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.
“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.
“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?”
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)
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
“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)
“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)
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.
“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)
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,
“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)
“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)
“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)
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.
“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)
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 6:33—Holy 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.
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 4:5-11—Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
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.
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 3:11-17—Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
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.”
As Julie moves toward the light, she has to step carefully. Another misstep could land her back in the mud. So, she tries to keep one eye on the light and feel the ground ahead with her foot before putting it in place. Then, the light flickers and disappears. Surprised and more than a little bit fearful, she emits a big sigh of indignation, throws her arms in the air, then does exactly what she has been trying so hard to not do–she slips and falls. This time, she falls into a mud puddle. In exasperation, she just sits there–then she looks up in the direction she thinks she was going. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees a flicker to her right. “Now, how did it get over there?”
“But . . . now there are two.”
She slowly rises, gives up on the idea of trying to look presentable, and decides to try again. Standing still for a moment, she offers up a prayer asking for help and guidance. Then–taking a slow, deep breath–focusing on the light, she steps slowly and gingerly forward toward the small beam. Suddenly, she sees another flicker back to the left where the first light was shining. “Now what do I do?” Deciding to continue toward the light on her right, she calls out, “Who’s there?”
“Can you hear me?”
“I’m lost, and I have no light. Can you help me?”
No one answers.
Suddenly, a third light appears, a bit brighter than the others. This one is a little to the right of the second light–then a fourth light pops up between the first and second light. Trying hard not to get distracted, she continues toward the second light and calls out again, “Help!!! Somebody, can you hear me????”
From behind, she hears a voice saying, “Stay where you are, and I will come to you.”
“Don’t move, just talk to me.”
“How did you get out here in the middle of this field?”
Then the man’s voice says, “No, don’t answer that. It is of no matter how you ended up here. The fact is you are here. So, we need to try and get you out of here.”
“What is your name?”
“My name is Julie.”
“What is yours?”
“My name is Jesse–now, just keep talking. I will shine the light toward your voice, and I will follow your voice to you. Just stay calm. Tell me where you are from or something about you.”
“I am so thankful you are here. It got pitch dark out here. I was taking a short cut across the field. Then, all of a sudden it was sooooo dark, I couldn’t see anything. Then, I fell and lost my sense of direction.”
Jesse is flashing the light back and forth in the general direction of her voice. Suddenly, he thinks he sees her. Then it disappears. “It must not have been her.” He is getting closer, but “Why am I having such a hard time zeroing in on her with the light?“
He says, “Julie, what color clothes do you have on?”
She responds, “Black pants and a blue jacket.”
“But, I am covered with mud too,” she whimpers. “I have fallen twice–the second time in a big mud puddle. So, be careful. You could fall too.”
“Well, I have the light; so, I have a little bit of an advantage.”
“I should have brought one, but it wasn’t real dark when I headed out. It got soooo dark all of a sudden. I couldn’t see anything.”
About that time, the light flashes across her. She begins to slowly move toward Jesse. When he gets to her, he takes her hand and begins leading her back the way he came. Finally, they arrive at the road.
“Which road is this?” she asks.
“This is State Road #4. Is it the road you came in on?”
“No; I came in on Magnolia Lane. I am thinking it should be back to the right. Am I correct?”
“Yes; back to your right. Do you want me to walk over there with you?”
“No, I can make it ok since I am back on a road. I should never have ventured off State Road #6 with it getting dark, and I should have brought a light. I will not make these mistakes again.”
“Thank You, so much, Jesse, for your help!”
“Can I buy you dinner sometime to repay you for your kindness?”
“No; that won’t be necessary. I am just glad I was passing by this way. I usually take another road.”
“I am too! You were an answer to prayer!”
“I’m just glad I could be of some help. You take care now. I am off in the opposite direction.”
She starts walking to the right, and he to the left. He is continuing the way he was going. She is backtracking to the road she should have stayed on when she cut across the field–State Road #6.
The darkness surrounding her is so thick and black, she is certain it can be cut with a knife. The intensity of the weight it carries threatens to take her breath, leaves her dizzy with anxiety. There is no hint of light anywhere.
