My Brother’s Keeper?

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

Genesis 4:1-17:

  • 1 — “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain and said, ‘I have gotten a man from the Lord.'”
  • 2 — “And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.”
  • 3 — “And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.”
  • 4 — “And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering.”
  • 5 — “But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”
  • 6 — “And the Lord said unto Cain, ‘Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen?'”
  • 7 — “‘If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.'”
  • 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.”
  • 9 — “And the Lord said unto Cain, ‘Where is Abel thy brother?’ And he said, ‘I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?'”
  • 10 — “And He said, ‘What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.‘”
  • 11 — “‘And now art thou cursed from the earth which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;'”
  • 12 — “‘When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.'”
  • 13 — “And Cain said unto the Lord, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear.'”
  • 14 — “‘Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that everyone that findeth me shall slay me.'”
  • 15 — “And the Lord said unto him, ‘Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.’ And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.”
  • 16 — “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.”
  • 17 — “And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.”

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Genesis 4:1-17 — Notes

God evicted Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden because they defied His command in choosing to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. Thus, their eyes were opened and they understood the difference between good and evil. Fearing they might also partake from the fruit of the Tree of Life, God found it necessary to send them out of the Garden.

Setting up a household out in the great big world, Adam and Eve began to live the life of a hunting and gathering family–hunting for meat and tilling the soil to grow fruits and vegetables for the family. Soon Eve was expecting their first child. When he was born, Adam and Eve named the child Cain. A short time later, Eve bore a second son whom they named Abel. Cain and Abel grew strong and capable in their worldly home as their individual areas of interest and expertise diverged. Cain was good at tilling the soil and growing a bountiful harvest from it. Abel, on the other hand, preferred to tend the sheep and expand his flock.

Cain was thankful and appreciative of the bountiful, abundant harvest he reaped from his tilling of the ground. He proceeded to gather some and present it in beautiful form to the Lord as a sacrifice. Abel, seeing Cain sacrifice to the Lord a portion of his harvest, offered to the Lord some of the firstlings from his flock and the fat thereof.

The Lord had much respect for the sacrifice Abel presented, but He was not pleased with the produce presented as Cain’s sacrifice. This upset Cain very much. The more he thought on it, the angrier he became. His attitude became downcast and sulky. God asked him why he was being so belligerent and told him if he presented a satisfactory sacrifice, it too would be accepted. He further explained the consequences of continued unacceptable behavior and not doing well in His sight would be to have sin lying at the entrance to his home. Sin would ensnare his every desire and present it to Cain until he ruled over sinful desires and cared not about pleasing God.

Henceforth, when the two brothers were toiling in the field, Cain talked to Abel. However, he was not pleased with Abel’s responses. As his attitude became increasingly sullen, he became extremely opposed to Abel’s beliefs. Finally, his ire was roused to such a point, he rose up and killed Abel–spilling Abel’s blood into the soil.

When God came to talk to Cain, He asked about Abel. Cain said he did not know the whereabouts of Abel. He said to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

God was angry and chastised Cain. He said, “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.”

Cain bowed his head, shook it and said, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth, and from Thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass that every one that findeth me shall slay me.”

God said, “Not so, Cain! Whoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall reap upon him sevenfold.” Then the Lord placed a mark upon Cain so all would know who he was. Knowing the curse set upon anyone who killed Cain, they would be deterred, go on their way, and leave Cain alive.

Then, Cain went out to the land of Nod on the east of Eden and dwelt there with his wife. When she bore him a son, they named the boy Enoch. Cain built a city in his son’s honor and named it Enoch–after his son.

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Comments

So, the moral of this story in Genesis 4 is fourfold:

1.) One of the ten commandments later given to Moses for governing the Israeli people as they wandered in the wilderness forty years was: Thou shalt not kill. Here, Cain killed Abel. Then, he denied this fact to God. God knew he had killed Abel, and He tried to give him a chance to tell the truth–come clean about his sin, but Cain denied any knowledge regarding Abel’s whereabouts.

