Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Building Altars – Sacred Places in My Life.

By Jenrene

Thinking about riding through storms… and I found this ‘post’ or writing from my journal back in March of 2009.

Funny, how blogging wasn’t even really popular back then, and somehow I managed to still blog . I used to tell myself riding through my daily life storms:  “If I do my best, that’s enough.” I  would have such peace when I said this, not realizing that I was not juts experiencing an affirmation and word to encourage myself; but I was  also experiencing a higher mental state as I told myself these words.


The truth is , we really don’t know who God is – in His infinite way of being.  Because we have lost true intimacy with God as it was in the Beginning; we  have not had the chance to know who God really is – in  His best way of being and doing. And because we haven’t…we lack knowledge about what to expect from God.  Some of us, in fact  don’t expect much, because we don’t see Him. The fact of the matter is, we must trust – whole lot – to really know if God is able. And then… when He really comes through, we are surprised and even sometimes shocked He really does!

So …let me share a secret with you… from my book, Red Sea Situations. God will always come though, when you build an altar.

There are places where we experience in life, that cause us not to appreciate the  meaning of “altars” in  our lives. But simply put, altars are sacred places where we have an epiphany in our lives.

Altars are defined in the dictionary as:

” a usually raised structure or place on which sacrifices are offered or incense is burned in worship —often used figuratively to describe a thing given great or undue precedence or value especially at the cost of something else <sacrificed his family life on the altar of career advancement>;…(that which)  serves as a center of worship or ritual .”

I suppose that’s what they become to me. Rituals.

My story of having made an altar or a few altars in my life – has been evidenced by great struggle.   I have given these sacred places definition  in my life when I had major  and pivotal   shifts in my thinking, my approach towards life. These shifts and positioned me for greatness. Each and every time I made what I would call “A Life Decision” – an altar was made in my life.  Because my emotions were usually ‘majorly’ tied up into this decision, it was very hard to recognize I was doing something spiritual. I really had to ask God for a “true” sign that He’d actually given me  this special meaning that came with this altar.  I have no doubt usually, when I was to then go  forward,  because by the time I had prayed it through, even if I made a mistake, I would still have peace. In fact, I had no fear of making a mistake!  God would not allow me to “play it safely”  during these times. He basically allowed me to make some decision, take a risk, since I desired more  and then step out in faith. And.. quite honestly, sometimes I was just walking on water.

There was one time, however when I had to know whether making a move out of town was worth the risk and I needed to know rather soon.   I ‘d ask myself : “Should risk staying, or just going for it because I wanted more?” As I prayed, I asked God  for a clear sign. Over the course of the next few days I ended up walking into a church I had never, ever  planned on attending, with a friend of mine.  My friend was associated with this church and I was desperate for a word from God. We were planning only to stay for a short time, I heard the word of the Lord speak so loudly, it practically scared me: “Just Go Forward”… I heard. The preacher began to speak  very  specifically to my very favorite scripture in the Bible about Moses crossing the red Sea. There was no turning back, at this point for Moses  although he wanted to , desperately.  I knew I had walked into a sacred place.  I was where God wanted me to be at that very moment and I was pleased. It was if He was speaking to me, directly. Every word thereafter, sounded like God’s voice.

The Word was so pivotal, in fact –  I left that church with plans to keep packing and moving out of town. The word was taken from Exodus 14 and this section was about the Children of Israel choosing to go through the Red Sea, despite what they saw ahead that looked impossible unto them.  Honestly  I could see nothing.  I am sure,  I was  like Moses.   I knew without doubt, I had to go forward and that  God had my back.   I went on to move ,  to Maryland and quite  successfully, with everything falling into place, exactly as it should. With ‘great ease’…no struggles.

By profession, I often come across persons who say to me during crisis situations: “ How do you stay so calm? Why do you have so much peace in such a difficult time?”  Most of the time,  I really don’t have an answer. What I do have, is an amazing expectation about God, and what He is able to do.  Because I know God. He’s faithful  And because He knows I expect Him, to do it – He usually does it. Or, He does something better than I had ever  imagined. The scripture that comforts us about how  God can  exceed our expectations according to the power that works in us – is true. ( Eph 3:20). There’s another scripture that says “God works in us both to will and to do His good purpose.” Phil. 2:13

The funny things about altars,  is once you have established one, it comes up again to remind of what God did the last time.

So,  I have been  extremely grateful and able to see God’s hand on my life with clear direction when in these places.  It was as if I had become a stabilizing force   allowing God to bring this  resolve to my soul.  ( My mind, my will, and my emotions.)  When I attempt to try to compare it to how I would have been had I not built an altar… I find that my life would feel quite panicked, depressed, confused and distressed. I would have no peace. It became a practice … as I determine that I would not allow my “ own will” to guide me, but I would  listen closely and perfectly for God’s guidance. And  I would not move until I had some direction. (Notice,.. I didn’t say  I would talk it over with everyone, and try to see how they would handle it….or see what my parents thought about it…)  In fact, when I really want to hear from God, I choose to be very still ,and tune everyone else and everything  ( that’s unnecessary to pursue) out of my life. ( Why??) – because it gets colluded with other’s thinking and can wind up not necessarily being God’s will.  If   I truly desire  God’s thinking, then why allow others to subject me to their thoughts, when I am not even sure they are right?

Until my will becomes God’s will, then I did not feel safe. Have you ever heard of the saying: “The safest place is in the will of God.” Well, I truly believe it. God will brings you composure, if you readily accept it.

I have named them, because they are times of pivotal faith and  in expectation of that faith comes of out me when I build altars, I name my altars.  I have an altar  I call : “Let Me Decide” –  and this altar just helps me to back out of God’s way  and recognize when it’s time for Him to work. When I do, He becomes the Decision-Maker. And I fall back and watch  ( in confidence) , as God instruct me. It never fails.

God’s sense of direction  guides me securely into my destiny. Despite myself. The altar  I build seems to “move ME out of the way”. In fact, that’s what it did with Abraham, Jacob and Moses  as well, didn’t it?

Let’s observe the altars – ( which can be mental attitudes  or shifts of the mind)  in our present-day lives:

For Abraham: ( Gen. 12:8)  He needed direction in his life and He built an altar to praise God in that desolate place, and God set out before  Abraham, a new place and  have him and inheritance.

For Moses:  (Exodus 4:10) The Lord had to humble Moses and  remind him he was not  one to have to do any work independent of God; but to do it WITH God, and to EXPECT His help.

For Jacob: he needed a new purpose. And God led him into a better place by  changing his name and then  in that same moment, his  identity as he led  God’s strong people into a Promised Land.

So no matter how we tend to build these altars, in order  to have the peace we need to walk it out… then we should, by building an altar.

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