Author Archives: altarofheaven

About altarofheaven

My name is arcelia. I love, worship and revere God. I am enJOYing the peace with God I have through Jesus Christ and I'm learning to listen and respond to His voice through His Word and convictions of the Holy Spirit in this midst of this chaotic and distracting world. I am a broken redeemed healed vessel, joyously drawing water from the Spring of salvation pouring out in God's strength by His Spirit for His glory. "May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." 2 Corinthians 13:14

Bearing Burdens

IMG_6221“They stooped over, they have bowed down together; they could not rescue the burden, but have themselves gone into captivity.” Isaiah 46:1-2

God is speaking through Isaiah about the Babylonian gods/idols “Bel” and “Nebo,” and it reminds me of my temptation to do the same.

Sometimes when I see the burdens of others I too can stoop over and bow with the weight of their burden and end up in captivity myself. God does tell us to “bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ,” but He does not mean in our own strength.  He is pointing us to the only one that bears our burdens—Jesus Christ.

Jesus invites us, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30; *Galatians 6:1-5

Prayer: God, may I bear the burdens of others while remaining yoked to Christ so that I may fulfill your commandment of love, for your glory and namesake. Amen.

Glorify God. Magnify Christ. Edify the Brethren.


Guard Your Heart

Eight years ago today I began a relationship that has changed my life for eternity!!

God found it pleasing to draw me to Himself through Jesus Christ and I have never been the same since!!

This rebirth year has been a time of great internal testing and sifting and I have failed often. Through my failures I’ve learned about the unrelenting LOVE and endless GRACE God provides.

Though I am happy to revisit the day I fell in love with Jesus, I am learning:

It’s not how you begin the race but how you FINISH it.

It’s not a matter of salvation but sanctification.

I know my salvation is secure not in what I do, but faith in what Christ has done as being the propitiation for our sins.

My sanctification is God’s purifying work in me which He will complete until Christ returns.

My privilege is to continue to seek and enJOY knowing God. To be still and abide in Christ, listen for His voice to obey, and walk out the good works He has prepared for me.

My prayer is that I would love God:

With all my heart: guarding my heart with all diligence

With all my soul: that I see Jesus as the guardian and lover of my soul

With all my mind: that I take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

“What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.”

The Answer Is JESUS

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

View original post


Swift Salvation

img_3830“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation. God is to us a God of deliverances. And to God the Lord belong escapes from death.”
Psalm 68:19-20

There’s only One that daily bears our burden of sin. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Matthew 11:28-30)

There’s only One that is our salvation. (Acts 4:12; Matthew 1:21)

There’s only One that delivers us from evil. (Romans 6:8-14; Galatians 5:16)

There’s only One that helps us escape from death. (John 11:25-26; Romans 6:23; John 3:16-17)

His name is Jesus.
Jesus means, “God saves.”

Jesus is the Messiah.
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

I am just a grafted gentile, declaring His good news…

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

“I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; and My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, and My glory for Israel.” Isaiah 46:13


The Truth About Sin

 

fullsizerender-8

Francisco de Goya: Prisoner

Why do parents train their children to look both ways before they cross a street?

It’s because they love them, and want to protect them from harm.

Why do you think God gave us commandments?

It’s because He loves us and wants to protect us from harm.

It’s interesting the Greek translation of ‘sin’ has similar letters of ‘harm’: hamartia, it means ‘to miss the mark.’ Have you ever tried to throw a wad of paper in the trash and miss it? Well, it was no big deal because you can pick it up. But to miss the mark in one of God’s commands is a matter of life and death.

God does not give us commands because He doesn’t want us to enjoy life, but because He wants us to have life abundant in Christ. Even though sin may ‘feel good’ for the fleeting moment, the consequences are harmful. It is harmful to you, and harmful to others. In fact, it breaks the greatest two commandments: loving God and loving others. Once the counterfeit enjoyment of sin is accomplished it brings forth death. Do not be deceived…sin steals, kills and destroys.