2.) We are our brothers’ keepers to some degree. We should always try to have some knowledge of our brothers’ whereabouts and status–even when they do not communicate with us. We should try to acquaint ourselves with information about them, whether they are biological or other familial brothers. This also applies to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

3.) Anger, uncontrolled and unbridled leads us to action with unacceptable consequences. Cain’s anger led to despondent mood, self-pity, and finger-pointing. These “sins,” in turn, led to Cain killing Abel and trying to hide that fact. He did not consider the magnanimous nature of his offense. Maybe we can equate this as the reason humans today consider small, minor, “more acceptable” offenses to be less important–and to the human belief of God viewing them the same.

4.) God makes no difference in “degree of sin.” Sin is sin, and if not forgiven via cleansing by Christ’s blood, it is punishable by an eternity in hell just as Cain was eternally banished from God’s presence.

It is our choice where we spend eternity. God drove Cain from his homeland–even out of His presence–meaning Cain then had no chance of ever redeeming himself with God. This shows us, in like manner, how sins continually committed today–without atonement–can cause our hearts to harden to the point we do not care what we do to self or others. When this level of hardness develops, we have no chance of ever heeding the message of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. As a result, we choose to spend eternity in hell with other sinners–eternally apart from God in heaven. All sin has consequences. Therefore, when we choose to enact any sin, we choose those consequences along with “it.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Source:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 4. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (14 November 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Genesis-Chapter-4/.

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Photo above: Ugo Mendes Donelli @Unsplash.com.

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My Morning Prayer

by tkbrown
Thank You, Jesus
for bringing me through this night to another day.
Show me the things you would have me do and say.
Give me opportunity to help another along the way.
Be my sunshine when skies look dreary and grey.
Touch your healing hand to ailments producing fray.
Whisper love to family and friends when troubles weigh
upon their lives, seeming to unbearably lash and flay.
Allow me to touch someone as I bow my head and pray.
In Jesus name,
Amen.

~~~~~~~~~~

As I begin each morning, I thank God and Jesus for the restful night and a brand new day. As the Apostle Paul instructed the New Testament Christians in Thessalonica:

“Pray without ceasing.”

1 Thessalonians 5:17 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).”

I try to continually engage a prayerful attitude about all that I do, think, and, say. I am far from perfect, and I need His help every step of the way. There is no sweeter way to progress through life than in prayerful supplication of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul traveled much, taught God and Christ daily, wrote epistles to a number of New Testament churches, and edified Christians in every possible way. He enjoined the followers at Philippi to:

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Philippians 4:6 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).”

Here, he offered encouragement to not worry regarding the needs of this life, but rather to let God know what we need every hour of every day.

God will provide if we but heed His command as Jesus–in His Sermon on the Mount–instructed:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Matthew 6:33 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV).

If our thoughts are centered upon God and His kingdom, if we focus on these things — we will not have time to look at the world and those in it. We will be given more than our feeble minds could ever conjure.

~~~~~~~~~~

Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 1 Thessalonians 5:17. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (13 November 2021). 1 THESSALONIANS 5:17 KJV “Pray without ceasing.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Philippians 4:6. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (13 November 2021). PHILIPPIANS 4:6 KJV “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 6:33. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (13 November 2021). MATTHEW 6:33 KJV “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

~~~~~~~~~~

Picture above: reene black @pixabay.com.

~~~~~~~~~~

My Morning Prayer

by tkbrown
Thank You, Jesus
for bringing me through this night to another day.
Show me the things you would have me do and say.
Give me opportunity to help another along the way.
Be my sunshine when skies look dreary and grey.
Touch your healing hand to ailments producing fray.
Whisper love to family and friends when troubles weigh
upon their lives, seeming to unbearably lash and flay.
Allow me to touch someone as I bow my head and pray.
In Jesus name,
Amen.

~~~~~~~~~~

As I begin each morning, I thank God and Jesus for the restful night and a brand new day. As the Apostle Paul instructed the New Testament Christians in Thessalonica:

“Pray without ceasing.”

1 Thessalonians 5:17 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).”

I try to continually engage a prayerful attitude about all that I do, think, and, say. I am far from perfect, and I need His help every step of the way. There is no sweeter way to progress through life than in prayerful supplication of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul traveled much, taught God and Christ daily, wrote epistles to a number of New Testament churches, and edified Christians in every possible way. He enjoined the followers at Philippi to:

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Philippians 4:6 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).”

Here, he offered encouragement to not worry regarding the needs of this life, but rather to let God know what we need every hour of every day.

God will provide if we but heed His command as Jesus–in His Sermon on the Mount–instructed:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Matthew 6:33 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV).

If our thoughts are centered upon God and His kingdom, if we focus on these things — we will not have time to look at the world and those in it. We will be given more than our feeble minds could ever conjure.

