What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Secret Garden Chronicles Day 20- Is Your All on the Altar?

"Is Your All on the Altar?"

This morning in our devotions we read from Matthew 5:23-24, and I noticed something about these verses that I had not realized before.  Let's read it together, and then we can talk about this:

23.  "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, 
and there remember that your brother has something against you,

24.  Leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way.
First be reconciled to your brother, 
and then come and offer your gift."

Now, I always thought this was talking about bringing your "tithes", or money gifts to the altar...and that if you had anything wrong between you and your "brother", or any other person, you needed to take care of that before the Lord could accept your gift.  But today my eyes were enlightened to look at this a little deeper.

Do you ever even think about bringing your "gift" to the altar when you come to church?  Do you just put your offering in the plate when it is passed and not even think about the significance of that act...or the possibility that the Lord may not even accept that gift because of your "relationships" with others?

First of all, what exactly are the "gifts" that we bring to God's altar?  If this is not just talking about our tithes, then what?

How about the gift of ourselves...our very being...our soul and heart?
Or how about our joys and sorrows? Could that be a "gift" to the Lord?
Our praises and words of thanksgiving to the Lord?
Perhaps our desire to be transformed...reconciled to the Lord Himself is a gift.
The gift of service to the Lord and to one another...the gift of our voices lifted up in song, praise, testimony, teaching, preaching...
Maybe we desire to be a better prayer warrior or counselor, a writer of encouragement to others, a better friend to others...

But these things we desire to give to the Lord...even for His honor and glory, cannot happen until we are reconciled to our "brother", or sister, mother, father, spouse, friend, child, neighbor....anyone we may have hurt or wronged in some way...or perhaps someone we need to forgive...whether or not they "deserve" to be forgiven.

Until we are able to lay our "all" on the altar, we will not be able to move forward in our walk with the Lord, or be able to do the things we so desire to do for Him, no matter how honorable our intentions.

Wow!  I never looked at these verses quite this way before.  Have you?  Have you ever realized that perhaps all the things we long to do for the Lord and for others are not happening because we have not let go of our hurts and sorrows...our sin of an unforgiving heart?  That grudge we may be nursing in our mind toward someone somewhere...possibly even someone we really don't even know...but we heard about them somewhere and decided to harbor resentment and hatred toward them?  There's a lot of that going on these days...I don't need to elaborate....

As the Lord opened my eyes to these thoughts today, I found myself searching my own heart and examining the nooks and crannies of my internal being...and asking the Lord to turn on His searchlight and reveal to me those things I am holding onto that need to be "reconciled"...to anyone who fits that description above.  

Here's a song that came to mind as the Lord was reminding me of these things:

"You have longed for sweet peace,
and for faith to increase,
And have earnestly, fervently prayed;
But you cannot have rest,
or be perfectly blest,
Until ALL on the altar is laid.

Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
Your heart, does the Spirit control?
You can only be blest
and have peace and sweet rest,
As you yield Him your body and soul.

Would you walk with the Lord 
in the light of His Word,
and have peace and contentment alway?
You must do His sweet will
to be free from all ill;
On the altar your all you must lay.


Oh, we never can know
what the Lord will bestow
Of the blessings for which we have prayed,
Till our body and soul
He doth fully control,
And our all on the altar is laid.


Who can tell all the love
He will send from above!
Oh, how happy our hearts will be made!
Oh, what fellowship sweet
we shall share at His feet,
When our all on the altar is laid!"

(Is Your All on the Altar? by Elisha A. Hoffman)

So...what about you?  Did this open your eyes to some things that perhaps need to be taken care of before you can leave your gift on God's Altar?  Sometimes we may think we don't have any "issues" against any of our "brothers or sisters"...and then the Lord helps us to see that we just might be in need of some "reconciliation"...even between ourselves and the Lord Himself...before we can move any further in that relationship.  

I know I'm praying about this now...how about you?


  1. What an awesome message!! Definitely something to 'ponder' and to pray about. I love what the Lord put on your heart to share with us. I'm printing this one and adding it to my 'special things' book.

    1. Thank you Mary. I was beginning to think that this struck a nerve with people...I know it did me! I'm still thinking about it. Funny tho, I can think of other people who need this message...and can hope THEY see it, but I still have a hard time applying it to myself! Isn't that the way it goes sometimes? "God's still working on me...to make me what I ought to be..." :)

  2. Pam: Recently, I began thinking about gifts. I hope to work up an essay about them. I will let you know how my musings turn out.

    1. I will look forward to reading this when you do, so be sure to let me know. Thank you for your thoughtful insights always!

  3. I will be praying right along with you, Pam. I just had a huge wake-up call the other day when I was tempted to react to some news my husband gave me in a negative manner. Boy, did I have to pull back and run to God! I confessed my sin, thanked the Lord for controlling my tongue and squelching any negative thoughts, and was able to address the issue with Danny later in the evening in a peaceful, loving way.
    I want reconciliation before I approach the altar. What a great inspiration this has been for me today, Pam!

    1. Wow! If we could all learn to live like that...what a difference there would be in this world! I am really seeking God's face in this...sometimes I think I harbor feelings that I haven't acknowledged...and they need to be confessed as well before approaching God's altar. We are never too old to learn these things...no matter how long we've been a Christian...God is still working on all of us! Thank you for your honest "confession" above. Beautiful story.

  4. Pam, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think you're correct. In the past, as the offering plate was passed, I would think about the gift of my self to God, especially when I had/have nothing to give financially. Likewise, we should deeply examine ourselves prior to taking communion--to take it in a worthy manner.



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