Juneteenth is a holiday observed on June 19th that celebrates the emancipation of the former slaves in the United States.
“Emancipation Day” is truly a holiday in our country that everyone should honor and consider thoughtfully and with great thanksgiving to God.
For His word says “…The Lord frees prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord raises up those who are oppressed…” ~ Psalm 146:7- CSB
Was it not the Lord Almighty who heard the many prayers of these enslaved oppressed souls and answered them in His own way and time as He answers all prayer?
To everything a season… Ecclesiastes 3:1
Was it not He who controls the destinies of all nations who opened the eyes of the leaders to see their blindness and hypocrisy in harboring slavery in a land founded on freedom and Christian morality?
The Lord is the One who sets the prisoners free ultimately.
I believe that the enslaved peoples of our nation, based on their great spirituals and hymns, would agree that it was the Lord God who had heard their fervent cries for freedom and brought about their ultimate deliverance.
For they were truly a longsuffering people of great faith.
Their patience teaches us to trust the Lord and believe and hope no matter how discouraging things look, or impossible or hopeless the situation seems.
They inspire us to never give up believing.
Most of these persevering people kept singing, praising, and working for the unseen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom they truly belonged, who had made them His own redeemed children through His death on the cross despite their hardship in the physical world.
His Kingdom was not of this world and they served Himwho was every and all colors, for He was the Great Creator who had made them. And His was the color of love.
The Lord had no favorites. They could see this even if those who had enslaved them were blind~though they too claimed to serve Christ.
The Bible says, “For there is no respect of persons with God.” (Romans 2:11 – KJV) In Him there was no white nor black, male nor female, slave nor free.
All were one in Christ. (*See Galatians 3:28)
In Christ all were made free, for where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17)
He had made them free in the spiritual realm and one day they knew in their hearts that He would make them free in the material world.
What eyes could not see, their hearts could.
These courageous souls walked by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
When their freedom in this world finally came, these former slaves knew that their prayers had been answered and they gave praise and thanks to the Lord their Deliverer.
“For the Lord hears the needy And does not despise His who are prisoners.” ~ Psalm 69:33 – AMP
Though this holiday has not widely been observed or celebrated in our nation, many of the children of the former slaves have kept up with the tradition of remembrance since the first Emancipation Day.
For It truly is a Day of Thanksgiving and praise, to gather and celebrate freedom and to honor God and praise Him for the deliverance He brought about for those who were so long enslaved in this land.
He sets the captives free and those who were first delivered from their bondage knew who to praise for their liberty.
They loved the Lord with all their heart and their songs and spirituals remain as a testimony forever to eternity of their faith in Him.
An innocent little six year old was mercilessly gunned down by someone in a fit of road rage recently.
I wondered how was this possible?
The Lord led me to the story of Cain and Abel in the book of Genesis.
Cain and Abel were two brothers, the children of Eve, “the mother of all the living.”
When her first son was born, Eve called him “Cain,” a name related to a word for “lament” or “wail.” Eve said, “I have gotten a man from the Lord…”
BDB Definition: 11b) husband, 1c) human being, person (in contrast to God), 1f) champion, 1g) great man
The Bible says of Cain that he “…was a tiller of the ground.”
The word for tiller means: H5647 (Strong)
‛âbad, aw-bad’, A primitive root; to work (in any sense); by implication to serve, till, (causatively) enslave, etc.: be, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, husbandman, keep, labour (-ing man), (be, become) servant (-s), transgress [from margin], (set a) work, be wrought, worshipper.Serve self
Where Eve seemed so filled with hope after Cain’s birth giving him a name that meant “Champion,” she seemed to have lost her faith sometime after his birth.
For she named her second son Abel which means:
BDB Definition: 1) to act emptily, become vain, be vain; 1a2) to be utterly vain;1b1) to cause to become vain; 1b2) to fill with vain hopes;
People who have lost their dream call faith “vain hope.”
Also, branding a child with such a name is akin to calling them hopeless, futile, or vanity.
It would not be any wonder then that Abel would find refuge out in the fields with his Father God while tending the sheep rather than with a family who considered him “… filled with vain hopes.”
Abel was given the name of someone whom his parents saw as having no expectations.
And this was surely to open the door for his brother to also adopt the same attitudes toward him as someone who was worthless.
It might not be difficult for a man to murder a brother whom he neither loved nor valued. For Cain had no love for his brother the Bible says.
“This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love each other. Don’t be like Cain. He belonged to the Evil One. Cain killed his brother. But why did he kill him? Because what Cain did was evil, and what his brother did was good.” 1 John 3:11-12 – ERV
“Cain and Abel both offered sacrifices to God. But Abel offered a better sacrifice to God because he had faith. God said he was pleased with what Abel offered. And so God called him a good man because he had faith. Abel died, but through his faith he is still speaking.” ~ Hebrews 11:4 – ERV
After Cain had killed his brother, the Lord asked him where Abel was. Cain sarcastically replied, “I don’t know, am I my brother’s keeper?”
