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Friday, 12/24/21 – Why did the Lord not look favorably on Cain’s offering?

Why did the Lord not look favorably on Cain’s offering?

Brenda asks, “In Genesis 4:3-5 it tells us ‘The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor’ Why did the Lord not look favorably on Cain’s offering?”

One of the most awe-inspiring descriptions I find in scripture is what Peter states regarding Christ, the Lamb of God. “He was chosen before the creation of the world,” (1 Pet. 1:20). The term appears again later. In Rev. 13:8 John, under inspiration of the Spirit, writes “the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

Before God said ”Let there be”… anything, He knew He would make man, man would fall, and man would need a Redeemer. Long before God breathed life into Adam God had already planned for his redemption — and He scatters hints of it all through the Biblical narrative.

The first hint we see in Genesis 3:15. “…he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”  Called the protoevangelium this passage depicts the ultimate destruction of Satan by the woman-born Messiah. Redemption is hinted at again in that the skins of a slain animal (blood sacrifice) were required to cover the “nakedness” (sin) of Adam and Eve.

We see this truth underscored again in the Lord’s acceptance of Abel’s offering and rejection of Cain’s offering. The distinction lay in what each offered.

In Genesis 4 we read,

“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.” (Gen. 4:2b-5)

God is here again teaching that only blood can atone for sin. Abel sacrificed from his flock, but Cain’s offering, ”fruits of the soil,” required no such blood sacrifice, and was refused.

All of this points to the sacrifice of Christ, the One True Lamb of God, the atonement for all who believe, and the one Whose coming we celebrate this day, the child-king born in Bethlehem.

Especially interesting on this Christmas Eve is that it was in the fields around Bethlehem that lambs were raised for temple sacrifice! The shepherds we read of in Luke’s account were very likely tending such animals. David, long before becoming king, tended flocks here as he wrote many psalms of praise and longing. And it was here that God orchestrated the birth of Jesus, the Messiah, the Lamb of God, “slain from the foundation of the world.

Merry Christmas everyone!

I’m taking a two-week break over the holidays, revamping a new blogsite with a new format. Join me again on January 10.

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Thursday, 12/23/21 – Going Away and Coming Back

Going Away and Coming Back

Heads up!

After tomorrow’s post (Christmas Eve day) is going away for “a little while.” I’ll be taking a two-week break. While I’m away I’ll be making changes… changes to this blog, or perhaps coming back with a whole new blog, new format, new style, new posts – for you! Don’t worry, if I decide on a whole new blogsite I’ll link to it from here. If you link to it via Facebook you’ll still find new links there.

I’m envisioning this as having a much less structured format. Where has followed the theme of the Lincoln Baptist Church Sunday message on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays, then discussed some aspect of Discipleship on Thursdays and responded to your questions on Fridays, the new blogsite will not. Topics will be random, from everyday life and as the Holy Spirit may lead.

Today’s Discipleship theme looks at the last in the cycle of recurring Discipleship themes, “The Soon Return of Christ.” Fitting really, because this too is all about a Going Away and Coming Back. This too is about a going away for “a little while” and about making changes for those who wait.

Jesus said…

“…I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2b-3).
“Jesus went on to say, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.’” (John 16:16).
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded… persevere… For, ‘In just a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay.’” (Heb. 10:37 – see also Isa. 26:20; Hab. 2:3).

We see signs of His Soon coming all around us now: pandemic, panic, pandemonium in nature and in hearts. What shall we do? To those who believe He has told us…

“Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. …be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” (Matt. 24:42, 44).
“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28).

So… Press on… and…

Heads up!

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Wednesday, 12/22/21 – Pressing on… On Intellect and Incarnation

On Intellect and Incarnation

Jerry and I were “deep thinkers.” After comic books, G.I. Joes, James Bond and Star Trek, he and I entered our philosophers and star-gazers phase. For hours most evenings we would sit on the large and accommodating clothestand in our backyard, lean back, stare at the stars and postulate our “deep thinker” thoughts. It was a stimulating time. Jerry was to me what I imagine William Kirkpatrick must have been to C.S. Lewis. Of him Lewis writes,

“If ever a man came near to being a purely logical entity, that man was Kirk. Born a little later, he would have been a Logical Positivist. The idea that human beings should exercise their vocal organs for any purpose except that of communicating or discovering truth was to him preposterous. The most casual remark was taken as a summons to disputation…. Some boys would not have liked it; to me it was red beef and strong beer.” – C.S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy, (1955).

Jerry sharpened my intellect, made me think of all angles and formulate a defense… in fact, though never himself a Christian, Jerry helped teach me the art of apologetics.

We were good buddies. Our backyards abutted each other making frequent visits easy through the old dilapidated gate. I’d often sit out on that clothestand waiting and watching for him.

