My Brother’s Keeper?

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

Genesis 4:1-17:

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

~~~~~~~~~~

Genesis 4:1-17 — Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~~~~~~~~~

Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~~~~~~~~~

Source:

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

~~~~~~~~~~

Photo above: Ugo Mendes Donelli @Unsplash.com.

~~~~~~~~~~

My Morning Prayer

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

~~~~~~~~~~

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

“Pray without ceasing.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~~~~~~~~~

Sources:

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

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

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

~~~~~~~~~~

Picture above: reene black @pixabay.com.

~~~~~~~~~~

My Morning Prayer

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

~~~~~~~~~~

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

“Pray without ceasing.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~~~~~~~~~

Sources:

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

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

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

~~~~~~~~~~

Picture above: reene black @pixabay.com.

~~~~~~~~~~

“Help!!”

“I Need HELP!!!”

~~ a short story

by tkbrown

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????”

“Please help!!”

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.

7 — “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

8 — “For everyone 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)

~~~~~~~~~~

Source:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 7:7-8. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (27 June 2021). MATTHEW 7:7-8 KJV “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

~~~~~~~~~~

Photo Above: depositphotos.com.

~~~~~~~~~~

Lost:

Unsure which way to turn . . . .

~~ a short story

by tkbrown

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!

“Then spake Jesus unto them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.‘”

John 8:12 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)>

~~~~~~~~~~

Source:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). John 8:12. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (24 June 2021). JOHN 8:12 KJV “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

~~~~~~~~~~

Photo Above: by Jeni Holland at Unsplash.com.

~~~~~~~~~~

Bread of Life

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

“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!

Have a Blessed Day!

~~~~~~~~~~

Sources:

Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Ezekiel 4:9. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (2 May 2021). EZEKIEL 4:9 KJV “Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Deuteronomy 8:2, 3. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (2 May 2021). Deuteronomy 8:2 – 8:3 (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 4:4. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (2 May 2021). MATTHEW 4:4 KJV “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). John 1:1. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (2 May 2021). JOHN 1:1 KJV “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). John 6:35. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (2 May 2021). JOHN 6:35 KJV “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

~~~~~~~~~~

Photo Above: by TiBing @pixabay.com.

~~~~~~~~~~

Walking in the Spirit

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

22 — “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,”

23 — “meekness, temperance: against such there is no law,”

24 — “and they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

25 — “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:22-25 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

In Galatians 5:22-25, Paul tells the church at Galatia, the Spirit works to increase love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance in those who live and walk in the Spirit. Based on this text, Paul tells us it is possible to “live in the Spirit” but not “walk in the Spirit.” Some might differ with this interpretation of these words. However, I would direct your attention to the last part of verse 25. There Paul says, “let us also walk in the Spirit.” Since the first part of the verse notes, “If we live in the Spirit,” Paul is telling us we can “live in the Spirit” and not “walk in the Spirit.” Thus, if we “walk in the Spirit,” others can see a difference in the pre-Christian person we were and the Christian person we are continually becoming.

Let’s look back up to verses 22 and 23. Here, we see, “the fruit of the spirit is: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” Then in verse 24, Paul says, “”and they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. ” Thus, if we ‘walk in the Spirit,’ we belong to Christ and have ‘crucified’ our “fleshly affections and lusts.” This does not mean we will automatically exhibit the traits associated with walking in the Spirit. It means we must do something to achieve those traits as a part of whom we are becoming. We must crucify the cravings and fruit of the flesh in order that we might “walk in the Spirit.” Looking at verse 16 of Galatians chapter 5, Paul states, “if we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfil the lust of the flesh” — in other words, we will “crucify the flesh.”

16 — “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

17 — “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

Galatians 5:16, 17 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

In verse 17, we read: the flesh and the Spirit engage in behaviors contrary one to the other. Thus, if we belong to Christ, we cannot do the things that we would in the flesh–we will “walk in the Spirit.” As we continue to “walk in the Spirit,” we will see an increase in the “fruit of the Spirit” in our own behavior and a decrease in the affections and lusts of the flesh displayed in our lives.

These verses tell us: belonging to Christ means we will strive to emulate Him in our daily living. The term, “American,” means I am a citizen–a member, if you will–of the United States of America. When we look at the word, “Christian,” in this same light, being a Christian means we are a citizen of–a member, if you will–of the kingdom of Christ, (Acts 11:26). As such, we strive to abide by the laws, guidelines, and statutes set forth by Christ for the New Testament churches of Christ. Paul established churches of Christ among the Gentiles; there were seven churches of Christ in Asia. The other apostles established churches in the area where Christ lived, taught, healed, and preached. Each church was taught, by the apostles, to emulate the life of Christ as they grew in the faith.

