Apples of Gold

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Cain and Abel

'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.'

Genesis 4:4

Two brothers yet two very different offerings. One it seems was taken from the remnants of his harvest and given grudgingly while the other was the best lamb in the flock, and it was given with a cheerful countenance.

The offering of Abel cannot but point us to the Lamb of God and His sacrifice for sin.

The Bible tells us that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. Whose blood are you relying on today? And then what about your own life? Perhaps you are only willing to give second best to the Lord, and therefore as in Cain's case sin lieth at your door.

It is of the utmost urgency that we realise that we cannot and must not make up our own rules and regulations with regard to pleasing God. No matter what we may offer, it will prove to be a futile effort if it does not have the stamp of God's authority upon it.

As Christians many of us tend to hold back from serving the Lord and from giving our all for Him. But yet we are told that we are to present our bodies a living sacrifice unto God which is our reasonable service.

How is that reasonable you may ask? Well just consider for a minute. What do we have that God has not given to us? What can we hope to add to our life that is not held in His hand? You and I cannot even take our next breath without His permission. So it is absolute folly to hold back anything from the God who gives everything to us. It is like the ground trying to hold back from yielding the fruit of the seed that has been sown.

The Lord has showered us with gifts and graces. Our lives may be seen as a garden of spices planted by His hand. Is it not the joy of each and every gardener to view the fruits of his labour in the harvest? Is there not joy when that which has been sown, perhaps in tears, is seen to yield fruit?

Many of us may labour as valiantly as we can each day for the Lord. Perhaps we cannot see the effects of our labours - but this does not negate nor diminish the worth of our offering. It's His, not ours.

We are to reflect the image of our God in our daily lives. We cannot do this unless we offer ourselves wholly to Him. That allows Him to work in us and through us as He pleases. It is not something we should be fearful about since we are placing our lives into the hands of the Giver and the Sustainer of all life.

We must not do it in a manner that is half hearted and we must not do it grudgingly. When we tithe our weekly income to God we must do so as heartily unto the Lord, not grudging every penny we put into the plate. A brother explained to me in a prayer meeting years ago that this offering was just the beginning part of our worship!

Each day we live is a gift from God - and to God.

Some of us are more aware of this than others. We need to realise that we must give the best that we possibly can to our God and that means a certain amount of discipline and self denial. It is not as if we are entering into some strict regime where each moment is grudgingly or carefully allowed.
No, it is rather a willingness to abandon our desires, our hopes and our dreams to God, being fully persuaded that we will then know more of life and more abundantly.

It is a challenge and it is an adventure. It is something that is to be done with a joyful and willing spirit, not something to be dreaded. God will never be any man's debtor.

May we present ourselves willing sacrifices unto our God, holding nothing back and remembering the great sacrifice that was made for us on Calvary's cross.

Remember - we are not our own, we have been bought with a price. Christ the Son of God shed His precious blood in order that we may have life eternal. Since we are here for a short time before meeting Him in glory, should we not therefore return the little time that we have here as a sacrifice unto the One who loved us and gave Himself for us?

Perhaps you may be thinking that you would rather 'enjoy' life to the full before giving what is left to God. Is that thinking like that of Abel, or is it like that of Cain? Do you truly expect to find joy and happiness while attempting to go your own way?

God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows that he shall also reap.

My friend give God a chance. You will not be disappointed. He will not let you down, and dreams that you have carried with you may be answered sooner than you expect. I pray that today I would be willing to be spent for Christ as He was spent for me.

Author : Iain Mackenzie  Edited by : Pastor Al Moak