Wednesday, November 23, 2011
THE STORY OF ENOCH
After Abel was slain, and his brother Cain had gone into another land, again God gave a child to Adam and Eve. This child they named Seth; and other sons and daughters were given to them; for Adam and Eve lived many years. But at last they died, as God had said they must die, because they had eaten of the tree that God had forbidden them to eat.
By the time that Adam died, there were many people on the earth; for the children of Adam and Eve had many other children; and when these grew up they had other children; and these had children also. These men and women and children lived in tents. They owned sheep and cattle, and they moved about with them, wherever they could find pasture. And after a time this land where Adam's sons lived began to be full of people.
It is sad to tell that as time went on more and more of these people became wicked, and fewer and fewer of them grew up to become good men and women. All the people lived near together, and few went away to other lands; so it came to pass that even the children of good men and women learned to be bad, like the people around them, and no longer did what was right and good. And as God looked down on the world that he had made, he saw how wicked the men in it had become, and that every thought and every act of man was evil and only evil continually.
But while most of the people in the world were very wicked, there were some good people also, though they were very few. The best of all the men who lived at that time was a man whose name was Enoch. He was not the son of Cain, but another Enoch, who came from the family of Seth, the son of Adam, who was born after the death of Abel. While so many around Enoch were doing evil, this man did only what was right. He walked with God and God walked with him, and talked with him. And at last, when Enoch was a very old man and weary with life, God took him away from earth to heaven. He did not die, as all the people have since Adam disobeyed God, but "he was not, for God took him." This means that Enoch was taken up from earth without dying.
When it is said that Enoch walked with God, we are to understand that he obeyed God's commandments, so far as they were revealed to him, and that he lived in communion with God. It was a walk of faith. But to how many of us, are the words really a true expression of our experience? We talk a good deal about God, but how many of us are actually walking with God? An eloquent preacher says, "A missing note of the religious life of today, is that of personal fellowship with the Creator. We are largely dependent on other people, not Christ for our spiritual experience." Never have there been so many religious activities in which Christians take part, as at present. There are meetings, societies, brotherhoods, unions and all manner of organizations for the promotion of spiritual life and for the winning of souls. But is there not a lack of personal communion with Christ? We are depending more for the quickening of our spirits and for our religious interest and earnestness, on outside activities and on the influence of other Christians upon us, than on our own individual fellowship with Christ!
We all walk with God in a sense, for all our life. We never can get away from His presence for a moment. He is closer to us than our nearest friend. Wherever we go, He walks beside us. But the trouble with many of us is that we do not realize his presence. We never think of it. Faith is that exercise of the mind, which makes unseen things, real. God was real to Enoch. His walk with God was as real as if he had seen God's face, and heard His voice and felt the touch of His hand! We may walk with God as consciously and as familiarly as Enoch did, if we really desire it. Christ told the disciples that He wished to make them His personal friends, opening His heart to them and giving them His full confidence. But how many of us are living in conscious communion with Christ?
There are many blessings which come to him who walks with God. One is companionship with God. Human companionship is very sweet and refreshing. It makes the way seem shorter and easier. How could we live without friends? We never can be thankful enough for the companionships of our lives. It would be hard to live without our human friends. We need them, and they bring us cheer, comfort, strength, encouragement all along the way. But human companionships, as heart-filling as they may be, are not enough. Then they drop away one by one: we know not what morning, the dearest and most needed friend shall be missed from our side when we come out to begin our day's walk.
Another blessing from walking with God, is a heavenly atmosphere. We know the value of atmosphere even in human friendships and associations. Everyone has an atmosphere of his own. With some people we feel ourselves in an atmosphere that is sweet, exhilarating, inspiring. All our life is quickened by their influence. With others we find a depressing atmosphere about us, when we enter their presence.
Another blessing from walking with God, is the cleansing of our lives. The influence of pure and good companionship is always transforming. When two live together in close and intimate association, they grow alike. Intimacy with God, can result only in becoming like God.
All the people in the time of Enoch were not shepherds. Some of them had learned how to make rude bows and arrows, axes and plows. And after a long time they melted iron, and they made knives, swords and dishes to use. They sowed grain in the fields and reaped harvests, and they planted vines and fruit trees. But God looked down on the earth and said: "I will take away all men from the earth that I have made; because the men of the world are evil, and do evil continually."
That was the way He led Enoch. "Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away." People missed him one day and saw him no more—but he was not lost. God had simply lifted him over the river of death, so that he missed dying, and had taken him home!
Christian life here is very sweet. It is a glorious thing to walk with God in this world. But only in heaven can we get the whole of anything good, which was begun here. We are going on into that land where all faith's dreams shall be realized, where all love's visions shall be fulfilled. Nothing beautiful shall be lost. We shall meet our Christian friends on the other side; dying is but parting for a little while. So let us walk with God, wherever He leads us. The way may not be easy, but that is not our concern; our concern is only to walk with Him, without question, unfalteringly. He always leads in the right way. He will lead us home!
