The Most Delicious Fruit

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:8 ESV)

“The angel of the Lord stooped down to listen as I prayed, encircling me, empowering me, and showing me how to escape.  He will do this for everyone who fears God.  Drink deeply of the pleasures of this God.  Experience for yourself the joyous mercies He gives to all who turn to hide themselves in Him.  Worship in awe and wonder, all you who’ve been made holy!  For all who fear Him will feast with plenty.  Even the strong and the wealthy grow weak and hungry, but those who passionately pursue the Lord will never lack any good thing.” (Psalm 34:7-10 TPT)

I recently went to a farm stand to buy fresh fruits and vegetables that literally came in from the fields to the farm stand.  It’s peach season, so I bought a bag full of peaches.  This morning I ate one of the peaches.  As I bit into it, the delicious flavor hit my mouth as the juice ran down my chin.  The only word that truly describes fresh fruit is DELICIOUS.  As I ate that peach I began to thank God in my mind for creating all the delicious fruits that we enjoy.  I began to think about all the fruits and realized how each one is so refreshing and delicious.  He created us with a sweet tooth and provided the best way to satisfy it!

The only thing sweeter and more refreshing than all the delicious fruits He created combined is His presence!  His presence can only be described as DELICIOUS.  What does delicious mean?  It means delightful, exquisite, delectable, lovely, pleasurable, glorious, heavenly and divine.  All of these words are perfect descriptions of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He is altogether lovely.  His glory is unapproachable light, yet we can still go there.  In Him, there are pleasures forevermore.  He is exquisite perfection.  His fruit of the Spirit is delectable, heavenly and our divine destiny.

It is the passionate pursuit of the presence of the Lord and the cultivation of His Spirit’s fruit that brings the wonderful promise of Psalm 34 into our lives.  It says to “drink deeply of the pleasures of God.”  Our delight and desire to worship Him and align our lives with His perfect will is the meaning of drinking deeply of Him.  Imagine coming in from a scorching hot day and drinking a big glass of ice cold fresh lemonade.  When you are that thirsty, you can drink the whole glass in one long drought!  That is the level of thirst we should have for His presence in our lives.  The Bible says, “as the deer pants over the water, so my soul longs for You.”  Just as surely as we can’t live long without water, we can’t survive spiritually without His precious presence.

We can never get to the place where we become complacent to the things of God.  Where we forget His delightfulness, His faithfulness, His mercies, and kindnesses.  The Bible says, that His mercies are “new every morning,” so our thankfulness should also be new every morning.  I am learning the power of a thankful heart.  There is tremendous power in thanksgiving to God in the MIDDLE of the storms of life.  In the middle of the lack, in the middle of the sickness, in the middle of the mystery of “why me, Lord?”  The Bible says, “having done all, stand.”  When your back is against the Red Sea, what do you have to lose by thanking Him for everything you DO have?  It’s a powerful way to live!

The presence of the Lord is the most delicious fruit of all!  Begin your pursuit of His presence today…it begins with a thankful heart.

Don’t know Him?

Meet Jesus Here…

Blessings everyone…


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Announcement! Coming Soon! Video Teachings!

Announcement from Stones of Fire Ministries! Check it out!

Stones of Fire Ministries

Hi everyone!  I am working on the video arm of the Stones of Fire Ministries.  I have to be honest with you and say that I have been resistant to this because I am not comfortable in front of a camera.  How many of you know that God has a way of taking our weaknesses and turning them into strengths?  So here I am doing what I always dreaded doing.  I have learned though, that it isn’t about me anyway.  What is important is sharing the Truths that God shares with me with others.

The teachings will be Bible studies that you can tune into at your leisure and grow your faith and relationship with Jesus.  I have recently written the first Bible study book called “The Preparation of the Bride: A Study of Song of Songs” where I discovered a path to the “burning heart of God.”  I am…

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The Marvel of Unbelief

I’m still following Jesus around in the Gospel of Mark in chapter six.  As Jesus left Nazareth, He was marveling at their unbelief in Him.  He was not deterred though, and after He left, He called His disciples together and instructed them on their new assignments to preach the Gospel as His ambassadors with full authority to cast out demons, raise the dead and heal the sick.  He sent them out two by two.

