As Little Children

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Leo Tolstoy

Jesus said, ” . . . except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 18:3). Children accept the world around them. They adapt to whatever conditions they must, and–without even knowing it–they try to help others adapt to those same surroundings if they see someone struggling with this task. They accept others as they are. They may not always accept what others try to put upon them, but they accept the right of others to be different from them. We typically think of children being the ones who need to learn how to live, but we adults could learn a thing or two about life from children.

1 — “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?'”

2 — “And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them,”

3 — “and said, ‘Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.'”

4 — “‘Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'”

5 — “‘And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.'”

6 — “‘but whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.'”

Matthew 18:1-6“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)”

Referring back to the Tolstoy quote above, which is easier: to change oneself or to change the world? It stands to reason, it is easier to change self and to accept the world as it is. Each of us has control of ourselves, but none has control over anyone else — much less of the world. Why then, does everyone think first of changing the world to suit self? How many people can I summons in an effort to change the world? Would it not be easier for me to just act as a little child might–accepting the things and people around me–since I do not have the right to change them?

In Matthew 18:1 (above) Jesus’ disciples asked Him which of them would be greatest in heaven, and He told them, “. . . to be greatest in the kingdom of heaven, one must humble himself as a little child. . . .” In Matthew chapter 23, verses 9-12 (below) Jesus is speaking to His disciples and to the multitude. He tells them to, “. . . call no man ‘father’ or ‘master,’ for God in heaven is the only One worthy of being called ‘Father,’ and He–Jesus Christ only–is to be called Master.” He went on to say, once again, “. . . he who is greatest among us shall be servant for he who exalts himself shall be brought down, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.'” Thus, those who try to lord it over others will be of little stature in heaven. It will be those who meekly and humbly go about their order of business with others who will be greatest in heaven.

9 — “‘And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.'”

10 — “‘Neither be ye called masters: for One is your Master, even Christ.'”

11 — “‘But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.'”

12 — “‘And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.'”

Matthew 23:9-12“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)”

Do you make a habit of ordering others around, or do you prefer to follow and serve? It seems Jesus was telling His disciples it would be those who tend to hover in the background–doing the menial tasks no one else wants to do, serving others, who will be exalted in heaven. Most children seem to automatically understand that cooperative interaction is far better than bossing others. If we–as Christians–would take a little time to sit back and observe children at play, we would see in most of them how we should be interacting with other Christian adults. Thus, “lest we become ‘as little children'” when working with others to further the cause of Christ, we may not be pleasing God in the manner Jesus taught.

“But Jesus said, ‘Suffer little children, and forbid them not to come unto Me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.'”

Matthew 19:14“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)”

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Photo Above: by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.com.

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 18:1-6. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (22 May 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-Chapter-18/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 19:14. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (22 May 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-19-14/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 23:9-12. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (22 May 2022). https://www.kingjamesbible.me/Matthew-Chapter-23/.

Schlottman, Andrea. (2022). books on the wall. “booksonthewall.com.” (22 May 2022). https://booksonthewall.com/blog/leo-tolstoy-quote/.

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The Law of Thy Mother

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.”

Proverbs 1:8 — “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)”

Unless there is a conscious decision to not have children, most women become a mother at some point in their lives. There is no instruction book that comes with the role, and since each child is different any manual would fall far short. While there are all sorts of resources available on the subject, there are answers to questions that still remain elusive. For me, Christ’s life provides all the answers needed to address any situation one might encounter in life.

As a Christian, I am to live my life in such a way that God is placed first, my family second, then others. As a mother, I am to teach my children these principles and the importance of love in all relationships. I am to provide the care and nurturing that teaches, by example, the love Christ has for every person and the importance of emulating His love when interacting with others.

I am to comfort my children when they are in pain and to teach them respect for others when it is necessary to address that pain with another person. Christ told us to turn the other cheek when someone does us wrong, to do good to those who spitefully use us, and to love our enemies as well as those who treat us right. In His teachings, we find that it is easy to love those who love us, but it is difficult to love those who are not good to us. In doing this, we demonstrate Christ’s love to others as we do the will of the Father in heaven.