~~~~~~~~~~

Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 1 Thessalonians 5:17. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (13 November 2021). 1 THESSALONIANS 5:17 KJV “Pray without ceasing.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Philippians 4:6. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (13 November 2021). PHILIPPIANS 4:6 KJV “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 6:33. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (13 November 2021). MATTHEW 6:33 KJV “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

~~~~~~~~~~

Picture above: reene black @pixabay.com.

~~~~~~~~~~

Fall . . .

. . . is on the way

by tkbrown
Just when it looks like summer
has settled in to stay,
sunshine follows days of wet
with a teeny bit less heat
during mid-day sun
and some temperature drops
as nighttime turns to  dawn.

Cooler temps have been knocking
for a few days now,
patiently awaiting just the right time
to make a grand entrance
and take Mother Nature's bow.

Highs in the seventies
and lows in the sixties--
then suddenly lows drop
into the upper forties.

Knock, Knock, Knock:
Fall pleading to be let in
to meet the schedule
as planned--
beginning an end to life's cycle
currently at hand
as the never-ending circle
inches forward in the sand.

As time and warmth fall back,
colors explode along scenic drives
to ease the pain when mostly black
with touches of grays, browns,
and splotches of green
signal hibernation--
from which Mother Nature
slowly awakens the Southern Hemisphere
where leaves and buds begin to appear
in varying shades of yellow green
and the most beautiful flowers
a body has seen
poke their heads out to welcome the sun
as we flip earth's annual cycle
of fertility and recline.

The fall equinox
with it's Harvest Moon
is knocking quite loudly
on summer's tune
as Mother Nature's produce
is reaped and stored while Earth's
lower half is tilling and sowing
for the abundance provided
by summer's noon.

With a knock, knock, knock,
cooler temperatures arrived--
just a wee bit cooler,
from those storm clouds derived.

When the sunshine returns
with an inviting hue,
heads swivel about to view
the blinding sheen.

Then suddenly, a warning
of a cold night to be--
quite unexpected
during Harvest's Jubilee.
As it slowly returns to normal
over nightfall--two or three--
we will see the colors blossom--
yellow, orange, sienna, and red
will be ushered in for free.

God will be busy painting hillsides
as He beckons days of gold
followed by the nighttime
filled with shivers from the cold.

It is time to pick the pumpkins,
acorn squash, and butternut--
put them in the freezer
for the goodness they impart.
Apples, pears, and walnuts
are being harvested as well
to create delicious treasures
for a healthy winter shell.

Cooler days just seem to call
for something cooking on the stove:
time for Shrimp and Pumpkin Curry,
a pot of aromatic Red Beans,
Sage and Walnut Pumpkin Butter
spread upon a wholegrain bread
or saucing tortellini
for a filling winter spread.

It's time to create
a healthy formula
where spices explicate the flavor--
taking sugar down to size--
in recipes far better
for the heart, and health, and eyes.

These pursuits decrease the half-life
of the wither doldrums when
idleness is created
by the binds of winter strife.
The harvest--then in storage--
promotes artistic flair
just to see the results,
small the aromatic air,
and exhilarate the taste buds
from the harvest reaped in fall.
≥∑ tkbrown 25 September 2021