  • Sin destroys relationships: you hide from God and His people; you no longer hear God’s Truth as love but as hate. You become insecure with your relationships with God and others and you become oversensitive and selfish.
  • Sin kills and destroys faith: It produces doubt and insecurity. Doubt that God could forgive ‘this’ sin.
  • Sin kills and steals grace: bringing you condemnation
  • Sin kills and steals confidence: bringing you shame
  • Sin kills and steals your purpose: instead of bringing glory to God you bring shame to yourself and testimony

Sin brings discouragement, depression, and division. Sin binds us. Chokes us. Mutes us. You become entangled and you have given Satan a foothold, and begin to believe his lies, after all he IS the thief who comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.

With this shame and discouragement, you begin to stop reading God’s Word. Even though you’ve been born again of the Spirit of God you become the walking dead. It’s not a matter of eternal salvation but of sanctification-growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ. You can’t grow because the ‘lying’ words of weeds wrap around and choke you, making you feel you’re in bondage. If you are a child of God, there’s no joy in your life because your sin has grieved the Holy Spirit living inside you.

What are we to do with this shame and condemnation?

  • Some live alone in bitterness and anger hardening their hearts, perishing until the day they die.
  • Some run full force into sin, searing their consciences and numbing their hearts, denying the toxic affects of sin not realizing the consequences of sin begin in this life, not just in hell.
  • Some live in a façade. Outwardly living ‘normal lives’ pretending everything is ok, but they know they are not. Instead they start to ‘do good works’ and try to make themselves feel good by serving in ministry.
  • Some hear and remember the gospel, turn from their sin and are healed: They remember in order to obey God’s commandment we need a Savior:

(God) He made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

They remember they have ‘begun in the Spirit and must be perfected by the Spirit’ that ‘apart from Christ’ they can do nothing. They remember it is by grace through faith they were saved, and are being saved. They remember: “Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”

The longer I walk with God, the more I cannot fathom His love. I see the reason He asked fullsizerender-9Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I see what type of death and condemnation He was trying to protect them from. Indeed it IS the kindness of God that leads to repentance, which leads to abundant life in Christ.

“…He Himself (Jesus) bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might DIE to sin and LIVE to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:24-25

Heavenly Father, thank You for being so loving and patient with me. Thank You for setting boundaries to protect me and others from harm. Thank You for Your loving discipline to help me to return to You when I willfully disobey. Give me a love for You and Your commandments as never before. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

 

May God be glorified. May Christ be magnified. May the brethren be loved and edified.


Spiritual Investment

IMG_0639Someone once told me I was wasting my achievements of Bachelors and Masters degree by being a stay at home mom. They also said I went from riches to rags.

Yes, it may have looked that way when I chose to leave my $113k/yr job to stay home to be a full time wife and mother.

IMG_8801I’ve worked as a military officer leading over 100 troops with multi-million dollar contracts, I was involved in national security projects working at the pentagon, provided leadership for security of Air Force One at Andrews AFB, and served as a successful consultant and leadership/executive coach in the D.C. Area for three of the 15 executive departments of the U.S. Cabinet…and yet…the most challenging and rewarding calling to me is being a wife and mama.

I went from combat boots, to high heels, to bare feet. I say ‘bare feet’ because the calling of motherhood is on holy ground–I finally understood the importance of a mother.

The truth is I went from rags TO riches. I went from my filthy rags of my own self-sufficiency and dependency to God’s glorious riches!!

The world can’t appreciate the spiritual investment of what God is doing in and through us as mamas. Sometimes we doubt it too.

But stand firm in the convictions God has given you...

Happy Mother’s Day!

**Disclaimer** This is not written to invoke condemnation on moms that work outside the home.   A mother’s work is never done, and is always full time.IMG_7984

I remember what it’s like to be a full time mama serving in the military, knowing at any time I could be deployed. It’s not easy. 

I remember what it’s like to be a full time mama that works full time outside the home. It’s not easy.

