Reverence And Honor Despised

Reverence And Honor Despised

A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence? says the Lord of hosts to the priests who despise My name.

Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’

You offer defiled food on My altar, but say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’

By saying, “The table of the Lord is contemptible’.”–Malachi 1:6-7

In 1900, Elisha A Hoffman penned the hymn “Is Your All On The Altar?”. The first line of the chorus repeats this question, but takes it a step farther by defining the altar.. “Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?” The second line then asks us, “Your heart does the Spirit control?”. Too often, we respond with a confident “Yes”, all-the-while knowing this is not true. We are often willing to sacrifice our time, our money, and even our families, but we do so before we give up our sin. As the Lord spoke those words in Malachi, we are guilty of the same sins as the priest…we are defiling God’s altar. We are not honoring, nor are we giving reverence to our Father and Master.

Before we can go to the altar of sacrifice, we need to seek an altar of repentance. Notice that I said “we”; this includes me. I can speak from personal experience of the times I would seek forgiveness for my sins for a day, knowing I would return to them before too long. If we continue to return to our sins, like the hog to its wallow, then we are NOT putting our all on the altar of sacrifice. We are even adding lying to our list of sins.

The remainder of the song’s chorus gives us the following promise; one that I have found to be true.

You can only be blest,

And have peace and sweet rest,

As you yield Him your body and soul.”

Let us today—and every day—lift each other up in prayer. It is easier to give your all when you have others lifting you up in prayer.

Hypocrisy At The Altar Of God

Hypocrisy At The Altar Of God

(Saturday Evening Prayer For July 1)

Heavenly Father. It is in the name of our beloved savior, Jesus Christ, that we come to You this evening. As we have focused on the altar this week, we have felt deep regret and shame in our soul. In our heart,we realize we have profaned the purpose of the altar by not trusting in You. In Your word You have told us to cast our cares on You. Time and again we have heard how we need to leave our burdens at the altar. Yet, we continue to not take advantage of this gift. In our hypocrisy, we amen those who give this advice, even offer it ourselves, yet carry our burdens with us. Give us the strength to give our problems to You.

We don’t often pray for ourselves here, God, but we need Your intervention. You know the situation we are facing and the effects it is having on us. This week, You have reminded us that our shoulders, no matter how broad, were not made to carry burdens. We have found ourself in a situation beyond our control so we ask for Your help. What we do know is first and foremost all parties need You. If this is what it will take to bring them to You, increase our strength that we might carry on. Regardless of the anger and the frustration, keep our eyes and hearts focused on You. Remind us daily of the joy that is greater than any sorrow we may face.

We do thank You for the many blessings we have missed throughout the past week. You are always faithful to bless us even if we are too busy to notice. Our table has not been bare nor have we lacked the other necessities of life. Each breath is a blessing we too often take for granted, yet, You have not withheld them from us. Let us always be aware and be thankful for what You do for us. Fill us with the peace that passes all understanding and that unspeakable joy even in our darkest times.

Finally, Lord, we pray for our readers. Thank You so much for laying it upon their hearts to continually visit this little site. At times when I feel like nothing I do matters, I see the number of visitors I have had and rejoice. May the things I post uplift and encourage those who read them, and may they see You in it all. Bless them, keep them, strengthen them, and guide them to be a light for You to a world in darkness.

All these things I ask in Jesus’s precious name. Amen.

Profaned Altar Made Of Cut Stone

Profaned Altar Made Of Cut Stone

“And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.”–Exodus 20:25

We start out this morning with a warning from God to Moses concerning the building of an altar. God desired an altar of uncut stones—stones in their natural state, not profaned by man. When something is profaned, it’s sacredness is no longer pure and man reveals his contempt for God.

Take, for example, language. Language is a gift of God, intended to allow the communication between people. This gift, like many do, came with certain stipulations. God said not to take His name in vain, and not to tell lies. When we do so, we have profaned God’s gift. Since I have already broached the subject of profaning language, let’s go a little farther. If the words crossing your lips are the same as the profanity used by an unbeliever, remember Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

God intended for the altar to be a place of sacrifice, of unity, a place of protection, and a memorial. Last Sunday’s verse, Genesis 8:20 spoke of Noah building the altar and making sacrifices of the clean animals and birds. In verse 21, we read of God’s reaction to these sacrifices. “And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imaginations of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.” If Noah were not a righteous man, then his offerings would not have been accepted by God.

