I remember few years ago, Jim Gilbert, did a few teachings on the altars of the bible. There are different types of altars some for sacrifices and some for memorials to honor, remember and extol the greatness of our God. It helped me think about the value of memorializing events and experiences we’ve been through with the Lord. When we take a moment to reflect or recall the Lord touching our hearts, radically changing our minds, relationships or perspectives; we who are believers cannot afford to forget such significant occasions. We still need altars, or feasts and memorials that exalt the Lord’s goodness. As believer’s our testimony consists of our personal transformations and of the reality of Christ in our lives. This includes those times we want to remember and some we might want to forget but that the Lord managed to use them for our good. I’ve known people who were saved while on drugs or prostituting themselves. It may be difficult to share their personal stories but there are times that just like the Israelites who built a golden calf while Moses spoke to God, we can benefit from sharing those times too.
I often encourage believers to write down their experiences, not just in their own interest but for the benefit of other believers and for the generations that come. Life can often be much shorter than we expect and writings from our loved ones are cherished. The miracles that we’ve experienced should be shared, to teach, encourage and edify our friends, family and future believers.
When I become aware and actually sense, I am a part of the body of Christ, His church, His bride – that is when I see how important each individual testimony becomes to the whole of her, the bride of Christ is the church. It is why I believe we need to set our egos aside and share from our hearts and the witness of Christ in our lives. We must share our stories of overcoming and in those stories is our defeat and Christ’s victory. They may not be pretty stories and there may be pain and shame in them but in Christ there is an eternal victory and that should be shouted from the roof tops.
Our life stories often resemble the story of Israel, we were in bondage and the Lord set us free. We were once a people with no hope, who now have hope. Once a people with no future who now carry within us the seeds of eternity. How powerful is that? Should we share it with those who are still in bondage? Should we share it with the brethren? We believers all have a story with a sad beginning and an eternally happy ending.
As I was considering how to write on this month’s topic, ‘remembering’ my 2 yr old granddaughter, Anaya Rose, was playing with my phone when I saw she was in the text feature and had written HAGGADAH. Maybe autocorrect helped her. I don’t know. I only know I had never seen the word Haggadah but it seemed biblical so my daughter looked it up on the internet and there is ‘Haggadah’, the text recited at the Seder on the first two nights of the Jewish Passover, including a narrative of the Exodus.
It is the telling of the story of their liberation told at Passover and sometimes at Purim. We believers understand that the Passover is a type of the coming Messiah, our Christ. In preparation for the Seder, all unleavened bread, even the slightest crumb is removed so the house is cleansed. This represents the cleansing of our selves and the willingness to be cleansed, from sin, through Christ’s blood shed on the cross. They tell the story of putting the blood on the door post so that the Death Angel will pass over them. Believers see this as Christ sprinkling our hearts so that the death angel passes over us and we enter into eternal life in Christ Jesus. The Seder, is a powerful story, the remembering of their liberation from bondage.
As Messianic Christians take communion, the wine and the bread, during the Seder, the prayer said over the first glass of wine is:
I will bring you out of Egypt,
I will deliver you from bondage,
I will redeem you from Bondage,
I will redeem you with an outstretched arm,
I will take you to Me for a people
The Seder is considered a Holy Gathering of remembrance of the Exodus out of Egypt. Most Christians celebrate Easter, Jesus is the lamb of God, no longer would people have to sacrifice in the temple for their sin. Christ is our sacrifice, once for all. Just as the Passover lamb saved the Israelites, who believed God, from death. Jesus’ death saves believers from death by giving His followers eternal life.
What if we each told our own ‘Haggadah’ each year? How would you celebrate your own deliverance from the bondage of sin? Your own exodus from Egypt. It is vital that we exalt the Lord when He appears to us and we commemorate God’s favor, not with stones or in journals but in our hearts. For we are to be a people of gratitude, who walk in the light, who have so much to celebrate, our personal testimonies should be worn on our sleeve and we always need to be ready to give a defense for our faith. Whether it be our personal experience or an apologetic response. We believers are never to hide our relationship with Christ and our testimonies are just one of many tools for evangelism that we have at our disposal. You are a letter from Christ, the result of His ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Where are our altars? Did they happen in our home, in our church or in our hearts? We need to ask ourselves where are our places of remembrance where God revealed Himself to us?
I intend to write my own Haggadah, to tell my own story of deliverance. I want to remember everyday the times the Lord has spoken, the times His hand moved so mightily over me, I truly say, “I will never be the same”. A Haggadah can be used over a meal, shared with friends in a prayer meeting, or told on any day we choose to make a day to celebrate and remember the greatness of our God that when we were once slaves to sin, we are now slaves to righteousness because of Christ Jesus who has set us free.
I’ll need to include the times the Lord renewed my life. I was an atheist, dramatically saved and convinced of God with one simple prayer. I struggled with doctrines and my faith because the mormons (a cult) had come to my door. I thought God sent them. I was challenged and confused. After so much study and prayer, I cried out to God pleading, what is the right church, He spoke? “Why do you worry about how men dress me and not what it is “I” desire”. That so altered my walk with the Lord and taught me why denominations or doctrines are not His first priority and it shouldn’t be ours. I eventually left the LDS but I was never more saved than the first day I knew the Lord. I wasn’t saved by a denomination or a doctrine. It was the Lord Who saved me and it is He who keeps me.
I’ll need to write down how I was addicted to drugs and miraculously delivered. Thank you Lord, how can I ever thank you enough?
Once I fell into such awful regret for how I had spurned the Lord before I was a believer, my best friend had died and I simply did not know if she went to heaven or hell. I had been twisted and grieving for months. One day as I walked up to her grave, feeling so hopeless and not knowing how anyone could carry this kind of grief. “The Lord spoke out loud,”as I have risen so has she”. I am crying now even as I remember, what a burden He lifted from me. The gratitude and love that washes over me as I remember the healing of that heartache.
I have many more stories. We all have those experiences, let us try to share them with others. In this season of celebration and thanksgiving lets remember who we are most grateful to and who did more for us than any man in heaven or earth, Jesus Christ. God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving everyone, andrea