In verses 12 and 13 it says, “So they went out and preached that men should repent [that they should change their minds for the better and heartily amend their ways, with abhorrence for their past sins.]  And they drove out many unclean spirits and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.” (Mark 6:12-13 AMP) ~ So here the disciples are actually doing the same things that Jesus had been doing since the beginning of His ministry.  They were no longer just spectators watching Him do all the mighty works.

In verses 30 through 32, it says “The apostles [sent out as missionaries] came back and gathered together with Jesus, and told Him all that they had done and taught.  And He said to them, [As for you] come away by yourselves to a deserted place, and rest a while–for many were [continually] coming and going, and they had not even leisure enough to eat.  And they went away in a boat to a solitary place by themselves.” (Mark 6:30-32 AMP) ~ After they returned to Jesus, they reported to Him everything they had done and spoken to the people.  Jesus knew the importance of rest after an intense time of ministry, so He wanted them to go to a solitary place to rest.  There were constantly people pulling on Jesus for ministry and He knew how tired they were.  So they got into a boat to go away and rest, but the people figured out where they were going and surged to the spot they were going.  They beat them there so they were unable to get any rest at that time.  What was Jesus’ attitude and response to people’s persistence?  Did He get aggravated?  Did He tell them to come back another time, that He was busy?  No, He didn’t.

Verses 33 and 34 says, “Now many people saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the surrounding towns, and they got there ahead of those in the boat.  As Jesus landed, He saw a great crowd waiting, and He was moved with compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.” (John 6:33-34) ~ He didn’t get exasperated that they pursued Him; instead, He felt compassion because He saw their hunger.  Their spiritual hunger.  So He fed them spiritual food and then He performed the miracle of the fish and the loaves.  The people were hungry for God and because they sought the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first, Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the multitudes with natural food.  It is still the same today.  When we are hungry for God to the point where we don’t care about our natural lives anymore, He pours out provisions.

Keep in mind that neither Jesus nor the disciples had had any rest as they had planned on.  Jesus tells the disciples to go on ahead to the other side of the lake while He took care of the throng of people.  Finally, after such a long day, Jesus was able to get alone with His Father and pray.  Verse 46 says, “And after He had taken leave of them, He went off into the hills to pray.” (John 6:46) ~ The throngs of people are not the only ones who were spiritually hungry.  Jesus needed intimacy with His Father to fulfill His calling, yet He never tired of helping people who came to Him.  What patience!

After Jesus’ prayer time with His Father was over He was alone on the land and His disciples were in the boat battling the storm.  This was in the fourth watch of the night, which is between 3:00 AM and 6:00 AM.  They had not slept so you can imagine how exhausted they were.  Then Jesus came walking on the water and was going to just go right past them and meet them on the other side.  Why?  Keep in mind that they had just returned from a missions trip where they were casting out demons and healing the sick.  Jesus expected them to take care of the storm with the authority He had given them.  Verses 47-49 says, “Now when the evening had come, the boat was out in the middle of the lake, and He was by Himself on the land.  And having seen that they were troubled and tormented in their rowing, for the wind was against them, about the fourth watch of the night.  He came to them, walking directly on the sea.  And He acted as if He meant to pass by them.  But when they saw Him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost and raised a shriek of terror.” (John 6:47-49) ~ In all honesty, it must have been a sight seeing a man walking on top of the water like that in the middle of the night!  Add to that how exhausted they were and I can relate to the disciples’ plight.