Julie cannot remember ever trying to maneuver in such vexatious surroundings. The dead silence only adds to the unwelcoming ambience which renders familiar surroundings unhinged. The unrealistic fear of stepping off into the unknown–a great abyss–besieges her. Moving forward stealthily, carefully placing one foot in front of the other, trying to recall the territorial map in her mind, Julie slips in the mud, stumbles, screams as she lands with a “Splat!!”
The scream is totally unexpected and only adds to the breach of peace skittering through her.
“Who’s there???” (a little less than forcefully).
“Who screamed?? she quivers.
Dead silence responds.
If only there were the least hint of light, the effort of traversing the familiar field would not be so affronting. She can almost hear the howling scene in any one of the mystery thriller movies she has ever seen. The scream, apparently emitted by some imagined other, has set her nerves on edge. There is nothing to hold too, . . . nothing to help her calm the jerkiness of movement. She slowly rises from the muck and steadies her stance by separating her feet just a bit. Standing there, covered with mud, she forces a slow steadiness to her inhale, then to her exhale–followed by another, and another.
Now, as she calms herself enough to think more clearly, it dawns on her that the fall has shifted her sense of direction and darkness is confounding her ability to decide which direction to take now. Bit by bit she turns, tries to orient in the inkiness, and bit by bit she searches the darkness for even the tiniest hint of light. At this point, any direction will do if it helps her find familiar territory again.
There, she sees it. Then it’s gone. She sees it again–a hint, ever so slight, a hint of light. It seems to be moving. As she watches, it grows ever so slowly–then a flicker–and she is sure of it. A light to move toward. Step by step she inches forward toward the light, not allowing any thought into her mind except the task at hand–move toward the light!
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.
“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)
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.
“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)
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:
“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)
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.
“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)
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.
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
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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)
In Psalms chapter 119, verse 105, David said:
“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)
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.”
“In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
John 1:4 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
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?
“And God said, ‘Let there be light:’ and there was light.”
Genesis 1:3 — Holy Bible: Old 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.
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)
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)
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“).
“Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”
Romans 10:17–Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
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.
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)
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.
“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)
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.
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)
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.
“Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make the bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.”
Ezekiek 4:9 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
As a girl, I learned to make bread–corn bread specifically. Cornbread was typically a staple at our evening meal, so I was about nine years old when I learned to make it. We would make a large pan of cornbread to supplement whatever else we might be eating that night. It served as a filler making the meal “stick to our ribs” so we did not get hungry again until time for breakfast. During wintertime, often we had cornbread and milk as our evening meal. A bowl of cornbread soaked in milk is somewhat akin to porridge for breakfast. Both are made of grain which helps to satiate a person. Thus, hunger is held at bay for a time.
As a young wife and mother, I had already expanded my knowledge to embrace making cinnamon rolls, puff pastries, and other goodies. Thus, I decided it was time to try my hand at making yeast bread. My first batch flopped. It was hard as a rock and never raised even a fraction of an inch. Even the dog wanted nothing to do with it. Later, I discovered the yeast was long out of date. So, lesson learned: always be sure the yeast is still within active dates of usage. If the expiration date is in the past, the yeast should be in the trash.
My second batch of yeast bread turned out beautifully. I was thrilled to see it actually take shape as loaves similar to those bought at the store. Always striving to improve upon the food I prepared for my family, I learned of the important role whole wheat bread serves in our daily diet. The whole grain includes fiber which aids in digestion by slowing the process to allow time for nutrients to be absorbed across the intestinal wall. So, I decided to use whole wheat flour when making my bread. The result was quite satisfactory.
I always knew beans were nutritious and occasionally made a big batch of chili beans. During the holiday season, I would make baked beans as part of our traditional celebration. When we moved to the Gulf Coast, I learned how to make Red Beans and Rice. A close relative had grown-up on the coast and was quite adept at cooking with a southern flair. Therefore, it was not long until I, too, had learned to cook in like manner at least part of the time. As more years passed, I learned how to cook other types of flavorful bean dishes and began to truly appreciate the value of their inexpensive but very nutritious addition to the mealtime budget. As a result, a number of bean varieties are included in my dietary routine.
