Camp-of-the-Woods (Day 2)

Well 7:30 AM comes real early in the morning.  That is what time breakfast starts here at Camp-of-the-Woods.  There are times I see waking up that early being more a rude awakening rather than a necessity but I have made it.  The weather was cloudy today and the rain fell through the night.  As I walked up the hill to the dinning hall, I wondered what the day would bring.

Erwin Lutzer spoke again today.  I have to admit that I was not 100 percent excited to listen to him today.  Partly because yesterday (Sunday), I felt as though I would not be able to relate to anything he was going to speak about.  Being 26 and he being 65, I prayed that God would make his speech relatable to my missional context.  I am glad it did.

His topic was a little more on the level where I see honest issues in the church.  The topic was, “The Blinding Power of the Offense.”  The word offense can refer to several meanings in the Hebrews.  It can refer to a trap or a stumbling block to name a few.  He discussed personal offensives and how they can hinder our ability to be the body of Christ.  I understand that.  Oftentimes, that has been my personal reason for almost leaving the church.  Too many people end up gossiping or creating an environment that is not all loving like it should be.  I have been in such churches.  I can definitely say I understand.

Our Scripture for today was the story of Cain and Abel.  I guess a lot of us know the story quite well.  I think sometimes that is the problem.  Oftentimes, we know the stories far too well; we miss new things God desires to show us in His Word.  I am glad I listened cause I can honestly say I really learned a lot from the text.

The story goes that both Cain and Abel were born to Adam and Eve.  I am sure they were a joy in many respects.  As they grew up, each chose a line of work that suited their abilities.  Abel worked with sheep, Can worked with farming.  Both wanted to bring an offering to the Lord.  And so, Abel brought a fat portioning to the Lord, Cain brought choice grain.  For whatever reasons God decided, God accepted the offering of Abel and not of Cain.  My only true guess is:  Cain’s offering was from the ground – which was cursed by God because of his father and mother’s sin.  Abel’s offering was accepted because he needed to kill the sheep and bring the fat portions to God.  Blood was spilt.  That is only my personal thoughts.  Too many people try and suggest their thoughts.  That is pointless.  The story says that God accepted one and did not accept the other.  So it goes.

Cain was jealous.  And honestly, who wouldn’t be jealous?  For whatever reason, Cain was so mad; he killed his brother Abel and left him there to rot in the field.  All I can say to that is – craziness.  God meets up with Cain and begins to question him.  “Where is your brother, Abel?”  Cain lies to God and is found out.  Cain is like a boy who lies to his father about drinking an orange soda.  His lips are painted orange by the color of the soda, yet he lies that he did not drink it.  God curses Cain for his actions.  Cain complains that the punishment is more than he either deserves or he can bear.

And so, Dr. Lutzer stopped reading the text.  Some of the points he brought out from the text was thought provoking.  Cain refused the counsel of God.  God told Cain to master his anger or that his anger would master him.  I wonder sometimes if we do not listen to the counsel of God.  Sometimes, God gives us His word so that we cannot make certain mistakes in our lives.  Oftentimes, we do not take the counsel of God though and would rather take the counsel of others.  Can also refused responsibility for his actions.  He tried to lie to God about his brother.  He had not care in the world about him or what he had done.  I understand this as well.  There are many times in my own life I try to pass my responsibility off on others instead of taking responsibility for my actions.  We not only have responsibility to others but also have responsibility to take care of those within our community.  We are family – we are the body of Christ.  Cain finally chose to be more self-absorbed with his punishment rather than acknowledging that he actually deserved death for killing his own brother.  Once again, I understand this.

Erwin Lutzer said, “Oftentimes, we are blinded to our own faults.  The ability to see yourself as others see you is a divine gift from the Lord.”  I agree.  There are many times in which I am ready to judge someone or speak negatively towards another person.  I rarely look at myself as the problem.  I have so much to learn – but I am learning nonetheless.  I guess we need to continually ask God to search our hearts and provide us an accurate picture of what we really look like.

After I went to the conference, I went hiking to Oger’s Fall (about a three-minute drive from the camp and a 30 minute trail walk.  It was beautiful.  I took several pictures I will put online when I get home.  This evening, I went and spent some time alone with the Lord.  I do not do this enough.

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