Jesus walks over on the water and gets into the boat with them and the winds suddenly become calm.  Verses 50 through 52 are interesting.  “For they all saw Him and were agitated (troubled and filled with fear and dread).  But immediately He talked with them and said, “Take heart!  I AM! Stop being alarmed and afraid.  And He went up into the boat with them, and the wind ceased (sank to rest as if exhausted by its own beating).  And they were astonished exceedingly [beyond measure], for they failed to consider or understand [the teaching and meaning of the miracle of] the loaves; [in fact] their hearts had grown callous [had become dull and had lost the power of understanding].” (John 6:50-52) ~ What happened to the faith-filled disciples who were performing the same miracles Jesus did while on their missions trip?  What brought them to the point where their hearts became calloused to the miraculous?  Think about it.  In less than twenty-four hours, they went from faith to unbelief.  It’s like the Israelites in the wilderness.  Time after time Yahweh showed miracles to help them, yet at the first hurdle, they fell into unbelief.  But the disciples had something their ancestors didn’t.  They had a relationship with Jesus Christ.  They walked with Him.  They lived in His presence every day.

After pondering on this, I think I see what the problem is.  Even though they were physically walking with Jesus.  Ministering the Gospel under His authority, none of them were born-again.  The new birth has not been purchased yet.  This goes to show the power of the new birth experience to change a heart of fear to a heart of faith.  In today’s world, the Gospel has been so watered down that it shows no evidence of the power of God.  It has become a form of godliness but denies the power of it to change hearts.  I’m sure Jesus still marvels at the unbelief among His people in spite of all that He has purchased for us to live victoriously in this life.  I want Jesus to marvel at my great faith, not my unbelief!  Don’t you?

Don’t know Him?

Meet Jesus Here…

Blessings everyone…



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Mary’s Son

“Jesus went away from there and came to His own country and hometown of Nazareth, and His disciples followed with Him.  And on the Sabbath He began to teach in the synagogue; and many who listened to Him were utterly astonished, saying, Where did this Man acquire all this?  What is the wisdom [the broad and full intelligence which has been] given to Him?  What mighty works and exhibitions of power are wrought by His hands!

Is not this the Carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?  And are not His sisters here among us?  And they took offense at Him and were hurt [that is they disapproved of Him, and it hindered them from acknowledging His authority] and they were caused to stumble and fall.

But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor (deference, reverence) except in his own country and among his relatives and in his own house.  And He was not able to do even one work of power there, except that He laid His hands on a few sickly people and cured them.  And He marveled because of their unbelief (their lack of faith in Him).  And He went about among the surrounding villages and continued teaching.” (Mark 6:1-6)

I am now on Chapter six of Mark in my “camping out” in the Gospel of Mark.  I haven’t even finished the chapter, but I have found several nuggets I’d like to share with you about Jesus’ trip back to His hometown of Nazareth.

Keep in mind He has been busy doing good deeds everywhere He went, demonstrating the power and love of God to the people of Israel.  Healing the sick, casting out demons and even raising the dead.  He decides to go to His hometown to teach in their synagogue and I’m sure to visit with His family.  He hoped to bring the power and presence of God to His people.

The first thing that struck me is the words “son of Mary.”  I began to think about what their family reputation was in Nazareth.  Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus was questionable in the natural world, to say the least.  She was only betrothed to Joseph and was in real danger of being stoned as an adulteress.  Betrothals in Jewish culture was as binding as marriage.  I’m sure that the whispers of His parentage were all over Nazareth when they settled there.  It almost seems as if He is set apart as “Mary’s Son” and different from His brothers and sisters.  What did Mary experience with these whispers?  Was she frowned upon by the “good” people of the community?  What about Joseph?  When Mary told the Angel, “be it done according to your word” she must have known what she was facing by bearing the Messiah.  She and Joseph both paid a high price in their lives to obey God.  Many times in our own lives, we follow a road less traveled for the sake of Jesus.  We face the frowns of people who misunderstand our mission; our calling and even our heart’s motives.  What did Jesus face as He grew up?  Was He picked on by the other children?  Were children allowed to play with Him as a child?  Could it be that the whispers of His questionable parentage, clouded their ability to believe He was the Messiah?  I think so.  Sometimes, as we walk with Jesus, people will misunderstand our heart’s motives or they will look at our past mistakes and be unable to believe our good report.

