YESTERDAY’S ROSES

By: Gary L. Rodgers

My how time seems to fly the older that we get. It doesn’t seem so long ago that I was living at my parents home in the countryside where I grew up. I can still picture the house and barn and other storage/utility sheds that we had. And I will never forget the massive Oak tree that was hollowed out at its base where a spring flowed out of it and we got our drinking water from. The tree itself was at least a good five feet or more in diameter. The branches were huge and I often wished that we had a ladder high enough for me to get up on one of its lowest branches. I can still picture the Blue Bells and violets that grew wild in the fields nearby, and the fox grapes that overran one of our fences. The four seasons seemed to bring its special gift of color, heat, and cold to our home. But the best part of it all was that we had each other to love and care for. We were a poor family but we felt rich in the comfort of our home and each other’s company.

My brothers and I would crawl around and hide from each other in the wheat fields and we traveled all over the endless forestry around our home. We had just as much imagination as the next guy and probably even more because of our surroundings. Life was so beautiful when we were kids. And I still miss the old place. I drive by there every so often and have witnessed many changes. Most of what I remember as a child has disappeared but thankfully I still can see them in my mind. My brothers and sisters and I have grown in years and some have even passed on in death. But I still hold to what I call Yesterday’s roses, those fond memories of the past.

The most hurtful part of the past is the times that my brothers and I would argue and say some of the most hate filled words to each other. My how I wish that I could go back and change all of that! Anger plagues us with some pain that never seems to go away.

THE BROTHERS

I am reminded of two brothers in scripture that probably had their share of fun and imagination as well. And I can only imagine that to some degree like us they probably looked out for each other. It was one thing for us as kids to fight with one another, but let an outsider get involved in it and our focus of attention changed direction in a hurry. If I hit my brother that was my business! But if you jumped in and hit him then you became our business. No matter how often we got angry and fought with each other deep inside we had a love that stopped us from going out of control and yet inside we offered our protection to each other as the need came up. Cain and Able I’m sure were two brothers that loved each other and I believe that they had their share of quarrels as well. The unfortunate nasty side of anger is when jealousy and bitterness mixes in with it. It can become deadly. And in their case it did. Jealousy and bitterness bares an ugly face that shows in the countenance of a person. And in Cain’s case it showed on his face.

Genesis 4:5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Why was one offering acceptable and the other one not? I believe that we may have an answer in Genesis 3:21. Here we find that God slew two animals and took the coats of skin and covered the nakedness (sin) of Adam and Eve. This whole act is a picture of the innocent victim (Christ the Lamb of God) dying (being offered up in sacrifice) for the guilty sinner so that they or we could be clothed in (Salvation) His righteousness.[1]

Sin has a price (death)[2] and the payment for that sin is blood.[3] In the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament you will find the laws concerning these offerings.

GIVE IT YOUR BEST

In the Old Testament the sacrifice was offered to cover (symbolized through the coats of skin) man’s sin. In The New Testament Christ the perfect sacrifice washed away man’s sin with His shed blood. I believe that Able’s offering was the best of what he had and it certainly had God’s approval for being an animal sacrifice.

With regard to Cain’s offering the bible says “But unto Cain and to his offering he (God) had not respect.” Why didn’t God acknowledge Cain’s sacrifice? I believe that there are several reasons for that. But the primary reason was because his sacrifice was not a blood sacrifice to make atonement for his sins, and what he had brought was wrong and he offered it in a way that God would not approve of.  Leviticus 23:9-15 tells us what the laws were regarding an offering of first fruits. Had this been an offering of first fruits then there were specific steps that had to be taken and on certain days. So what would Cain and Able have known about making offerings to God when the laws regarding sacrifices had not been given yet? I believe that they knew and I believe that their father Adam passed that information on to them. Otherwise why would Able have met the requirements and offered up the first of his flock and the fat of his offering had he not known something about making sacrifices unto God?

So what was wrong with Cain’s sacrifice?[4] Was it the first fruits of harvest that he was offering? Was it the best of what he had to offer? Did he wave a sheave of grain before the Lord? I can only speculate at this point. But one thing for certain it caused jealousy and bitterness in the heart of Cain and he took the life of his brother because of it.