My child is a part of me, and I am a part of my child. My unconditional love for him or her teaches there is always a safe place to go when hurting. This is what Christ and God provide for us, and we who are God’s children can go to them with any need or concern without fearing the pain of rejection. This is the role of a mother’s love; our love and comfort will always be there when our children are hurting. We rejoice with them in their successes, and we hurt with them when they hurt.

Just as God expects us to put our best effort into living the way His Son has instructed, it is important for a child’s mother to impress upon her children their duty to do their best in all they do. Our responsibility does not end with providing a safe haven. It also includes teaching the skills necessary to living throughout life. We are to help them learn to make choices and decisions in such a manner that, when they are grown, it is not necessary for them to come running home when a new crisis occurs. Mother should have already helped them learn these skills.

Yes, father is to instruct them too, but father typically does not have as much time to interact with the children as mother does. So, by default, much of this responsibility falls to mother. This is the reason Proverbs 1:8 teaches a child to “hear the instruction of his/her father and to never forsake the law of their mother.” Thus, mother is not just a comfort zone. There must be instruction and discipline from her as well. This is reflected in the parental admonishment found in Proverbs chapter 22:

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Proverbs 22:6“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)”

When Paul commented about Timothy’s unfeigned faith, he referenced the faith of Timothy’s grandmother Lois and of his mother Eunice. This suggests a mother’s faith has much influence on the level of faith found in the children.

“When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”

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

So, perhaps faith in God is the most important characteristic I can instill in my child while they are young in order to be assured of them searching out God’s will for them in any situation. As they grow to adulthood, children may stray from Christ’s teachings when tempted by Satan’s wiles, but a strong faith in childhood will most often bring them back again to the love, comfort, and protection of God the Father.

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Photo Above: @photosbybeks on Unsplash.com.

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Proverbs 1:8. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 May 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Proverbs-1-8/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Proverbs 22:6. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 May 2022). https://www.kingjamesbible.me/Proverbs-22-6/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 2 Timothy 1:5. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 May 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/2-Timothy-1-5/.

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The Word Was Made Flesh

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

John 1:14 — “Holy Bible: New Testament–King James Version (KJV)

God’s Word became flesh–a living, breathing person in the form of His only begotten Son. He came to earth as a babe and grew to adulthood as a person–just as you and I are persons who grew from infancy to our current age–interacting with others. He experienced the same temptations you and I face. According to John, the difference is: God’s Son was full of grace and truth.

Have you ever closely read Jesus’ interactions with others? He rarely allowed Himself to show anger. He rarely condemned or rebuked others. He always thought before He spoke and never said anything in a way it could be misconstrued. He lived in such a way that grace and truth were exemplified.

Being a Christian means to be Christ-like. Our goal as Christians is to emulate Him in all we do. Do we bridle our tongues as He bridled His? Do we commune daily with the Father in heaven? Do we regularly feast on His Word? Jesus said:

“‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'”

Matthew 4:4 “Holy Bible: New Testament–King James Version (KJV)”

Does your life glow with grace and truth? Do you try to respond to the demands of others as Jesus would have? How often do you stop and ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”

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Photo Above:

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). John 1:14. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (17 April 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/John-1-14/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 4:4. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (17 April 2022). https://www.kingjamesbible.me/Matthew-4-4/.

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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.

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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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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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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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II — Faith: God Made All Things

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

Hebrews 11:3 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

The hand that made this earth was a very intelligent hand. The land masses consist of soil, rocks, ores, and minerals–most of which are essential to man’s life on earth. In the beginning when God performed His handiwork, this land was “without form and void.” The water, according to Genesis 1:2, was dark and deep.

