“Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘I will give this land to your descendants.’ And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the LORD, who had appeared to him.” Genesis 12:7 (NLT)
I tend to forget things. I forget names and faces. I have looked for my cellphone WHILE I was talking on it. The struggle is real — and not just with everyday stuff. It happens with big stuff, too.
When I look back at my journal entries summarizing years gone by, I tend to say the same thing every December 31:
“This year was challenging.”
“It was difficult.”
“This year was hard.”
And then there was 2020. Has there been a year like it before? To say it was challenging, difficult and hard still feels like an understatement. In addition to the worldwide pandemic, I went through some personal struggles as well. As a result, when I reflect on the year, that’s where my mind goes.
In spite of everything, if I stop and really, really think about it, some incredible things also happened in 2020. I hope you can say the same.
Have you noticed it is easy to remember the hard things? Have you also noticed that it is hard to remember the good things? I don’t want my habit of forgetting to push me into a place of doubt and worry. I want to remember the faithfulness of God.
Forgetting is an issue that has been around as long as there have been humans on the earth. Thankfully, God instituted various precepts to help people remember. One of the most common was to build an altar.
“Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘I will give this land to your descendants.’ And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the LORD, who had appeared to him. After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the LORD, and he worshiped the LORD” (Genesis 12:7-8, NLT).
Abram, whose name would eventually change to Abraham, built altars at significant points in his life. We continue to see that practice with other characters in the Bible. Over and over again, God reminds His people to remember because He knows our natural tendency is to forget.
How can we do this now? Building an altar can’t look like what it did in Genesis. That would probably break most city ordinances! But there is still a way: an altar jar.
At the start of every new year, get an empty jar. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy — even an old spaghetti sauce jar will do. Then, as you experience moments of God’s faithfulness, write them down and put them in your jar. You can do this at the end of the day, once a week or whenever something good happens.
Write down the big stuff — “My friend was healed from cancer!” or “I reconciled with my dad today.” Write down the moments we usually take for granted — “It is freezing outside but my heater is working!” Or something you are celebrating — “My child turned another year older today!”
The fact that we will remember the year more accurately is pretty awesome on its own. But there’s more. Every time you write something down, it is an opportunity for worship and expressing gratitude to God.
In addition to that, every time someone else sees your jar, it becomes a conversation starter. God commanded Abram’s descendants, the Israelites, to recount His faithfulness in their lives: “In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (Exodus 13:14, NIV).
Let’s step into 2021 with faith and expectancy. At the end of this year, I believe your altar jar will be full … and so will your heart.
Dear heavenly Father, I know I can look ahead to this year with confident hope. You are good and faithful. You will fulfill every purpose You have for my life. I thank You for all You have done and all You will do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (NIV)
Reminder: No matter what 2021 holds, God is with you, and He is in control. We’ve handpicked products just for you, to remind you of Truth in the new year. Shop our 2021 New Years Collection.
You can read more from Anitha at www.whispersandfringes.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook or Instagram.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
What are some practical and creative ways you can remind yourself of God’s faithfulness?
What is one thing you are thankful for that happened in 2020? Please share it in our comment section!
© 2021 by Anitha Abraham. All rights reserved.
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