Emancipation Day

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.

“…The Lord loves the righteous…” Psalm 146:8 CSB

Happy Juneteenth Card available at Peaceangelsongsgifts.com

Peaceangelsong’s Gifts, Copyright © 2021, by Suzanne Davis Harden through the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, Inspired by the Holy Spirit, to the Glory of God the Father, In Jesus’ name, all rights reserved.

Valuing The Human

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…”

“…man” meaning:

אישׁ ‘ı̂ysh

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)

עָבַד

‛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:

הבל hâbal

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?”

Keeper means:

שׁמר shâmar

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 4:3-5 ERV

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.

Click to listen to this Piano Solo by Suzanne Davis Harden
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
~ Cain Had No Love © (p) 2019 All Rights Reserved.

Peaceangelsong, Text & Digital Scripture Paintings, Copyright © 2021 by Suzanne Davis Harden, through the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, Inspired by the Holy Spirit, All Rights Reserved. Scripture References taken from various translations: ERV (Easy To Read Version Bible) Copyright © 2006 Bible League International; The King James Version Bible, Public Domain; Strongs Bible Concordance, Public Domain

A Closing Prayer For The Old Year

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” ~ Colossians 3:15, 17 KJV

May Our Heavenly Father bless you all with a beautiful New Year in 2021! May He keep you and your precious families all healthy, safe, and close to His heart, and fill you with His peace and grace, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Love always and forever on Christ, Suzanne, Mark, and JJ ❤️