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“The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

Genesis 1:2 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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As the sun shines upon the water–whether the ocean or the rain–evaporation rises into the atmosphere. Then it comes back to the earth in the form of dew, rain, sleet, hail, or snow. This allows for a constant recycling of moisture. God planned all of this so you and I might live in relative comfort upon this earth. According to Morris and Woolfenden (2018), vegetation inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen. This is done during the daytime as a part of photosynthesis. The plant uses water in combination with the carbon dioxide to complete photosynthesis. Oxygen is a by-product of this process. Thus, we humans are supplied with the oxygen needed to live here on earth (Stancil, 2019). No one person could have thought of all the necessary components to create our functional universe. In my opinion, whether or not science believes it, science itself is daily proving the Holy Bible to be true.

At this point I feel I must ask: Why is Creationism not given equal time in our science texts alongside the Big Bang Theory — Darwinism — Evolution? Maybe because it makes far more sense; it just requires a little bit of faith. There are some major components missing from those theories. For example, what caused the Big Bang? Where did the components that created the Big Bang come from? How did the Big Bang create conditions conducive to life and to evolution? From my point of view, current scientific explanations leave much to be explained and the answers to the queries I just put forth can never satisfy a truly curious mind.

What caused Evolution to begin, and then to continue? All conditions had to be just right for everything to happen at just the right time. My faith tells me Creationism is the most valid theory out there. God has planned the beginning of this universe, and He tells us the earth and all the elements will burn up with a fervent heat (2 Peter 3:10); so, he also knows how and why the earth will be destroyed.

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“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

2 Peter 3:10 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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My faith assures me, God made all things. It is an event I did not see, but I read about it in Genesis chapter 1 of the Old Testament and in other scriptures throughout the Bible. So, I believe what I am told therein. Hebrews 11:1 says:

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“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Hebrews 1:1 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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My evidence is before my eyes every waking moment. As I said earlier, I did not see God create this universe, but I am told of His handiwork in His Word. Since it exists and I am a part of it, His Word is sufficient to convince me. Thus, my substance is also found in God’s Word. Even today, science debates the life-giving element in our bodies.

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“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”

Genesis 2:7 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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According to the Holy Bible, God breathed life into Adam. Subsequently, He has breathed life into every living thing since then. So, according to God’s Word, our breath is the life-giving substance in our bodies. Science cannot explain it, but my faith says “God’s Word does explain it!”

The first five books of the Holy Bible: Old Testament–Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy–contain the “Law of Moses” which was inspired by God as Moses wrote it. The detail in this law would be impossible for one man to conjure. This says God is a very intelligent being.

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1 — “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

2 — “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

Genesis 1:1, 2 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version

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David’s faith assured him God created the earth. He writes about it in the book of Psalms. In chapter 33, David tells us, God formed the heavens, He gathered the waters together as a heap and lays up the excess in storehouses. Could these storehouses be the underground rivers known as table-waters. These underground rivers are the sorce form whence water has traditionally been tapped for drinking, cooking, and other home uses. Today, much of the underground storehouses has been depleted. Now, cities need such large quantities of water that most resort to lakes and above-ground rivers to supply the needs demanded by those living within their limits. This water is then passed through water treatment plants to remove impurities and make it safe for human consumption. God has also provided other “storehouses” filled with crude oil, coal, iron, and a host of other ores, minerals, etc to be tapped in order to provide for our needs.

David went on to say the entire earth and everyone who is a part of this world should fear and stand in awe of God. The reason he gives is, “He spoke and it was done, He commanded, and it stood fast.” I know–personally, I stand in awe of what God has done, is doing, can do, and will do. I stand in awe of his knowledge and his power.

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6 — “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.”

7 — “He gathers the waters of the sea together as an heap: He layeth up the depth in storehouses.”

8 — “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.”

