I Am

The Lie of "I"

For many years I taught my kindergarten class the story of Cain and Abel. Considering their young age I navigated this story with simple discussions about jealousy, obedience, and love. In re- reading this account in my Bible today the Lord took me through it with His perspective, keeping it simple for my old age! :)  I could truly hear the Him speaking to my heart.  He told my heart that I CAN and am ABLE to master the “sin crouching at my door” if I will follow His lead. He made me smile when He showed me that Cain’s name has an “I” in the middle of it. I began to recognize at once the lesson He was about to lay gently upon my heart.

May we stop and take time at the beginning of each day, with a repentant heart asking God to bring to mind those things in our lives that do not glorify Him. When I do not give God that first hour of my day (my “first fruit”) I find that my  “I”  steps in with a plan to dominate my day, preventing His blessings to me. The Lord speaks to all of our hearts when He tells Cain with tenderness and compassion, ”If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door: it desires to have you, but you must master it.” The only way to do this is to take our focus away from the “I” in our sinful hearts and focus on Our Shepherd. The account of Cain and Abel should shout to our hearts and minds of our need for repentance and surrender in order to receive true blessings. Cain was so focused on his “I” that he missed the blessing.

Think about our world today. We live in a “ME” culture. It all revolves around what we want, and then, getting it in our desired timing. Satan continues to crouch at our door whispering his lies into our minds and our perspectives. I have often wondered about the mark that God put on Cain. Was it like a t-shirt that I saw someone wearing recently that said, “It All About ME”. I realize that the shirt was meant to be funny…but the irony of it was not lost on my heart. I can easily picture Cain in that shirt…but then… I have to ask the question…If God gave me a shirt today, what would my shirt say?  In my time with the Lord this morning, He showed me how easy it is for me to slip on that “All About ME” shirt. I must admit that the one thing that Satan does well is to convince us to justify the “lie of I”.

Take a moment and contrast what the Lord says about Cain and Abel’s offerings. “In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.” Everything in this sentence speaks to me of Cain’s timing and of his choosing. It does not speak of first fruits… it just says “some fruits”.  Notice the first word in the next verse is the word “But”. This word shouts of contrast to me. “But Abel brought fat portionsfrom some of thefirst born of his flock. Here God tells us that Abel had a flock.  Abel gave God the best part from “some” of the first born. This does not sound like one lamb… it was the best from “some” of the first born. Either this was a huge offering, or the Lord whispers to my heart that this was a continuous offerings. Giving God the first of the best of what we have implies to me that there will be more to come. It is amazing that when I pour over God’s word and pay attention to the meaning and purpose of each and every word…sometimes His truth will simply jump out at me.

Lord, I ask this day that my focus rest on You.  Keep Satan’s “lie of I” from crouching at my doorstep. In Your strength let me master it. Help me to have a repentant heart and a steadfast focus on You. I want to surrender to You my “first fruits,” my “fat portions,” the very best of what You have given to me in my “flock” today, tomorrow and always. Let my heart not be “downcast”, but be filled with the joy and the awe of Your endless abundance of love.  I thank You Father for your precious words each and every one of them!                                 Written by: guest blogger Jeanne East

Christian Educator

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Tell the Truth: Do You Really Know Jesus?

There was a popular game show “To Tell the Truth” that aired from 1956-1968 in which three people stood before a celebrity panel and all claimed to be the same person who had accomplished something significant. The show began with a reading of the famous person’s credentials, after which each of the three people would claim they were that person by starting their statement with “I am…” and ending their statement with the name of the accomplished person. However, only one was telling the truth and the other two were imposters. The goal of the celebrity panel was to try to determine who was the truth teller and who were the imposters. Imposters throughout the ages have claimed to be the promised Messiah, and there will be others in the future who will also make that false claim. However, there is only one who claimed to be the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection proved He indeed was telling the truth. His name is Jesus. He alone fulfilled over 350 Old Testament prophesies.

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The following are reasons why Jesus came to earth, and He accomplished everything He was sent to do:

“For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.” John 18:37 “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1st John 3:8 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. “ John 3:17 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” 1st Timothy 1:15 “…so that by his death He (Jesus) might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—”Hebrews 2:14 “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Mark 2:17 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. “John 10: 17-18 "…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28 “…that He (Jesus) might make atonement for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18 Jesus, Who is Truth, made the following “I am” statements about Himself, and past and current disciples attest that they are indeed true of Him:

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

I encourage you to take the time to read the gospel of John, which is all about the person of Jesus. Knowing Him will change your life! (Philippians 3: 7-14) It is my hope that as you celebrate Easter this year that you will reflect upon all that Jesus accomplished; consider Who He is and all that you have because of Him; and realize that He is the only Way to experience abundant life on earth and eternal life in Heaven!

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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