In God’s hand


September 30, 2013, marks 23 years of my life as a born again believer. It was on this very day, 23 years ago, that my day of sorrows was changed into a day of joy, when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

As I pondered over what I would wish for my spiritual birthday, I prayed that God would continue to hold me in his nail-pierced hand. The Bible says that we were held by God in our mother’s womb (Psalm 71:6) as God fashioned us fearfully and wonderfully (Psalm 139:14) in his very image (Genesis 1:27). It also says that in God’s hand is our very breath (Daniel 5:23) meaning that our very lives depend on us being in his hand.

I wish to live – live life to the fullest – as a slave of Jesus, so that I can experience the liberty one has in Him (Galatians 2:4) abundantly (John 10:10). I wish to be under bondage to God my Savior so that I am not in bondage to sin or the world (Galatians 2:4) i.e., I wish to be in God’s hand, held by him, so that I am not held by anything or anyone else in this world.

Points to ponder:
Who or What is holding on to you or in whose hand are you? Where do you want to be?

Daniel 5:23 (KJV)
23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

John 10:10
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Harvest offering – What kind will our life be?


Genesis 4:3-5 gives the account of the two sons of Adam that brought their respective offerings to the Lord God – one of which was accepted while the other was not. Abel’s was accepted while Cain’s was not. This account begins by giving an indication of the time when the offerings were brought before the Lord God. It was when the process of time had come to pass. In other words, the New Living Translation refers to this time frame as the time of the harvest.

Points to ponder:
First, we are commanded to present our bodies as an offering – a living sacrifice, holy an acceptable to the Lord.
Second, Revelation chapter 14 informs us of two harvests in the end times – in the time of the harvest (Revelation 14:15) – one which the Son of man (Jesus – Daniel 7:13; Revelation 14:14) harvests to himself and the other which an angel reaps to be trampled.

So when the time for the harvest comes (in the process of time), will the harvest offering of our lives be one that is acceptable (like that of Abel) to the Lord, reaped by Jesus Christ to himself, or will it be one that is unacceptable (like that of Cain) that is harvested to be trampled (Revelation 14:20; Hebrews 10:26-29)? We are all going to be harvest — the question is, which harvest will our lives be in?ee

Genesis 4:3-5 (KJV)
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Revelation 14:14-20 (KJV)
14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
20 And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

Keeper of sheep


The latter part of Genesis 4:2 speaks about the professions of the sons of Adam. Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain was a tiller of the ground.

As keeper of sheep, Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof and the Lord accepted his offering. Leviticus chapter 3 speaks about the procedures of a peace offering and highlights that the fat of the animal being offered is a special gift to the Lord (Leviticus 3:9) and that all of the fat must be presented to the Lord (Leviticus 3:9,14) because all of the fat is the Lord’s (Leviticus 3:16). In other words, not only did Abel brings the first of his flock, expressing that God was his priority, but he also brought a complete offering (all of it including its fat), expressing that God was also his pre-eminence.

Points to ponder:
God wants us to offer ourselves as a first and full offering – a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). He was us to give him priority and pre-eminence.

On a separate note, Jesus is the chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4), and the people are his sheep (Luke 15). Jesus asked Peter, if Peter loved him and told him that if Peter loved Jesus, Peter must keep i.e., feed and take care of his lambs/sheep (John 21:15-17). In like manner we are commanded to love God totally (Mark 12:30) and we are commissioned to be keepers of his sheep (John 21:15-17). Let us be keepers of sheep, which is an expression of our love of God. Are you/Am I a keeper of sheep?

Genesis 4:2-5 (KJV)
And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Tiller of Ground


The latter part of Genesis 4:2 speaks about the professions of the sons of Adam. Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain was a tiller of the ground.

As tiller of the ground, Cain brought of the fruit of the ground (note: not all the fruit of the ground). The ground was cursed as a result of man’s disobedience and the fruit of the ground was the by-product of man’s effort and sweat (Genesis 3:17-19) which God did not accept as an acceptable offering.

Points to ponder:
God is not interested in our efforts and works for they cannot gain his acceptance. It is by grace (of Jesus Chris) and grace alone and not by our works that God accepts us in his beloved (Ephesians 1:6). Are you/Am I a tiller of the ground?

Genesis 4:2-5 (KJV)
And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

The pre-requisite for being fruitful


Genesis 4:1-2 reads “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

Cain and Abel were God’s reward, the fruit of the womb (Psalm 127:3) who came about because of intimacy shared between Adam and Eve.