9 — “For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”

Psalms 33:6-9 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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We have seen evidence, in previous discussions, showing Jesus is the Word (mentioned in John 1:1-3). The Word was with God in the beginning, and the Word was/is God. Therefore, Jesus was a participant in the world’s creation. Then, He came to earth in fleshly form to die for my sins–and for your sins. Do you know anyone else who would die for your sins? I can assure you, I do not know anyone else who would die for my sins. But, Jesus did just that. He died for our sins that we might have an eternal home with Him in heaven.

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1 — “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

2 — “The same was in the beginning with God.”

3 — “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.”

John 1:1-3 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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When things get rough in my life, I turn to God and Jesus. I tell them, in prayer, what is happening and describe the troubles I am having with the events taking place. I ask for their assistance, guidance, and protection. Then, my faith assures me they will respond in like manner–and they do! Just as David said in Psalms chapter 9, verses 9 and 10, the Lord is my refuge. I can always trust God and Jesus to be there when I need Them, and I know They will never forsake me.

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9 — “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”

10 — “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

Psalms 9:9, 10 — Holy Bible, Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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In Psalms chapter 119, verse 105, David said:

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“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Psalms 119:105 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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So, as we saw above, the first three verses of John, chapter 1, tell us Jesus is the Word of God, the Word was in the beginning, and the Word was God. Then the next verse, John 1:4, tells us He is also the “Light of men.”

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“In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

John 1:4 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Are we beginning to see that Jesus coming to earth in fleshly form to die for our sins was already planned when “God” created this universe?

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“And God said, ‘Let there be light:’ and there was light.”

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

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Sources:

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

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 1:3. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). GENESIS 1:3 KJV “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 2:7. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). GENESIS 2:7 KJV “And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

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

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). John 1:4. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). JOHN 1:4 KJV “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Hebrews 11:1. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). HEBREWS 11:1 KJV “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Hebrews 11:3. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). HEBREWS 11:3 KJV “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 2 Peter 3:10. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). 2 PETER 3:10 KJV “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Psalms 9:9, 10. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). Psalms 9:9 – 9:10 (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Psalms 33:6-9. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). PSALMS CHAPTER 33 KJV (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Psalms 119:105. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). PSALMS 119:105 KJV “NUN. Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Morris, Richard J, and Woolfenden, Hugh. (17 January 2018). How do plants breathe? John Innes Centre; Norwich, UK. (8 Jun 2021). How do plants breathe? | John Innes Centre (jic.ac.uk).

Stancil, Joanna Mounce. (3 June 2019). “The Power of One Tree – The Very Air We Breathe.” U.S. Department of Agriculture. (8 June 2021). The Power of One Tree – The Very Air We Breathe | USDA.

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Photo Above: The Universe by beate bachmann @pixabay.com.

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I — Faith: Jesus is the Word

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

Matthew 24:35 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

There is so much talk today about the sixty-six books that make up the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Holy Bible, and much of this talk seeks to discredit the validity of the Word. While this is often discussed among those who follow Jesus’ teachings, what we do not tend to discuss is the essence of this posit. The ultimate goal of discrediting the Word of God is to discredit Christianity. The idea that the books of the Bible are not inspired by God is not a new one, but there are falsehoods being touted as fact in these attempts to discredit God’s Word. These untruths focus on invalidating the divine conception and the purity of Christ’s life here on earth. All sixty-six books of the Holy Bible were inspired by God, and they form a cooperative effort to describe God’s love as well as the truth and grace which Christ imparts.

Attempts to discredit and destroy the Bible have never been successful because God will not allow it. The opening scripture (above) tells us God’s Word will never pass away. When the 2020 protests were occurring at the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, one fact that was not widely reported was the burnings of the Bible and the American flag (Holton, 2020). According to Holton, there were some Christians involved in attempts to resolve the problem, but many Christians across the nation were not aware of this part of the protests. This says the protests that occurred across America in 2020 were intended to discredit Christianity as well as the American government. America was founded upon Christian principles. Freedom of religion–the right to worship as a follower of Christ, the Reformation Movement– was one of the main principles upon which the United States of America was founded. The world may try to destroy the Bible and Christianity, but Christ and His church will live forever.

