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I am at a point in my life where change is inevitable.  Honestly, I like change; at least some.  Life makes adjustments for us, almost daily at times.  Kids leave, couples divorce, money ebbs and flows, sickness overruns.  Some of life doesn’t turn out like we planned or dreamed of.  We become greatly hindered and inhibited by what happens to us if we don’t lay down what hurts and wounds us.  But I’m learning that at the altar, I am altered.

Yes, altar, like in a stone structure built for sacrifice or worship or as a memorial.

And alter, like making a change or adjustment in something whether it be clothing, a mindset, an idea, a plan, etc.

I recall three different kinds of altars mentioned in the Bible.  One was for the sacrifice of animals for atonement of sins, one was for worshiping God through sacrifice of animals, food, or incense, and the other was set in place to serve as a memorial to the goodness or provision of God shown to His people.

Go with me here… the altar of sacrifice.

Some things in life just need to be ALTARED.  Laid upon the stones for sacrifice.  Dreams, choices, personal wrongs, hurts, desires.

You see, what we aren’t willing to place on the altar will become an idol.  That very thing that we hold on to so tightly and aren’t willing to lay down will overshadow anything else in our lives. 

For example, a loved one hurts me and does me wrong.  I carry that offense with me for years, because after all, I was wrongfully wounded.  I deserve to feel the offense, to hold on to it because I did nothing to deserve their hurtful words or treatment.  Years pass and I am still holding onto that grudge and unforgiveness that has now become an idol of sorts in my life.  A lot of what I say or do, how I react to others, what I think about, how I think, and so on, is subject to that idol of unforgiveness and hurt and that huge grudge that I am unwilling to let go of and sacrifice.

I need to come to the altar, lay that down, allow God to consume it, and be altered, be changed.

Or I may have a dream or desire that just may not be what’s best for my life or for my family.  Is it worth hanging on to and regretting what I can’t have or can’t do?  Not hardly!  I must altar those things so that I can be altered and changed and live the purpose God designed for me to live!

Do you too wonder how Abraham could have possibly placed his beloved son Isaac, his dream child, his promise, on the altar as God asked him to do?  I don’t know that I could have done that!  Especially since the dream had been fulfilled!  Why would God require such a thing from Abraham?  Maybe because He could see that the dream, the son had become an idol to Abraham. (just a thought)  Maybe God knew Abraham had come to rely on Isaac to fulfill his dream now and had forgotten who had blessed him with the boy to begin with. (another opinion of mine)

Regardless, God knew Abraham, knew he would obey, and knew He would send a ram to take the place of Isaac.  God knew what Abraham would do.  Abraham needed to know what Abraham himself would do in response to God’s unthinkable request. 

He trusted.  No. Matter. What. It. Cost.

At the altar, I am altered.

I think about the changes going on around me and the varying degrees these changes are rushing into my life. 

Some I have anticipated for years.

Some I dread with the deepest of dreads.

And some have crept up on me nearly unnoticed until I was faced full force with their reality.

It can all mess with your heart and mind.  To the point of changing who you are, or at the very least who you thought you were. 

We need to know how we will respond to God’s request to ALTAR what we deem as worthy to hold on to. 

There’s freedom and release in that laying down, that altaring of the very thing that hinders and traps us.  Even good things, like sons (Isaac), can be an idol.  Lay it down.  In that altaring, we are altered.  We are changed, made free.  Our hands are emptied to receive what we should hold on to.  Our hearts are open for life, joy, hope, peace.

At the altar, I am altered.

I am changed and freed and released.

Will you lay it down too?