It is no surprise that in the physical sense, intimacy is a pre-requisite for being fruitful. In like manner, in the spiritual sense, without being intimate with God, one cannot bear fruit.

Jesus said, unless we abide in him and he in us, we cannot bear fruit (John 15:4). The fruit of God’s spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23), which we cannot bear unless we know God intimately. In fact, to know God is eternal life (John 17:3) and those who do not bear good fruit is [to be] hewn down and cast into the fire (Matthew 7:19).

Points to ponder:
The pre-requisite for bearing the fruit of the Spirit is being intimate with God. Are you/Am I fruitful, as a follower of Jesus, bearing fruit again and again?

Genesis 4:1-2 (KJV)
And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.
And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

John 15:4-5 (KJV)
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

John 17:3 (KJV)
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Become what you believe


Russian dramatist, Anton Chekhov, from the late 1800s, is attributed to have quoted the following line, which is predominantly used as a theme in university majors like Psychology and in positive thinking seminars within companies. He said “Man is what he believes.” In October 2011, talk show host, Oprah Winfrey, in her Lifeclass series, “You become what you believe”, interviewed actor Jim Carey, author J.K. Rowling and fashion designer Ralph Lauren as those who put Mr. Chekhov statement to a test and proved him right. Though many may attribute this quote to Mr. Chekhov, and extend it as did Ms. Winfrey, close scrutiny of the Bible reveals this to be a statement, made by Jesus Christ himself.

Matthew 9:27-31 records the event of Jesus opening the eyes of two blind men, who followed him and cried unto him to have mercy on them. When Jesus asked them, “Do you believe, that I am able to do this?” (that is restore their sight), they responded, “Yes, Lord” and then, Jesus touched their eyes and told them “According to your faith be it unto you” which is rendered as “Become what you believe.” (in the Message translation). The eyes of the blind men were opened and they could see.

The Bible counsels us to be followers of God (Ephesians 5:1) which means we ought to be like Jesus, walking in love and presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice before God, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as an offering and The Sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 10:10). In order to be like Christ, we must first believe in him, for according to his words, we “Become what we believe.” Jesus is the Only begotten Son of God (John 3:16) and when we believe in him, we are made (not begotten) into a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17), as children of God, for as many as them that believe in him (Jesus) and have received him, to them he gave the power to be called the sons of God (John 1:12).

Points to ponder:
If man is what he believes and we become what we believe, then the question that demands an answer is “Who are you?” Are you a son (or daughter) of God? In other words, have you believed in Jesus Christ, the Only begotten Son of God, who was sent by God, the Father, for everyone who believes in him, is given the power to be called a child of God and shall not perish but have eternal life. Who are you?

Matthew 9:27-34 (MSG)
27-28 As Jesus left the house, he was followed by two blind men crying out, “Mercy, Son of David! Mercy on us!” When Jesus got home, the blind men went in with him. Jesus said to them, “Do you really believe I can do this?” They said, “Why, yes, Master!”
29-31 He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.” It happened. They saw. Then Jesus became very stern. “Don’t let a soul know how this happened.” But they were hardly out the door before they started blabbing it to everyone they met.

Patriot Day and the Christian Patriot


Reuben, our beloved 7 year old son, came home from school with some papers that described and spoke about Patriot Day. In the United States of America, Patriot Day, falls annually on September 11, in memory of the nearly 3000 people killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. But who is a Patriot? The dictionary defines the word ‘Patriot’ as ‘a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.

A Patriot is therefore someone who loves, supports and defends (fights) for his or her country and its interests, not lackadaisically but with fervor and devotion.

It is certainly Biblical and commendable that the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, pray for the authority that God has instituted over us (1 Timothy 2:1-3) and the love we have for our country is expressed in its defense against any threat, domestic or foreign.

In like manner, it is also essential to be a Christian Patriot. A Christian Patriot is one who loves God and loves his neighbor (Matthew 22:37,39), supports those who are weak (Acts 20:35; 1 Thessalonians 5:14), and defends his citizenship which is in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and its interests, with devotion by earnestly contending (fighting) for the faith that was given to the saints upon salvation (Jude 1:3).

Points to ponder:
When we need to give an account to the Lord God, could it be said of us that we loved God totally and we loved our neighbor as ourselves; we supported those who could not support themselves and fought earnestly to keep the faith? Could it be said of us, that we were Christian Patriots? Are you/Am I a Christian Patriot?

Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV)
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Acts 20:35 (KJV)
35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Philippians 3:20 (NLT)
20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.

Jude 1:3 (KJV)
3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.