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  • 1 — “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
  • 2 — “The same was in the beginning with God.”
John 1:1, 2 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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  • 14 — “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
  • 15 — “John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, ‘This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me.'”
John 1:14, 15 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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John, in the first two verses of his Gospel, tells us “the Word was in the beginning. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” A little further down in the first chapter (verse 14), John tells us the Word was made flesh. Reflecting on this in combination with the first verse, we can see–Jesus is the Word. Then in verse fifteen, we are reminded that John the Baptist bore witness of Him and said, “This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me.” How could this be possible when John the Baptist was born before Jesus (refer to my Lesson on Scripture: “Zecharias’ Son John is Born“).

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“Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

Romans 10:17–Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Faith is the primary tenet of Christ’s teachings. As we see in Romans Chapter 10, Verse 17: “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Thus, we must “hear” the message in order to have a “faith” that the message is true. As the verse continues, we are told this message is from “the Word of God” (Jesus). ” In scriptures noted above, we learned that Jesus is the Word of God.

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  • 7 — “‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:'”
  • 8 — “‘For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.'”
Matthew 7:7, 8–Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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In His “Sermon on the Mount”–Matthew Chapter 7, Verses 7 and 8–Jesus said, “If we ask, we will receive; if we seek, we will find; if we knock, it will be opened unto us.” Therefore, if we are truly and diligently seeking the truth, Jesus will guide us to it. Once we find it, if we knock, He will open the door of eternal life to us. At this point, it will still be up to us to enter into that door, because He will not force us to enter. Christianity is an act of faith; by faith we follow Christ’s teaching and enter into eternal life.

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“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1–Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Once we have diligently searched for the truth and Christ has guided us to that truth, it is by faith that we act upon that truth as Jesus instructed through His apostles. We hope for the ultimate reward of an eternal home and life in heaven with Jesus and God, but we cannot see that home in heaven until Jesus returns to receive His own. Our faith that Jesus brought God’s Word to us, that He “is” God’s Word, that He “was” in the beginning with God, and that He “is” God in heaven is the substance that leads us to action. Our faith is the evidence that convicts us of these truths and compels us to act upon these truths. Our faith is what prompts Jesus to open the door to eternal life when we knock.

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  • 24 — “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?”
  • 25 — “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
Romans 8:24–Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Our hope of salvation is the basis upon which we “knock”; this is the faith upon which we enter into salvation. If we could see and reap the reward Jesus promised to us during His life here on earth, we could have no doubt it exists, but we cannot see heaven and eternal life until Jesus returns. It is our faith in the reality of this hope that leads us unto salvation. We must then act upon that faith and “knock” if we want Jesus to open the door to eternal life, and we must follow through on that knock with obedience of the commands He gave, continuing in His commands until He returns to receive us into that eternal life in heaven. If we had no hope, there could be no faith. If we have no faith, there can be no obedience unto eternal life, and there would be no continuation in that faith and obedience. The hope of eternal life fuels our faith which transports us into life eternal.

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Hebrews 11:1. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (30 May 2021). HEBREWS 11:1 KJV “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). John 1:14, 15. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (30 May 2021). JOHN CHAPTER 1 KJV (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 7:7, 8. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (30 May 2021). Matthew 7:7 – 7:8 (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 24:35. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U. S. Congress. (30 May 2021). MATTHEW 24:35 KJV “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Romans 8:24, 25. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (30 May 2021). ROMANS CHAPTER 8 KJV (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Romans 10:17. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (30 May 2021). ROMANS 10:17 KJV “So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Holton, Chuck. (3 August 2020). As Antifa Agitators Burn Bibles in Portland, What Role Should Christians Play? CBNNEWS: The Christian Perspective. US: CBNNEWS.COM. (30 May 2021). As Antifa Agitators Burn Bibles in Portland, What Role Should Christians Play? | CBN News.

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Photo Above: by Priscilla Du Preez @Unsplash.com.