Most Holy Father, Our Loving God! Let us taste and see the beauty of living and walking with You by faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ. Teach us to walk like Enoch did. Fill our lives in ways we cannot understand so we may grow in our faith and in our spirituality with You. Bless us with Your bounty daily. Open all our senses to You so we may commune with You more deeply every day. Enable us to engage all that we are as we seek to taste Your goodness. Forgive us of all our sins. This we pray in Jesus’ blessed name, Amen!
FROM MY WIFE AND I TO EACH OF YOU AND YOUR FAMILY: PRAISE GOD AND HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY! God Bless, Vic.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
CAIN AND ABEL CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY: Part 2
THE RESULTS OF DISOBEDIENCE AND EVIL!
"Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him!" Genesis 4:8. See here, the fearful growth of the evil feeling in Cain's heart. It was only a thought at first, but it was admitted into the heart and cherished there. Then it grew until it caused a terrible crime! We learn here, the danger of cherishing even the smallest beginning of bitterness; we do not know to what it will grow!
Some people think lightly of bad temper, laughing at it as a mere harmless weakness; but it is a perilous mood to indulge, and we do not know to what it may lead. In His reproof of Cain, the Lord likens his sin to a wild beast lying in hiding by his door, ready to leap on him and devour him. This is true of all sin which is cherished in the heart. It may long lie quiet and seem harmless—but it is only a devouring wild beast sleeping!
There is a story of a man who took a young tiger and resolved to make a pet of it. It moved about his house like a kitten and grew up fond and gentle. For a long time its savage, blood-thirsty nature seemed changed into gentleness, a creature that was quiet and harmless. But one day the man was playing with his pet, when by accident his hand was scratched and the beast tasted blood. That one taste, aroused all the fierce tiger nature, and the ferocious animal flew on his master and tore him to pieces!
So it is, with the passions and lusts of our old nature, which are petted and tamed and allowed to stay in the heart. They will crouch at the door in treacherous lurking, and in some unguarded hour. They will rise up in all their old ferocity! It is never safe to make pets of tigers! It is never safe to make pets of little sins!
We never know what sin may grow into, if we let it stay in our heart. "It came to pass when they were in the field, that Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him!" That is what came of the passion of envy in Cain's heart! It was left un-rebuked, un-repented of, un-crushed—and in time it grew to fearful evil. We never know to what dreadful stature a little sin may grow. It was the apostle of love who said, "He who hates his brother is a murderer." Hatred is a seed, which when it grows into its full strength, is murder!
We can easily trace the development of this sin in Cain. First, it was only a bitter and hurt feeling, as he saw that Abel's sacrifice was more pleasing to God than his own. But by and by in uncontrolled anger, Cain rose and murdered his brother!
We need to guard especially, against envy. Few sins are more destructive. One pupil recites his lesson better than another, and the less successful one is tempted to all manner of ugly feelings toward his fellow. Envy is classed among the "seven deadly sins," and one has said that of all these, envy most disturbs the peace of mankind. Envy follows every successful man; as close as his shadow. Let us guard against the beginnings of envy.
The Lord asked Cain to account for his brother. "Where is your brother?" We all are our brother's keepers, in a certain sense. In families, the members are each other's keepers. Parents are their children's keepers. The older brothers and sisters are the keepers of the younger. Brothers are their sisters' keepers, and should be their protectors and benefactors. Sisters are their brothers' keepers, and should throw about them all the pure, gentle, holy influences of love. Each one of us is in greater or less degree;a keeper of all who come under our influence. We are certainly each other's keepers, in the sense that we are not to harm each other in any way. We have no right to injure anyone; and we are under obligation to do as much good as possible to all about us. We shall have to account for our influence over each other, and for all our opportunities of doing good to others. There is no more serious teaching in the Scriptures than this of our responsibility for the lives of others, not for members of our own families only, but for everyone who belongs to the human family.
After Cain had committed his crime, he thought of its enormity. "What have you done! Your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground!" People do not stop to think beforehand, of the evil things they are going to do. They are carried away by passion or desire for pleasure, for power, or for gain, and do not see the darkness of the deed they are committing. But when it is done and they turn back to look at it, they see it in all its shame and guilt.
The experience of Cain ought to teach everyone to ask before doing any wrong thing, "What is this that I am going to do?" Sin brings curse! Even the very ground is cursed, when remorse is in a man's heart. Even the flowers, the trees, the birds, and all beautiful and innocent things, seem to whisper shame and curse to his conscience.
