Today's Bible Verse...

The Blessing of Blessing

Attack! In the dark of the night Abram’s 318 men attack in all directions, pursuing Kedorlaomer’s army as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. Abram is victorious, rescuing his nephew Lot and his possessions, and all the other captives. (See Genesis 14:15-24.)

In the valley of Shaveh (the king’s valley), Abram meets the king of Sodom.  (This is also where Melchizedek meets Abram, and blesses him by God Most High. Abram returns the blessing by giving Melchizedek a tenth of everything.)

So the king of Sodom is approaching Abram. “Give me the people,” he says to Abram, “and you keep all the goods for yourself.”

Sounds like a deal Abram for sure won’t resist.  But what’s this? What is Abram saying to that king of Sodom? Listen: “I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High,” Abram says, "and have taken an oath that I will accept nothing belonging to you, O, King, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich,’" (Genesis 14:22-24).

Before the king of Sodom, Abram acknowledges his God, Creator of heaven and earth, as the true Victor, and his King of righteousness and peace.

Fast-forwarding now to the New Testament era, we see Jesus. A babe in a manger, born of a virgin on that first Christmas day, yet he was born to die. And rising again from the dead, he is our Victor over death and hell, and “priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” (See Hebrews 7.)

During his time on earth, Jesus related a story of a certain rich man.  That man was so rich in material goods that he didn’t know what to do with it all, other than building bigger barns to store it. (See Luke 12:16-21.)

Jesus told his disciples, “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions,” (Luke 12:15). He continued, “This is what the pagans do. They run after all such earthly thingsBut you, child of God, run after God’s Kingdom first, and His righteousness [for the sake of the peoples of the world], and He will provide all your earthly needs.” (See Luke 12:22-31; Matthew 6:25-33.)

Journeying on through history to the late 1800s, we meet Henry M. Stanley, the man who uttered the popular quote, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume.” He is a most unlikely candidate for missionary service.

Henry Stanley, illegitimately born in Britain, has fled the cruelty of a workhouse master and gone to America, settling in New Orleans. There, a wealthy merchant adopts him.

But, Stanley, a troublesome teenager, is sent away to work on a plantation. During the American Civil War, he serves in both the Confederate and Union armies. Later, he joins the Navy only to desert. He becomes a freelance journalist. This career takes him to Asia and then to Africa, where he finds David Livingstone, through whom he also finds Jesus, the Christ (Messiah).

Livingstone becomes Stanley’s hero. With a determined passion, he pleads for missionary volunteers through his writings.

At hearing of Livingstone’s death, Stanley writes, “May I be selected to succeed him in opening up Africa to the shining light of Christianity!

And God continues His search today for other "Henry Stanleys", who will likewise consider their gifts and abilities as from God to be used for the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom to all peoples of the world.

Consider the book How I Found Livingstone.

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