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Blessed are the poor. . .

“. . . the poor in spirit. . . .”

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

Oftentimes, when we read the Bible, we do so with our mind somewhere else. For example, how often have we read The Beatitudes with our thoughts truly centered on the meaning of those words. Today, I decided to center my devotional upon one scripture, separated from The Beatitudes and viewed in detail according to the scriptures. For this purpose, I chose:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3 — Holy Bible: New Testament (KJV)

Matthew and Luke present scriptures that say something a bit different from the other–even though both are relating a scripture from the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. While Matthew (above) refers to “. . . poor in spirit . . .,” Luke, in chapter 6 and verse 20, says:

And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples and said, ‘Blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.'”

Luke 6:20 — Holy Bible: New Testament (KJV)

Granted, most who are poor are also poor in spirit because the poor are usually the downtrodden, those who are accustomed to doing without. When a poor person does without, there is usually no repercussions to anyone for allowing this to be–no one suffers other than the person who is poor. Thus, both presentations are correct. One does not detract from the other.

I decided to see what the Old Testament (Old Covenant) says about the “poor” or the “poor in spirit.”

For all those things hath mine hand made,and all those things have been, saith the Lord; but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”

Isaiah 66:2 — Holy Bible: Old Testament (KJV)

Here, God–Himself–acknowledges that the poor person is much more likely to “fear the Lord” and strive to live according to the Lord’s word. The wealthy are typically much more inclined to focus upon the fortune amassed and the means necessary to keep it. However, being poor by itself does not grant an eternal home with God. Rather, God said, “. . . even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.”

If we are contrite in spirt, God is able to mold and shape us according to His will. Thus, the “poor” must also be “poor in spirit.” He or she must have “a contrite spirit and tremble at [His] word.” Here, I must ask myself: Do I have a contrite spirit? Do I tremble at God’s word? Even if I think the answer is “Yes,” I must study on it to know the truth. The Beatitudes are a small portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which tells us “the spirit” of those who will go to heaven. How often–when we recite these in worship services–do we look at ourselves to determine if our spirit is right with God?

In Luke 18: 9-14, Jesus tells a parable regarding differences between the haughty, self-righteous man and one with a contrite heart.

  • 9 — “And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:”
  • 10 — “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.”
  • 11 — “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself: God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”
  • 12 — “I fast twice in the week. I give tithes of all that I possess.”
  • 13 — “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”
  • 14 — “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Thus, Jesus said, those who are haughty in spirit will be least in heaven–if they even make it there–and those who are of a contrite, repentant spirit will be in heaven.

Have we ever TRULY REPENTED of something specific we have done? Have we talked to God about it as if He were a long-lost friend whom we had wronged and were begging their forgiveness?

Each of us has, or have had, something for which we should repent with such a spirit! Others may not be aware of this sin, but WE ARE! WE know what we have done, and we know it is wrong–even if it is not wrong in the eyes of man. Are we willing to humble ourselves as this publican did–as the apostle Matthew must have done? Matthew was a publican when Jesus called him to be His disciple. Have we ever declared ourselves to be a sinner” because of our sin whether it be past or present? The cleansing such a prayer provides is beyond the imagination of most.

Reading on in the same chapter, Luke 18: 15-17,

  • 15 — “And they brought unto Him also infants, that He would touch them; but when His disciples saw it, they rebuked them.”
  • 16 — “But Jesus called them unto Him, and said, ‘Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.
  • 17 — “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”

Infants have no sin. They are pure of heart. If they do wrong, they do not realize it is wrong, thus it is forgiven. Jesus goes on in Luke chapter 18 to show that even those who have done good all their lives may be lacking what it takes to make it into God’s kingdom and into heaven. The parable of the ruler shows how a “good person” may not have a “contrite spirit.”

