Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sacrificial Offerings

"By faith Able offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks even though he is dead.” Hebrews 11:4

Christmas 2011, a memory now, still reminds me of the gifts given, the hectic halleluiahs, surprises that bring smiles, food I’ve eaten until I’m about to ‘fat away’.

While trying to get to the bottom of my desk yesterday I ran across a gift from my almost nine year old granddaughter, Briana Faith. It’s a copied photo of her and three of her siblings with me, before Eliyah was born. That would make her about eight years old. It is carefully taped into a greeting card with a photo opening. She wrapped it herself and wrote a special note to me.

“Hi nana. I hope you like the picture I printed. It’s the one with you on it. The picture that I colored and drew and printed is the one that says Merry Christmas.” And surely she had drawn and colored and written another sweet paper for me.

Do I love that gift? Of course! There are other hand made offerings as well as bought offerings that thrill my heart and go into my Nana’s treasure chest. Briana Faith offered me a gift in faith that I would accept her offering gladly. I hope that I received it with the pleasure that God did with Abel’s gift.

But I’ve always wondered about Cain’s gift and felt rather sorry for him. The rest of THAT story must be relegated to another time and place in my writing.

The Bible says Abel offered God a better sacrifice and was commended as a righteous man. Able, by faith, speaks even though he’s dead.

Briana Faith sacrificed her time and effort to make my Christmas gift. It’s sitting on my desk where I can smile at it and remember her sacrifice. I will remember ALL of the gifts I received this Christmas from loved ones who sacrificed to bring me pleasure!

Abel had faith; Able sacrificed; Able was righteous; Able was remembered. Just in case you don’t remember, Able was Adam and Eve’s second son and Cain’s brother. What did he do? He offered fat from some of the first fruits of his flocks as a sacrifice to God. (See Genesis 4:1-8)

What will I sacrifice for God today? Will my offering be commended by God?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Jacob's Lesson in Leading


“Then Jacob said to him (Esau), “My lord knows that the children are tender and that I must care for the ewes and cows that are nursing their young….
“So let my lord go on ahead ...While I move along slowly at the pace of the droves before me and that of the children…”” Genesis 33:13-14.

Jacob learned a lot from his wrestling match with God just prior to his reconciliation with his twin brother, Esau.

Jacob remembered his shepherding skills with his father-in-law, Laban. Eastern shepherds lead, they do not drive.

Jacob recognized the limitations of the little ones, the children, the nursing ewes and cows.

Jacob revealed tenderness in his character. Jacob, who wrestled with God, demonstrated bravery in speaking up for those who couldn’t do so.

******How many of us need to slow down as we delve into 2012?
• Slow down for the benefit of those in your care.
• Slow down and remember your shepherding skills, to lead, not to drive.
• Slow down and recognize the limitations of those in your care.
• Slow down and reveal the tenderness that hides beneath the toughness.
• Slow down and remember your struggle with God and how he changed your life… slowly.

“Jacob said…”the children are tender…while I move along slowly at the pace of the droves and that of the children.”