The second thing I noticed is that their reasonings caused them to become offended at Him.  They didn’t even want to hear another word out of His mouth.  Verse 3 says they “took offense at Him.”  I can just hear the enemy whispering “who does He think He is?” to them and they took the bait of offense hook, line, and sinker.  They rejected His message completely.  The Bible says it “hindered them from acknowledging His authority and they were caused to stumble and fall.”  I can see how offense is a terrible trap that the enemy sets for those not paying attention.  I have experienced this several times where I have watched relationships with people simply disintegrate because the bait of offense was taken.  Most of the time it was because the prayers I was praying with them and the battle I was waging with them didn’t happen in the time frame they wanted and they became offended at me and lost faith in God’s ability and willingness to help them.  It’s disheartening to pour so much of your life into someone only to have them blame you and God for it not happening.  But look at Jesus’ attitude…

The third thing I noticed is Jesus’ reaction to their total disapproval and rejection of His ministry and Him personally.  He was bold in telling them the Truth of why they rejected Him.  There is an old saying I used to hear.  “Familiarity breeds contempt.”  They were familiar with Jesus’ family.  They watched Him grow up.  They were unable to value His calling and His ministry.  He could do nothing powerful among those people because of their unbelief in His authority.  He was there for those who WANTED Him.  He healed those who came to Him.  Jesus is always there for those who want Him.  The Bible says that He “marveled” at their unbelief.  They had to have known the mighty works He was doing all around them.  The word was out in all the surrounding towns and yet when He came to them, they refused to believe and therefore they received nothing from God.  They missed the time of His visitation.  We should take to heart the working of the Lord in our hearts.  We should never take for granted His presence in our lives.

Finally, I noticed that Jesus just moved on.  He left Nazareth and continued on to the next village and the next and the next one after that.  He kept on teaching in their synagogues and doing the mighty works of power and share the love of God as the faith was there to receive it.  He did not let the opinion of His family, relatives or hometown folks shut Him down.  He knew who He was and He knew His purpose and because He was dead to “self” and their opinions had no impact on His ability to continue to love others.  Their value of Him did not set His value to God and the opinions of others should not set our value to God either.  In other words, It is ONLY God’s value of us that matters.  He values us enough to send Jesus to die for us, so what other people say or speak about you has no bearing on who you are in Christ!  Jesus did not get offended at their offense at Him.  That is another trap the enemy uses.  Tit for tat is not the way a Christian should respond to the offense of another person.  Take it to the Lord and love them unconditionally.  That will ALWAYS be His response to us.

What is the major take away from this?  Sometimes in life, we will face the disapproval and rejection of others.  They could be close to us or acquaintances.  We are to be about our Father’s business just like Jesus was doing.  That is our focus.  Like the song says:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of this world will become strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

When we keep our eyes upon Jesus, we can avoid the traps of offense that used to drown us and hinder our relationship with Him.  What if you are already offended?  Go to the Lord and give it to Him, repent of being offended and forgive the person you are offended at.  Forget about the injustice of it.  Give that to God too.  God forgave you a huge debt–can you do any less than forgive an offense?  It’s very liberating to let grace and love cover the sins of others against you.  After all, that’s what Mary’s Son did for us.

Don’t know Him?

Meet Jesus Here…

Blessings everyone…

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The King of Resurrection Power

“Overhearing but ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear: only keep on believing.  And He permitted no one to accompany Him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.  When they arrived at the house of the ruler of the synagogue, He looked [carefully and with understanding] at the tumult and the people weeping and wailing loudly.  And when He had gone in, He said to them, Why do you make an uproar and weep?  The little girl is not dead but is sleeping.  And they laugh and jeered at Him.  But He put them all out, and, taking the child’s father and mother and those who were with Him, He went in where the little girl was lying.  Gripping her firmly by the hand, He said to her, Talitha cumi–which translated is, Little girl, I say to you, arise [from the sleep of death]!  And instantly the girl got up and started walking around–for she was twelve years old.  And they were utterly astonished and overcome with amazement.” (Mark 5:36-42)

I have been camping out in the book of Mark for the past week or so and learning so much about the life of Jesus.  The story of the little girl raised from the dead struck me with fresh revelation.  It’s not new, but a great refresher of my faith to “only believe.”