Genesis 4:8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

Once a life is taken it’s too late to say that you’re sorry. God passed judgment upon Cain and Cain became a vagabond and a wonderer in the earth. How sad that Able died at the hands of his brother because of jealousy and bitterness.

PAINFUL MEMORIES

There are other brothers that had some painful memories as well. But in the end they were reunited with their brothers and the slate of all past wrongs were wiped clean.  There was Jacob and Esau. There was Joseph and his brothers. You only get one chance in life to love your brothers and sisters. So why delay any longer in making amends if there are things between you? I have painful memories of my one brother dying of cancer. What a sad time that was. I remember in his last week’s I would go over every night to spend time with him and cook for him while my sister in law was at work. I can still see his poor shaky hands trying to feed himself. And everything that he ate only stayed with him for a short while. I loved my brother and it tore at my heart to see him withering away and dying like that. Fortunately I had some time to show him that I loved him and I wrote a poem for him and I was able to read it to him at one of our church Jubilees before he got to where he couldn’t leave the house any more.

THE INVITATION

You never know what tomorrow may bring. But one thing for certain is that it doesn’t make sense to harbor bad feelings of jealousy and bitterness while you have a chance to change all of that. Life is far too short and eternity is way to long to miss out on the opportunity to forgive and love one another and to be reconciled to each other.  And if you need help with that then I invite you to come to Christ and He will give you what you need to make things right. Do something special for yourself and your loved ones. Bow your head and say this simple prayer by faith.

Dear Lord I know that I am a sinner needing a Savior. I come before you in prayer seeking your forgiveness for all of my sin. Please cleanse me with your blood and send the Holy Spirit into my heart to direct me in the ways of righteousness. I put my complete trust in you as my Lord and Savior. Please give me the words and the courage to talk to my loved ones so that they might get saved. I pray and ask this in your name. Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision.  Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!

YESTERDAY’S ROSES

 

               Yesterday’s roses seem to be all that we have at times.

               And that’s what I hold so dear to me, those memories of my mind.

               I would trade the wealth of the world, to live them once again.

               Just to say how much you mean to me my brother, my lifelong

friend.

               I remember how we played and fought, but deep inside we cared.

               And even though our tempers rose, a bond of love we shared.

               And how we would protect each other from harm that came our

way;

               But then you fought a tougher foe, one I could not slay.

               I thank the Lord that He’s always with you; and now He holds your

hand;

               And someday He’ll give that gentle tug toward the Promised Land.

               And when I stand beside your robe of flesh that’s left behind,

               I’ll remember yesterday’s roses those treasures of my mind.

               I’ll not sorrow at your parting, but rather what I threw away,

               those times that we could have loved each other instead of the

harsh words we’d say.

               Thank God He has provided a Lamb so pure and clean.

               That we could bathe in His precious blood for our souls to be

redeemed.

               And then I’ll stop and thank Him for your graduation day.

               And praise Him for taking your precious soul, to our home so far

away.

               His promises of tomorrow will dry my tear stained face,

               as I look forward to seeing you once again, in that grand and

glorious place.

               I’ll look for you at the feet of Jesus, and I’ll praise Him even more,

               for saving the souls of my dear loved ones and for the burden of

sin He bore.

               I thank you Lord for the roses, those treasures of yesterday,

for the Rose of Sharon at Calvary, who washed our sins away.

Now as I close my eyes to rest, might dreams of Heaven be,

To find my brother’s smiling face waiting there for me.

 

 

                                                                                          By:

                                                                                          Gary L. Rodgers


[1] When we get saved God the Father will then be able to look upon us and see that we are in Christ (clothed in Christ’s righteousness/salvation) and he (The Holy Spirit) in us. See Isaiah 61:10   God cannot behold sin that was why He turned His back to Christ when he hung on the cross and Jesus cried with a loud voice and said “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Because at that point Christ had taken upon Himself all of mans sin so that He (Christ) would make payment (Shed His Blood) for those sins.