In Deuteronomy 12:5-7, God tells His people what to do once they have destroyed the temples and places of worship of their enemies. “But you shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses, out of all the tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there shall you go. There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the first born of your herds and flocks. And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you put your hand, you and your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.”

Our quote Thursday by Joseph de Maistre spoke of civilization being found wherever there was an altar. This is what these verses are saying. Once God chose the place for the tribes to gather, He made sure there was an altar. It was to be a place of offerings and sacrifices and a place where the people came together to eat. If the Israelites would have taken it upon themselves to choose their gathering place and built the altar of their choice, God would not have blessed them.

In Exodus 21:14, we read of the protection of the altar. “But if a man acts with premeditation against his neighbor, to kill him by treachery, you shall take him from My altar, that he may die.”  Nothing nor no one has authority at the altar save God. The children of Israel knew this. They also knew that if they killed a man while he was under God’s protection, they would be just as guilty as he was.

Often, an altar was built to remind future generations of an important event concerning God that took place in that spot. Isaac built one in Genesis 26:25 after being visited by God. “So he built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord, and he pitched his tent there; and Isaac’s servants dug a well.”

In our lives, we see these same intentions God had for the altar. It is at the altar where we bow down and make ourselves an offering to God. We gather at the altar with our brothers and sisters in Christ to find fellowship and strength. As long as we go to the altar with a sincere heart, God will protect us from the Satan’s wiles. And it is at the altar where we remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

We are a lot like the stone altar from our opening verse. Just as God wanted it uncut and natural, that is how He wants us to come to Him. If we try to cut off our rough edges and clean ourselves up before we surrender to God, it’s like saying Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t sufficient enough to do the job. By trying to help God save us, we are saying we don’t trust Him to do it by Himself. God wants us to come filled with our sins—our rough edges—so that we can confess each of them to Him. Once we do this, He will take away our sins. Then He can begin to smooth our rough edges until we are, at last, a new creature in Him.

Victim On The Altar Of The Cross

Victim On The Altar Of The Cross

“The Father willed that his blessed and glorious Son, whom he gave to us and who was born for us, should through his own blood offer himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross. This was to be done not for himself through whom all things were made, but for our sins.”– Francis of Assisi

Francis was born around 1182 AD in Assisi, Italy. His mother had him baptized as Giovanni during his father’s absence, but, upon his return, His father had his name changed. He was now known as Francesco di Pietro di Bernardone. Rather than following his father into the family business, Francis felt God calling him into the ministry. Renouncing a life of wealth and family, he embraced a life of poverty.

His teachings and his lifestyle began to draw followers to him. On April 16, 1210, the Franciscan Order was founded. It was made up of street preachers who had no possessions. They began spreading the gospel first in Umbria and then went throughout the rest of Italy. In 1212, he organized the Poor Clares, an order for women.

Francis died where he was born, in Assisi. He finally went to be with his Lord on October 3, 1226.

Civilization Is Wherever The Altar Is Found

Civilization Is Wherever The Altar Is Found

“Wherever an altar is found, there civilization exists.”–Joseph de Maistre

Joseph de Maistre was born on April 1, 1753 in Chambréy, France. After studying with the Jesuits, he became a member of the Savoy Senate, following in his father’s footsteps. Following the invasion of Savoy by Napoleon, Joseph went into exile in Switzerland. He believed there was a need for Christian supremacy and the rule of both a king and a pope. He died on February 26, 1821 in Turin, Italy—then known as the kingdom of Sardinia.

The Altar By George Herbert

The Altar By George Herbert

A broken ALTAR, Lord, thy servant rears,
Made of a heart and cemented with tears;
Whose parts are as thy hand did frame;
No workman’s tool hath touch’d the same.
A HEART alone
Is such a stone,
As nothing but
Thy pow’r doth cut.
Wherefore each part
Of my hard heart
Meets in this frame
To praise thy name.
That if I chance to hold my peace,
These stones to praise thee may not cease.
Oh, let thy blessed SACRIFICE be mine,
And sanctify this ALTAR to be thine.