"My punishment is too great to bear!" said Cain. Sin is always a dreadful burden. It may seem pleasant at the moment, but afterward the bitterness is intolerable! A man gratifies his evil passions for a time and seems happy, but the result is shame and remorse, a penalty greater than he can bear. Cain would have given all he had to undo the sin he had committed, but he could not. He could not bring back the life he had destroyed. His dead brother would not answer his cry of grief. Though one suffers from the law no punishment for his sin, he yet bears punishment intolerable in himself.
People say they do not believe in a hell of fire, that a God of mercy would not cast His children into such torment. But sin needs no literal flames to make its hell. It brings its torment in itself. It is not that God is cruel; it is sin that is cruel. We cannot blame God for the punishment which our disobedience brings; we have only ourselves to blame.
Someone said in bitterness, "If I were God, my heart would break for the world's woe and sorrow." God's heart did break: that is what the Cross meant. Sin is indeed a heavy burden. Many are driven to suicide by remorse. Some become hardened, all tenderness in them having been destroyed. But it will not be until the sinner gets to the next world, that he will know all the intolerable burden of his sin and its punishment. Then there will be no escape from the awful load, no hiding forever, and no getting clear of the terrible burden.
While there is time in this world, there is always a way of escape from sin's punishment. Christ bore sin and its punishment at the cross for us, and all who flee to Him will have the load lifted off their souls!
May God bless us and help us to turn to His Word for guidance, direction and salvation. PRAISE GOD!
Monday, November 21, 2011
The Story of Cain and Abel: Part 1
Cain was the first child born on earth. The coming of the first baby, is always an important event in a home—but the birth of the first child in the human family, was an event of great importance. Mothers have many dreams and hopes for their babies. Perhaps the first mother (Eve) had her dreams. She might have dreamed to have been expecting that her son would be the "seed of the woman" referred to in the promise of the bruising of the serpent's head. When she saw the beautiful new-born child, she said joyfully, "With the LORD'S help, I have brought forth a male child!" She forgot the pain of her travail in her joy that a child was born. It is sad to think how this first mother's dreams would be disappointed. Instead of becoming a godly man, his life an honor to his parents—Cain proved to be a wicked man, who brought sorrow to his home! Eve conceived a second time and had Abel.
At the beginning of the story of the human family, we find both good and evil. What Adam and Eve had found in the garden, they brought with them into the world. Two children of the same parents, have in their hearts dispositions that differ in every way. They had different tastes, which led them to different occupations. Cain become a farmer, tilling the soil, and thus providing for his own necessities. Abel, with peaceful tastes, became a shepherd.
The two sons differed still more radically in moral character. Cain developed wicked traits. He was energetic, ambitious, resourceful, a man who made his mark in the world, a builder of cities, a leader in civilization—but a man of bad temper, selfish, morose, cruel, hard, resentful. Cain was the kind of man who today wins the world's honors, who gets on in the world, grows rich, is enterprising, becomes powerful and rules over his fellows.
Abel was quiet, affectionate, patient. The world now would call him easy-going, not disposed to stand up for his rights, meek, allowing others to trample over him and tread him down in the dust. Abel was the type of man described in the Beatitudes, poor in spirit, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, merciful, a peacemaker, unresisting, bearing wrong without complaint, not striving for mastery. Abel was the kind of man that Jesus was—who, at the end of the ages, appeared as the true Seed of the woman, whose heel was bruised by the serpent, but He bruised the serpent's head, conquering by love and goodness, and not by evil.
Both the sons were worshipers of God, though here, too, they differed. Cain brought of the fruit of the ground for his offering; and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock. Some suppose that Cain's offering was unfit in itself, inferring that God had already instituted the offering of blood, as the only acceptable worship. We do not learn this, however, from the Bible narrative; we are told only that the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering—but unto Cain and his offering He had not respect. Then in the Epistle to the Hebrews we are told that it was Abel’s faith which made his sacrifice more excellent than Cain's.
We learn at least—that God must be worshiped in the way He has commanded. We learn also that God’s acceptance of worship, depends on the heart of the worshiper. Cain's heart was wrong, and Abel's heart was right. God cares for the right form of worship; He looks into the heart and is pleased only when He finds love, faith, and true devotion there.
"Cain was very angry." Why was Cain angry? Was he angry with God for not showing respect to his offering? Did he think God had treated him badly? If the anger was against God, how very foolish that was! What good could it do? It would be most silly for us to be angry at the waves of the sea, or at the storm, or at the lightning. Would the waves, the tempest, or the thunderbolt mind our rage? It is infinitely senseless, to be angry with God!
Or was Cain angry with Abel because he had pleased God—while he himself had failed to do so? It seems, however, from the record, that he was angry with Abel. Why? What had Abel done? He had done nothing, except that he was a better man than his brother. Was that reason enough why Cain should be angry?