The fifth chapter of Mark is action-packed with the big storm on the Sea of Galilee to the demon-possessed man in the Gadarenes to the woman with the issue of blood and finally to the little girl risen from the dead.

The story begins with Jairus, the little girl’s father, coming and prostrating himself at Jesus’ feet begging for Him to heal his daughter.  Jesus agrees and they begin to walk to his house when the woman with the issue of blood comes up and touches the hem of His garment.  He spends time ministering to her and during that time the little girl dies.  Some folks from Jairus’ house came and told them the girl had died so it was over.  What did Jesus do?

He ignored the bad report and spoke to Jairus directly and challenged him to ignore the bad report too.  He said “ONLY KEEP ON BELIEVING.”  This is key.  This was a BAD report.  She died.  It’s the end isn’t it?  Not according to the King of resurrection power!  The challenge is the same for each one of us who is facing the bad report.  Jesus still says “ONLY KEEP ON BELIEVING.”  He is the King of impossible situations.

How do you believe in the face of this level of devastation?  The key is in these verses: “Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart a person believes and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confimrs his salvation.  The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him will ever be put to shame or be disappointed.” (Romans 10:9-11)  

Believing starts with a decision of your will and is planted in the heart where it comes out of the mouth in faith.  You hear the promise of God and you make the choice to believe it.  You speak it out openly until it becomes a part of your believe system.  Faith comes from what you BELIEVE.  It is simple yet powerful truth that for many is so hard to comprehend.  Religious doctrines push the opposite and that is why so many people don’t see the fruit of faith.

I had an opportunity to put this into practice just this week.  I had a scary symptom happen with my body that would have sent most people to the doctor, but I chose to go to the Great Physician instead.  I made the decision to believe His promise of healing.  I called my pastor to come and pray for me.  She came and spoke to my body and I began to speak openly that this sickness had to leave my body.  I am not in agreement with it and I refuse to allow it.  That day after she left, I continued to experience painful symptoms, but I kept on believing that I was healed.  I began to thank God for healing me and giving Him the honor and the praise.  The next day, all but one of the symptoms was gone and this morning, that one is gone.  During this time, the Lord fathered me about the temple of my body.  He expects me to take care of it, so I have made the decision to obey Him and take care of my body by eating right and exercising.  The Great Physician healed me and I am forever grateful!

Am I advocating that everyone should stop going to doctors?  No, I’m not.  The fact is, that if you cannot believe for a supernatural healing, then by all means GO TO THE DOCTOR.  Don’t be foolish about any serious illness.  I have prayed with many people who realistically decided their faith was where God would help the doctors help them and He DID.  God can and does heals in various ways.  For me, my financial situation puts me in the position where I have to depend on His promises.  I don’t have insurance or the money for medical doctors, so if God doesn’t do it, it won’t happen for me.  Fortunately, my faith has grown to the level where I do walk in divine health.

All of us can stand on His promises no matter what level of faith we are walking in at this time.  God fully expects us to BELIEVE His promises are true and are for us in this life.  One thing I have learned over the years is that God is only moved to action by real believing faith.  Our weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth won’t get results.  Our begging and pleading won’t get results.  Only real faith will move the mountains in our lives.  Real faith is our belief that His promises are true.  Real faith is what we believe in our hearts.  Many times we confuse high hope with real faith because it SEEMS right.  The Bible says that “there is a way that seems right, but the end is destruction.”

Every time I have been in high hope, in desperation, I have never gotten what I was HOPING for.  But every time I have BELIEVED in faith, I have received the victory.  If you are facing desperation today, if you have exhausted every avenue you can think of, you can choose to believe His promise for you.  Once you choose to believe, begin to declare that promise over your life, then begin to thank Him for the desired end result.  This will bring it into your heart where it becomes part of who you are.  We can then do what Jesus said, “ONLY KEEP ON BELIEVING” in the face of a desperate situation.  The King of resurrection power is still on the throne and has already paid for whatever your situation is.  Healing, deliverance, salvation, and provisions.