Vice In The Heart Becomes An Idol

Vice In The Heart Becomes An Idol

“A vice in the heart is an idol on the altar.”–Jerome

Jerome, also know as Sophronius and Eusebius Hieronymus, was born around the year 347 AD. He is regarded as one of the most learned men of his time. Born into a Christian family, he began his education around the age of 12. Serious about his studies, he eventually translated both the Bible and the Vulgate into Latin. He spent time as a hermit before becoming a priest. He also served as secretary to Pope Damascus I. Around 389 AD, he established a monastery in Bethlehem where he lived until his death.

Burning, Purification, And Separation On The Altar

Burning, Purification, And Separation On The Altar

“You must be willing to be placed on the altar and go through the fire; willing to experience what the altar represents–burning, purification, and separation for only one purpose–the elimination of every desire and affection not grounded in or directed toward God. But you don’t eliminate it, God does.”–Oswald Chambers

Oswald Chambers was born July 24, 1874 in Aberdeen, Scotland. The son of a Baptist minister, he wanted to serve God from a young age. His desired to do so through the arts and attended London’s Royal College of Art and the University of Edinburgh. At 22, however, he felt the calling to become a minister. He began teaching in Dunoon at a small theological college, but eventually began preaching in England, Japan, and America. It was on a trip to America that he met a young woman, Gertrude Hobbs, who later became his wife. (It was she who, after Oswald’s death, compiled his notes and had them published, including “My Utmost for His Highest.”)

During World War I, Oswald took a position as military Chaplain and was sent to Cairo, Egypt in 1915. Joined by his wife and young daughter, It took a while to gain the confidence of the Australian and New Zealand troops, but when he did, he gained their deepest respect. In 1917, following complications from appendicitis, Oswald passed away on November 17.  (It is said he refused a hospital bed because the soldiers had a greater need for one.) His coffin was placed on a gun carriage and 100 men—their rifles reversed as a sign of deep respect—escorted him along the funeral route. The pallbearers were all officers. His wife and daughter remained in Cairo until 1919, waiting until all the soldiers had gone home before doing so themselves.

Parents And The Call For Responsibility

Parents And The Call For Responsibility

“Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you: for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.”–2nd Corinthians 12:14

Parents have a responsibility to their children. Sadly, “responsibility” doesn’t seem to fit into the lifestyle (or even the vocabulary) of many parents today. To some, a child is a burden, while others see a child as an aggravation, or even a mistake. There are even those who see children as their own personal playthings or as a way to gain wealth. In biblical times, children were sacrificed to the Ammonite god, Moloch; today they are sacrificed on the altar called Choice. It is a common argument for people to question God’s love and greatness because children suffer and die. God is not to blame. It is the choices of man that lead to the deaths of children. Heartbreaking.

People need to change their perspective and see children as God sees children. Genesis 33:5 gives us a glimpse of God’s view of them. “And he (Esau) lifted his eyes and saw the women and children, and said, “Who are these with you?” So he said, “The children God has graciously given your servant.” Children are a gift from God. And more than a gift, as we read in last Sunday’s verse, they are a heritage. To see children treated any other way is heartbreaking.

In Proverbs 22:6, King Solomon gives us this advice. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Part of a parent’s responsibility is to teach their child. To go even further, he or she must make sure that what others teach their children is the truth. Ephesians 6:4 builds on this, saying, “And you, Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”

Parents are responsible for their children’s nourishment; Hannah, the mother of Samuel the prophet knew this. “But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever.” This is found in 1st Samuel 1:22. Even Jesus spoke of the importance of a child’s nutrition. In Matthew 15:26, “But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” Although He was speaking to a Gentile woman about healing, He spoke to her in terms a mother could understand.

Mark 10:13-16 gives us an illustration of what Jesus thought of children. “Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.” It is that unwaivering faith of a child that is needed to make it to heaven.

Jesus had already gone so far in Mark 9:42 to warn people not to cause a child to sin. “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” When we look at how children—both born and unborn—are treated today, this verse always comes to mind.

Being a parent, or a grandparent for that matter, can be overwhelming at times. That is no excuse to give up. If you think your child is being a brat or is throwing a fit for no good reason, remember, you have given God plenty of opportunities to see you the same way. When He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins, He took on the responsibility of nourishing us in the Word. He teaches us and has set the example for us to follow. Shouldn’t we do the same for our children and grandchildren?