Roots grow deeper, but all is grey. Ground, skies, and leaves brittle and blowing in the winter wind. Roots grow deeper, but nothing is green. Only in our dreams and imagination are plants flourishing and lush. Roots grow deeper, but how can we know? There is no sign up here of life down there. Roots grow deeper, so faith presses on. From the winter of faith-sowing comes the summer of sight-reaping.
Week 4 Day 1
Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. 5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Is God so petty that he cared about the kind of sacrifice one brother offered over another? Then, was it because of God’s rejection of Cain that he turned against his brother in hate? No, God rejected Cain’s “offering” because it was not worship. Cain’s heart was already turned against God and his brother. Cain’s offering was not given in faith. How could it be when his heart was so filled with self and with rage? Abel offered a better sacrifice than his brother because Abel came to God in faith, in desire for relationship. Cain’s heart was seen in his response. God even gave him a chance to see when he asked him, “Why are you so angry, why are you feeling sorry for yourself?” Cain had the opportunity to repent of what was in his heart and to allow God to heal it. Instead he took his anger out on his brother. What is most amazing about the story is that God still showed Cain grace. He received undeserved mercy. But what of Abel, how does he still “speak” even though he is dead? They are in fact both dead, and they both speak. One speaks a warning and the other, a vision. The warning is evident: our hearts can turn dark and take us to dark places. The vision that Abel’s life speaks to us is that a heart that is given to God and a life of offering given to God are not a waste even if (when) that life is over. Both are dead, but the story of Cain’s life is waste; the story of Abel’s (shorter life) is God’s glory. It’s likely no one will write the story of your life so that others will read it years after you are gone. But it is still your opportunity to have a life that continues to “speak” long after you are gone. How so? The same way Abel’s life “speaks”: it is because God “spoke well” of him. God said to him, “Well done!” You have the same opportunity. You have before you, for as many days as you are given, to live in a way that will result in God himself “speaking well” of you. What is this path of “well done”? It is the path of faith. It is to live towards God and others as if God is alive and worthy of our very lives. Faith is living for the glory of God and the good of others. It is to offer our lives to him as a “better sacrifice” in order to hear from him “well done!” Close the gap today; live for the “well done” of God.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.