Don’t know Him?

Meet Jesus Here…

Blessings everyone…


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Totally Fearless

I have been following Jesus around in the book of Mark this week and I am amazed at how totally fearless He was in the face of all kinds of opposition to not only His message but His calling.  He was called to preach the Gospel to the lost house of Israel.  He was called to demonstrate the power and love of God to His Countrymen.  He was called to die for the sin of man as the spotless Lamb of God.

From the time He descended from the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit, it was on as far a He was concerned.  Everywhere He went, He helped people.  He healed people.  He set people free.  He still does that today.

It didn’t take long before huge crowds began to gather around Him trying to receive healing and deliverance from evil spirits.  At first, He was a novelty to the Pharisees.  Someone who was here today and gone tomorrow.  However, as time went on they knew who He was, and yet they refused to believe their own hearts’ conviction.  His own family, including His mother, thought He was crazy.  They even went en masse to forcefully take Him out of Peter’s house.

Mark 3:20-21 says “Then He went to a house [probably Peter’s], but a throng came together again so that Jesus and His disciples could not even take food.  And when those who belonged to Him (His kinsmen) heard it, they went out to take Him by force, for they kept saying, He is out of His mind (beside Himself, deranged)!”

Mark 3:22 says “And the scribes who came from Jerusalem said, He is possessed by Beelzebub, and, by [the help of] the prince of demons He is casting out demons.”

Chapter 3 of Mark began with Jesus in the Synagogue…in church.  A man with a withered hand was there and the Pharisees were just waiting for Jesus to make a misstep so they could accuse Him and put Him to death.  Imagine the level of hatred in their hearts to be so intolerant of someone like that?

Jesus was grieved at the hardness of their hearts, but He healed the man anyway.  He was totally fearless in the face of plots of death from the Pharisees.  Nobody had ever seen the miracles He performed because, for over four hundred years, Yahweh had been silent in Israel.  It amazes me at the level of unbelief the Pharisees had against Him.  Pharisees were required to memorize the entire Torah.  They memorized Isaiah 53 and knew that the Messiah would come as a humble Servant first.  As the spiritual leaders of Israel, they KNEW who He was and yet they chose to harden their hearts in unbelief.  Refusing to acknowledge the Truth of His Lordship.

What was it about Jesus that made Him so fearless in the face of such unbelief, even from His own family?  First, He had an encounter in the Jordan river and the Holy Spirit came from Heaven and dwelt inside Him.  He was anointed by Yahweh to do all the miraculous things He did.  Second, He stayed connected to His heavenly Father through prioritized prayer.  He did what He had to do to make time to meet with His Father.  Third, He knew who He was and He knew His destiny in God and He was determined to run His race fully and complete it in victory.  The attitudes of others who opposed Him did not move Him to stop His mission.  He was there for those who wanted Him.

As I was pondering these things, I realized that following Jesus is just like any other relationship.  Think about it.  Say you are introduced to someone at a gathering.  You can now honestly say “I know that person.”  But when you leave their company and don’t have anything else to do with them because of life’s distractions, your introduction will fade away until you barely remember their name.  Lots of people have been introduced to Jesus Christ, but if they don’t seek out His company regularly, He will become a distant memory.  Why then do people expect the benefits of His friendship without putting in the effort of relationship?  Yet people do it all the time. We MUST have a relationship with Jesus, not just an introduction and then go on with our lives.  He MUST become that Pearl of great price in our hearts…NUMBER ONE.

The Truth Nugget I have realized is that the more involved we get with Jesus Christ, we too will face the same naysayers who oppose the Holy Spirit in us.  We become an oddity in our families and in our communities…even in our church.  And like our Master, we too must become totally fearless and keep pressing on for the prize of the high calling of God in our lives.  It is that Pearl of great price!  Beloved, be encouraged today to keep pressing on.  Your reward is great!

