Category Archives: General

My Heart an Altar

On Monday, I wrote about Cain and his unacceptable offering to God.

Most likely, Cain brought his offering to a family-constructed altar, but bore some sort of sin attitude.

Today, as I read about Abraham, I note that when the Lord called him to leave Haran and “go to the land I will show you,” (Genesis 12: 1) Abraham did not hesitate to obey.

In Canaan, the Lord appeared to Abraham, so he built an altar to worship.

The idea of an altar seems a bit strange to us westerners. In the Old Testament writings, why did so many people build altars?

I did some searches on google and brought up this information:

Altars are structures that help a person focus his prayer, devotion and worship. It is also a place for sacrifice.

In those early days of the Hebrews, a neglected altar was a sure sign of a back-slidden people.

As Christians we no longer need a physical altar.

Because God now resides within us.

My heart is God’s altar.

It is there, in the seat of my personality, my deepest emotions, my greatest yearnings, my intellectual wrestlings, my sincere questions, that God meets me.

I do not need to bring a burnt offering, or a grain offering, a fellowship offering, a sin offering, or a guilt offering.

Because Jesus Christ supplied the only sacrifice that I need.

The only thing I need bring Him is my broken, contrite heart.

I like to imagine what the altar in my heart looks like.

At times, it is constructed with rough stones, piled one on top of another, straining upward to some unfathomable and incomprehensible space in heaven.

At times, God meets me in a palace of crystal, where my altar rests, swathed in gem-like hues, swirling and dancing—set in motion by my worship—then bending, as though through a prism to blend into new heavenly colors no tongue can describe.

Then, at other times, my altar neither strains upward, nor resides in a splendid house.

Not lofty. It is fleshy and intimate.

It is the place where human words express their most impassioned complaints, hurl accusations, issue ultimatums, plead,  demand explanations, offer deals…

And finally…surrender.

(Is this the altar Abraham would have described when God called him to sacrifice Issac? )

Perhaps this last altar is the most glorious.

“Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love, one holy passion filling all my frame: the baptism of the heaven descended dove—my heart an altar and Thy love the flame.”

( from from Spirit of God, Descend upon my Heart: Croly/Atkinson)

 

Fish Creek Beaver

Bruce and I took a walk along Fish Creek Road last evening. A beaver has taken over a large part of Fish Creek, which runs parallel to the road.

A few years ago, when he first appeared, the signs of his presence seemed minimal.

But as the years have passed, Mr. Beaver has really made Fish Creek his home.

He’s built a large lodge.

He’s dammed up several sections of the creek.

He’s downed multiple trees. The damage to trees around his environment is truly awful…or impressive. It looks like a bomb has blasted all the trees down to pointed stumps.

He’s gotten himself a mate, and recently we saw one of his kits swimming upstream of the lodge.

So last evening as we strolled near the beaver environment, two photographers were just leaving.

Aha, they must have seen the beaver if they’re carrying all that heavy photographic equipment and a tripod.

Sure enough, Mr. Beaver was swimming in his do-it-yourself swimming pool. We followed him upstream. He came out of the water and headed straight toward a large aspen tree about ten feet from the water.

Poor tree, you’re doomed.

While he noisily gnawed near the base of the tree, another family joined us to watch.

Beaver must be pretty used to humans because he didn’t seem bothered by our presence.

Mrs. Beaver came out of the water, too, and daintily cut greenery, then dragged it back into the pond and floated toward their lodge.

There are many things you can say about beavers: large rodent, industrious, architecturally amazing, great swimmers, destructive, voracious, a nuisance, or a pleasure to watch.

But the lesson I learn from the beaver is that he continues to build his kingdom, year after year.

If a storm comes and damages a part of his claim, he’s right out there, fixing it.

He inspects his watery property daily and continually maintains it.

He stockpiles food for the days when summertime abundance fades.

God has called Mr. Beaver to be a beaver.

He doesn’t look up at the heavens and shake his fist because of the lot he’s been given.

He doesn’t whine that he was not made an eagle or a moose or a mountain lion.

The beaver has a calling to cut down trees, construct dams, and lodges. Unless he dies, he will be faithful to live out God’s plan.

May I be more like the beaver: humble to do what God instructs, faithful to keep at the job, and determined to expand my influence.