BDB Definition: 1) to keep, guard, observe, give heed/ 2) 1a1) to keep, have charge of/ 3) 1a2) to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life/ 1a3) to watch for, wait for/ 1a4) to watch, observe/ 1a5) to keep, retain, treasure up (in memory)/1a6) to keep (within bounds), restrain/ 1a7) to observe, celebrate, keep (sabbath or covenant or commands), perform (vow)/ 1a8) to keep, preserve, protect/ 1b1) to be on one’s guard, take heed, take care, beware/ 1b2) to keep oneself, refrain,/ abstain/ 1b3) to be kept, be guarded
God revealed through the Lord Jesus Christ that we are indeed to be our brother’s keeper. We are to love and to lay our lives down for one another.
Abel was asked to sacrifice His will to God even as Christ would one day be asked to sacrifice His will to the Father that all might in Him be given eternal life through His sacrificial death.
Abel gave God what He asked of him. This pleased the Lord greatly.
For Abel like Christ in effect had said, “Father I want Thy will not my will…”
How did Abel know what God’s will was?
He spent all his time with the Lord every day in a close relationship with Him.
While working in the fields he was abiding in His Maker. He listened to God speak to his heart.
God wanted something that was difficult for Abel to give Him. Something that Abel loved, prized, and valued very much. The finest of his flocks.
Yet, what else was worth having if he kept it back from God and lost his intimacy with the Lord by withholding that thing which God had asked him to sacrifice?
What could be more important than his relationship with the Lord, his Creator?
Abel knew what God required of him, he knew and cared to do God’s will.
The Bible says that the ungodly don’t care to know about or to do God’s will. They just want to please themselves.
‘“At harvest time, Cain brought a gift to the Lord. He brought some of the food that he grew from the ground, but Abel brought some animals from his flock. He chose some of his best sheep and brought the best parts from them. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift.But He did not accept Cain and his offering. Cain was sad because of this and he became very angry.” ~ Genesis 4:3-5ERV
Cain offered to God the sacrifice of man; the sacrifice that insists on doing its own will and pleasure. Such a sacrifice may take a lot of time and effort to accomplish, and appear beautiful but it will not satisfy our Creator if it is not what He asked for.
God’s will is that we obey Him no matter what that obedience looks like, no matter how displeasing to us it seems. The Lord needs to know that His will matters to us more than our own our own will.
He created us to worship HIM. We were not created to please and worship ourselves.
Abel obeyed the Lord and offered the blood sacrifice He required. Cain did not.
Hebrews 9 explains that under the Law that without the shedding of blood there was no forgiveness of sins. A blood sacrifice was required for the atonement of the sins people had committed. That was just how it was. We may not like it or understand it. But that was why Jesus Christ, God’s Son had to die to shed His spotless blood for the sins of all humanity to redeem us and put a fallen world back in right relationship with God. This is the truth. Cain refused to believe this truth of the need for the blood sacrifice to atone for his sins to be made right with God. He would do his own work and labor to please and satisfy God. Yet, God only wanted the sacrifice of an innocent pure lamb to atone for the man’s sins. He need only go to his brother and procure a sheep to sacrifice to the Lord. It was that easy. Cain made things hard in his unbelief.
Cain was furious when he saw that God was pleased with Abel’s sacrifice and not with his own.
The Lord asked Cain, “Why are you angry? Why does your face look sad? You know that if you do what is right, I will accept you. But if you don’t, sin is ready to attack you. That sin will want to control you, but you must control it.”~ Genesis 4:6-7 – ERV
God up and told Cain His will and the man simply ignored the holy revelation! It went right over Cain’s head because he had no regard for the Lord any more than he valued his brother’s life.
If he had loved and feared the Lord then he would have obeyed Him. Christ equated love for our Lord with our obedience to Him.
Jesus said to His disciples: “If you love Me, you will do what I command.
Those who really love Me are the ones who not only know My commands but also obey them. My Father will love such people, and I will love them. I will make Myself known to them.”
…All who love Me will obey My teaching. My Father will love them. My Father and I will come to them and live with them.
But anyone who does not love Me does not obey My teaching. This teaching that you hear is not really Mine. It is from my Father who sent Me.” ~ John 14:15,21,23-24 – ERV
The rest of the story is a very sad one.
Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” So they went to the field. Then Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Later, the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
Cain answered, “I don’t know. Is it my job to watch over my brother?”