Suffice it to say, with knowledge of the important roles grains and legumes play in our nutritional intake, when I happened across the scripture quoted above during the course of my recent Bible study, I was amazed at the rich quality of the ingredients God specified for Ezekiel to include in his bread. This bread would provide almost all of a person’s nutritional requirements for a time. The one ingredient I was not familiar with–fitches– is actually the name of an ancient grain known as modern-day spelt. I have seen it mentioned when perusing various grain products available for purchase, but until now had not been overly inquisitive as to its dietary value. As with the manna from heaven which provided the Israelites with their nutritional needs during the weekly Sabbath observation while wandering forty years in the desert prior to entering the Promised Land, God now is providing Ezekiel with the knowledge of how to prepare a bread to satisfy his nutritional needs while serving as His prophet to the Israelites.
In Deuteronomy 8:2, and 3, God told Moses:
2 — “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”
3 — “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”
Here, God tells the Israelites they are not to live on only the physical bread in their daily diet, but to the physical bread, they must also add “. . . every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” These words equate “God’s Words” with “bread.” He is telling them, both provide sustenance for life. The physical bread is sustenance for physical life, and the “bread” of “God’s words” is sustenance for the spiritual life.
Knowing God is so focused upon the nutrition needed by the human body, we can also know it is possible to look to the Bible for understanding as to which foods are best at meeting our nutritional needs. The foods mentioned in the Bible can be wholesome and nutritious additions to our physical diets.
Further, we find in the New Testament, Jesus’ response to Satan while being tempted of him in the wilderness:
“But He answered and 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 this mean we must know and abide by every “word” in the Bible? Well, yes, but probably not in the same sense you might understand. First, we must learn how we are to receive “. . . every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” To begin this understanding, let’s look at some words from the apostle John.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 1:1 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
From these words, we can see God’s Word has existed from the beginning. As long as God has existed, His Word has existed.
We also see, “the Word was with God.” This indicates, not only did the Word come “from God.” It also existed “with God.”
Hmmmmm; so, while His word emitted from Him, it also co-existed alongside Him.
The end of this verse takes this thought process one step further, ” . . . and the Word was God.” Now, how often have you thought “the Word” not only is “from God,” but “the Word” actually “is God?”
How can this be? Well, let’s see what Jesus says about the matter. Remember, we are looking at the word “bread,” how there is a “physical bread” which we physically ingest, but there is also a “spiritual bread,” which is necessary to ingest in order to attain life eternal. The “spiritual bread” comes from “every word out of the mouth of God.”
“I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
John 6:35 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
In the above scripture, Jesus is telling us, He is “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Looking back to John 1:1, He is also telling us, “He” was the “Word” referred to in this verse. In other words, “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God.” If you notice, in this scripture the “Word” is capitalized, equating it with “someone”–equating it with “God.” Now, in John 6:35, Jesus tells us, “I am the bread of life, . . .” He tells us, “whoever comes to me shall not hunger, . . . ” If we are truly pricked in the heart and present ourselves to Jesus for His guidance, our physical needs will be provided, but our spiritual needs will be provided too. This is not the only place Jesus tells us this, and His apostles follow His teachings with the same message.
Finally, Jesus said, “. . . and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.” Here, He is telling us there is more to “life” than eating and drinking; there is more to “life” than the physical life we know. This portion of the verse needs to be looked at more in depth, but for now–that is another devotional. I hope you will join us for that one as well.
Today, my prayer for each of you–and for the world–is that God and Jesus might place the knowledge and the surety of their existence–side by side–within our hearts and minds. Give us the understanding that the needs of this life will be provided for those who come to You. Give us the understanding of these scriptures. Help us to know that God and His Word (Jesus) existed in the beginning, that the Word (Jesus) was with God in the beginning, and the Word (Jesus) was God. Help us to understand: If Jesus is the bread of life, then He is God’s Word–He is every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Thank You for stopping by to read and commune with me, with God, and with Jesus. As I strive t o learn more about the message God and Jesus are imparting to me through the Scriptures–the Holy Bible–I am honored that you choose to share this journey with me. Please “Like,” “Share,” “Follow,” and keep coming back!