I remember what it’s like to be a full time mama that stays home full time. It’s not easy.

I know what it’s like to be a full time mama that home schools. It’s not easy.

I know what it’s like to be a full time homeschooling mama with a part time job. It’s not easy.

The calling of every mother is sacred and holy.

This is the story of God’s grace in my life.

I just needed a season of purification to learn to put my priorities in place and I was exclusively working in the home, but recently have had a part time job, and next month I will be working in a director’s position for a Company where I get to encourage other mothers. This is the path and good works God has for me. Follow the convictions God has given YOU and be at peace.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13

To read more about my conversion and the testimony of the grace of God in my life click here

“I will extol You, my God, O King,
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised,
And His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
Psalm 145:1-4


Worship in the Dark

What does your morning devotion look like this season? Is it like those “Perfect” Pinterest IMG_0723photos, a nice comfy chair with a cup of coffee, tea or water in hand? Do you have a quiet space to go?

In the past, my daily holy communion with God consisted of a prayer walk at dawn, followed by reading the Bible and journaling with a cup of coffee in hand reclined in my husband’s chair. That was my prime time with Jesus!

Of course it wasn’t always that way. When my children were preschoolers I could barely get up out of bed before they were tugging at me like baby birds aching to be fed. I remember those days now. I would pant and yearn for time alone with Jesus. My devotions were usually in a most ‘unholy’ place some would say–it was the bathroom! I stole whatever time I could until their little fingers and lips would sneak under the door calling my new first name: mama.

That season passed and I soon forgot what it was like to yearn and pant for that time. When people would say they struggled with having devotion time with God, inwardly I was self-righteous and unable to ‘relate’ to them because I didn’t have “that problem.” I see now I was struggling with spiritual pride. I’m thankful God loves me that He would lovingly reprove, sanctify and teach me His compassion. He reminded me everything I have, even faith…has been given.

The way God has offered this lesson in compassion began almost two years ago with our move to California. Immediately most of my familiar devotion time objects were eliminated or packed away. It began with my prayer walks…I was in a new neighborhood, which didn’t offer the same kind of solitude and light I once had—or that is what I thought, and I stopped walking. Instead I began praying in the flower garden, but after months I began to have a heart of ingratitude and stopped that too. I complained inwardly for many months that the only place I had in the morning was in a dimly lit cold room on the kitchen table. I missed my walks, recliner, and prayer closet where I could freely worship in quiet warmth.

I whined myself out of worship.

I made devotion about me.

I forgot so many truths:

I forgot to give thanks in all circumstances.

I forgot the Father seeks those who worship Him in spirit and truth.

I forgot we can have communion with God each moment.

I forgot where true worship resides…in Christ and not in circumstances.

With this realization, I repented and received the grace to return to the place of worship in Christ. I’m still in California and I’m still learning how to worship in the dark. This season of my life, I begin in prayer in the dark until the sunlight shines, and I read the Bible as the Holy Spirit illuminates the Word of God.

Dear reader,

Whether you are parents of young children, or older children taking care of elderly parents, I pray the lesson I am learning can help you remember: We can worship in the dark because of Jesus Christ. It is through the grace of God giving us His Spirit and Truth.

“…for through Him [Jesus Christ] we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.” 

Ephesians 2:18

“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

“For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” 1 Corinthians 4:7

 


ForGIVE{n}

image

We must forGIVE, for He GAVE…

Today I am pondering on the sufferings of Jesus Christ–the betrayal, the rejection, the beatings, the gossip, the slander, His crucifixion…His death…His LOVE!

I’m meditating on the salvation I have because He GAVE me new life through His death.

I can’t help but take a moment to reflect on those that I must forGIVE. I’ve been rejected, slandered, misunderstood, and betrayed. Jesus didn’t die for “just” my sins…but for the sins of the world. This includes those that hurt us.

BeLOVED, when we forGIVE we are “sharing in the sufferings of Christ.”

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 8:5-6


%d bloggers like this: