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.
Jesus Christ said, “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be…
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 24:37-44 KJV
The Days Of Noah ~Genesis 6:5-12
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man
was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.
And the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.”
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, And Noah walked with God.
And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” Genesis 6:5-12 KJV
Jesus Christ said, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8 KJV
Enoch was carried away from this earth, so he never died.
The Scriptures tell us that before he was carried off, he was a man who pleased God.
Later, no one knew where he was, because God had taken Enoch to be with Him.
This all happened because he had faith. Without faith no one can please God.
Whoever comes to God must believe that He is real and that He rewards those who sincerely try to find Him.
Noah was warned by God about things that he could not yet see. But he had faith and respect for God, so he built a large boat to save his family.
With his faith, Noah showed that the world was wrong. And he became one of those who are made right with God through faith.”
Hebrews 11:5-7 ERV
MORE ENCOURAGING SCRIPTURES
For yet in a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him. But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and are saved.” Hebrews 10:37-39 CSB
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.
For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions.
These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave.
But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” 1 John 2:15-17 NLT
Jesus Christ said, “And when he had called the people unto Him with his disciples also, He said unto them, “Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” ~ Mark 8:34-38 KJV
Paul the Apostle wrote, “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.” Romans 10:11 KJV
Some Bibles translate this verse as they shall not be put to shame. But the sense of the original word is that the author meant the person who puts their trust in Jesus would not be ashamed, embarrassed to believe in Him, or confounded and sorry that they trusted in the Lord. It can be read both ways.
Just as Jesus said, His disciples would not be ashamed of Him or His words because they would know that would make their Master ashamed of them.
If a soul really has faith that Jesus was raised from the dead and lives inside of them they will not be ashamed to confess this Paul said in Romans 10.
“…that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” Romans 10:9-11 KJV
It is when we stop confessing our faith that we not only lose it, but we also lose our love for Christ and our fear of God.
We are in danger of becoming mere professors crying “Lord Lord,” doing many good works perhaps but maybe none of them God’s will, not one truly motivated by His Holy Spirit but by man. (See Matthew 7:21-23)
We will have no true love for the Lord nor belief in Him, for we will love and lust after the world more than we love and worship the One who died to save us from our sins.
It is then that we should meditate on Psalm 36:1-4 and pray earnestly in our prayer closets and seek The Lord with all our heart with fear and trembling. (See Isaiah 55:6-8)
That is why Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 13: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” 2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV
For Meditation and Reflection:
Do we care more about what other people think of us than what the Lord might think of us?
Who’s opinion of us matters to us the most?
This tells us a whole lot about how much faith we really have in the living Lord Jesus Christ.
If we truly believed He is real we would tremble to care more what other people thought than what the God who upholds the universe by the word of His power thinks about us.
If we really believed that the Father and Christ have the power to not only destroy the body but cast our spirit and soul in hell for eternity, then would we not fear and respect and honor them?
Jesus said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” ~ Matthew 10:28 KJV
Grace can be trampled on and Christ recrucified according to the book of Hebrews in chapter 6.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.” Hebrews 6:4-6 KJV
2 Peter 2 alludes to the Christian who loses his salvation comparing them to a dog who returns to its vomit.
“For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” ~ 2 Peter 2:20-22 KJV
Hebrews 10 talks about those who lose their blood sacrifice Christ made for them by negating it.
“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
For we know Him that hath said, “Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense,” saith the Lord.
And again, “The Lord shall judge His people.”
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”Hebrews 10:26-31 KJV
I did not make these scriptures up.
There are bible teachers who reinterpret them to fit their denominational systems.
However, the apostles repeatedly said to hold on to what you have been taught from the beginning.
And these are the teachings that have been handed down from the beginning.
Jesus said that he who endures to the end shall be saved.
He said that the way of life is narrow and that few there be that find it. But broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there be that would go in that way.
Salvation is not a done deal once a soul commits their heart to Christ.
Just ask Judas.
Jesus said to the disciples at the last supper “One of you is about to betray Me. It would be better for that soul if he had not been born.” Then the disciples each asked if he were the one.
Even Judas dared to ask since all the others were asking. If we come to Jesus wanting a revelation He will give us the answer. Jesus told Judas it was him. But it did not stop him from committing his sin. Even though Jesus had plainly stated that it would have been better for that soul if he would not have been born rather than to betray Him. Unbelief is at the core of every sin against Christ.
Judas went out and committed his fatal sin against the Lord anyway. He betrayed the Lord for thirty pieces of silver. (See Matthew 26:14-16; 20-25,)
One cannot worship idols and God too. Jesus pointed this out in Matthew 6.
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (*Mammon can be anything including money that we love more than God) Matthew 6:24 KJV
One either loves Christ or the god of this world. Christ knows every heart. The Lord wants each heart that professes to love Him to seek Him in their prayer closet, apart from social media.
That along with anything else that distracts our mind away from the Lord, is not holy.
He wants us to set ourselves apart unto Him.
Holy means set apart.
Christ will tolerate no idols.
Please don’t take my word for it. Go in to your prayer closet and pray and seek Christ without distractions.
Meditate on the Word of God without the constant interruption and intrusion of the internet or social media, work, hobbies, or anything that takes your mind or interest away from the Lord.
Jesus said, ““My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.” ~ John 10:27-28 KJV
Those who really want to come back to Christ will listen and hear Him speaking in this message to them.
They will recognize the voice of their Good Shepherd. For they belong to Jesus and are His true sheep. Jesus said the voice of a stranger they would not follow.
But Jesus said that those who do not believe and who have no faith, do not belong to Him. Those who are His want above all else to please Christ and do His will.
Jesus told the Pharisees who kept questioning Him despite all of the amazing miracles they saw that witnessed to His deity:
“…I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you.” John 10:25-26 KJV
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”~ 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 KJV
“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, “To day if ye will hear His voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, In the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted Me, proved Me, And saw My works forty years.
“Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; And they have not known My ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) “
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
While it is said, “To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
But with whom was He grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?
And to whom sware He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believed not?
So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:7-19 KJV
“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 ❤️