“And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

Acts 11:26 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

Thus, as we grow in the faith, we will see our lives increase in: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” We will begin by “crawling,” as newborn babes in Christ. Then–just as a babe must grow from toddler to young child, older child, pre-teen, teen, young adult, and finally to adulthood–we must grow as Christians. It will be a life-long endeavor if we continue in the faith and hope of an eternal life in heaven with God and Jesus Christ–God’s Son.

1 — “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,”

2 — “as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”

3 — “if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

1 Peter 2:1-3 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

First, we nurture a babe with milk, then with puree of solid foods, and finally he/she is able to digest solid food. In like manner, we must also nurture our Spiritual Self by “laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking.” Then, “as newborn babes [in Christ], desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby [in Christ].” In 1 Peter 2, verses one through three, we see: “if we are able to lay aside these fleshly affections and lusts,” then we “have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

My daily prayer is that I might continue to lay aside my worldly lusts and affections of the flesh and grow in the nurture, the admiration, and the wisdom of the Lord. I ask that God strengthen me in the faith, hope, knowledge, goodness, and graciousness of Christ Jesus that I might live a life pleasing unto Him and ultimately be granted an eternal home in heaven.

May God be with all who endeavor to live for Him through the name of Christ Jesus.

~~~~~~~~~~

Source:

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Acts 11:26. “Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (25 April 2021). Acts 11:26 KJV – And when he had found him, he brought – Bible Gateway.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Galatians 5:16-25. “Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (25 April 2021). Galatians 5:16-25 KJV – This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, – Bible Gateway.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). 1 Peter 2:1-3. “Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV).” bible gateway.com. (25 April 2021). 1 Peter 2:1-3 KJV – Wherefore laying aside all malice, and – Bible Gateway.

~~~~~~~~~~

Photo Above: By Ferhat Deniz Fors @Unsplash.com.

~~~~~~~~~~

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.

~~~~~~~~~~

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.

~~~~~~~~~~

Photo Above: by Daniel_Mingook_Kim@Unsplash.com.

~~~~~~~~~~

Charity

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

I Corinthians 13:13: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

The word “charity,” in the New King James Version (NKJV), is translated “love.” Thus, in this passage written by Paul to the Corinthians, the two words might be used interchangeably. Apparently, there were many issues concerning the Christians at Corinth. In chapter 13, Paul addresses the need for love to abound. He notes a number of achievements to be worked toward as Christians in Christ’s church; then he cautions that without “charity” or “love” none of these is worth anything in Christ’s church. Though one may attain a high level of honor, without love, that person is nothing in God’s eyes.

How often do we, today, teach the importance of “charity” or “love?” Love, or charity, should be a frequent topic of our Bible lessons. It takes extensive study on the topic to exhibit the love Christ had, and has, for His church.

Love is one character trait deserving of frequent address. Too often we “go through the motions” but they mean nothing to us. Verse 2 says:

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing”–I Corinthians 13:2–NKJV.

Though it is possible to have faith enough to accomplish any feat—with God’s help–if I have not ”charity” or “love,” faith profits me nothing.

Faith, hope, and love are the three most essential characteristics of a Christian. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17–NKJV). “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1—NKJV) Faith is instilled by hearing, reading, and learning the word of God. It is important to follow hearing with study in order to learn the true meaning of the scripture presented. Paul told Timothy, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15–KJV). When we hear the Word, that hearing must be followed by our own private study to ensure we understand what is being said, when it was said, to whom, and about what. Thus, we learn the true meaning of the scripture uttered in our hearing.

The more we study God’s Word, the more it impresses upon us the need for love in our own character. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:43-47

43 — “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy,”

44 – “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you;”

45 – “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

46 – “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?”

47 – “And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?”

 The more we try to emulate Christ, the more love we will extend love to others. It is a tall order to “love our enemies and do good to them.” This tells us, if we have not love we are not emulating Christ—we are but pretenders. This pretense means nothing to God and will not ensure entry into heaven. We must grow as Christians if we are to hold the love for others that Jesus requires.

