Mizbe’ah ~ A place of sacrifice

Ge. 22: 9 “When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar…”

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The Altar

In every church you’ll find one, that special place of reverence. It’s typically a tangible structure set aside for various uses such as prayer, baptism, communion…usually found in the front of a sanctuary near the pulpit.

A Living Sacrifice

In every church you’ll find one, that special person clothed in humility.  They’re typically the Matriarch or Patriarch of the congregation. A tangible source, always available for prayer, filled with the Holy spirit and in constant communion with God, they can usually be found in the front of the sanctuary near the pulpit.

Embracing The New

For the first time, I attended the healing service at our new church.  And there she was, standing in front of the altar…the one clothed in humility.

She chose her words carefully, yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit. After a short teaching, all were invited to partake in the laying on of hands and prayer, kneeling at the altar.

Many came. But it wasn’t until the last person had been attended to did she, herself, ask for prayer. No longer able to kneel, she came and sat on the altar rail.

This Matriarch

I listened intently as she gave the “back story” to her prayer request. Deep sighs and occasional tears only intensified the radiant glory of the Lord which rested upon her.  She recounted all the times she’d visited this altar ~ her mizbe’ah.

Calling on the Name of the Lord, she had sacrificed by laying down each and every member of her family ~ right down to her great grandchildren. Calling on the Name of the Lord, she interceded for each person who’d ever gone forward on a Sunday morning as she met them at the altar.

Ge. 22:12 “Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from Me your son, your only son.”

I began to see, not in the natural but in the spiritual realm, the altar she had built. Life after life, week after week, year after year, the bodies continued to stack up in front of where she sat.

I saw as she recounted those who had passed on, yet alive in Christ Jesus! I saw as she described those who were alive yet dead in Christ. I saw as she displayed her unwavering faith, believing that these souls would one day come to the fount of Living Water and receive everlasting life.

Ge. 26:25  “Isaac built an altar there and called on the Name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent and there his servants dug a well.”

Yes, here in this church, she had pitched her tent and called upon the Name of the Lord.  And surrounding her mizbe’ah, that night we clothed ourselves in humility and became her servants. There we pitched our tents and dug a well.

Buckets

~ where we found a plentiful supply of water ~

Water bucket being raised from a well

 Living Water

And though I participated and came away full, the experience begs the question…

Where is my mizbe’ah?

Where is yours?

Not Forgotten

  ~ I’d probably heard the song playing on the radio a hundred times before. But it seemed to pierce my heart in a new way ~

                                    “I have seen the many faces of fear and of pain, I have watched the tears fall plenty  from heartache and strain. So if this life’s journey has you weary and afraid, there’s rest in the shadow of His wings.”

  ~ The last couple of days had been spent in the quiet little town of Blakely, Georgia. As is so often the case, I’d received immeasurably more than I could have ever given ~

                                     “I’ve walked through the valleys, the mountains, and plains. I have held the hand of freedom that washes all my stains. If you feel the weight of many trials and burdens from this world, there’s freedom in the shelter of the Lord.”

  ~ Scheduled to speak at the Annual Women’s Luncheon, I’d prepared a message from an experience I’d had on a mission trip ten years ago to the Ukraine. It spoke of team…purpose…healing…living with a heart of God ~

                                  “And I have seen the healing hand of God, reaching out and mending broken hearts. Taste and see the fullness of His peace, and hold on to what’s being held out, the healing hand of God.”

    ~ I witnessed firsthand a group of women who’d unknowingly become the epitome of the message. Story after story was shared of women who’d experienced the loss of a husband,  a child, loved ones and close friends…women who were battling cancer, women who’d recently lost the fight ~

                              “And I’ve touched the scars upon His hands to see if they were real. He has walked the road before me, He knows just how I feel. When you feel that there’s not anyone, who understands your pain, just remember all of Jesus’s suffering.”

  ~ women who’d formed a team with a purpose to bring about healing, women who live with a heart of God ~

                          “Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you. He’s near to the broken and confused. By His stripes our spirit is renewed, so enter in the joy prepared for you.”

  ~ May we all be moved by the example of the Godly women of First United Methodist Church of Blakely to taste and see the fullness of God’s Shalom and hold on tightly to what is being held out…the healing hand of God ~

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Healing Hand of God Lyrics by Jeremy Camp