When God Speaks – Part 4

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Cain and Abel were the first brothers to be born of Adam and Eve. You’d think that with so few people on planet earth they’d be able to get along fabulously…not so.

 

Jealous Cain was miffed that the Lord favored Abel’s offering of fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock, with Cain bringing some of the fruits of the soil he worked. Makes sense to the common reader that both would be rather equal. But, the Lord preferred what Abel offered, most likely because of his God-fearing heart.

 

Since sin had encroached at the door of Cain’s heart, he conspired out of anger to attack and kill Abel. Out in the field where no one could see this act of irrational man slaughter, he jealously and vengefully murdered his brother. But, when confronted by the Lord after his dirty deed, “Where is your brother Abel?” Cain lied and said, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4: 6-9)

 

The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear.  Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” But the Lord said to him, “Not so;  anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. (Genesis 4:10-15).

What do you notice about the Lord’s treatment of Cain?  He confronted Cain with a simple question about the presence (in reality: absence) of Abel. Then, he confronts Cain with the truth of his vicious murder. And, he sends him out as a restless wanderer, no longer able to work the land he was originally created to do. But, what’s so remarkable is that the Lord spares Cain’s life, guarding him from anyone who would seek to kill him. The mark on Cain would be one of sovereign protection.

 

When God speaks he voices truth at all times. He is fully aware of the activities of his children. He brings about justice and discipline for acts of disobedience. But, he always loves with mercy, kindness and grace. Cain deserved the death penalty for so viciously and violently murdering his brother. When in fact he should have been Abel’s keeper, he instead was Abel’s destroyer. Even then, with such a heinous crime coming from his sinful heart, God in his mercy spares his life.

 

What sin are you most aware of that without God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness you would be much worse off today? And, in what way can you be your “brother’s (or sister’s) keeper” and urge another caringly to remain faithful to the Lord?

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.