Superiority always arouses envy, opposition and dislike. We must not expect to make ourselves popular—by being great or good. To show your intelligence and ability, is only an indirect way of reproaching others for being dull and incapable. It was Abel's favor with God—that made Cain hate him. Envy is a most unworthy passion. It is utterly without reason. It is pure malevolence that reveals the worst spirit. Cain was angry with Abel, because Able was good.
“Merciful Father, Loving God! Help us to know that the existence of Good and Evil in this world does takes control of our life and will lead us to death and destruction, unless we turn to Jesus, the One who has destroy evil and provided love, mercy and grace for us through His own sacrifice and goodness. Show us how to live in Jesus…just as He lived. This we pray and ask in His name, Amen!”
A GRATEFUL RESPONSE:
I would like to thank everyone for their wonderful responses and comments to last weeks stories.
God Bless, Vic.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Heb 10:25 reminds us and encourages us with these words: "Not FORSAKING the assembly of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but EXHORTING one another; AND SO MUCH THE MORE AS YE SEE THE DAY APPROACHING". Don't forget to assemble with the brethren today and worship the Lord our God in Spirit and in Truth with praises and adoration.
God Bless Everyone, Vic.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY: 11/20/2011
THE RESULTS OF DISOBEDIENCE
Afterwards, the Bible tells us God planted a beautiful garden and He placed the man He had made in this lovely garden and told him to take care of it and keep it looking nice.
And God made beautiful trees grow right up out of the ground, trees that were filled with good food to eat.
In the middle of this beautiful garden, God planted two very special trees. One He called the tree of life and the other He called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
God told Adam He could eat the fruit on every tree in this garden, EXCEPT for the fruit on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. "If you eat of this tree," God said, "you will surely DIE!"
Now THAT sounded like a very important command to obey, didn't it? Do you think this Adam listened? Well, let's find out. The Bible tells us that God brought every animal and every bird to Adam to see what he would call them, and Adam named each bird and each animal.
God saw that the man was all alone and needed someone to help him. So God made Adam fall into a very deep sleep, and, while he was sleeping, God took one of the ribs from his side, closed up his side, and used Adam's rib to make the very first WOMAN.
Adam named this very first woman EVE and she became the mother of all living things.
One day, while Eve was walking in the garden, a snake spoke to the woman and said, "Has God said you cannot eat the fruit of every tree in the garden?" Eve answered the snake and said, "We may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God has said, we are not to eat of the tree in the middle of the garden. We are not even allowed to even TOUCH it, or we will DIE."
"You will not die!" the snake said. "God knows that the day you eat the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden, you will become wise as gods, knowing good and evil."
Then Eve looked at the tree and saw that the fruit on the tree was beautiful and good for food. She knew that if she would eat this fruit, it would make her WISE. So she picked the fruit off the tree, took a taste and handed it to her husband to eat. When Adam ate the fruit, too, they both saw for the first time that they were naked. They ran and picked fig leaves from a tree and used the leaves to make something to cover themselves and hide their nakedness.
Suddenly, they heard the voice of God walking in the garden, and Adam and Eve were frightened. So they hid themselves from the Presence of God, by crouching down among the trees in the garden. And God called to Adam saying, "Adam, where are you?"
Adam KNEW he was discovered so he answered, "I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked. So I hid myself." God KNEW what they had done, but still He asked, "Who TOLD you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree that I commanded you not to touch?" And Adam answered, "The woman that you gave to be with me, gave me the fruit to taste, and I ate it." And God asked the woman, "What have you done?"
Eve answered, "The snake tricked me and I ate the fruit."
God turned to the snake and said, "Because you have done this, you will crawl on your belly and eat the dust of the ground all the days of your life." Then he turned to the woman and said, "You will have much sorrow and pain when you have children and your husband will rule over you." And to Adam, God said, "Because you listened to the voice of your wife and ate of the tree which I forbid you to eat from, the ground will grow thorns and thistles to stick you, and you will eat of it in sorrow all the days of your life. You were taken from the dust of the ground, and you shall return to the dust of the ground."
Then God took animal skins and made special coats to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. And He drove them out of the garden so they would not eat of the tree of life also.
And God placed angels with flaming swords at the tree of life to keep Adam and Eve from returning.
Gen 1:20-31 and Gen 2 and 3.
CONSIDER THIS: God made man from the world but placed him in a special garden to live. But when they DISOBEYED, they were cast out of the Garden and back into the world. God made you special, just the way you are, and He has a very special plan for your life, but God expects OBEDIENCE from each one of us.
A VERSE TO LEARN
"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7).
Dear God, when we become too proud, help us to
remember that we am only made of dust. Teach us to
OBEY Your voice and help us to do what is right.
In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
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