Build an Altar here…

But he ALWAYS went back to Ramah, where his home was, and there he also held court for Israel. And he built an altar there to the Lord. (1 Samuel 7:17). So, let me fill you in a little, this verse is referring to Samuel who is now Israel’s leader and God’s mouthpiece. As I read this verse, I heard the Lord speak, “Build an altar here.”, Just one word from the Lord changes everything! I found so much encouragement and hope in those words as I realized the depth of what the Lord was saying to me. Building an altar today might not look the same as Samuel or Abraham but the significance of the altar is still very much the same. Could it be that Samuel, ALWAYS went back home because it took him both emotionally and physically back to a special place? It reminded him of where God brought him from-where He heard the Lord call him for the very first time- a place of great significance. 

All throughout the Old Testament, practice is repeated over and over, this concept of building an altar to the Lord. Sometimes it’s to close a chapter, release pain, embrace a difficult season, or celebrate God’s faithfulness. The heart posture of building an altar serves as a physical reminder of a major or significant event that need not be forgotten. Jack Hayford’s article, A Time of Altars, brings this point home; Altars represent the occasion and place where we have had a personal encounter with God. We may not always be able to make a physical altar, but there can be one established in our hearts.  Altars appear throughout the Bible in many different forms. Some of them are a place of encounter, forgiveness, worship, covenant. A place where our hearts are altered.”

“Altars are a memorial of the places where God meets us.”


No matter the reason, there’s great significance in building an altar. It involves taking the time to release the pain, embrace the lessons, and worship the LORD in the midst of difficulty.  That physical reminder affirms what HE IS DOING so that once on the other side, you can look back and remember what He has done. It’s as if the Lord wanted us to know there is something significant taking place or that has taken place at this time and we need not miss it or forget it. It’s probably not noticeable, not obvious, but this season, this lesson, this difficulty is both important and necessary.

So, when do I build an altar?

When the Lord restores a marriage that was broken…

When the Lord spares our lives in an auto accident …

When we receive unexpected funds after praying for financial break-through…

When we get a second chance at marriage…

When the Lord provides a job when we were down to our last…

When the Lord breaks the addiction to alcohol or drug use…

When the Lord heals our brokenness from abuse…

When your husband got a job, he didn’t apply for…

When the Lord impregnates a barren womb…

When the Lord heals your body…

When the Lord…fill in your blank…

3 Things I have Learned from building an altar

1.God breathes gratitude into my situation. Worshipful attitude- keeps my focus on what God is doing. I remain thankful and grateful in the midst of it -despite what I see.

2.God breathes encouragement into the situation. The altar is a constant reminder that God is at work. I build a diary of God’s faithfulness so I can find encouragement in the “in between seasons of my life.” When I haven’t arrived at my aspired destination, but I realize I’m not where I began. I can trust Him when things seem to be at a standstill.

3.God breathes HOPE into the stillness. It’s a declaration from God that I am moving forward-moving past this current situation-this too will past.

Priscilla Shirer shared within one of her sermons, that we are all constantly in one of three seasons in life- going into a trial, in the middle of trial, or coming out of a trial.      At the end of each trial, I resolve to build an altar.

The Altar serves a Purpose!

Whatever place you find yourself, don’t forget the significance of building an altar and be encouraged by the fact that your steps are ordered (Psalm 37:23), and pretty soon you will be moving pass this mountain in front of you, looking back with gratitude, amazement, and fully confident that HE WILL DO IT AGAIN!

Here are the words to the bridge of this beautiful and applicable song by Elevation Worship, “Do It Again”


I’ve seen You move, You move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
I’ve seen You move, You move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
I’ve seen You move, You move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
I’ll see You do it again

~Still Becoming~

zonnette jackson 6



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