It’s a cold March morning here in Virginia and I am listening to music. I love music! Love it! I really love all genres of music. So, have you ever heard that song “Come to the Altar” by Elevation Worship? “Come to the Altar” is such a blessing to me each and every time I hear it. What does that mean though? Come to the Altar? Which altar? I don’t have an altar, or so we think.
I had the wonderful privilege of teaching third grade at a private, Christian school for 5 years. My girls also had the privilege of attending that school from Pre-Kindergarten all the way through graduation; well the younger one graduates in June. Yippee! In the time that I taught third grade, I had the joy of teaching kids about the Bible from the very beginning, Genesis, all the way to the book of Judges. Why, yes, we covered a lot of ground in our school year. I loved, loved, loved that we got to see together God’s wonderful creation of the earth and people. God told Abraham that he would make him into a great nation and he did! Abraham’s grandson – Jacob was later renamed to Israel and the nation of Israel was born from the line of Abraham. I know! So cool!
Well, as we watched the Israelites gain their long desired freedom from Egypt, we saw them begin a journey that should have only taken a little bit of time. God promised them a land full of blessings; they just had to get there. The journey would take perseverance. It would take strength. And it would take faith. And – that’s where the stumbling block came. They often failed because their faith grew weak. And every time their faith was weak, they complained and Moses interceded on their behalf.
Now, each time they arrived in a new place on the journey, God instructed them to build an altar and worship him. My third graders would often ask why God asked them to do that. In my own thoughts, I think it was because God wanted them to consistently pull themselves back to him, back to their heritage and roots. God wanted to remind them that they are his, his chosen people, a special possession. He never wanted them to forget who they are. But, they often did and they struggled because of it.
Well, what does that mean for us today? We don’t build an altar each and every time we travel to a new place like the Israelites did, but we really should. Everywhere we go, we should always be working to come to the altar and put Christ first in our lives. I know, you’re busy. I hear you! I have felt that way so much in my life and I often didn’t take the time that I needed to Come to the Altar.
My life was crazy, busy, stressed out. ‘Just get through the day’ was my motto. I bet some of you can relate. But, in the times that I do consistently place myself at the altar, at the feet of Jesus Christ, life changes for me. Yes, it is still busy. Yes, there is so much to do that I wonder if I can get it all done. But, something changes. ME! I change. I am more relaxed, more at peace. Things can come my way, but I have a peace that handles those situations or challenges in a better way. It’s Christ in me.
As a saved Christian, Jesus is always there, but it is so important to come to him, call on him, have fellowship with him, and let him become the peace that transcends understanding. I often told my students that Jesus is a gentleman. He softly knocks on our heart, wanting to gain our attention. He does not pound us on the head (though in my life I have often needed that). No, he is a gentleman. Just that word alone describes him – GENTLE MAN. He is. But is he also all powerful. Read any part of the Bible and you will see that when Jesus needed to, he didn’t take crap from anybody.
Well, Jesus wants to bless us. He wants to carry our burdens for us. His precious blood brings forgiveness and peace. We simply must Come to the Altar. The song tells us, “bring your sorrows and trade them for joy.” Joy! Joy! Choose joy! Trade those sorrows in for Joy!
C.S. Lewis once said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.”
YES!!!! It is! Joy in me – joy in you is a picture of Christ in us.
Won’t you Come to the Altar with me and let Jesus be the Lord of all? Won’t you trade your sorrows for joy?
Praying for you!
xo – Nikki
And P.S. – Brooke and I were so lucky to visit Rome in January. The “Come to the Altar” picture is of Brooke inside that beautiful, holy place.