Don’t know Him?

Meet Jesus Here…

Blessings everyone…


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The Cain Offering

“Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.  She said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth  a man.”  Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.  Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.  In the course of time, Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.  And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering,  but on Cain and his offering, he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.  Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:1-7)

The story of Cain and Abel has inspired untold numbers of sermons with the message clear: give God your best.  I recently wrote a Bible Study book called “The Preparation of the Bride: A Study of Song of Songs.”  I am currently teaching it at my church Bible training night and I was going over the first chapter called “The Surrender.”  The book is about allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ.  It occurred to me that the level of surrender we give to the Lord has an impact on the sincerity of our worship of the Lord.  

Let’s look at Cain and Abel’s offerings.  The Bible says “Cain brought some of the fruit of the soil to the Lord.”  Abel brought the “fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.”  The Bible says “The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering,  but on Cain and his offering, he did not look with favor.”  What was the difference between Cain’s offering and Abel’s offering?  VALUE.  Abel VALUED God more than Cain did and it showed in the quality of their offerings to Him.

I saw a message the other day from Open Doors that talked about the meaning of the commandment “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain.”  The meaning is “you shall not take the name of Yahweh for worthlessness.”  Without value.  Think about the attitude Cain displayed towards God with his offering.  Notice that the scripture differentiated between the quality of Cain and Abel’s offering.  Cain offered “some” of the fruit of the soil.  Abel also offered “some” but his offering was the FIRSTFRUITS of his flocks.  He put God FIRST.  Cain’s offering did not specify the firstfruits of his garden.  This is key because it shows the value both men had for Yahweh.  Cain’s half-hearted offering was given out of duty, not reverence or love.  He counted the name of Yahweh for worthlessness.  He had no value of Him.

On the other hand, Abel put God first in his life.  He thought about Him as he chose the finest of the first lambs born in his flock.  He put aside his prosperity and gave God the best he had and the FIRST he had.  He VALUED God’s presence in his life.  God counted this to him as righteousness.  He looked favorably on Abel and had every intention of blessing his flocks with growth and quality of animals.

Before we condemn Cain too much, we need to look at our own attitudes about Yahweh.  Where is He on our daily “to do” list?  Do we value His presence in our lives?  Do we give Him half-hearted lip service on Sunday mornings and live the rest of the week for ourselves?  Does He enter our thoughts only on Sunday morning?  If this is our attitude, then our weekly offering is the same as Cain’s offering.

Half-hearted and of no value to God.  The favor of the Lord will not be on your life if this is your attitude towards Him.  If His presence is of no value to you, then His name is counted as worthless to you.  The good news is that you can change that now and move forward into the beauty of His presence!  Cain had the same opportunity to change his ways, but he chose instead to kill his brother for simply being righteous.  For loving God–for valuing God.

It begins with a choice and repentance.  A simple prayer can change the course of your life.  Right now.  The very first commandment is to LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  In other words, He must be number one.  The price He paid for your salvation demands that you return that with making Him the number one priority in your life.  Although our motive for loving God is simply because He’s so wonderful, He WILL pour out blessings into our lives that overflow.  Not so with the Cain offerings.

If you want to change course today, pray this prayer and mean it in your heart:

“Father, I come to You in the Name of Jesus Christ.  I confess that I have sinned by taking Your name for worthlessness.  I have not valued Your presence in my life and I repent of this wrong attitude.  I ask You to forgive me and cleanse me from this unrighteousness.  I choose today to obey Your command to love You FIRST!  I ask these things in the Name of Jesus Christ.  Amen and Amen!”

Now begin to live your life every day with Him at the helm.  Begin the journey of habitually walking with Him.  Like so many before us, who valued God’s presence in their lives, we too, can live fuller and richer lives when He is our priority.  Put away your Cain offerings and start giving Him the firstfruits of your life!  The favor of the Lord will come to you in great measure.  His wonderful presence will hallmark your life.

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Blessings everyone…



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