Luke 18: 18-25

  • 18 — “And a certain ruler asked him saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
  • 19 — “And Jesus said unto him, ‘Why callest thou Me good? None is good, save one, that is, God.”
  • 20 — “Thou knowest the commandments. Do not commit adultery. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Honour thy father and thy mother.”
  • 21 — “And he said, ‘All these have I kept from my youth up.'”
  • 22 — “Now when Jesus heard these things, He said unto him, ‘Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me.”
  • 23 — “And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful, for he was very rich.”
  • 24 — “And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, He said, ‘How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!”
  • 25 — “For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

From an early age, this parable was powerful to me. I began sewing by hand at about the age of seven or eight. So, I knew how tiny is the eye of a needle! I knew, if this man had been good all his life, yet lacked the contrite spirit required to be a child of God, I must change my ways. For, while I rarely disobeyed, I was far from sinless; and it was time I look that sin in the eye.

There have been times throughout my life when I had to look deep into my soul and come face to face with God about something I had done which was keeping me apart from Him. My prayer, now, is: if anyone reading this devotional has been pricked in the heart and has need for a session of supplication unto you, God–give him or her the strength to humble self before you.

Here in the United States, we are beginning to see the first days of spring–signs of “life renewed,” which has been our subject today. Not all days here are pleasant–some reap harvests filled with pain. On those days, I try to remember–“This, too, shall pass. — Anonymous.

I hope, wherever you are, you can–at least–enjoy some of the weather bestowed upon you. Blessings!

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Sources:

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Matthew 5. “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (29 March 2021). Matthew 5:3 KJV – Blessed are the poor in spirit: for – Bible Gateway.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Isaiah 66:2. “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (29 March 2021). Isaiah 66:2 KJV – For all those things hath mine hand – Bible Gateway

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Luke 18. “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (29 March 2021). Luke 18 KJV – And he spake a parable unto them to – Bible Gateway.

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Photo Above: by geralt @pixabay.com.

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Blessed are the peacemakers . . .

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”

Matthew 5:9 — “Holy Bible: King James Version” (KJV)

I grew up going to Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and Worship Services from the age of two. So, by the time I was a Freshman in High School (1st year), I was well versed in the Bible. After my fourteenth birthday, I was asked to teach the Sunday night Bible Class for children. There were five ranging in age from five to twelve.

At one point in Physical Science class during my Freshman year, we were studying the Big Bang Theory versus Creationism. I was the only person in the room who supported Creationism. The teacher and all other students in the room supported the Big Bang Theory. Subsequently, I was the recipient of jeers and ridicule from all others in the room–including the teacher. After that–through my High School years–I did not like science and took no more science classes throughout. I never complained to anyone about the incident. In fact, I was in undergraduate studies seventeen years later (1985) when I first mentioned it to anyone. However, I launched extensive Bible Study–personal and group–because I wanted to be able to respond intelligently to questions about the topic.

When my youngest child was a toddler, one Wednesday night in Bible Class we were discussing scientific evidence against Creationism and how to discuss it with others. I asked the preacher (who was teaching the class) how to explain–when engaged in house-to-house Bible Study with someone–the earth’s age when the Bible indicates an age of 6,000 to 7,000 years, and science has unearthed dinosaur and other fossils which are said to be millions of years old. I was convinced by his answer.

He responded, “There is nothing in the Bible that says there were not other worlds before this Earth was created.” He was right! No where does the Bible even hint there were no worlds before this one. Genesis 1:2 says, “And the earth was without form, and void; . . . ” (Eds. Bible Gateway, 1993). This indicates elements existed from which God “formed” the earth. Who can say those elements did not include dinosaur fossils from the remnants of previous worlds?

As I went through Undergraduate and Graduate classes in college, I never had that dilemma again. During undergraduate Physical Science classes, I talked with the instructor after class one night about what had happened in High School. She said, “I will never do that to you or any other student. That teacher was wrong for allowing the other students to ridicule you, and he was wrong for joining them. There was no excuse for his behavior.” Immediately, I knew this instructor knew what she was made of and what other instructors should be made of. After that, I was never afraid to engage as an equal, and the ridicule never again occurred. I grew to really enjoy my science classes because they presented ideas that stimulated my desire to study both sides–Creationism and Scientific Theory.