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Photo Above:

~~~~~~~~~~

September 2021

~~ a calendar quindecim

by tkbrown

Transition to Fall . . .

As the hot summer days are winding down,
schools returning for the yearly session
are faced with the delta variant surge--
most virulent COVID yet to emerge:
wearing masks, for some virtual learning,
keeping social distance while returning
to classrooms for in person instruction.
Those who succumb go into quarantine
logging in from home to the classroom scene
where some locales have rebelled--banned the mask--
saying it subjugates the students' task.
Some instructors opt to protect themselves--
wearing the masks, getting virus vaccines--
while the opposed spread vile, poisonous germs.

The world looks forward to a fall cool-down,
experts predict twin pandemic to drown
all hopes of relief from the COVID heat
as second strain moves in and takes a seat.
Inter-country travel sets new limits
on those allowed entry--and on exits.
The twenty-year war in Afghanistan
ended, victory flagged the Taliban:
U.S. citizens, fearfully stranded,
call for their transport to be commanded.
The U.S Embassy stands empty now,
and Taliban says diplomats can't go.
Between the war and coronavirus,
the toll has been large on American lives
with experts reporting new mutations.

The fall equinox takes its place on stage
with promise of change whatever your age.
Cooler temps touting a view in the hills
where potent colors laud sensory thrills.
Beautiful photos to brighten the mood
when placed upon walls where atmosphere broods.
Such a gift God provides a dying world
to ease the deep umbrage at times unfurled.
Yellows, reds, various shades of orange
provide quite a lift in visual range
and stir a desire to actively merge
in ritual dance 'midst surrounding dirge.
Fall festivals, hayrides, pumpkin patch tours
celebrate life which is patently yours
and abate sadness with merriment cures.

~~~~~~~~~~

Photo Above: Pumpkin Patch in Autumn @depositphotos.com.

~~~~~~~~~~

Satan’s Role . . .

. . . in the Garden of Eden

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

“But of the fruit of the tree, which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ‘Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.'”

Genesis 3:3“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

Thinking back to the devotional about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, what can we learn from Satan’s role? He appears in disguise as a serpent and delights in creating havoc when things are going well. God created Adam; then He created Eve as a helpmeet to Adam. He put them in the Garden of Eden which He had filled with every beautiful tree and trees with fruit for them to eat. However, He told them not to eat from two trees or they would surely die.

Satan saw how smoothly things were going. God was even going to the garden every afternoon in the cool of the day to walk and talk with Adam and Eve. Satan decides to “have a little fun and confuse the issue with Adam and Eve.” How often have you heard one person say, “so-and-so was picking on me!” The other person laughs a heartless laugh and chortles, “I was just playin!” Well , this is the attitude Satan had when he talked to Eve about the tree from whence she and Adam had been told not to eat.

~~~~~~~~~~

1 — “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, ‘Yea, hath God said, ‘Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?””

2 — “And the woman said unto the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:'”

3 — “‘But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ‘Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.””

4 — “And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘Ye shall not surely die.””

5 — “‘For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.'”

6 — “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.”

7 — “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.”

8 — “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.”

9 — “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, ‘Where art thou?'”

10 — “And he said, ‘I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.'”

11 — “And He said, ‘Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?'”

12 — “And the man said, ‘The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.'”

13 — “And the Lord God said unto the woman, ‘What is this that thou hast done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.'”

14 — “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, ‘Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field, upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.‘”

15 — “‘And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed, it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.'”

16 — “Unto the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.'”

17 — “Unto the man He said, ‘Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, ‘Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;'”

18 — “‘Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;'”

19 — “‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.'”

20 — “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.”

21 — “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them.”

22 — “And the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever:'”

23 — “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.”

24 — “So, He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

Genesis 3:1-24 — “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

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So, Satan saw: Adam and Eve were happy in the garden of Eden, things were going as God intended. Satan was unsettled by this. He plotted and schemed (which is normal for Satan) and devised a plan to cause God some grief. Unbeknownst to Adam and Eve, they became putty in Satan’s hands, and he molded them as he wished. They fell right into his plan. The result was: God’s plans went awry.

This is the same role Satan plays in the world today. All of the chaos around us, all of the violence and ill-will–Satan’s doings: and humanity falls right into his scheme and pushes it along.

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12 — “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”

13 — “For thou hast said in thine heart, ‘I will ascend unto heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:'”

14 — “‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.'”

15 — “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.'”

