, tribute to the grace of God and graciousness of others that has been shown to you.

Your journey should also be marked by Altars of consecration where you bow before God in new levels of dedication. Yesterday’s consecration cannot provide today’s sacrifice. Ashes are all that remain of your last sacrifice. To go further with God you have to go deeper in God. Consecration is the act of setting someone or something apart for a distinct purpose. “I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind He will accept . . let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Romans 12:1-2 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that you be a living, breathing, and holy sacrifice to God.

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