But our exchanges were wholly intellectual. Emotion seldom entered into them. Jerry was Mr. Spock, and I just a crewman in red.* Everyone loved Mr. Spock, but I think few would enjoy being him. Humans were not designed to be computers, we were designed to love and love at its best is love for God.

Without Him we would never know love. In Him love was manifest in human form. “God is Love” and “Life has Meaning.” These were the two points presented to us last Sunday. Without love all intellectual activity is worthless. Life is meaningless. As said Augustine, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” – Augustine, Confessions. God Incarnate is Love Incarnate, and it is by Him that we know love at all.

Thank the Lord for Love, His Love, this Christmas!

Press on…

* Star Trek TOS fans will recognize my point. The guy in red was always the landing party expendable, never a regular, and most certainly the one to get zapped, disintegrated, crystalized or left behind.

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 12/21/21 – Pressing on… Incarnate 101

Incarnate 101

The word dates back to somewhere around mid to late 14th century. It derives from the Latin incarnātus, past participle of incarnāre “to make into flesh.” It carries with it the idea of being invested with human nature and form, to be made manifest or comprehensible.

Carn“… the flesh… that life in-breathed tissue in which dwells the human soul… that nature, once glorious, now fallen, that shell through which the soul manifests and becomes comprehensible to other like souls.

in·car·nate – adjective (inˈkärnət, inˈkärˌnāt)

Related words: carnal, carnivore, reincarnation

Into that temporal, fleshly thing it’s Creator stepped. Not full grown and regal and by some cataclysmic moment, but offstage, as an infant, humble, and by natural gestation. A full 30 years He contented Himself within this form, limited as never before. Then, at the Father’s fullness of moment, He commenced His three-year mission… a mission to which He had been appointed “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).

And now He desires to incarnate your flesh also, with you, making you a holy temple and Himself manifest and comprehensible through new expressions of your soul. This is His intended mission for you… since before the foundation of the world!

“But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight… This is the gospel… — the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Excepts from Col. 1:22-27)

This is God’s Love for you. This is God’s plan for you. This is the reason you were created, the significance and meaning of your life. This is the hope for all humanity, and both the meaning and purpose of Christmas!

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 12/20/21 – “Luv?”


“There you go, Luv,” she said as she handed me my breakfast sandwich. Yet, I’d never met the woman previously, had no relationship with her whatsoever, and… in fact, I didn’t even know her name! Yet, not only now but throughout our brief conversation she had repeatedly referred to me with the endearing term “Luv.” Not “Love,” or “My dear sir,” or just “Dear,” but the more intimate, colloquial form, “Luv” — as though we had known each other for years, long enough to have imbedded the term into the relationship.

As I wandered off, breakfast bag and coffee in hand, I wondered… Had she mistaken me for someone else? Or worse: had I suffered some severe memory loss… perhaps had a stroke?

Sitting down at the nearest available table, and very much to my relief, I heard her say to the man next in line, “What can I get for you, Luv?”

In time I would learn the commonality of the phrase in maritime Canada. “Buddy” was another such term, used mostly among men, but requiring no previous relationship with the party being mentioned.

“Do you love Me?” Jesus asked Simon (John 21:15-17)… three times He asked, pressing Peter to search his heart the more deeply with each interrogative probe.

“Lord, Lord,” some will cry, but to them the Lord will say, “I never knew you… depart from Me!” (Matt. 7:21-23).

To Whom do you call when you pray? Is it to One of Whom you have true knowledge?… relationship?… love? Is it the “Abba” cry of sonship, or the scripturally correct yet somewhat aloof “Our Father…” a term more suited to the lips of a pharisee?

Have you ever truly met Jesus? Do you have a relationship with Him? Do you know His Name?

“Do you love Me?” He asks us all, for He indeed loves us… each one at a time. To answer this is the purpose of life, and the reason of Christmas.

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Friday, 12/17/21 – How can I flee the fear of failure?

How can I flee the fear of failure?

Some fear failure to the point of not trying. Safe zones are sought, we crawl inside them and determine the best we can do is hunker down and settle for less. Christ, however, has better plans.

We ought not fear failure. Rather, we should view our unsuccesses as moments of learning, not loathing. This is the view taken by Edison who famously said regarding his countless unsuccessful attempts at inventing the lightbulb, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Edison saw that in his initial failures at inventing the light bulb he had learned a vast amount of approaches to avoid in the future. Though he had one loss (a working lightbulb), he had uncovered innumerable gains, not only for himself but for all inventors.

Failure is frustrating when we measure it by the one outcome we are endeavoring to achieve. We may cry out to God asking for intervention, or help, or power to succeed. But God may have other outcomes in mind. Paul cried out for freedom from his thorn but God meant it to help him to humility. Joseph hoped for freedom from the pit, but God had in mind the salvation of a nation. Samson sought deliverance from the Philistines, but God made his captivity the rebuilding of his strength to their destruction.

Paul recognized this need to change focus. He wrote: “For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:17-18)

James tells us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3).

Keep pursuing those objects of frequent failings, but do not despair if you fail. God has other things in mind — and wastes nothing. As Solomon advises: “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” (Eccl. 11:6).

And so I say…

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Thursday, 12/16/21 – What’s up with the Will of God?

What’s up with the Will of God?

“How could there be an all powerful, loving God when…”
“If God exists, then why is there so much…”
“I refuse to believe in a God Who allows…”

I’m sure you’ve heard or possibly even uttered sentiments like these. In a world filled with injustice, hatred, selfishness, and on and on… how can we understand the silence of an Almighty, Supremely Loving, Holy Entity? If such a One exists then surely this Being is able to enact its loving will upon its creation. What’s up with the Will of God?

I sometimes wonder if it doesn’t grieve the heart of our Lord and Maker that we are still asking this question and either passively or blatantly blaming Him?

You see, clearly there is something wrong somewhere. There is no denying that. But we must start the analysis of this “wrongness” from the correct basis: God IS Loving and Good and All-Powerful and much more besides. But there is indeed this disconnect. There IS evil in this world… sorrow… suffering… and gross injustices. We notice it, we feel it, and we dislike it much.

But might it be, in this world of wrongness, that we too are wrongly asking the wrong One, all the wrong questions? What if God, Lovingly, Powerfully, and out of His Holiness is asking us, “What’s up with the will of mankind?” What if God, like the parent of a wayward youth, looks down upon us after having made us well, sacrificed for us, and demonstrated His great power and deep love for us, is now weeping in heaven over the paths we have chosen, the evils and destructions our ways have wrought upon us, and our hatred and blame toward Him… after all He has done to enable our return?

Scripture tells us He has done and is doing all these things…

“As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known…'” and “…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Luke 19:41-42a; Matt. 23:37)
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13).
“For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:16).
“Now we [those trusting in Christ] are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2).

Perhaps the better and more urgent question is this: “What’s up with the stubborn will of mankind?”

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Wednesday, 12/15/21 – Pressing on… Sorrow and Joy

Sorrow and Joy

I’m just wondering… Were you puzzled about my statement at the end of Monday’s post this week? After stating that abiding joy is found only in loving obedience in Christ and that this joy is among the “gifts” of His Spirit living in and through us, I said “It [Joy] is found in only in Christ, and remains — even in times of sorrow.”

Sorrow, yet Joy? How is that possible? And what does that look like? Are you crying… laughing? Aren’t these things opposites by definition?

So far this week our Advent themes have pondered Hope, Peace, and now Joy. Paul referenced all three of these in his letter to the believers in Rome. He wrote, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Rom. 15:13).

In another letter he reminded the sorrowful Thessalonians, that as believers they “do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” (1 Thess 4:13). Why? Because they had hope. In their flesh they may have felt grief, but grief, like happiness, is also temporary. “Weeping may tarry for the night,” wrote the psalmist, “but joy comes with the morning.” (Ps. 30:5).

I know, I know… many sadnesses last much longer than an overnight. But as I sometimes say to believing chronic pain sufferers like myself, “It can only last a lifetime!” And it’s true. Jesus promised us abiding joy, but He also promised us what we should expect of this life… during our sojourn time on this earth. He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). Or as some translations have it, “Be of good cheer!”

The joy Jesus gives “no man can take away.” This joy is your possession forever in Christ. Though you may feel sorrow, you have joy! What you feel is fleeting, but what you have is eternal. Think on this truth when life is hard; “…the joy of the Lord is your strength,” said Nehemiah (Neh. 4:8). Let it bring strength to you!

“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:22).

Press on…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 12/14/21 – Pressing on… Shining lights…

Shining lights…

Last week my wife changed the light bulb over our front porch. She put in one of those rotating multi-colored Christmassy type lights. A filter around the bulb rotates casting a myriad of circling colours along the front steps, across the exterior wall and through the front door window onto the floor of the entryway inside.

The unceasing movement of rainbow circles traversing the entry is driving our cat crazy. She scrapes at them, pounces on them, crouches low ahead of them, but no matter what tactic she employs she just can’t seem to grab hold of even one of them! She meows at us in her frustration but all we can do is chuckle for we know the absolute futility of her goal.

As I settle down to write today’s post about Joy our cat’s behaviour becomes an illustration to me of mankind’s quest for happiness. Temporal things bring short-term happiness but like the lights they’re always on the move and like the lights they are ultimately things one simply cannot hold on to. I think of the frustrated souls who do not know the joy that God can bring. Do they perhaps look up to Him grim faced in their frustration… and “meow” out complaints? “It’s not fair!” “Why don’t You let me win the lottery… become famous…  have multiple lovers?” Does God chuckle back knowing within Himself the truth — the absolute futility of these goals?

God loves us too much to enable us to settle for fading earthly lights. He intends for us something far better. What was it the prophet said…

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” (Dan. 12:3).

And Jesus has promised His people this:

“…I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:22)

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.