Isaiah 14:12-15 “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

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When we are tempted to do wrong, Satan is pushing those buttons, making us believe there is nothing wrong with whatever we are being tempted to do. He tells us “if God is good, He will not punish you.” He makes us believe all manner of falsehoods about any and all things by which we are tempted. After all, he is the one tempting us. When we do his will instead of doing the will of God and Jesus in heaven above, Satan wins. If this happens often enough for a long enough time, we reach a point where our hearts are hardened to God’s word.

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12 — “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;”

13 — “but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Hebrews 3:12, 13 “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

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If we allow our hearts to harden against God and His plan for us, we will never listen to His plan of Salvation again. We will never believe Jesus is God’s Son. Ultimately, we will never enter heaven–and Satan will have won. At that point, he knows we will spend eternity with him in hell; since he is the father of sin, he will then be the father of those who follow him instead of God and Jesus.

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“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

John 8:44 “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

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“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”

1 John 3:8“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KVJ)

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If we wish to make an eternal home in heaven with God and Jesus, we must first believe Jesus is God’s Son. Then, we must study God’s word, that we might know what to do in order to follow Him instead of Satan. Finally, we must do all that Jesus and His apostles commanded. They spoke with authority by divine inspiration in order to guide those who were receptive to God’s will in the way they must go.. Today, we must adhere to Christ’s plan of eternal salvation, and we must be faithful to that plan unto death if we wish to spend eternity with God and Jesus in heaven.

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“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

1 Peter 5:8“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

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In order to defeat Satan in his game of deceit, it is necessary to arm ourselves with the knowledge of God’s word. We must overcome temptation and devote our life in service to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 5:8 (above) says Satan “is like a roaring lion, roaming about the earth, seeking whom he may devour.” When we do wrong, there are always consequences for those wrongs. When those consequences “eat at us” it is Satan devouring our lives one sin at a time. If we do not stay alert and resist his temptation, he will win–we will be cast into hell along with him for all eternity. Therefore, we must gird ourselves with God’s protection as we turn from sin. If we are truly trying to overcome temptation and avoid all sin, and if we ask it in the name of Jesus Christ, God will provide the knowledge, faith, and strength to avoid Satan’s snares,

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“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

James 4:7 “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version: (KJV)

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“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Ephesians 6:12“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

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“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”

2 Corinthians 11:14“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

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I pray we all strengthen our faith in God and Jesus through the study of God’s word that we might turn from Satan. His trickery may make him appear to be an “angel of light,” but it will only give him cause to lock us in hell with him for all eternity. There is an old saying: “misery loves company.” We read above, in Isaiah chapter 14 verses 12 through 15, about Satan (Lucifer) deciding he was going to overthrow God and take over heaven as the Most High.” The result was: God cast him to the pit of hell. Now, he wants us there with him to keep him company. He wants to ease his own guilt by convincing all who are in the world to embrace his guilt and join with him in it. He does not want to be alone in his guilt for all eternity. He wants us in hell with him.

Therefore, I pray we all turn to God for strength and perseverance in our fight against Satan that we might have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

May God give us the knowledge, the understanding, the faith, and the strength to “win the good fight” that we might spend eternity in heaven.

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“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

Ephesians 6:11“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 3:3. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Genesis-3-3/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 3:1-24. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Genesis-Chapter-3/.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Isaiah 14:12-15. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV). biblegateway.com. (29 August 2021). https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah%2014%3A12-15&version=KJV

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Hebrews 3:12, 13. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). bible gateway.com. (29 August 2021). https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%203%3A12-13&version=KJV.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). John 8:44. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/John-8-44/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 1 John 3:8. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1-John-3-8/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 1 Peter 5:8. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1-Peter-5-8/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). James 4:7. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/James-4-7/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Ephesians 6:12. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Ephesians-6-12/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 2 Corinthians 11:14. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/2-Corinthians-11-14/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Ephesians 6:11. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (29 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Ephesians-6-11/.

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Photo Above: by Roman Grac @pixabay.com.

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High School

Dedicated To: those who are now in High School and to those who have been.

Diploma: by Mica Hart @pixabay.com.
by tkbrown
Tis the month when school bells begin to ring
even though the virus is surging again.

Teachers, students, classrooms,
binders--three ring,
notetaking, not writing, something akin
to mega seminars--and yet it's more--
with old friends, new friends,
and many new plans,
not enough time,
no energy left at end of day.
Crawling into bed--
out like a light--
the backs of my eyelids
such a beautiful sight.

All too soon morning light peeks in
reminding of needs to be met.

A brand-new day, an old routine
with advanced equations,
how to calculate sine.

What happens later
midst well-laid plans
was not intended--
it was not planned--
protect my heart from this 'start.'
I do not understand
how it managed to rend
the innermost core
and alter who I am.

New emotions running deep,
welling up, unable to keep
them in.

Sensations flowing new and free
at the chance, passing sight of thee--
concentration and focus have all but flown
out the open window where seeds have been sown.
The future is out there, unsure as to where
this path of emotions is leading--
the person I was
taking steps toward
the one I will become.

That first High School band
marching on the field
to enrich experience at halftime
for those watching, marching,
and me.
Do others feel the same?
Is the aura surreal?
Does it show on my face--
this awesome new feel?
One day at a time--
sometimes just an hour--
seems such a waste of rhythm
when my mind is speeding ahead
toward the end of these four."

Can I wish my life away
and be sure I will remain
the person I was
when I stepped onto this train?

Maybe I should
step back for a bit
to catch my breath
before I take . . . a run for it.
High School.

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Photo Above: Gundula Vogel @pixabay.com.

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Centering on Eternity

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:18Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

If we wish to center ourselves upon God and His Son, Jesus Christ, we must remove our minds from the concerns of daily living and focus upon those things which are eternal. We cannot focus upon material or relationship concerns and focus upon those things eternal at the same time. It is necessary that we remove our minds from the here and now in order that we might focus on the eternal order of things. What is happening in my earthly life at any given time must be secondary to that which is happening in my eternal focus.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told those in attendance:

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Matthew 6:33Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

If I am focused upon what I will eat, or what I will wear, I cannot truly focus upon God and His righteousness. However, if I am truly focused upon God and His righteousness, He provides what I will eat and what I will wear. Centering my thoughts and my life upon Him and His Son takes me away from my worries over daily concerns and places Him in charge of those things.

This does not mean there will be nothing for me to do in order to arrive at those needs. It means, if I am focused upon Him, I prioritize my actions so they are in line with his directives. He will guide me to His desires for my life, if I allow it.

When I open myself to God’s guidance, oftentimes I “just happen upon” the very thing I am needing or pondering. How does this happen? By freeing my mind from worry and daily strife, I am able to follow in His footsteps. I am living my life in a manner pleasing unto Him, and He places answers to my questions and needs in my path, if I am searching in His righteousness.

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  • 5 — “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”
  • 6 — “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
  • 7 — “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
  • 8 — “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
  • 9 — “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
  • 10 — “But I rejoiced in the Lord Greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again, wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.”
  • 11 — “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

Philippians 4:5-11Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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In his epistle to the Philippians, Paul is telling them how to center themselves upon God, His Son, and all things eternal. He implores them to worry and fret over nothing, but in all things to give thanks in prayer and supplication. When they practiced this in their daily lives, he told them, they would have a peace beyond their understanding because their hearts and minds would be in Christ Jesus.

If I focus upon doing, thinking, and saying those things that will be pleasing unto God and Christ Jesus, I will have no cause for concern about what the day may require. All things, will fall into place when my focus is “eternity with God and His Son.” I must stress, however, I must do the deeds He would have me to do in order for this to occur. If I am a homemaker, I must do those things necessary to ensure my home runs smoothly. If I am employed outside the home, I must do those things required of me upon that job. If I am a public servant, I must do those things needed to meet the needs of the public. Whatever my lot in life, I must be actively pursuing the needs of that lot. I cannot sit idly by, doing nothing, for things to fall into place. This is not what God’s righteousness is about. God cares for us, when we free Him up to do so. We free Him up to do so by doing the things needed here on earth–but our minds and hearts should ever be in tune to Him and Christ Jesus.

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  • 11 — “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
  • 12 — “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”
  • 13 — “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,”
  • 14 — “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
  • 15 — “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”
  • 16 — “Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”
  • 17 — “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”

Philippians 3:11-17Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Paul says in these verses, he has not yet attained the resurrection unto Christ, but is constantly reaching for that goal in thought, in mind, in action, and in purpose. He acknowledges that he has done things in the past for which most people would cast him to the devil and never allow him to enter heaven. But he must forget about those things. Christ has “apprehended him” to serve God in every endeavor. He has been forgiven those sinful acts and is commanded to set an example for others to follow. Thus, he reaches for those things which Christ holds in heaven for him, and he presses onward toward that mark–“the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He then turns to the recipients of his epistle and reminds them to join with him in being thus minded. When he refers to “as many as be perfect,” he is not meaning without fault. The word “perfect” here means “mature.” So, if we are mature in Christ, and our minds are focused amiss, he tells us, “God shall reveal even this unto you.”

I was in conversation with my brother a while back when he stated, “Sometimes God tells us what He wants us to know through the mouths of those with whom we are speaking.” I wholeheartedly agree. Sometimes, in our daily conversations, we will “hear” exactly what God wants us to “hear.” The question is, “Are we listening?” This is where our “focus” comes into play. If my mind is where it should be as a Christian, if it is focused on doing, thinking, saying, and purposing according to God’s righteous guidance, I will be shown. Sometimes, I will be shown through something I “read.” Sometimes, I may be on an errand out and about when I am guided to where I will “see” what God wants to happen in my life. “Am I watching?

My part in “pressing toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” is to be “tuned in” to God and Christ Jesus. Then I can know God’s will and receive the “peace that passeth understanding.” This is how I know I am “centered on eternity.”

Where is your “center” today? Is it on earthly matters and concerns, or is it wrapped around God, His Son, and their will for you? May He heap blessings upon you in untold number when you “focus” upon Him and His righteousness–when you are “centered on eternity.”

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 2 Corinthians 4:18. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (15 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/2-Corinthians-4-18/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 6:33. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (15 August 2021). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-6-33/.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Philippians 4:5-11. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (15 August 2021). https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians%204%3A5-11&version=KJV.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Philippians 3:11-17. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (15 August 2021). https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians%203%3A11-17&version=KJV.

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Photo Above: by Samuel McGarrigle @Unsplash.com.

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Born to Run Wild . . .

Male and female lion sitting on a rock.
by tkbrown
I was born to be wild . . . 
not penned up in a zoo,
not meant to be cooped up
to fuel the pleasure of you.
I was born to roam free
with my babes and friends,
exploring the world
until my life bends or ends.
I was born to attack
when the need doth arise--
protecting my own
under wide open skies.
My name is Zambia,
I was meant to be free--
not in a concrete jungle
for your sickening glee.

I am the "King" of my kind
with the need to stalk prey,
need to challenge the mind--
teach the Pride to sashay.
I protect the Pride's young,
sacrifice self when I must,
overlooking our freedom
midst the just and the unjust.
We need plenty of cover
and much space for the chase;
keeping preying skills shining
helps the "King" to save face.
We need dedicated parkland
away from people and towns
to preserve our heritage
and prevent dying down.

People are impeding
all the places we have lived,
making them uninhabitable--
many Prides are deprived.
Our prey must be large
and live where we live,
so hunting skills can excel
as our cubs learn and thrive.
Preservation is the need,
hunting is the skill,
teaching craft to our cubs
is our protection still.
When humans move in,
settling within our homeland,
they take away our freedom--
bidding extinction take its stand.

I cannot be a "King"
midst my homeland and Pride
if we are dying out
'cause there is no place to hide.
There is very little thought
given to our lifestyle
and what it takes to survive
for e'en a little while.
When we have no place to go
to live the life we must,
the old life we must retain--
or we will all return to dust.
This is my heartfelt plea
to all of you who care,
"Please return our homeland
undisturbed by human fare!"

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Photo Above: by mojoeks @depositphotos.com

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Adam and Eve

I — God’s Fortitude

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

“So He drove out the man, and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

Genesis 3:24–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

We tend to not give much thought to God’s character traits, His personal strengths, even His weaknesses. Perhaps we should take a few days to look at these aspects of God and Jesus. We might, then, understand the two of them a bit more.

