Today's Bible Verse...

An Everlasting Possession

The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “I am God Almighty…” (Genesis 18:1-2)

At hearing God speak to him, being refreshed with God’s promise, Abram fell on his face before God.

(A thought to ponder: How do we respond in the presence of the great I AM? We are in His presence all the time – morning, noon, and night – even our sleeping hours.  "24/7". How comforting the thought that He never sleeps, never slumbers; He’s ever awake watching over us – Psalm 121:3-4.)

Twice before, God had made known His covenant (promise) to Abram, as seen in Genesis chapters 12 and 15. Now He is bringing it into clear focus. As a part of this, God changes Abram’s name. No longer is he called Abram, but Abraham (father of a multitude), as nations and kings will come from him.

“Take a look at this land of your sojourning, in which you are an alien,” God said to Abraham, “All of Canaan. As My covenant is an everlasting covenant, so I am giving this land to you and your descendants after you as an everlasting possession, and as I am yours, so I will be their God."

(A thought to ponder: How long is everlasting? What God gives cannot be lost, nor can it be taken away.)

Fast forwarding now, we meet the I am of the New Testament – Jesus, the Christ (the Anointed One). Here He declares, “I am the good shepherd,” John 10:14-15 (the One as in the days of Abraham – Genesis 48:15 and 49:24, and of whom the psalmist has written about as well – Psalm 23:1 and 80:1).

“I am the door,” Jesus also declares. “Through Me if anyone enters, he will be saved and will find green pastures. All others who have come before Me [and after, to this very day] are thieves and robbers, only to kill, and destroy, and deceive” (Paraphrased from John 10:7-13; cf Psalm 23:1.).

“I give them eternal life [an everlasting possession] and they shall never perish. And no one can snatch them out My hand, nor out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28, 29).

Declaring His divinity, Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30, 31) But to the dismay of the unbelieving, he says, "All who do believe, however, and receive Him, are born anew by God’s Spirit and become His children." (John 1:12, 13)

 At another place Jesus declares in another way, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). The reason why He was sent: To show us the Father. And the reason why He sends us (John 20:21): To declare His glory among the ‘nations’ (all peoples of the earth).

We now travel forward in time to the 17th Century, at the beginning of the English exploration of the New World. It’s also a time of expansion of Christianity in the West. As appearing in the Virginia charter of 1606, the king offers his blessing to the colonists “in propagating the Christian religion to such a people who yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance.”

(A thought to ponder: From a seed that sprouted in Israel, God blossoms His love for the ‘nations’--peoples--throughout His world. As the hymnist has written, “This is my Father’s world, oh let me ne'er forget...”)

In England is born John Eliot, who later becomes known in the New World as “the apostle to the Indians.” He is educated for the ministry at Cambridge, graduating from there in 1622. Serving as a schoolteacher for a time, he then sets sail for Massachusetts in 1631. A year later his three brothers, three sisters, and fiancée, Hanna Mumford, join him. In October of 1632 he and Hanna marry.

John Eliot pastors a congregation in the small frontier settlement of Roxbury, just outside Boston. And in 1644, at 40 years of age, simply availing him self to the need, he begins his missionary work among the Algonquin Indians.

He first studies the language, an arduous task, as the Algonquin tongue is an unwritten language. Cochenoe, a young Algonquin, who travels with Eliot as his interpreter and assistant, aids him in learning the language. After several years the Algonquin Bible is finally completed – the New Testament in 1661, the Old Testament in 1663 – it is the first Bible printed in America.
With the passing of time, fruit sprouts from Eliot’s labor among the Algonquins. Soon, Eliot realizes the need to separate the new Algonquin Christians from those who show no interest in the gospel. He makes an appeal to the General Court of Massachusetts, and several thousand acres are granted 18 miles southwest of Boston. The settlement of Natick is established. Later, more land is granted and by 1671 over 1100 Algonquin Christians are gathered into 14 settlements.
And God continues His search today for other “John Eliots,” who will likewise, in seeing the need, avail their lives to sharing God’s everlasting possession among the peoples of the world.

Let us pray: Father, in all that our hands find to do, may it be done for Your glory, and not for our own gratification. And may we always be ready to answer everyone who may ask us a reason for the hope we possess, yet with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). In Jesus' name.

Read more about John Eliot and his work:

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