I do believe there were other worlds that existed before this one. Science is now proving this to be possible by the evidence being amassed to support past life on other planets. Now, as the asteroid flew past our planet in 2018 (Earl, 2018; George, 2018), a meteorite from another asteroid recently fell to a driveway in England (Lewis, 2021), and just last week, one flew past Vermont so closely it “shook and rattled buildings” (Eds. Associated Press, 2021; Eds. CBS Boston, 2021: Hall, 2021), divergent scientific theories attempt to explain the cosmic events. One theory regarding the 2018 meteorite noted the similarities between it and comets sailing through outer space. It was quite long and would have done much damage if it had hit the earth. It probably would have severed a part of the earth which would then have joined it traipsing around through space. Was it perhaps a fossilized portion of another word?

Through the years, I never created a scene about any incident related to the topic of Biblical Creationism Theory versus Scientific Theory of Earth’s beginnings. I peacefully said what needed to be said and exited the topic. I was never one who enjoyed heated disagreements. I have always preferred to calmly discuss concerns to resolve any disagreement. I have continually prayed about this and other related and similar concerns. I have noted much by way of scientific research supporting rather than disproving Biblical Creationism. I have seen the truth of 2 Peter 3:16 which says, “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of things in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction,” (Eds. King James Bible Online, 2007). As much as I wish it were otherwise, I can do or say nothing to change the beliefs of those so hardened against the scriptures. I must accept it and move on. I will say, though, my extensive studies on the topics have only served to strengthen my beliefs in God, Christ, and the Creation.

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Sources:

Earl, Jennifer. (16 April 2018). Asteroid the size of a football field makes ‘surprise’ flyby close to Earth. “Fox News.” foxnews.com. (21 March 2021). Asteroid the size of a football field makes ‘surprise’ flyby close to Earth | Fox News.

Eds. Associated Press, Wire Service Content. (8 March 2021). Meteor Spotted Over Northern New England and Canada. “U.S. News.” The Associated Press: apnews.com. (21 March 2021). Meteor spotted over northern New England and Canada (apnews.com).

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993) Genesis 1 “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (21 March 2021). Genesis 1 KJV – In the beginning God created the heaven – Bible Gateway.

Eds. CBS Boston. (9 March 2021). Meteor Over Northern Vermont Seen By People Around New England. “CBS Boston.” Microsoft News: msn.com. (21 March 2021). Meteor Over Northern Vermont Seen By People Around New England – CBS Boston (cbslocal.com).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 2 Peter 3:16. “[Holy Bible] King James Bible Online.” kingjamesbibleonline.org. (21 March 2021). 2 PETER 3:16 KJV “As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

George, Steve, CNN. (6 November 2018). Cigar-Shaped Interstellar Object May Have Been Alien Probe, Harvard Paper Claims. “WBZ 04.” CBS Boston: boston.cbslocal.com. (21 March 2021). Cigar-Shaped Oumuamua May Have Been Alien Probe, Harvard Paper Claims – CBS Boston (cbslocal.com).

Hall, Louise. (9 March 2021). Meteor tears across Vermont sky: ‘Extremely bright and absolutely spectacular.’ “Independent.” Microsoft News: msn.com. (21 March 2021). Meteor tears across Vermont sky: ‘Extremely bright and absolutely spectacular’ (msn.com).

Lewis, Sophie. (9 March 2021). Extremely rare meteorite found in wake of spectacular U.K. fireball may contain the “building blocks of life.” “CBS News.” cbsnews.com. (21 March 2021). Extremely rare meteorite found in wake of spectacular U.K. fireball may contain the “building blocks of life” – CBS News.

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Photo Above: by Daniel_Mingook_Kim@Unsplash.com.

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