A few of the words that come to mind when I think of God are compassion, strength, godliness, cleanliness, love, honour, devotion, and fortitude. While each of these are important–and we will look in depth at each–I think the word “fortitude” describes so many facets of both God the Father and God the Son.

When God created Adam and Eve, He placed them in the Garden of Eden in which He had planted every good and beautiful tree and trees with fruit for them to eat. He formed a river which ran out of Eden by which He watered the garden.

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8 — “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.”

9 — “And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

10 — “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted and became into four heads.”

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Genesis 2:8-10–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.'”

Genesis 2:18–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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21 — “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;”

22 — “And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man.”

23 — “And Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.'”

24 — “‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.'”

25 — “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

Genesis 2:21-25–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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How difficult it must have been for God when Adam and Eve committed the first sin–eating of the forbidden fruit. He had provided much good food for their consumption. Yet, they gave in to temptation and ate the fruit of the one tree from which He had forbidden them to eat. How heartbroken He must have been when He went to the garden for their daily walk together and could not find them.

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7 — “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.”

8 — “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.”

9 — “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, ‘Where art thou?‘”

10 — “And he said, ‘I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.'”

11 — “And He said, ‘Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?'”

12 — “And the man said, ‘The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.'”

13 — “And the Lord God said unto the woman, ‘What is this that thou hast done?‘ And the woman said, ‘The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.'”

14 — “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, ‘Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:'”

15 — “‘And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.'”

16 — “Unto the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.'”

17 — “And unto Adam He said, ‘Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee saying, ‘Thou shalt not eat of it:’ cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;'”

18 — “‘Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;'”

19 — “‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.'”

20 — “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”

21 — “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them.”

22 — “And the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life and eat and live forever.'”

23 — “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken.”

24 — “So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

Genesis 3:7-24–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Much like we as parents must deal with disobedient children, God had to deal with a disobedient creation. Then, each pointed the finger of blame toward another before admitting personal guilt as well. The man and woman who were made after His own image, were cast from the garden due to their disobedient acts.

When God entered the garden looking for Adam and Eve and was unable to find them, He knew something was amiss. How many of us, as parents, would have similar hunches upon being unable to find our children? When He called for them, and Adam responded with fear due to them being ashamed because they were naked, God knew of their disobedience already. Putting a disobedient child out to fend for him-/her- self is one of the most difficult tasks a parent must face. The fact that God had to walk in these shoes first with His own creation tells us it is due to the child’s choices these steps had to be taken. Adam and Eve chose to disobey God; so, He had to put them out of their beautiful garden He created just for them. From that day forth, they were to fend for themselves. Pain, sweat, and death would be served as punishment for their disobedience.

This took “fortitude” for God to take this stand with Adam and Eve. In this one sequence of events, we can see the strength, the courage, the bravery it took for God to stand up to Adam and Eve with a love that did not cast them away from Him–rather it cast them out of the luxurious life He had created for them.

Thus, when you are tempted to ask, “How can a loving God be so cruel as to punish us when we have done wrong?” remember, it was Adam and Eve who punished you. As their seed, we reaped the consequences of their actions along with them. This is why we now have the New Testament plan of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord–God’s Son. This is why we have full freedom to choose to be a recipient of this salvation, or we can choose to ignore it and experience life separate and apart from God. It is not God who punishes us! It is our choice; therefore, it is “we” who punish ourselves.

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16 — “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

17 — “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.”

18 — “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

19 — “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

John 3:16-19–“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)”

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 2:8-10. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (1 August 2021). Genesis 2:8 – 2:10 (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 2:18. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (1 August 2021). GENESIS 2:18 KJV “And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Genesis 2:21-25. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (1 August 2021). Genesis 2:21-25 KJV – And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to – Bible Gateway.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Genesis 3:7-24. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (1 August 2021). Genesis 3:7-24 KJV – And the eyes of them both were opened, – Bible Gateway.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). John 3:16-19. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (1 August 2021). John 3:16-19 KJV – For God so loved the world, that he – Bible Gateway.

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Photo Above: by Roman Grac @pixabay.com.

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