Then the Lord said, “What have you done? You killed your brother and the ground opened up to take his blood from your hands. Now his blood is shouting to Me from the ground.So you will be cursed from this ground. Now when you work the soil, the ground will not help your plants grow. You will not have a home in this land. You will wander from place to place.”~Genesis 4:8-10,12 – ERV
The price Cain paid for his sin was enormous. Cain’s former gift of being able to till the soil successfully became a curse as God said, “Now when you work the soil, the ground will not help your plants grow.
Whereas Cain had been the family’s hope for success and prosperity, “their champion,” he now became the disappointment, the one who was truly filled with “vain hopes;”one who could no longer produce. The Lord not only took away all former expectations of success, but also drove him away, branding him with the indelible mark of a murderer, condemning him to the life of a wanderer. (*See Genesis 4:13-16)
Have we ever stopped to think of what we give up when we ignore the Lord’s voice, giving in to our stubbornness, anger, own desires, and lack of faith over simply obeying the Lord’s will?
First we must like Abel abide in Christ to love God and to know His will.
Second we must care to obey His will once He reveals that will to us.
If we don’t love others, we won’t love, honor and value our God. When we do not love and value others we disobey God’s will.
Christ said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35 – KJV
Jesus once told a religious ruler that the two greatest commandments upon which hung the whole Law were the first two: Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” ~ Matthew 22:37-40 – KJV
The Apostle John wrote, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” 1 John 4:20-21 – KJV
In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus let us know that in God’s eyes, everyone is our brother and sister. Not just people in our religious affiliations, our fellowships and social cliques. The Lord does not see as we see according to the teaching Christ gave us in that parable.
As I contemplated the enraged man who’d gunned down the innocent child on the freeway, I couldn’t help but wonder if he, like Cain, had lost his love and value for human life made in God’s holy image ~that life of which God says we are to be his keeper, his guardian, and to keep ourselves from harming.
Would that people knew God’s will and would do it!
Then I thought are we not too like that furious man when we explode like a seething time bomb with bitter words; words like lethal verbal weapons, over everything under the sun, ever finding fault, seeking to destroy with bitter criticism, accusation, and judgment, ever so quick to assume false conclusions without having all the facts? The internet and social media are daily inundated with these incidents of “virtual road rage.”
And if we regard not the life of our neighbor, resisting God’s will to be our brother’s and sister’s keeper, we absolutely do not love, fear, nor honor God our Heavenly Father, the Bible declares. (*See 1 John 4:20-21)
Jesus said, “…the bad things people say with their mouth come from the way they think. And that’s what can make people wrong. All these bad things begin in the mind: evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual sins, stealing, lying, and insulting people. These are the things that make people wrong.” Matthew 15:18-20 – ERV
“Heavenly Father, may You give us Thy divine love for one another, that we may also love and honor Thee, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Lord, please heal my loved one Walking now with Thee On a narrow, thorny path Dark and shadowy…
Lord, please heal my loved one Hold, I pray her hand, Fill her mind with peace Give her strength to stand In faith upon Thy promises Renew her hope in Thee, May she feel Thy Presence, Around her like a seal.
Sing to her, Lord, in her heart Like angels long ago Sang to the shepherds in the fields About the Christ foretold… Sing to her like the angels About Thy holy peace That You, Lord Jesus were and are And ever to us bring… When we let you in our hearts To cleanse and heal our sin Lord, heal us all this holy night Hearts blind and deaf within.
And may we sing Thy praises For Thy great mercy For Thy everlasting love And life eternally. Lord, please heal us all And heal my loved one too, Whose lamp lies in the shadows Who’s love burns strong for You.
Lord, please heal my loved one, This Christmas may You raise Her up as if it’s Easter Thy resurrection grace, Our song of hope and faith, In Jesus’ holy name, amen.
Heavenly Father, please heal Mama, in Jesus’ name, amen. Thank You, I love You.
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:1-7 KJV
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.”
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” Luke 2:8-20 KJV
Jesus is Circumcised
And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
“Lord, now lettest thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word:
For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.”
And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” Luke 2:21-40 KJV
“And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” ~ 1 John 4:21 KJV
Love each other,” Jesus said, “By this they all shall know, That You are Mine, and in thy heart I have made My home.”
Love each other,” Jesus said, “This is My command, You show the world you love Me When you do the things I ask.”
Jesus said who loves Him Will obey His word The one who doesn’t love Him Dishonors their neighbor…
For there are two commandments The greatest one of all Is to love with all thy heart And soul the Most High God, The second one He said, Is love thy neighbor too, As you love thy very self To them so you must do.
Whatsoever you shall do Unto the least of these,” Said Jesus in a parable, “Ye do it unto Me.”
A religious leader asked Jesus, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40 KJV
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, “Verily I say unto you, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40 KJV
“He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.
Jesus answered and said unto him, “If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.
He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings: and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.” John 14:21, 23-24 KJV
Jesus said, “This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” John 15:12-14 KJV