A new Christian has learned to love him-/herself enough to want to spend eternity with God and Christ. A mature Christian has grown in the emulation of Christ so that love is evident. Christ laid down His life to save us. How many of us would do the same?

~~~~~~~~~~

Photo Above: by reenablack @pixabay.com.

~~~~~~~~~~

Sources:

Eds. biblegateway.com. (2021). Holy Bible – New King James Version (NKJV). 1975 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. www.biblegateway.com. (26 January 2021). www.biblegateway.com.

Eds. Biblegateway.com (2021). Holy Bible – King James Version (KJV). 1987 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. www.biblegateway.com. (26 January 2021). www.biblegateway.com.

~~~~~~~~~~

My Morning Do . . . Milk of the Word

~~ by tkbrown

1 Corinthians 3:1, 2 (NKJV)

  • 1 — “And I , brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal , as to babes in Christ.”
  • 2 — “I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able;”

23 September 2020 — While working on posts for the “Greek Words for ‘love’ in the New Testament” series, I have thought much on my Biblical studies through the years. During my younger years, I studied mostly by verse and by topic. When I needed spiritual strengthening, I would search out scriptures on a particular topic and study it. The scripture was indeed food for my soul.

I grew up in a rural area, so our church family was small. When I was fourteen, I began teaching the Sunday night Children’s Class. There were five children in the class, ages five to twelve. We could not afford the purchase cost of lesson materials, so I started with the four Gospels, and we would take a few verses each week. I would write out the lesson sheets for each child.

The lessons consisted of scripture, copied word for word, with blanks to be filled in. During class, we would read the lesson scripture and fill in the blanks. The youngest could not write, but his siblings helped him fill in the blanks on his sheets. I knew from when I was younger, he could remember what we talked about, especially with two siblings who probably talked with mom and dad about what had been studied. During the two years I taught the class, we digested many morsels as they began being introduced to solid spiritual food.

As I have pondered the purpose for my reminiscing, I realized, the study of Greek words for “love” began in my teen years. The minister taught the teen / adult class. We did much the same as I did with the children, except we did not have fill-in-the-blank sheets. We studied directly from the scripture–a few verses a night. It was during my teen years, in these classes where I learned to study more in depth. The minister spoke of the Greek words for “love” occasionally during these classes, as he did for other words when he thought we could benefit from the learning.

I awoke this morning with understanding of why I had been pondering my younger days. I was being shown, during my teen years, how to study as a mature Christian. In order to do this, we begin as babes in Christ needing the “sincere milk of the word,” referenced by Peter in 1 Peter 2:2:

  • “as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” (King James Version — KJV).
  • “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” (New King James Version — NKJV).

The King James Version (KJV) of the New Testament uses the wording, “sincere milk . . .,” whereas, the New King James Version (NKJV) has changed “sincere” to “pure.” Personally, I prefer the “sincere milk . . .” for this thought process. Just as I fed my babies “milk” in their early days in order to aid their healthy growth — especially bone and teeth growth needing much calcium, we as new Christians need the “milk” of the scriptures to form a firm foundation for our Spiritual growth. As we grow, we are introduced to the more mature instruction so we can develop strength in other areas as we also continue consuming the “milk” to aid continued strengthening of the foundation.

As I pondered this, I realized my attention was being brought to the “solid food” aspect of scriptural study. When I prepare an especially savory meal for physical nutrition, I savor every morsel. This savoring is part of the spiritual growth process too. It is necessary, at times, to take a scripture word by word to learn the true meaning behind the original Greek text in the New Testament. It is necessary to chew it slowly, try to discern which spices were added during preparation. What were the other solid foods added to the dish? Our spiritual study must be taken just as slowly at times.

I said all of the above to say this: The series on Greek words used for “love” in the New Testament is a word by word type of study. We are taking each word as a single morsel of solid food and savoring each flavor (meaning) in order to absorb the most nutrition (understanding) from the food. By learning the various words used in the original Greek text, we are sorting through the flavors of Greek nutrition in order to truly understand what the English version says when it only uses one word, “love,” in its translation.

It was necessary for me to step back and explain this before progressing any further with the Greek words for “love” study in order for you, the readers, to understand the importance of knowing the original Greek term. Just as a chef must know exactly which flavors are needed to achieve a certain flavor, it is necessary for us to know what words added to the flavor of the original text. This is what is meant by the apostle Paul’s reference to “solid food” in 1 Corinthians.

I hope this little aside helps you to understand the “why” behind the “what” of what we are doing with this study. This is my prayer! Blessings to all!

%d bloggers like this: